What is marriage?

Marriage (noun)

  1. The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife.
  2. The state of being married; wedlock.
  3. A common-law marriage.

Love marriages around the world are simple:

Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy.They get married.

In India, there are a few more steps:

Boy loves Girl. Girl loves Boy.
Girl’s family has to love boy. Boy’s family has to love girl.
Girl’s Family has to love Boy’s Family. Boy’s family has to love girl’s family.
Girl and Boy still love each other (hopefully). They get married.

Chetan Bhagat. (except for the part in the brackets. That’s me.)

It seems like I cannot escape it anymore. Half the world is getting married (the rest already are). People are talking about it everywhere I go. People are inviting me to marriages everywhere I go. People are asking me the inevitable question everywhere I go. I of course feel my contemporaries’ kids will be in college by the time I am anywhere near producing a few of my own.

All this talk led me to have a lively discussion with Damudra…. my evil twin brother. Of course he won. He always wins. Here is the synopsis of the argument. See if you win it, if you are on the good side.

Is it a process to bring together two people closer to one another, by formalising their relationship?

How do two people, who hardly know anything about each other, forget about knowing anything about their families, their habits, good and bad, their plans for the future and  the skeletons in their closets, agree to try and make a life together? How do they even begin to believe that they will be happy together? How do they go from sleeping alone, to sleeping with an almost total stranger? What miracle do they hope will bring them closer together? Why does this “bringing closer together” need to be formalized?

Is it a process to bring together two gene pools, and thus increase the chances of survival by “natural selection”?

Wouldn’t marriage be against the principles of natural selection? Natural selection results in the best, and the fittest, producing the most number of offspring, while the unfit do not produce as many, thus resulting in more of the better qualities of the fitter population to be passed on to the next generation. Marriage provides the unfit, opportunities to reproduce, while restricting the fit from reproducing as many they could. Face it, most women would rather have Brad Pitt over you. Its just “natural selection” at work.

Is it an arrangement of convenience between 2 humans to share real estate, and soap?

What is it about a marriage that is so convenient? Why do people need to be married to share living space? What distinguishes a marriage from any other business transaction? There is a give and a take. There is a cost involved. The goods are inspected before … the transaction.

Is it an arrangement between 2 societies to spread their culture beyond their existing boundaries?

Usually (this is based on my limited marriage-going experience), marriages are often filled with conflicts regarding details of the various customs and rituals which have to be followed. The groom’s side and the bride’s side, more often than not, do not agree. There is a power struggle almost always going on in the sidelines. Not to mention the one-up-man-ship. Nobody wants their culture to be eroded. Nobody wants to not follow the customs and rituals that have been going on for ages. Since when is culture equated with customs and rituals? And why?

Is it a sanction by society for 2 people to have sex?

How do people reconciliate themselves to the fact that the whole world and his/her uncle, knows WHEN, WHERE, WITH WHOM they will be having sex? Why does the sex have to be a ritual after the wedding? Why can’t it be before, or at some random during the wedding? Is it the thinking about the sex that makes the entire society giddy with happiness at the mention of a wedding?

Is it a process used by society to identify adulthood?

Why does a marriage certify one to be an adult? Why should one’s perception of a person, change because s/he is married or not?

Is it a process designed to torture two people so that they do not think of going through the same once again? And thus encourage monogamy?

Holy mother of GOD! Marriages are so painful for the one going through it!! Imagine sitting, standing, sitting, doing whatever the pundit asks you to, reciting stuff you don’t understand, performing gestures of which you don’t know the importance of, just to formalize a relationship. ARRRGH! I am 100% sure the whole concept of a painful marriage was invented because all the studs of the village would take all the pretty brides and leave no one  for the old pundits. They were the ones who came up with the concept of monogamy, and also made the marriages so utterly painful so that nobody in their right minds would even dare to think about marrying a second time.

Is it sacred?

What is sacred? That which is believed in by hundreds of thousands? Or that which has been passed down from generation to generation for hundreds of generations? Or that which is held close to their hearts, by the people close to you?

­­Is it worth believing in?

Is it really necessary?

  • Shanky

    You call this an argument!! Looks more similar to Prashna Upanishad to me 😀

    On my rarely serious note – for your unanswered hanging questions –
    Is it worth believing in? – Yes
    Is it really necessary? – No
    What is marriage? – It is a system of bringing some civilized order in the chaotic sexually driven minds of people. It is a system of removing you from a jungle of choices to the ocean of choicelessness. After all…choices lead to confusion and choicelessness leads to bliss…

    Unwanted Advice – Try to bask in the glory of bachelorhood as long as you can but once you join the good ol’ club, be at peace with it 😉

    • I AM enjoying my bachelorhood! I AM! 😀

      Choicelessness leads to bliss, only for those who are afraid of the consequences of the choices they make. Whether the premium you pay to keep your choices open is worth it, that is the question.

  • Hey,

    Read thru it. Looks like you’ve been upto some serious thinking. Perhaps very realistic. Write up talks about the institution of marriage as well as the ceremony.

    I may not go as far as to question the institute but ceremony, yeah in the changing times, one find himself wondering about the whole farce.

    Neo