Every unmarried youth, aged between 20 and 3 cringes at the phrase “arranged marriage”. Today, the notion of marriage is finding the elusive “one” and having a romantic wedding in white, sandy beaches. But as much western propaganda is shoved our way, arranged marriages are still the norm of the day in India. And as much as we hate it, we have to come to terms with it and maybe face it ourselves. It is in those situations that books like this one by Nandini Krishnan come in handy. Aimed to equip the modern woman with the tools to finding the perfect match in an arranged marriage setup, the book picks up stories from a variety of real-life women about their experiences.
The author has interviewed a cross section of women – those who have married early, those who have married late, army wives, married out of caste and so on. Each story is unique and gives a deeper insight in to this muddle of arranged marriages. It covers all aspect of an arranged marriage from the ‘search’ to the wedding, the issue of children and careers.
The book is an assorted bag, which deals with all issues that crop up during an arranged marriage. A chunk of the book jots down the different criterion women look for in a man when selecting. It also addresses the question of when to marry. What is the right age, is it too early or too late or just right? It also looks at the infamous saas-bahu problems, and what to do in such a situation. The most interesting part, as per me, were those that dealt with working after marriage. This is a delicate matter and elicits different responses always. Each of these scenarios is explained with a real life story, with 16 stories in all.
The remaining few chapters are random chapters with answers from everywhere, answering crucial questions like, when’s the right time to have a baby, the in-law problems, how to deal with rejection, getting past the discomfort of marrying someone you’ve met only once and so on. And it ends with the men’s perspective, on what they expect and get in an arranged marriage set up.
Though this book is all encompassing, I found it quite repetitive. Often, the same issues are cropped up, with the same answers. Some stories did strike a chord, and some felt as if they could have done without. And the point remains that each experience is strikingly different, and no generalizations can be made. May be the author should have focussed a bit more on the after marriage part, I felt, where by explaining how you settle with someone you’ve only just met. Nevertheless, it offers good tips to anyone who is looking to enter this foray of arranged marriages.
The book is a quick read and I would recommend to someone if either they’re in a similar situation or if they are interested in the system of marriages. Otherwise, I would say, give it a miss.
If you find the book interesting, buy from Amazon or Flipkart here: