A friend recently posted a link on my facebook page which listed answers of various American children to the question “How do we know whom to marry “with many intriguing responses. This took me down memory lane to the time Boy’s eldest had posed the same question to his wife.
He listened in for a while to the very sensible discussions between mother and child as to knowing the person and following the heart and kept having visions of his little child growing up and meeting all kinds of undesirable lumpens and following the very unsound advises of her heart.He could also for the first time sympathize with his poor father in law, whom till now he had considered an unreasonable ogre for his vehement opposition to his daughter’s selection of a perfect boy like Boy for a life mate.
The venerable gentleman’s objections were based on their different religion language and caste, and not on Boy’s qualities character education or socio economic standing as a suitable groom for the apple of his eye, which Boy found unreasonable. Boy suspected that his pigmentation may also have had a bearing on his decision. Boy had cheekily offered to stop shaving and grow his hair if it helped matters, as a full flowing beard and unshorn locks were the hallmark of the community the pop in law belonged to
What Boy realized now was that it was his natural caution as a doting dad of not losing his little girl to a smart-alecky stranger from an alien culture. Combined with this would be the very natural fear of the traditional middle class patriarch, “what would people say?”
Unencumbered by any such wisdom or scruples and armed with the arrogance of absolute certainty that is the prerogative of youth; Boy had eloped and got married ignoring his veto, no doubt bruising his ego, but also breaking his heart.Now visions of Karma floated before Boy’s eyes and life flashed before him in fast forward to the background scores of ‘Sunrise….Sunset….’ He could visualize being introduced to young men in dreadlocks with piercings and tattoos or with orange hair, or perhaps someone darker than him with an afro hairdo, or maybe a skullcap and beard. Scenes from ‘Guess who’s coming to dinner’, ‘Father of the Bride’, Meet the Parents’, and ‘Kanyadan’ flashed before his eyes and his sympathies were all with the beleaguered dads. He could totally understand Topol’s anguish in Fiddler on the Roof as he watched his daughters leave without the aid of the matchmaker to impecunious youth, radicals and even a Russian! Now objections on grounds of race religion colour or creed didn’t seem so outlandish.
Boy couldn’t hold out any longer. Ignoring all homilies on good parenting, he interjected –
“No, No! Don’t listen to mummy, she doesn’t know, I will tell you how you will know whom to marry; ASK DADDY! DADDY WILL TELL YOU WHOM TO MARRY.”Years later, when such discussions were close enough in time frame to a potential selection of suitable boy to be serious, they joked about her childhood query and Boy’s response. Boy tried to establish his liberal credentials by declaring that he don’t believe in race religion or nationalities, but adding a rider for safety that socio economic and educational and cultural compatibility leads to happier relationships, and asking whether he should take his dressing gown out of mothballs and get a pipe, in preparation of upcoming interviews with young men ala fathers of brides in old bollywood. But the GenY lady’s response had Boy completely stumped and re-evaluating his perceived liberalism. She asked Boy,
“Does it have to be a boy? Why this gender specification? “
I guess the young will always teach their parents new lessons in tolerance and adaptability