Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Prompt: In Defense of Arranged Marriage

None of my friends understand. They think I’m crazy, or under my parents’ control. Which would really make my Dad laugh, if he had a sense of humor about me at all. He just pinches his nose and looks up at the sky. His new wife, Gita, acts all sympathetic to me—at least whenever he’s around.

Mom would chuckle quietly, though. She says I only listen long enough to do the opposite of what she tells me. But not about this. I’m going to marry the man they chose for me.

My friends don’t understand why I would agree to an arranged marriage. My best friend Becky is furious with me. “It’s ridiculous!” she said, climbing up on my bed and throwing my pillows at me. “This is America, not India! You’ve lived here your whole life. How could you agree to this? You’re as American as apple pie and, and Coors Light!”

“Coors Light? Ugh!” I threw a pillow back at her and fell on the bed beside her.

She threw up her hands and rolled her eyes. “You know what I mean. What’s going on, Ramani?”

I leaned back on my elbows and looked at her seriously. “I don’t believe marriage for love works out, Becks. Look at my parents. Look at yours. Look all around us. People fall in love and think it will last forever. But then after they’ve been married for awhile, they find they’ve changed, grown apart, and they can’t work it out any more. I don’t want that. I see my grandparents’ generation and the ones before that, and they made their marriages work, because they had to learn to live with each other. I listened to the old women when I was growing up. They all loved their husbands, in their own ways, even though they didn’t choose them. And they all stayed married.”

Becky sat cross-legged and hugged my shaggy purple Diva pillow. “But Rami, you don’t even know this guy! How can you marry him?”

“Well, there’s this big ceremony, and we get to dress up and get henna tattoos—”

She threw the pillow at me. “Come on! Be serious! This is serious!”

I sat up and took her hands. “I know. I am being serious, Becks. My father hired a matchmaker to help us. She met with him and my Mom—in the same room, can you imagine? And she spent a long time talking with me. She found a couple of matches, and my parents met their parents. They narrowed it down to this one guy, and we all met for dinner.

“I like him, Becks. He’s smart and funny and cute. He’s finished med school and is doing his residency now at Vanderbilt. He likes dogs, but doesn’t have one because he’s at the hospital so much. But we are already talking about getting a rescue pup after we get married.”

“Dogs, huh? Did you talk about kids? Does he know how you feel about that?”

“I told him I wanted to adopt. He doesn’t want kids until after he’s in his own practice, so we have time to figure that out. We do have a lot in common, Becky. We’ve been talking on the phone every day, and texting.”

“Anything juicy? Gotta picture of him?”

I laughed at her eye waggle, and reached for my phone. “I’m too shy for sexting. You know that. But I do have a photo he sent me from work.”

She studied his picture seriously, as if she could learn anything about him leaning against the hospital wall in scrubs and a surgical cap. She handed my phone back. “Yeah, he’s cute. I dunno, Rami. This is crazy.”

“Why is it any more crazy to think that hormones are a good predictor of a lifelong relationship? At least this way, we’re approaching it rationally, and we're off to a good start. We like each other, our families are happy, and we have every reason to think we’ll be happy together.”

“But what if you do meet someone and fall madly in love with them? It will be too late!”

“Becks, that’s the fractured fairy tale. And the same thing could happen if I did marry someone for love. That’s the commitment part of marriage, remember? It doesn’t really matter how you start off, it’s how you end up. I’d like a good chance to end up like my grandparents, married to the same person for 50 or 70 years.”

Becky sat quiet for a long time. I resisted the urge to check my email while I waited for her to process all this. She’d been my best friend since 3rd grade, and her approval was important to me. Well, her acceptance, anyway. 

Finally, she nodded, even if she did look a little reluctant. I clapped hands and hugged her. Then I put my hands on her shoulders. “Becks, will you be my maid of honor?”

She tapped her cheek, as if she were debating. “Tell me about those henna tattoos again?”

I slugged her with the Diva pillow, and she fell off the bed, laughing.

Dogs in house:

Back, Flute Sonatas

February word count:

No comments:

Post a Comment