The Eligibles or Ineligibles? 16/03/2011

At the outset let me give a brief  profile of my friend, let’s call her Kavitha—her profile is not for a job interview  but to find an eligible husband material !She is  a postgraduate who majored in English literature, fairly good-looking – slim, fair, with good features and  of an  average height. Perhaps if she  had contested  for  a ‘Miss India’ title the only thing that would have disqualified her was her being short by a few inches. In the normal course she should have got married long ago, that is if the bride grooms were not so so choosy and finicky I suppose.

The FIRST man who came to ‘interview’ Kavitha was a young IAS officer who had just got his first posting. I t appeared his parents made it very clear that their son agreed to ‘see’ my friend  only after he was repeatedly reassured that marriage was no ‘burden’!  He came with the full contingent of parents, two sisters, their husbands and his ‘little’ brother, who chose to stick to him like glue. The youngsters  were introduced to each other and the man chose to begin the conversation.  My friend  looked around to see whether the barrage of questions were coming   from one of the ‘ women’ sitting nearby, but noticed none of them so much as opened  their mouths!

The conversation/interview thereafter went something like this….

What is your favourite TV programme?

What do you have in the morning, tea or coffee? (was it important,  she thought).

I love  good south Indian food.  Are you good at it? (was  he looking for a cook?).

What are your hobbies?

After answering all these questions she  was given a sermon about the duties of a wife and mother. Since he was in a premier service and his job would be a demanding one, he would expect his wife (apart from being a good housewife) to know how to socialise, be a good hostess and manage the house and family in his absence, that is, whenever he was away on tours.

“Well, do you have anything particular to ask?” came the question after the sermon. Grabbing the chance , she asked, “Have you any interests or hobbies which you pursue during your spare time?”

“Interests and hobbies, eh! How can you think an IAS officer would have time for all these?” he had shot back.

“Will you have time for ‘me’, at least”? she asked jokingly.

“If you expect me to dance around you, forget it,” he replied ,his voice expressed his annoyance. With that the interview had  ended. It was also the last my friend  heard from the ‘party’.

The SECOND was a young management graduate. He chose to drop in with fewer persons, just he and his parents. After they made themselves comfortable, the ‘interview’ began. Strangely, the questions were reeled off, one after the other, by the parents (who were taking turns) rather than the bridegroom.

“Can you cook?” asked the mother. “What have. you majored in?” asked her husband.

“Do you plan to work after marriage?”

“Can you sing or dance?”

Numerous other questions followed by the parents. Atlast my friend  I ventured to look directly at their son and asked him why he was not taking part in the  conversation. The question was answered with a smile.

A month later they  came to know the reason for his silence. It appeared he had got married to his Parsi girlfriend of five years after ‘seeing’ my friend.

The THIRD was an engineering graduate working abroad. He had come to see Kavitha along with his close  friend and his wife. His questions were a little different, he wished to know if she  would be able to  adjust to his western lifestyle. She asked what he meant by that.

“Well, I am a strict non-vegetarian and a non-teetotaller. You should learn to cook my favourite non-vegetarian dishes and mix drinks,” he explained.

Though she  winced, she had appreciated his frankness and honesty.

The FOURTH was a doctor who had  his own practice. He came with his parents for the ‘interview’. He asked just two questions and these were more like a statement. He thought it was wise for doctors to marry doctors if they wanted to be happy.

“Didn’t you know that I wasn’t a doctor?” My friend could not help asking, swallowing her pride and anger.

“Yes, I knew, but I came in order to please my parents,” was his crisp reply.

The FIFTH possessed a Ph.D in psychology and his parents too were highly qualified. He was mild-mannered and from the way he spoke (for once, it was a ‘two-way’ conversation), she had thought he was a balanced and sensible person. They  found they had a lot of things in common and appreciated each other’s views.

“If it is okay by you, it is okay by me,” he said, and my friend  was pleased and promptly reciprocated with a Yes. The party bade  goodbye, saying they would soon write to  them.

True to their word they wrote within a fortnight, but what the letter contained was not what they expected. The  horoscopes, which were supposed to have matched well earlier, were made the scapegoat! How could the horoscopes  have turned a volte face so suddenly, wondered  everyone.  So much for psychology and high qualifications!

The ‘eligibles’ who came subsequently were no different. Though their qualifications and jobs matched their predecessors’, their looks did not conform   to  the conventional description of eligibles : ‘tall, dark(why not fair ,thinks Kavitha)  and handsome’ , but were to the  contrary. Their one-sided conversation only revealed their eagerness to seek a ‘perfect’ wife, a wife who was a ravishing beauty, one who knew how to balance a home and a career, be good at entertaining and, last but not the least, ‘not complain’ if the husband was  busy 24/7 with his career, because his ‘career was everything’ to him.

N Meera Raghavendra Rao



6 thoughts on “The Eligibles or Ineligibles? 16/03/2011

  1. Prof.V.N.K.Kumar

    Could Kavitha be by any chance Meera Behenji when she was husband hunting ? These plethora of eccentricities of the possible grooms can’t be remembered unless it is a matter of personal experience which has impacted you.

    Seriously this matter of rejecting the alliance because of horoscopes is because people are reluctant to hurt the feelings of others. They would not like to say ” Your daughter looked good in the photograph that you sent us maybe because she is photogenic or the photo was touched up by an artist. But face-to-face she doesn’t look so good. She talks like a donkey”. So they say ” Well we had shown the horoscopes to an astrologer and he said go ahead but now when we showed it to our family astrologer who had earlier gone on a tour, he said not to proceed”.

    One another amusing thing in all this, is when people search for the woman of their dreams, a Venus or Aphrodite they forget that the woman is also on the look-out for an Adonis.

    1. A big NO Prof.Kumar , there is nothing personal about the experience, nor is it fictitious .The prospectives who ‘saw’ Kavitha (there are many Kavithas in India, more perhaps in the South) are just a sample who think girls will fall at their feet just at the drop of a hat irrespective of their (the grooms) eligibility .A myopic view ofcourse !Things haven’t changed much today .
      Please read my review of the book Tam Brahm Bride on my blog to substantiate my point.
      Incidentally there has been only one prospective (the first and the last) who first saw my photo and later came along with his parents while I was studying for my degree at Jamshedpur .We got married in a few months.

  2. Sorry, I haven’t posted the review of Tam Brahm Bride .The writer of the book mentions that atleast 25 prospective grooms had seen/interviewed the protagonist who is rejected because of her dark complexion. The mother of one of them goes as far as advising her to use Fair and Lovely !

  3. sundera gopalan

    Meera I reallydon’t know when this boy seeing the girl is going to change.People say now a days the boy and his parents are very broad minded and interveiwing the girl is not there but I think nothing has changed.Boy’s parents are the same as 40yrs. back.

  4. Yes, parents of boys are just the same and boys on their part strictly adhere to the saying :A son is a son till he gets a wife ,a daughter is a daughter all her life. Girls might have to go through the ordeal/rigmarole of being interviewed by the boy, his parents,siblings etc etc but once married , ‘their’ parents take precedence over the boys’ which is increasingly seen in today’s context!

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