Summers in Chennai are never pleasant; the weather I mean. The marriage season is in full swing during May; all the kalyana mantapams are over booked. Almost every single Tamilian is tying the knot somewhere in the city. The entire family, extended beyond the fourth generation turns up for these weddings. Multiple Karthiks and Anands echo in the hall (parents obviously lack novelty when it comes to naming the boys in our corner of the country). I know three of each in my family and if I explore I am bound to find more.

And though I may not live in Chennai, Tamilian I am and it was my cousin's wedding later that month in Chennai. We were to leave on a Friday but packing started on Monday morning, as my mother decided to wake me up at 6 a.m. to ask “Do you want the blue saree or the pink; I don't want to carry jewellery for both. Do you want a neutral colour? And have you tried the blouses? Which ones have you altered?”

I honestly could not process all those questions at once and so I decided to turn over and continue sleeping.

Match-making

I had graduated early that month; going to a wedding when you have graduated was a recipe for disaster — you are smart enough to figure out why: been there, done that.

We Tamilians tend to be very cacophonous when in groups, but I guess so will most others say this of themselves. And so I walk into one such loud bunch of women talking about marriages and the whole idea of getting people married. There is almost something predatory about their eagerness to find matches for all the singles in the hall.

One woman calls out to me and with little or no preamble, socks me with “When are you planning to get married?” I keep up to my reputation of zero tolerance for over-friendly relatives wanting to get me married and reply firmly, “No, not on the cards, see you”. That was remarkably polite, given the intrusive nature of the question and the absolutely stifling heat of Chennai, I kid you not.

I really do not understand this undying and obsessive urge of all these innumerable aunts, uncles, grandaunts, granduncles to get us singles in the family married. It's not like getting married is a moral obligation or a social compulsion, right? Oh and almost everyone concerned or not concerned will want a share in voice — “have you thought about marriage, you know there is this MBA boy and he works in California, very nice family you see…..” Did anyone ask you? Then why bother.

Why does marriage have to be something that HAS to happen after a certain stage in life? I personally think you should let things take their course. Not that the younger generation (the allegedly marriageable one) is averse to the idea of marriage; priorities may be changing but the idea of having a family and a companion hasn't.

Marriage has a more aesthetic build up nowadays; compatibility, comfort, love and all that. Being ready for it is critical, till then, why don't the self-appointed advisory board members wait and go easy on the poor kids.

APARNA GIRIDHAR, IIM Kozhikode, Class of 2012

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