It seems to be the season for weddings - and as usual, discussions drifted towards how the marriages happened, and as usual, it took me back to my childhood to that very eventful life of the township I grew up in.
When we were kids, we knew about two kinds of marriages. "Arranged" marriages and "Ooooh" marriages. "Ooooh" meant "Love". Because, back then, "Love" was a taboo word. None of us children even spoke that word out. If anyone did, it was met by a series of "Oooooh"s. I still can't get over the fact that we were such little prudes just a couple of decades ago... and the children of today are familiar with such words, that if I have to use them in my blog, I will have to take the help of special characters.
Anyway, we kids were fascinated with the concept of "Ooooh" marriages, and somehow, peer pressure had convinced us that it was a "Cheee" thing. My mother once scolded my friends and me for such utter silliness, so we stopped saying "Ooooh" for "Love" - when my mom was around.
Well, so, when somebody pointed out that so-and-so had gone through an "Ooooh" marriage, we would look up at the offender with a look that was a mixture of fascination and contempt. This phase lasted just a couple of years, thankfully.
But what were these marriages, anyway? The definition was simple. Arranged marriage was when the parents and relatives scoured the land for a suitable "match" and compared horoscopes and "fixed" the wedding, and the couple dutifully got married.[In later years, the couple had an increasing veto power over thier parents' choice]. Love marriage was when the couple met, liked each other, decided to get married and then told their parents.
But soon I discovered that sub-categories had come up when I was not looking. Like once, when I told Y that X's was a "Love" marriage, and she now lives with her parents-in-law. X looked at me like I had horns growing out of my head.
She said, "How is that possible? It must have been an Arranged marriage."
"Oh no it wasn't. They met at their workplace".
"Then it must be a Love+Arranged marriage".
"And what is that?"
"When the couple falls in love, decide to marry, and tell their parents, and the parents accept and get them married."
"Oh really, and then what happened to the simple Love marriage?"
"That is when a couple fall in love, but the parents are against it, so they get married without the parents' wishes, and it usually involves a break with one or both the set of parents."
"And what if one set of parents is fine with the marriage, and the other set isn't? What is that called?"
"That is still a Love+Arranged marriage, but some explanation has to follow".
Then I met a friend who had got engaged a while ago. I asked him how his fiancee was doing, and he gushed and blushed.
"You know, mine has turned out to be a love marriage".
I was horrified. I had visions of his poor fiancee crying her eyes out when this guy was running off with his "love".
"And how's that?" I asked.
"You know my fiancee, don't you? Our marriage was decided by our elders, but after our engagement, we met very often, and guess what, we have fallen in love! It has turned out to be an Arranged+Love marriage!"
"Hurrah for you! But just out of curiosity, what do you call a marriage which is Arranged, but the couple fall in love after the wedding?"
His face made it clear that he wanted no difficult questions to come in the way of his celebration, so I quickly moved away.
Then there is this other kind of marriage, where a friend of mine and her colleague decided that they enjoyed each other's company, and that since they belonged to the same community, and they had no other love interests, why not raise the issue of a wedding with the elders? So they got their horoscopes matched, and they, well, matched, and they were married. So, I asked no one in particular, what is this marriage called? Technically, it was arranged not by the parents, and technically it wasn't a love marriage. Also, what would have happened if their horoscopes hadn't matched? I received no answer.
Ok here is one more kind for of marriage for you to think about. I know a girl who worked in the city. Her parents, looking out for a "match" for her, asked her to meet a certain someone in the same city, and let them know whether she liked him. But within a couple of days, her parents got some information about the guy's family, which convinced them that it wouldn't be a suitable alliance, so they quickly called her to tell her not to bother about meeting that guy. But this girl had already met him, and hit it off beautifully with him, and she stood her ground that if she would marry, she would marry only him. After a long and painful struggle, she had her way and they got married. So what is this called? "Started-out-arranged-turned-into-love-marriage"?
Other sub-categories are welcome - that is what the comments section is for. This could be a good PhD topic in Sociology, you know....
Update: Viky seems to have already conducted research on this topic, and has left a comment with very detailed classification - you just have to take a look at this!