Despite pivoting from matchmaking to matrimonial advisory, I continue to get tonnes of calls everyday from some aunty or another about their son (not daughter, mind you!) who is in the market. I try to explain what I do but somewhere through the conversation, I just give up and tell them to ask their wards to get in touch.
The most common immediate reaction I get from these mothers is them thinking how absurd it is that I want to talk to their wards because after all parents know whats best for their children, right? As parents, some of us really have a tough time letting go. We are so used to double guessing what’s good or bad for them from the time they are infants that we refuse to see that figuring things out on their own is a part of growing up and living life itself.
Thanks to education and advent of feminism, daughters have made way for better parents who have learnt to strike a balance between holding on too tight and letting go. A lot more urban women choose their partners independently as compared to urban men, if the number of mothers who call me about their sons over daughters is any metric. Here are some of the most common reactions I get when I ask mothers to let me speak with their sons –
“I can tell you everything about him myself. “
“Oh my son is quite well mannered and shy, he hardly speaks to any other women apart from me, so I am not sure if he’ll open up to you.” (I independently learnt from the son that he had recently broken up with his girlfriend and wasn’t ready to get married yet. So much for being shy huh?)
“What do you want to speak to my son about? We can’t even see your photo on WhatsApp, so he is wondering why he should speak to you. Can’t you just find him a bride without talking to him? I have already told you what kind of a bride we want.”
“We only want a simple working girl who can support herself and also balance work at home without being too career driven. My son is too nice to tell you this himself.” (This was from a mother who claimed to be a feminist)
And saving the last one for the best –
“Nan maga antha helkothilla aadre yelladrallu munde idaane avnu. School time inda nu ashte, yelladrallu avne firstu. Avnu school drama nalli sugreevan part maadidda, tumba channaagi madidda. Yellru yesht claps hodidru gotta (I am not saying this because he is my son but he is good at everything. Since his school days, he has been the best at everything. In a school play, he played the part of “Sugreeva”, the monkey king and he was so good at it that everyone clapped a lot). ”
All of this point to the fact that these parents have a tendency to interfere a bit too much in the lives of their children and it might not do much good to the marital lives of these kids. While the kids might have found a mechanism to deal with this level of parental influence in their lives but the new couple is going to struggle to keep pace, especially in cases where they all live together. There’s no way to make parents mere search agents without allowing them the joy of colouring the search criteria. Its only human.
If you are the type of person that needs your parents to play such an active role in finding you a life partner, that says something about the type of person you are. Judgemental much? May be. If you do not enjoy the journey of understanding yourself, sourcing your own partner and then pursuing them to forage a meaningful long term relationship, then it probably says a little bit about how much effort you are going to put into your marriage.
Think about this like campus recruitment. Parents are like career services and bring in great companies for you to apply to and interview with. While you might be cool enough to make an impression and get the job (or spouse) you want, you might not be brave enough to put yourself out there into an off campus job market where you face greater competition and you really have to sell your worth to lock a job down. So, just like most campus jobs, you might mostly end up with cookie cutter or run of the mill type marriages that are formula driven.
Real joy is in spending time to understand yourself and sourcing your dream job (or spouse) and pursuing it until you have locked it down, sort of like love marriage. It is this journey that makes for a great story, people like to recount. While everybody wants love marriage, it takes a little bit of talent to make that happen and not everyone has it. So for everyone else, there’s always PG rated spouse hunting and I am not going to help you with it!