Thursday, March 5, 2009

Arranged Marriage

Pilou, an old friend of my grandmother, grew up in India, in a wealthy family of the sort that has always arranged marriages for their offspring.. She was a rebel though, and a child of the 50's, and she told her parents that she was done with the old ways. She would marry a man she loved and she would find him herself. Pilou impressed me, as a child, because she wore gorgeous silk saris, and because she cooked everything until it was a black ash of its former self.

Every year her family went away for several weeks in the summer when it was terribly hot- up to a resort in the northern mountains- to swim in a lake and socialize with, unsuprisingly, other wealthy families on holiday. The summer after she announced her independence she met a man on this holiday. He was handsome and he was kind and he also was fiercely independent from the old ways. They met as equals, they fell in love, they announced to their parents that they would wed. Pilou was relieved that instead of crying , her mother got right to work planning an wedding of insane proportions.

Years passed- they had children, the children grew old- they too were fiercely independent. The oldest daughter wanted an education in Europe. Pilou became frightened. She had herself been so lucky, but what if her daughter were less fortunate? What if she chose unwisely? What to do?
Pilou went to her mother with her concerns. Her mother laughed heartily.

"Oh Pilou, my darling!" She said." I thought by now you would have realized! Do you not remember how every summer we traveled in July? And that year we went in August? Do you not know your own parents ? That his family also changed their plans so that the two of you independent young people could meet and make up your own minds who to marry? "

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