I never really understood the point of marriage, it was always a piece of paper. Due to this I shoved it to the back of my mind and refused to think about it. Denial was the way to go. My dad however had other plans for me. When I turned 21 he started talking more and more about me getting married and how he needs to find someone quickly. Apparently those of the female persuasion expire when they reach a certain age, in my case 22. So I finished university, got my degree and a job at a secondary school and all the while I was hearing the random mumblings from my dad about CVs and men.
So here’s how it works in most Bengali families for those of you who are not familiar with it. The single girls and boys have something called a ‘BioData’ otherwise known as a CV. This contains all the basic information about the individual, from their education, current job and some even detail the grandparents and where they came from. Hobbies and interests can be included but that seems to be a more recent addition. Along with this marriage CV comes one or two photographs of the person in question. This can be a headshot, a picture from a recent wedding they went to but basically the picture their parents thinks makes them look good. Sometimes though, and I kid you not, the picture are studio ones all professionally done so when you see the person in real life, he/she looks nothing like their phot. And yes, unfortunately I have one these although I have never seen it, however it is most definitely not a studio picture as I have refused to consider that option.
My dad gets a whole load of CVs and sorts through them, mostly considering what he thinks a girl would want in a guy. Not what I would actually want. So essentially the guy is more for him than me? OK too messed up to even consider!
So after he finds someone he likes the look of he will pass my CV and picture to the family who are pretty much going through the same process as my dad but for their son. If the son likes the look, or more like read, of me then he tells the parents and a meeting is arranged. If he doesn't then, well bye bye random dude.
You may be wondering where I am throughout this process? Well I'm pretty much non-existent. My dad does show me a picture of a guy if the guy wants to meet me but he sort of shoves it in my face and I normally recoil in horror. Of course my dad still arranges a meeting and the guy and his family come to the house.
The guy and I will be left alone to talk. Honestly I have no clue what the parents expect to happen. We say hello and decide right there and then we must get married? Takes ‘you had me at hello to another level’. None the less we are left in an awkward situation where we attempt to mould ourselves to our seats and be invisible. Or that’s what I try to do.
Once the guy and his family leave my dad harasses me with questions about the guy and if I would like to meet him yet. Let’s just say so far there have been no second meetings. This always upsets my dad. It hurts him more than me and for a good week or so he’s grumpy, until the next guy comes along.
So this is all pretty crazy I know. But I would just like to say is that as crazy as it is, and even though there are men I wouldn't be interested in and still meet, I would never be forced into marriage. Some people, a small minority have this stereotype that an arranged marriage is all there is for Bengali's/Indians. This is simply not true in this day and age. Many of my family members have fallen in love and gotten married. My dad is simply introducing me to people, so I don’t consider anything arranged. More like assisted.
Stay tuned for the next chapter of The Mrs Bennet Diaries when there’s an actual guy involved!