The girl is a little tall and her forehead is a little big (maybe Manjula means she’s a little plain). She’s the daughter of a friend of Manjula and as she’s reached her mid twenties she’s looking for a husband. A broker, a family friend (gets commission from both sides for an intro and a second bigger payment should they subsequently get married) has found another possible husband.
She’s already seen eleven or twelve potential husbands.
Her mummy (getting a little desperate) says “go outside” meaning find someone you like get married and move out to his home. She worries that at 26 and having already seen so many prospective grooms she might get too old to be married!
An added pressure is, we’re just entering a month when it’s inauspicious to marry and even to hold the introductory meetings.
Yesterday’s meeting was convenienty held at party that was a continuing celebration of her cousin’s wedding. It was used as an opportunity for boy to meet girl (another potential match) and check each other out.
At the meeting, at the cousins house, were representatives of both families that’s ‘girl’ her family including mummy, auntie, cousins, and the ‘boy’ together with his mummy, daddy, auntie and Manjula snuck in.
They’ll all sit round having tea and biscuits, boy and girl just checking each other out visually but not speaking, parents from each side asking questions related to family and background primarily about the job, their parents jobs, how much they are paid etc…
The parents ask the ‘prospectives’ in turn if they are OK with the other and with their head bowed do the ‘head-rock-and-roll’ each, to confirm that they are happy to progress to the next stage
They are both bank managers! big tick
Today, next day, the families will visit the priest (poojari) and check that they are a proper match taking into consideration their Gods (mustn’t be the same, this is maybe a safeguard to ensure they are not too closely related, just my half baked theory) birthdate and who knows what else. At some stage horoscopes are checked for compatability.
If they get the go ahead, from the priest today, they’ll meet up at the home (when it becomes auspicious again in Jan) and make plans for the wedding.
There are however a few more ordeals and potential pitfalls, for example the potential bride doesn’t cook, will this present a problem?
Now get your head around this one if you can…… at some stage the ‘girl’ will have to walk a few steps to enable the ‘boys’ family to check the arch on her foot. A woman’s foot is not supposed to show an arch i.e. be flat foot, for a man it either doesn’t matter or an arch is good. Just don’t ask me! I have no idea.
Just always remember, India is consistently inconsistent, so what’s apparently true in one context is not in another situation, family or caste, or whatever 🙂
Please note: the photos are from other weddings and engagement parties!