The Greedy Algorithm

3 Nov

Willy was leaving for the US. It was her last day in the city, and I had gone to help her with her packing. Her grandmother is a renowned astrologer, and though I don’t believe in palmistry, I like to get my palm read by her. It’s fun. No two people who have read my palm have ever predicted the same future for me. In fact, even Willy’s grandmother’s prediction has had variations with the years that have gone by. Anyway..

That day she told me that I was destined for a love-marriage. She went further and wished me good luck for finding the man of my dreams and also said that she could trust my choice. It gave me a warm feeling to know that a lady who is close to 80 had enough faith to trust the choice of a 20 something girl. People at that kind of age generally go, err, a little off the track and they don’t trust you to anything.

Willy : Paatti, you trust Shivani with her choice, but if the matter of a love-marriage came to me, you would have so many issues about it.

Granny: No, my dear. We wouldn’t mind…

Willy : (cutting Granny off, mid-sentence) Oh, ya? Then why this long list of the things-i-shouldn’t-do?

Granny: (finishing off her sentence) we wouldn’t mind as long as the guy is a Thanjavur Vadamaaal Iyengar. That’s the only condition we have.

THE ONLY CONDITION as explained to me turned out to be this:

Thanjavur is the place where their family comes from.
Iyengar is the caste
And Vadamaal is the sub-caste.

My question here is what makes parents closed to the idea of their kids falling in love? Why is it OK as far as it isn’t your child?

Observation says that the parent’s idea of a perfect bride/groom for their progeny is a person who is from the same caste, culture. A guy whose family is probably related to you in some way (read – a family your family can keep a tab on, a family whose private matters are public to you).

They say, “It will be very difficult for you to fit into their culture. It’s different from ours.” Were we all brought up following a rulebook of what our culture is or what is permissible in it? Were we brought up with such rigidity that we cannot adapt to a few additions to the rites and rituals that we learnt?

Does it really matter if you don’t know what happened to the Paternal Aunt’s Son-in-Law’s Sister’s Grandfather’s younger Brother’s Wife’s Paternal Uncle’s Sister-in-Law’s Grandson of the guy you are to get married to?

The guy in question has to be well settled. He should own a house and a car before he is married. Why? Am I marrying the guy or his possessions? Am I not earning enough to support myself, and even him if the need arises? Did our parents have everything before they were married? Did they not build up their own homes? Then why this notion of a person well-settled? Or is our generation not capable enough?

Oh! I almost forgot. The horoscopes. Why is it so important that all your 36 virtues have to match? Wouldn’t you be able to spend your life with a person who probably has only 24 planetary positions matching with yours?

And to think of it, all this has really not got anything to do with the person in question. Why do all these extra requisites become important than the person or his/her character or the kind of understanding that you share?

You may be in love with a person. But if all these conditions aren’t fulfilled, then you are doomed for life. You are going to be strung around somebody else’s neck. You may try and explain as much as you want about why the person you love is perfect for you but it won’t work. Parents are greedy when it comes to their kids. Everything has to be prefect for them. Nothing short of the best will do. Only that the kids don’t think of it as the best for them.

Your parents may not be asking for dowry, but if these become the major criteria for a marriage, then it sure fits the definition of what I call as the Greedy-Algorithm-of-Matchmaking.


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