Physical Disability and Arranged Marriages.

Indians generally do not have much respect for privacy. Personal information about everybody else is seen as everybody’s right. Malicious gossip and interference are seen  as annoying but not really unacceptable.

Why is this a problem?

Because, gossip and peer pressure (i.e.creating a good impression on the neighbor’s third cousin’s uncle) influence what Indian families might permit other family members to do.

A lot of Indians believe that if they expect support from their community and extended families, they have to allow them to influence important decisions. (And not all these influences are unbiased, well intended or wise)

For example, arranged marriages involve the approval (often indirect) of the community, so what is clearly visible becomes important. The kind of clothes and the amount of jewelery worn before, during and after the wedding, skin color, height, weight, even length of a woman’s hair can become important.

One reason why the community is allowed so much influence is because when it is not possible (or permitted) to know a person, families are not sure what to base their decisions on.

Disability, skin or health condition becomes more important than the person. How much does it really matter in day to day life?

Let me share an old comment.

I know how this system works. Here is something weird:

1. I’m physically disabled.
2. I have a great Job, fat paycheck. I travel all around the world for work. What makes me hot property in the meat market makes me a dummy piece because of point #1.
3. I hate the concept of an arranged marriage. I would want no external intervention with my love life. I’m a feminist, an atheist and i’m highly opinionated and follow objective morality in life. I find the concept of comparing what one has and not has as the basis of matchmaking, very disturbing.

So last week my cousin was married and now the pressure mounts on me to ‘get hitched’. I try to resist but there is much emotional blackmail. I decide I take control of things before someone else decides to So for the first time in my life, though I hate the concept of Matrimony.com I logged on and clicked around and read a lot of profiles and clicked on the ‘Express Interest’ button on a few profiles I found interesting.

The results were obvious to my expectations. Amidst all the 15 interests I sent out about 10 came back ‘Declined’, which isn’t really much of a problem. Here is the icing on the cake.

All the profile pictures that were visible yesterday evening are now ‘hidden’ or ‘protected’ when I wanted to check the profiles again to see why they declined and have a grip of what kind of women are not finding me interesting. I don’t even have a profile picture yet and I wrote nothing else other than wanting a wife who was very independent and cared about her individuality.

I thought this may be a one off instance. I logged on today again and clicked around and in batches of 10, sent out interests thrice. What a surprise. All declined (nothing new here) and few of them now have their pictures protected.

I selected the same option on all profiles I expressed interest on. “I like your profiles, please respond if you like mine…”

Its funny, how almost all of them are created by parents and there are like about 2% of the women who create their own profiles. Whats funnier is they have a template description. “My daughter is ‘FAIR AND GOOD LOOKING’ and she has a modern outlook, yet traditional values. She is God fearing yet not superstitious.”

For an atheist who wants a non religious wedding and does not want to subject his wife (and her family) to the insults of religious male chauvinistic practices & and meaningless stone age rites, I find this extremely disappointing.

My disgust with Matrimony websites, which I suspected were subjective/biased have been proved wrong. I was right, initially. This is nothing but a place to stoke your ego and I’m positive that its almost impossible to find love here. What you find here is a wife, in other words a woman who will be emotionally blackmailed & coerced to say yes to make her parents happy. This entire system is an extremely difficult thing for me since my worthlessness in the marriage market is a profound knowledge everyone seems to agree upon.

I find it unbelievable that women still submit themselves to nonsense in 2011. I squarely blame most of the problems on women and significantly on religion as well. I’m amazed how women get treated as objects of ownership and no one seems to object except for a few loud feminists and then you and me ranting on blogs.

I don’t understand this fear of disability that Indians have. What is it that we fear? Does the society expect a man to physically protect a wife?

I feel fear of disability has become a habit – we don’t give it a thought at all. I believe  in this case, his disability did not really bother prospective brides and their families, because they just never thought about it.  Or maybe they were worried about what their neighbors might think.

What do you feel?

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130 thoughts on “Physical Disability and Arranged Marriages.

  1. So they rejected him because he was disabled? (I didn’t get whether he mentioned his disability in his profile or not).

    But why is that surprising? The whole point of arranged marriage seems to be find the perfect person as per traditional ideas of what a perfect person is. That makes some sort of sense because where there is no love to hold the relationship together, other factors better be in alignment.

    The negative attitude to disability is not unique to Indian society. I would say it’s sadly pretty universal. I think people are worse about it in Chinese society, because even educated people here behave like disability is contagious.

    My tip for this guy – forget the matrimonial sites which seem full of, as he discovered, parents and conservative people and try the dating websites. Some of my friends have met some interesting people on those, even if they didn’t find their life partner. And bottom line, don’t allow yourself to be pressured into finding a life partner if you yourself don’t feel the need for one right now.

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    • @Bride: I type this comment from Hong Kong. The comment written down is from me. I can confidently say, having traveled the length and breadth of Asia, India is the only country where people stare at me like a weirdo every other day. No one cares outside of India. I’m just another guy on the streets. People sometimes rarely ask if i need help and im okay if they see me hesitant to walk on wet roads with an elbow crutch.

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      • @Dilip

        You probably know this already but if you are a guy who’s an atheist/feminist, chances are very low that you will find an arranged marriage bride with who you will be compatible emotionally. Especially if you are dealing with the kind of women who let their parents pick an arbitrary groom for them. Subconsciously, such women expect a chauvinist (partially or totally) husband.

        And when you factor in your disability too, well you might as well have not signed up at that matrimony website. I know it’s not easy to fight off requests and pressure from family, but your best option is to wait till you find the clichéd “right” person.

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      • Dilip, can’t speak for the rest of Asia but having lived in Hong Kong for six years and worked in an all-Chinese office (I am the only foreigner in the entire building) for three, I can speak for Hong Kong and possibly Mainland China. Yes, the Chinese have turned impassivity into a fine art. It is – to use a Western term – a face-saving thing. People are reluctant to ask for help as to admit weakness is to lose face. People will also not offer help spontaneously because that would be indicating that the other person needs help which would be a loss of face for that person. And if the person offered help too rebuffs their efforts, it would be a loss of face for them both (*rolls eyes*).

        It might seem like a blessing to you to be spared the stares. However, the flip side of this impassivity is a reluctance to get involved, to reach out, and sometimes(dare I say often) just plain self-centredness and selfishness. My husband was on crutches for a good four months. Every day, he would make it a point to enter the train to work near the seats earmarked for those in need, and would stand right there on his crutches while none of the able bodied often young men and women lounging in the seats before him offered him a seat until he demanded one. Then they would get up sheepishly and rush as far away as possible (having lost face I suppose). During my pregnancy, I experienced this too – people pretending to be asleep, avoiding eye contact, to avoid giving you a seat. I would have thought it was their racist prejudice against brown people, but my Caucasian pregnant friend experienced the same and I noticed their callousness towards pregnant Chinese women too. There have been occasions when I, heavily pregnant, have given my seat to an elderly Chinese person because I couldn’t bear to see them jerking around in the train. So I wouldn’t be quick to commend their courtesy in not staring. It is not just me noticing thing – there was a recent letter in the newspaper from a Chinese person lamenting exactly this.

        While they may extend superficial courtesy, their attitudes to the disabled are not very positive. They range from ‘poor him!’ to ‘should I associate with this person and risk their bad luck inflicting me’. Disabled children have a hard time in school, other kids tease and avoid them. Parents of disabled kids have shared how others pass comments about their kids – why were they born etc.

        My point is that superficial courtesy does not indicate lack of prejudice or kindness. It may be couching things far worse.

        Sorry if I disillusioned you about Chinese people and their attitudes. You may well be surrounded by progressive and openminded people at work.

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      • May I add before everyone thinks the Chinese are horrible, that they have many wonderful and endearing qualities. Just that I don’t think their attitude to disability is very commendable.

        Also, Dilip, I noticed you used physically disabled to described yourself. Some people today are using ‘differently abled’. Do you have a preferred term and why?

        Apologies, IHM for going a bit off track.

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      • Also, Dilip, adding to what the bride says about matrimonial websites and people being assholes, i have exactly the same thing happen to me repeatedly, but because im fat. it’s amazing. i think the fact of the matter is, when you’re in a deliberately marketplace space then you cannot be surprised that people are measuring you like that. don’t get me wrong, its painful and cruel and makes you feel like this. we all want the world to BE open and accepting, but it’s kind of a bitch. especially when it comes to love and marriage!

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  2. Our fear of disability stems from ancient times. It is a skewed perception/understanding of the karma theory. People with bad karma get disabled. We should not share or lessen their burdens. Hence the revulsion and fear ….

    This is my understanding of the situation

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    • Not convinced on that. I think its a very simple inference that physical disability is a disability. It’s like this- you would never go to buy bad oranges from the market. But after you have bought them – then the turn bad is a different thing. (Sorry for the rude analogy, but atleast the marriage market definitely works that way). I am a marwari and then arrange marriage methods aren’t something you would be proud of. People don’t like partners who are even wearing specs, etc let alone any bigger physical disability. I also think that the girl are more on the scrutiny factor than boys. And often (atleast in my community) a rich parent is often able to get his disable son a good wife or marry a disabled daughter to a good husband (read- non-disabled..etc). It’s pure economics, I never saw emotions anywhere. And there is a whole lot of craps about social status, marriage expenses, dowry, give & take of all kinds etc worked out before marriage happens. They very little care about the likings/dislikings of the girl/boy. Very little.. a top-level OK with it type is good enough !

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  3. I dated a physically disabled guy for almost 2 years. The problem was his disability was not externally visible. He was born with penile deformation and bladder malformation which got corrected by various surgeries (with side effects). He dumped me because my father and I asked him questions as to what his existing medical condition was. He took me to pediatric surgeon who when asked questions related to adulthood said “I can refer you to a adult urologist”. My then boy friend who I was inches away from marrying denied to take me to an adult urologist so I could know the risks I was taking. I did not deny from any commitments but I just wanted to know what I was getting into since this was going to be different from marrying a man without a hand or a leg. It was a deformity I had never seen and was completely unaware of but he refused to help me understand it. He and his family thought my father and I over analyzed the situation.

    He is now married.

    One fine day, he hopped on a plane and 2 weeks later he was married to a girl through arranged marriage. I have an email from him on dec 8th saying how he was in hell because he and I seem to he is in hell without me and on Jan 8th he was on a honey moon with another girl. He called me the day he was about to say yes to her and said “will you marry me or should I marry this girl my mom found for me?”.

    All because I asked questions and researched medical journals, because I wanted to know what precautions I would need to take medically, sexually and as a woman who hopes to become a mother one day. I got turned down by several urologists because they would not talk about his reports without him being around.

    Was this fair? I was a girl who wanted to know what I was getting into. Was I wrong?

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      • I liked that atleast you knew about it before hand. Most folks would very very easily hide such a thing and you would come to know only about after marriage. Not sure what the background is, but somewhere he must have trusted you to let this information to you! Maybe he wanted you to just trust him too and stop there! (30000 ft view, so excuse me pls)

        I don’t seem to agree with IHM because either way he would lose you, atleast by going to the doctor he had a good chance that you were with him!

        In anycase, I believe it is your right to know everything. Very much. And you did nothing wrong.

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      • I agree with IHM here. It’s unlikely that the relationship/marriage would ever have worked out. While you say that you’d have married him either way, you still insisted on knowing before the marriage, and to most people that indicates that the result of those queries would change your decision to go ahead with the relationship. Bringing your dad into it probably just made it worse. So perhaps it’s a good thing that you guys broke up just then.

        As for him getting married again within a month, a lot of people who break up do that. They bounce into the next available relationship that comes their way, in this case he got into an arranged marriage. Not sure if he’s having a good life now, hopefully he is. I hope you’ve moved on too!

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    • I agree with Anil Singhal. Everyone has a right to know what they are getting into. It is the same concept as going in for a HIV test before coupling up. Your feelings may not die out, but your relationship will function differently for reasons of health and safety. Absolutely nothing wrong in it. What would be wrong is someone running away at the mere thought of a disability, no matter how irrelevant it is to married life. But as someone above said, that is how the marriage market functions.

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      • My dad was brought into the picture by his brother who decided for us that my dad should know about the this guys medical condition the day before my dad flew down to talk about the wedding with his family. My family and I could have shut him down and asked him to go to hell. Instead, I forced my dad into taking me to a urologist who could walk me through the reports like a 1st grade biology student. Doesn’t that count for some effort from his side? If I was in love and I was expected to make a leap, he was in love too. He trusted me with the information, I trusted him with fighting for him. May be it wasn’t enough?

        @Anil: Thank you! Its nice to get feedback from a guy who thinks I had a right to know. Coming to trusting him, my dad almost flew down for wedding talks without me even searching on google for my then boy friend’s condition. After my dad entered into the picture was when I felt the need to know what I was getting into, to make sure my parents had their peace of mind. While I started research, I realized he toned down his complications for me such as “I pee once a month in the bed” became “I pee almost every day in my pants or in the bed” in front of his surgeon; “I asked the doctor and he said I did not need a sperm test” and a month later I found a prescription for a sperm test in his medical file ordered 2 years ago. I never interrogated him on any of the above now I wish I had but then I thought it was too sensitive to ask.

        @s: From what I know, his now wife did not know everything before the wedding. But am assuming she found out by now.
        More than additional baggage or responsibility, I think I found myself in utter panic the day I found out the whole truth. I needed someone to hold me and say its all going to be ok, more like I needed him to say its all going to be fine. Just to calm me down. Instead, he said I was emotionally over analyzing. May be he was right, but he knew his condition for 30 yrs and I had known it for a few weeks. I was ready for the additional responsibility as long as some doctor (not his brother or father) told me he was not going to die because of his condition. May be I was selfish, I dont know. I was terrified of him dying. I forced my dad to use his contacts and he took me to a urologist who saw the reports without the patient being there. My dad was amazed at my attachment and finally gave in to the fact that I wanted to marry him. The next morning I got a call from my then boy friend saying “Will you marry me or should I marry this other girl who my mom found?”. I felt replaceable and was pissed. I asked him to marry her. May be I was wrong? But right now, he and I are in the same social circle and he is busy showing her off. Karma eh? 🙂

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      • @onlychild. I feel you did the right. And I m sure you have no regrets on that episode except maybe why did you even waste a better part of life on him. Trust me, its not easy to have that kind of love you had for him – that knowing all of it, you were willing to go ahead. I know one of my close friend (girl) madly in love with a guy- but comes with a rider ” I’m not so courageous that if before marriage something happens to him say -(for discussion sake) amputated for some reasons, she would go ahead” . I don’t know what I would have done, but I was sure surprised about it. Loving unconditionally and love in the purest form is not easy for most mortals and some of us, have a larger threshold about it . I mean like in your case- can go ahead to an extent but can’t be totally blind about it too. And it is very very fair.

        I wish at that moment when the whole hell broke lose I was your friend ( or I hope there was one) who could just hold you tight and comfort you and say- its OK. You are just doing fine. It will also pass and looking back you will be laughing at all this. I understand that it definitely becomes a big let down before your parents and you also hurt them a lot.

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    • OnlyChild, that sounds like quite a bullet you dodged there! His character as described by you bothers me a lot more than his disability ever would.

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      • I agree. He seems to have some kind of mental block to his condition, which could be tough to deal with. It is the complex created by disabilities that is more difficult to handle than the disability itself.

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      • True. I keep telling myself that but seeing him move on at the snap of a finger makes me miserable. Like I was toilet paper, he used me flushed me tore a new roll!

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    • @onlychild I think there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding there. You are perfectly entitled to know the details of your to-be-spouse’s medical condition. On the other hand, I can also understand him getting sensitive and defensive about it – not that it was the right way for him to react, just a very human way. He may have been hoping for you to say ‘whatever it is, it doesn’t matter’ even as he offered to take you to doctors. You know, the movies keep telling us about unconditional love. As I said, you are perfectly justified in wanting to know what you are getting into – in fact, it is a more sensible approach – but from his point of view, it may have felt like a blow and a betrayal.

      Now that you made your choice, let it go and wish him well.

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    • forget arranged marriage, even love marriage is extremely rare. Fact is we handicap ( yes we’re a separate race ) don’t fit into the so called right choices people make for their lives. @ onlychild you didn’t do anything wrong, .truth is people like me can only be loved in a vacuum . We should stop living in this false hope and start loving our solitude, which we know will never betray us.

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  4. Well, I told him I would marry him either ways. He expected me to trust him with my entire life without asking him any questions but he could not trust me for a visit with the doctors.

    The end result we have without us going to a doctor is that we didnt get married. For all you know had he taken me to a urologist I would have taken the leap giving him credit for his efforts. He wasn’t willing to face his own medical consequences.

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    • @OnlyChild : For now my favorite comment (from “The conversations with God” – Neale Donald Walsch”) . There are no regrets in life! The souls chooses to experience whatever it does. And his soul & your soul wanted to experience as you are doing right now. And at your choices you are presently living the life you both have! Relish every moment of it .

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    • @onlychild
      he told the girl he married? he loved you and could not cheat you into marrying him with this condition.

      women who are diagonised with PCOS are often asked by their parents or even gyne not to discuss their condition with their prospective in-laws or anyone if they are planning to go in for an arrange marriage,since there are possible problems foreseen in conception.

      Matrimonial sites never tell you the whole truth.But is it really broadmindedness to marry a disabled person when even in a love marriage people would think twice about taking that additional baggage/responsibilty?

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      • It is not about broad-mindedness. It is not additional baggage at all. Most disabled persons find ways to function normally and are really no burden on their partner. It is the perception of others in society that people refrain from marrying disabled people.

        Also, I keep repeating over and over again that not everyone wants to have a child. For some people it may simply be one of the things they want in life but are willing to compromise. So possible problems in conception in your partner is not always a major life-tragedy.

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      • @Fem

        if it’s not about “additional baggage and broadmindedness”,why do disabled people want to get married to a non-disabled? why don’t they look for someone who can understand their psychology and condition better than others who might reject the proposal and end up hurting them.
        why not start a matrimonial service for people with disability,like we have marriage sites for various communities.Not all might want to marry a disabled person unless they’re in love.

        Post marriage,the disabled person also tends to become insecure regarding their non disabled spouse.Their psychology alters without them realizing it.A necessary condition for harmony in marriage is that,people should seek someone of their kind and class,esp when it’s about an arranged alliance.
        my neighbour,an educated girl,fell in love with her blind teacher.Her parents were dead against the match.They knew it takes a lot to keep a relationship going strong,her classes were immediately discontinued.she later married someone else.

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      • Amit,

        It is the perception of what difficulties a disability might create is what makes it so unpopular. And it is not true that disabled people want to marry only non-disabled people. They, like all other human beings, simply want a partner with whom they can share their joys and sorrows. You are way off the mark in your analysis there. There is absolutely no reason why one should not in all honesty marry a disabled person!

        Indians have a very naive attitude towards disability. It is very well reflected in our movies. Look at “Black”. The girl was only blind, deaf and mute. She need not go around looking like a beggar. Then there was this movie “No Entry” where Anil Kapoor shows his jealous wife how his poor ex-accountant who lost his legs was making a living drawing silly paintings! I mean, the man lost his legs, not his hands or brains!

        That pretty much answers your question, I suppose.

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    • Actually, from what he did, you should actually think “Good Riddance!” If he could dump you and get married in 2 weeks time, he was not worth it at all!

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  5. hi IHM, this is off the topic. When you asked the question “Does the society expect a man to physically protect a wife?” , My mind asked me the question of what protection is a man providing to his wife.

    I dont really see a wife is physically protected by the man rather is controlled in the name of protection. All I hear even from my husband is like this
    1. When I go out he says, “Do not go by bus, Go by auto, buses will be crowded , guys will dash on u.”
    2. “Do no talk much to male friends, all the friends you have is enough”
    3. “Do not smile unnecessarily”
    4. “Do not show excitements in public”
    5. “Do not wear jeans”
    6. “Do not wear too many jewels when you come with me to party, why unnecerssarily invite theives.
    7. “Do not make too many phone calls”
    8. “Do not stand on the streets”

    ……………..

    n. When things go on extreme, “Do not go for job”

    I can just go on adding “Do not”s which are posed in the name of protection, but do no really see receiving actual protection.

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    • disability has nothing to do with dos and donts.It’s about being able to manage your own self.From another understanding,an aggressive person can be said to have a tempramental disability.It might sound far-fetched but whatever becomes a long-term problem for the partner can be counted as a disability.

      Me – Not at all far fetched. Not being able to manage one’s emotions or temper is a disability.

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    • Good one! I really like this. It is so true. The same goes for parents who lock up their girls instead of helping them to deal with life’s problems.

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    • And yet you continue to live with this man. There is no love in this marriage. So, what’s the point?

      When there are women like you, educated and yet willing to live unhappy lives, it doesn’t help younger girls looking for inspiration when it comes to fighting social pressure from parents, inlaws etc.

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    • Hello Revathi,

      I was smiling as I read your comment.
      You are spot on.
      But this protection works both ways.
      After 36 years of marriage (to the same woman, incidentally) I too suffer from too much protection.
      My wife has a tendency to “mother” me these days.

      Don’t go out without a sweater. You will catch a cold.
      Don’t eat to much. You are gaining weight.
      Don’t keep too much cash in you pocket. Someone will pick your purse.
      Don’t forget your daily dose of medicine. You will fall sick.
      Don’t run. Walk. Don’t take two steps at a time while taking the stair. Go slowly.
      Don’t behave like a glutton at that marriage feast. If they offer a second helping of Paayasam, decline it.
      Don’t wait till the last minute to catch your train/flight. Start early and keep allowance for traffic delays.
      Don’t get down on the platform and loiter at intermediate stations. The train will leave without you.
      Don’t lift that bucket or suitcase. The doctor has warned you about the 5 Kg limit.
      Don’t talk too much in front of those people. Learn to be dignified and reserved.
      Don’t be a night owl. Enough of blogging and commenting on what total strangers write. Get to bed early and get your 8 hours of sleep.
      And nowadays, enough of “Ipadding”. Remember your wife still exists.
      The list goes on!

      Hope this makes you feel a little better.
      Regards
      GV

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      • When a man says, “Don’t take the bus because of the scumbags who travel on it” it may be the best advice he can think of to deal with the situation. The man is restricting the woman’s freedom only if he prevents her from taking the bus. Not if he only gives his opinion.

        We have two terms for women who give endless advice – “mothering” and “controlling” but when it comes to a man we only have the word “controlling” and that seems unfair to me.

        Sometimes, a partner may be obliged to take endlessly repeated advice from the spouse whether or not they want to (woman stops taking the bus, man wears the sweater). That’s restriction of freedom. It doesn’t matter whether the reason the spouse follows the advice is love or fear. Whether they’re buying peace or are conditioned to do everything the spouse suggests. Their freedom’s restricted either way.

        Me – What do you think of these comments:

        2. “Do no talk much to male friends, all the friends you have is enough”
        3. “Do not smile unnecessarily”
        4. “Do not show excitements in public”
        5. “Do not wear jeans”

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        • well said.

          people talk about prejudice and bias, only to promptly inflict another! Sad double standards, and these days, especially reserved for men. bias is bias, be done with it, i say.

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      • I wasn’t comparing the specific cases at hand, just making a general statement. Maybe I should have picked examples that weren’t on the lists to be clear about that.

        I think I would want to have more information than just a laundry list of comments before I can really judge who is controlling and who is just, well, “mothering” It might be because I’m an eternal optimist or because I truly believe in the “innocent until proven guilty” philosophy but I’d like to know the context to be sure of controlling intent. At face value, I agree that the comments presented are hard to defend but I’m just very, very reluctant to judge a marriage based on 8 bullet points.

        Hypothetically:
        What if the woman said, “Wear a sweater or you sleep on the couch tonight” and acts on it? What if the man said, “Don’t wear jeans, I think you look so much nicer in saris.” and doesn’t really do anything to stop her from wearing jeans?

        Is this a likely situation? You may think not. But as long as it’s a possibility, I’m willing to be a passive observer and let his wife be the sole judge.

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  6. I find the whole concept of making your kid’s online marriage profile to be highly disturbing. Kind of like parents are living vicariously through their child’s life. My fiance finds the whole thing very creepy–he says it’s weird that the parents are technically choosing who their kid has sex with.

    For this particular poster, I feel like he should try e-harmony. It’s an online dating site that’s had relatively successful results for heterosexual couples [if you cound the end result of marriage as successful]. But hey, at least you get to contact the person directly and don’t have to deal with messed up parents.

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  7. When a person puts up a profile on such sites, there is very little you can expect to know about the actual individual. It is just an initial assessment to see if the “criteria” required for a bride or groom is met. Love has nothing to do with it.

    So if someone puts the term “disabled” on their profile, then generally people will not look beyond that.

    Practically, living with physically disabled person is more difficult than living with an able individual, obviously. So one has to actually be in love so that the disability doesn’t matter.

    And, like he said, matrimonial sites are not exactly the right sites to find “love”.
    At its best (which it rarely is), it is a screening site to find people who fit your requirements of caste and creed so when you meet someone, you know that you have all that matched already, and leave the rest to chemistry (if people bother about that stuff anymore!).

    I sympathize with the guy, but I also see the reason for others’ rejection.

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  8. Marrying someone from those sites would be like …your luck will decide what you get 🙂

    Disability is a perspective I guess , no one seems to bother about ‘personality type’ disabilities , although many people suffer life long when they get hitched to a wrong personality type…

    A very pretty and very sensible friend of mine who is a diabetic is finding hard to accept that she might not get married all her life….she wants companionship …..i hope she gets someone who is like minded.

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  9. Arragned marriage is really like a market. You negotiate hard and try to get yourself the best match. Since there is no “Love” involved in the beginning of the relationship, it is primariliy based on physical assets, financial assets, family background, liabilities etc. A matrimonial site is just a tool for arranged marriage so there is no surprize that the profile is created by the parents. But honestly, have you shown interest in profiles of girls with disabilities (or that of higher degree than what you have )? Would you consider a woman with a disability as an arranged match for your brother with no disabilities?

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  10. I was (arranged) married to a good looking man- tall, fair and handsome, and spent the worst 6 years of my life with him…it was HELL. Recently, during a counseling session, I understood that he suffered from a personality disorder, was a compulsive liar, cheat and thief with very low EQ. But mind you, other than me nobody else is ready to accept his disorder, not his family, least of all him and they continue keeping appearances.

    I completely fail to understand how is an honest, independent, educated, emotionally strong, successful but differently abled person worse off than psychos with such personality disorders???

    It all boils down to the fact that arranged marriage system sucks. It is no different than going to the market to buy the best available thing in your budget. You would not buy a mobile phone with scratches on it…no matter how good the quality and technology is… Sorry, my example sucks too 🙂 After all, what would others say??? Most would make fun of you and your judgement…so its better to play safe na…

    Like the writer, I too wonder why “women still submit themselves to nonsense in 2011″…or why did i submit to it!!! Why did it take a catastrophe like a divorce to make me understand that there is more to life than getting and staying married. But i am a staunch believer of ‘better late than never’ 🙂

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  11. The guy has brains! Kudos!

    Everything what he describes only shows how arranging marriages FAILS badly, when one small element doesn’t fit in the right place.

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  12. In my professional life as a doctor this issue of disabilty and arranged marriage has come up very frequently.
    Most often the parents of the girl who have some disability asks me if it is ok to ‘marry her off’. Their main concern is her physical ability to work in her in laws house and to bear children. If I said yes next question will be should we tell the Groom’s family about the disability. For that if the disability is very trivial I may say ‘no you need not tell unless asked’. Otherwise I will ask them to tell the whole truth. The sad fact is when ever the truth is told the marriage talks fail unless the dowry is heavy or the Groom is disabled by physical or astrological reasons or if the girl is very well employed.
    Only once the prospective Groom had come to enquire about the prospective Bride’s health condition and I had blogged about it.

    http://malayalidoc.blogspot.com/2008/08/strange-interview.html

    That marriage happened and they have a child too and it they seems are fairly happy.

    Will come back with some HIV/ Hep B experience later.

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  13. IHM,

    I will comment on this post later.

    In the meantime, please allow me to experiment with your comment box.
    I have moved the tip of my index finger on my Ipad’s tablet surface to write a message in my handwriting.
    I have been able to send such messages by email and save them up as jpg files.
    I am wondering if I can post comments in my handwriting right here in the comment box.
    Not that it is really necessary.
    It’s actually too much trouble.
    But for a change and to break the montony I am willing to take this trouble.

    I am pasting a link below this sentence.

    If my experiment is successful, you should see a short sentence written in my handwriting without paper, pencil or a scanner.

    This experience is like using chalk on a slate
    My hand writing is not as good as it used to be 30 years ago.
    Lack of practice and excessive use of keyboards has affected my handwriting.
    But I am hoping it is still readable.

    Regards
    GV

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  14. Well, matrimonial sites discriminate in several ways. Physical disability is only one aspect of it. As it is, people are sorted out according to religion, caste, and regional languages- and then we have sections like how many siblings you have and how many are married/unmarried. Basically, if you are a guy with unmarried sisters, your ranking will become lower because you have to shoulder the ‘burden’ of their future marriages- it’s seen as a disability too. Like the writer has pointed out, most of these profiles are put up by parents and their idea of what’s best for their son/daughter is dictated by what’s considered best in society at that point. Earlier, boys with government jobs were hot property, then there was a craze for US grooms, then IT guys…god knows what it is today. Similarly, girls with jobs are considered better than ones without in the marriage ‘market’ now…but it wasn’t so earlier.Dark skin, especially if you are a girl, is considered to be a serious disability too.

    However, I wouldn’t go to the extent of saying that arranged marriages don’t work at all. It depends on how mature the couple is and how clear they are about what they want from the institution of marriage. There are arranged marriages where the the parents put the boy and girl in touch and then wait for them to get to know each other before taking a decision. Not too different from a friend hitching you up with someone else who’s single and looking! I know of several couples who got married this way (including me!) and are pretty happy! I married out of my caste and language within this system.

    In a country like ours where boys and girls are not allowed to socialize freely, it may not be possible for everyone to meet someone they love and respect enough to marry always. And if they do want to get married, then arranged marriage (where there is choice, of course) is not such a bad system. Obviously, it would be great if things were different and we were not so closed to the idea of young people having relationships and figuring things out for themselves…but that could take a while!

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    • Good reply!! While I do appreciate the intelligent discussions on this blog, I find the focus on bashing arranged marriages mildly disturbing. The manner in which a couple unite (arranged by parents or chosen by themselves) is only the beginning of a journey, which may or may not give you a headstart in the first couple of years, but the real quality of a marriage depends heavily on the maturity of the people involved. The real problem of our society is not arranged marriage; it’s the getting-married-staying-married mentality ingrained into it (I probably read this phrase somewhere on this blog itself).

      I have been living in the US for many years; and I have been seeing how desperate people become once they hit their 30’s (or their self-imposed should-get-married age), and I feel glad I didnt have to go through that. My parents allowed me all freedom, and had I met someone I wanted to spend my life with, I doubt they would have created much melodrama (caste/society/anything notwithstanding). But since I did not, when I felt marriage was the next step for me, I was glad to have their help. Sure, I had my reservations and I was worried whether they would get my concerns, but a few weeks into the process and I definitely started trusting them. My now-husband is the fairest and most supportive guy I have ever met. Having seen my siblings’, cousins’ and friends’ marriages arranged similarly, at the risk of being nicely derided on this blog, I must say my faith in this system has grown. There is an element of luck surely, but that exists in love marriages too! If parents and children are on the same page, and the children can communicate what they want freely, I find this system very supportive. At this point, if anyone is curious, I might add we graduated from the best colleges in India and abroad and were certainly not brought up to be dependent or submissive.

      Obviously, being a differently-abled person has its challenges, not just in marriage but every aspect of life. What needs to change is Indian society’s attitude towards them (removal of prejudice or pity), and the physical infrastructure (like ramps, accessible public vehicles, buildings etc) that would make life easier for them. Then we would find people being drawn to each other for their personalities, their character and their sheer courage.

      I understand this comment may not apply to the roots of malaise in our society (particularly those that stem from poverty and/or lack of education), but just wanted to present a different viewpoint.

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      • I agree. I think Arranged Marriages become a problem when they are forced or where the man and the woman are not allowed to meet, or when they are based on one single meeting for five minutes with all the elders watching. I feel once a couple is introduced and allowed to get to know each other and they are free to voice their opinion and take their decision – arranged marriages are no longer really arranged marriages.

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      • There is a different set of rules to be followed when two families contemplate arranged marriage. There may be a few exceptions to this rule (as in your case) but even the most modern parents tend to follow these rules. And these rules are backward, outdated, stupid and completely silly. But it is done in the name of “karna to padta hai na.” That is why some of us are against arranged marriages. Otherwise, who would mind being introduced to a nice man / woman by your own parents?

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      • Dee,.
        I feel both arranged marriages and getting-married-staying-married-at-any-cost mentality are both part and parcel of the same feudal system and cannot be separated. That’s why in the West arranged marriages are almost nil and getting-married-staying-married concept is also not that much present. Longevity of an arranged marriage is always more because the couple has the concept of staying in it lifelong ingrained into them.
        As the economic system become fully capitalised arranged marriage will become a part of our history just like monarchy and slavery.

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  15. I have a friend who is obese. She is a real fun person to be with and at a young age has achieved more than what people at 50 achieve in her profession. She is 32 now and still single. Her parents did all that they could to find her a groom but in vain. Since she has a hefty bank balance, her credit points are slightly high and compensate her obesity to a certain extent, i suppose. The best part was she is hardly interested in getting married. I am glad she is not depressed about not getting married coz she is a happy person. But people around her look at her as if she is dying of aids in the next few months. ‘Paavam’, is what people around her keep whispering. I hate that. Even if my friend is happy, people around her do not let her be. How will she carry on her life, is what every third- degree relative is discussing. This becomes a hot-topic for them to discuss during family functions. Soon she will be called an ‘old maid’. Her professional achievements, her good nature-is not talked about. Even if it is mentioned, people would say she is trying to hide her sorrow by immersing herself in work and smiling though she is crying underneath.What a truck load of crap! Uff I am getting worked up, while I am typing this 😀

    Anyway my point is that the society interferes in a person’s life to such an extent that the meaning of living a good life is lost. All we do is follow the previous generation blindly and end up creating photocopies of the previous generations.

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  16. it hurts to be rejected, in any field, for whatever the reason.
    but its pointless to brood and blame.
    after all matrimony sites are not the only options.

    in the long run, its better to not marry someone who doesn’t share your values
    then marry for the sake of it..

    if there is pressure to marry because some cousin got married, isn’t there a pressure to marry to a person without “disability”. perhaps one simply wants to avoid the gossip behind why the girl was married to someone with disability. ..

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  17. The comment mentioned here is mine. The person in question is me. For the ones who have questioned if i mentioned my physical disability, yes. I clearly have described it on all the matrimony profiles i have created in a very explicit and simple manner.

    I fail to understand the last portion of the post. It says “I believe in this case, his disability did not really bother prospective brides and their families, because they just never thought about it.”

    Does this mean they did not bother to consider my interest or they were not bothered about my disability? If its the later, i disagree.

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  18. I’m 21 and although marriage is a topic I almost dread and thereby choose to elude in every possible way (thinking counts!), I have a story to share here.

    My mom comes from a Punjabi family where prospective grooms are chosen not only on the basis of looks (more than half my cousins are professional models and this is no coincidence but a result of a super-selective mating process), but like in most cases, hefty bank balances as well. She, in her late-twenties, chose to marry her classmate. An important point to be noted here is that my father’s blind. My maternal grandparents, who loved my father like their own child were very supportive, but the rest of mom’s extended family was not. That he wasn’t even ‘settled’ in the their sense of the word (he had landed a govt job as a teacher a year before) also added to their woes.

    Even though my father himself had doubts (that was the extent to which he had been stigmatized), nothing deterred mom from eventually marrying him. But before she was married, her parents told her that since she was marrying against the family’s wishes, they won’t be able to help her lest there was some discord between husband and wife. She was told, and in so many words, to not turn to her parents for support. And this when they personally had nothing against the match.

    I have no questions to ask, no comments to make, but this stigmatisation of disability in our society, making monsters out of the differently-abled makes me squirm with disgust. The worst part is that it seems to be getting worse… to the extent that even those who have suffered and been stigmatised thus, do the same to others.

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  19. Hepatitis B career state is Love marriage compatible but many a time incompatible with arranged marriage. The risk of sexual transmission of virus can be avoided by 3 doses of vaccine 1 month apart. Most would-be spouses or their families in an arranged marriage are reluctant for pre-marriage vaccination schedule unless the socio-economic equations compelled them. If I am not asked I may not emphasise the long term risk of Hepatitis B career state as they are remote. One of my Hep B career patient is there in this post.
    http://malayalidoc.blogspot.com/2009/01/why-doctors-discriminate-against-some.html
    He is still a very eligible bachelor as he is truthful.I have asked him to try to find a girl to love and to be loved. Will give the same advice to the guy mentioned in this post.

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  20. “I don’t understand this fear of disability that Indians have. What is it that we fear?”

    Indians fear anything different from what the society “perceive” as a normal.

    And its just not about “buying the best good available in the market” as many commentators have put it. It is also about society. If the parents looked beyond the person’s disability and settled for him, the society will accuse them of not being good parents. They would be asked the reason for settling for such a person. There will be whispers and rumors how they didn’t want to pay the dowry or wanted to get rid of the girl due to some defect in the girl herself, ranging from her own physical appearance to her character.

    If they were concerned about finding the best available person for their daughter, they would have actually considered him. If they were looking for the best mate for their daughters instead of marrying her off, they would have met the person at least once before deciding anything. But they are not looking for the best person for their daughter but for the person who will ensure their social status. The daughter’s happiness doesn’t matter, society’s happiness does. Absurd as it may sound, parents emotionally blackmailing their daughters or sons don’t really have their best interest in heart but their own social status. Their kids can suffer, even die, but their social status shouldn’t be challenged.

    @Dilip: I hope you find a sensible girl soon. Don’t give up hope. Two of my friends are differently abled and were in same situation as you. One of them had a love marriage, the other arranged but they both found wonderful life partners and are living happily now. There might be a happy ending for you in the horizon as well. All this won’t matter then. Hang in there. All the best.

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  21. I read DM’s comment with interest.
    I hope and pray he will find a suitable life partner.

    However, I feel that his chances of getting a good partner are slim if he relies on Marriage web portals.
    Inspite of these initial set backs there is a possibility that after some time, some one will ultimately respond and express interest.
    If he has clearly declared his disability, I will be really surprised if a girl who is not differently abled, responding through the web site will express interest. To be able to get a girl who is not differently abled, of merit, his other merits must far outweigh this disability and the the girl must have known him so that she takes a carefully considered decision.
    This is not likely from a girl who responds through the medium of the net.
    What is possible is that the girl who ultimately responds with expression of interest will have some disability of her own and may or may not be honest about it.

    I do not understand how profile pictures can be selectively blocked.
    Either your profile picture appears or it does not.
    So I doubt if his physical disability has anything to do with the the profile picture not appearing.
    I feel if the picture is not visible to DM, it won’t be visible to other visitors too.
    Am I missing something?

    Yes, I agree, that you can’t find love on such portals and it is futile to search for it.
    You can only find a possible candidate for future love.
    DM must be thick skinned, be prepared for a large number of rejections and wait patiently for someone to finally express interest.
    Even after he finds someone, he should proceed very cautiously and investigate fully, the girl who agrees to consider him and take his own time to decide if the marriage can work out or not.

    Nowadays most boys and girls are finding it difficult to decide whom to marry.
    My own nephew (tall, fair and not bad to look at, with an enviable monthly income, and an engineering and management degree) has been in the marriage market for the past three years, seen and met over a dozen girls, after matching profiles in matrimonial sites, but nothing has clicked so far. Either he turns the girl down or the girl turns him down. So for him, it will take longer and he must be willing to wait.

    Of course, I don’t know if he will insist on a girl with no physical disabilities.
    Has he stated that he may consider a girl with some disability, that does not compound his own disability?
    It is possible that each partner can make up for the other’s disability so that together they can live happily, helping each other to live a normal life.

    If DM has insisted that his partner must not have any disability, then his search is going to take longer.

    I wish him well and hope he soon finds a life partner.
    Regards
    GV

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  22. I am wondering why some parents also stay in denial when their child is disabled in some way , either they do not accept there is a problem or they hide it …both ways the disabled(?) child suffers . I think disability does not only affect the marriage prospects ( this is a general statement and based on my experience being a disabled child’s parent) it sometimes affects the prospects of a good childhood , good education , love and affection . A question mark on the word disabled is just a question …’who’ actually is disabled?

    This is a country where a dark skin can be a disability and being a dark skin myself i know what all people can say and reduce your personality to just being a dark girl. This post has disturbed me once again and has reminded me of a post i wrote long back …’who is disabled’ …

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    • Sangeeta, I know it is easier said than done, but please do not care so much about what others say.

      Society and “log” do not spare even somebody as well-endowed with physical perfection as Aishwarya Rai. We (as in society,) cannot find any physical imperfections in her, so we make snide comments about her “shrill” giggle and her affected mannerisms.

      Is there anybody who is perfect in the eyes of Indian society?

      I am conventionally good-looking, but I’m divorced, so I get to hear indirect, but neverthless equally hurtful comments about “emotional maturity” and “willingness to adjust” and “moral values”.

      Our social arrangements are based on the principles of exclusion, not inclusion.

      You are made to feel inadequate because you are dark, I am made to feel inadequate because I am divorced, and the subject of this post is made to feel inadequate because of his disability.

      There are very few people who measure up in every way to society’s exacting specifications.

      The rest of us struggle all our lives with a sense of inadequacy that is completely unnecessary at best and utterly damaging at worst.

      We are all of us much more than our “flaws” and “disabilities”.

      Our ability to be good human beings is not affected by our complexion or our marital status or our disability.:)

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  23. I have seen this happen to very close people where the disability was hidden and it came out later , which is also not right.. I did not read that this guy put anything about his disability on the profile.. Maybe he should put it up.. be truthful at first go ..

    And disability does not mean people cant live a healthy life or do things , My father was disabled and my mother married him knowing well that he was disabled. And WE as a family have led a brilliant life , done things what any other family would do .

    but then I know how majority of people in our country think for a bride they want a fair skinned BEAUTY and for the groom they want a TALL dark HANDSOME guy.. what they have in there hearts is a secondary option.

    We go for looks most of the time and thats how the matrimonial sites work, Totally understand the disgust of the person , I would feel the same too .. people are two faced they will say disability or pay packet doesnot matter .. what matter is the heart and values BUt in truth its never like that …

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  24. Just a curious question, Is it easy for Indian girls/boys to “fall in love” with a physically disabled guy/girl? Honestly , I think No. Even in the love marriage scenario, we do see who matches us right(physically/emotionally). So, i wonder why arranged/love marriage is under spotlight here. Sorry to sound so much different from others in the list, I do not feel so bad about arranged marriages as long as it is not forced.

    Ideally, discussion should be about the mentality of everyone towards physically challenged individuals in India and how can we change it. Also, why do people see them as dependent .

    I feel, it has lots to do with the infrastructure, there are hardly any handicap accessibility in building/transportation or home. I have worked with disabled people in US and see how they can manage everything on their own , while in India , they have to take help . Even if they don’t , we have the image of the dependent person!

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    • Prathima if we actually meet and know a person it is possible that we might see the person beyond their disability. In an arranged marriage it is difficult to know the person, we only know their age, height, weight, income, qualifications etc. But I agree arrangement marriages and Matrimony sites do serve a purpose in a society where young people hardly have any opportunities to meet – they are only wrong when the marriages are forced.

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  25. Tell me about it. I remember that my mom was worried like hell coz. nobody wanted to marry my brother who is a diabetic.

    Actually, he was going strong with a girl who finally gave in to her parents wishes of not marrying a diabetic.

    He finally resorted to an arranged marraige with a girl who was also diabetic. Those were the only matches available btw.

    I can only feel sorry for those girls / families who thought my brother wasn’t a great match because of his diabetes coz. he actually is a great guy. To them, I can only say, Tough luck girls 🙂

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  26. I was married to a man for 2yrs who had a disability , not outward, i met him and knew him for 4 yrs before we got hitched 🙂 he didn’t breath a word of it to me. and then we get married and i found 2yrs into our marriage that he could potentially n ot have kids !!!! ehhh this skipped his mind????
    I could have lived with no kids or adopted or any number of diverse options but i could not live with lying, could not live with no trust from him and this after i went seeking medical help to concieve dragging my poor MUM-in_law around town and not a word passed his lips , he always had work to avoid a dr visit for himself, was highly supportive of me and mentioned a gazzilion times that he didn’t care if i could have kids or not !!!! ehhhh WTH.

    so i found out , dumped him , wallowed in self pity, till my dad gave me a kick inthe rear and got me back on track 🙂 met and am now married to a wonderful man for the past 6yrs with 2 kids of my own and 1 adopted ( my sisters- as she and her husband passed away) .. life is blissful. I made sure to tell my EX he better not do his lying thing with any future spouses.. i will look out for the women 🙂 vengeful ??? moi ???? 🙂

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    • I know of a couple where the woman got herself artificially inseminated (in USA). I am not sure if boy/groom knew before hand or not. I am thinking they might have found out that he was infertile after marraige. He and her must have had discussion and decided to go for artifical insemination (of someone else’s sperm). So bottom line, this indian couple, fair looking woman and the kids are white kids (with semi-blond hair). No one asks them anything even if people ‘know’ or suspect. lol

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  27. Some 50 years back a 90% blind lady known to me who supported her family by giving carnatic music lessons married a normal person who had survived a fatal accident. It seems he had vowed that he would marry someone with physical disability if he got well. Her life changed after marriage, with her husband’s support. She became a professional singer and had a good income. The couple had three children and all of them are well settled. So all is not lost. DM may find a suitable life partner and till he meets such a person he should live life to the fullest. As for girls rejecting his interest I feel accepting to marry a differently abled man/woman need to have a very matured mindset and unfortunately we don’t have too many of them. there may be girl’s who agree to marry him for his money/ position etc. but they would turn out to be selfish which is not what he wants. It is better not to worry about rejections. everything happens for good.

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    • I’d just like to say that perhaps more than the girls it might might be the parents who are maintaining the profiles? I mean, for most part the women may not even realize that a particular person expressed interest in them. Many of these profiles are created without knowledge of the woman. People have such little respect for a “marriagable” girl’s wishes. Even family members decide that her personal details are public property to be posted on websites and shared with anybody who they think is suitable.

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      • Let’s not pass the buck completely to the parents though. There are definitely girls out there putting up there own profiles. And disabled people don’t have it easy in the regular dating arena also, where there is no parental intervention.

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      • @Bride: True. But if I were to assign responsibility for the rejections I’d have to say it’s about 70% parents and 30% women who are doing this. On a more philosophical note, where are the daughters picking up their prejudices from?

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      • I may or may not agree on the percentages but regarding the last point – we cannot keep blaming our parents for who we turn out to be. As adults, we have to take responsibility for our own prejudices, I think.

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  28. This is such an important issue, I thank you for bringing light to it. Disability should not be an automatic dismissal. Many people who are disabled have good jobs, are capable of making a living, and can fulfill any of the marriage duties one would expect. None of us is perfect, why reject someone for a slightly different appearance?

    Dating and disability is rather an area of expertise for me and I know that it is hard, but these websites are rough for everyone. We hear these stories of people finding a good match and having a happy marriage, but I think most of those stories are either made up, or exaggerated to sound like they made the right choice.

    Finding a compatible partner is hard and it gets harder and harder as we hope for more and more happiness in life.

    But, I do agree with the poster who said what really needs changing is our attitude about disability. It’s true that people with disabilities can be independent, strong, and can be caretakers. When we start seeing this, it will be less of a fear to get together with them.

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  29. The basic problem is, disability is seen (always) as something “external” and visible. What about emotional disability.. What about a person who cannot control his/her anger?! who has OCD to yell at his/her partner, to beat his/her partner, to drink and to cheat around? I feel these are more serious kind of disabilities as compared to say losing a hand/leg (sorry if this sounded crude!). No one takes these disabilities into consideration! They are not even accepted as disabilities, except by the victim, perhaps.

    For me, in a marriage, emotional security is far more important than physical security. Just because, before marriage I was managing well, without any physical harm to myself, so I do not see any reason why I should entrust my husband the job of being my bodyguard. Sure, there is a mutual feeling to protect each other and care for each other;s safety but that comes as a result of love and trust, and not because of the marriage.
    The reason why emotional security becomes more crucial is because both the people involved in the relationship have to go through a lot of adjustments as far as accepting each others’ thought processes, views and habit goes (applies both to arranged and choice marriage.. only difference being, in choice marriage one gets a lot of time to undergo this adjustment to the thought process). But unfortunately, the society still sees women as being the vulnerable, weak, mindless beings, who will perish without a male figure to protect them!

    I guess, we really need to be open about talking about disabilities and treating them, rather shunning them as if they are the end of everything! Imagine, even the mandatory HIV tests are not done before marriage, just because people feel it is a taboo to get them done. I remember before our wedding, my then boyfriend and I went and got the tests done (both our parents were also really firm that we get all tests done), and later I was discussing it with another friend (also getting married) about this, and she was shocked and almost insulted that I told her it is a good idea to get tested. This was the reaction from an educated, well read supposedly “aware” female working in the US. 😐

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    • In an arranged marriage, they are pretty much concerned with matching external factors. After all, those are the things can be verified in a short time. As you said, everyone might have emotional disabilities. But how do you check that – short of having the odd chat with neighbours and people who might know the person, and often this sort of thing is not going to come to light then. With a physical disability, it’s something they can see (and a physically disabled person has the same likelihood as everyone else as having emotional disabilities too), so it goes down as a negative on their list of pros and cons, I guess.

      This discussion has been quite an education for me. I never realised what a big deal diabetes and hepatitis are on the arranged marriage circuit and how commonly doctors are called to weigh in.

      Actually, now that I think about it, I’m quite surprised that they don’t do more medical checking. It would make sense to check for HIV too, as well as matching blood types to see if they are compatible for child bearing, checking for thalassaemia (Indian has a slightly above average risk), etc.

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      • You know, most of the states in India have tests for HIV and thalassaemia mandatory.. but very few people are aware of it, or dont do it because they think it is a taboo. Most of the registrars who register the marriages are not even aware that they are supposed to check the reports before granting the marriage. Our registrar (in Calcutta) checked our reports before giving us the marriage cert.

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  30. Well, I am not surprised. What IS arranged marriage after all??
    If you want people to see beyond looks and money they should get to know each other. That does not happen in arranged marriages. So how can anyone see beyond their pretty nose? Parents select what they feel to be good in appearance, financially sound and “whole” people. That they may not be “whole” in other aspects is conveniently put aside.
    Unless and until both the sexes are allowed to mingle, does inner beauty even stand a chance to win against all outer trappings that is so important to society??. And believe me, inner beauty of individuals is NEVER considered with due importance in an arranged marriage. Its all about caste/culture/social status/cash yada yada. And if all that is found okay THEN the couple get to talk/meet etc. and “get to know each other”, majority of them decide the outcome in 5 -10 minutes and others in a few days or more.
    (I know a lot of people say they got to know their spouse in an arranged marriage too, before they tied the knot. But still it was someone screened and presented to them by parents, wasn’t it??)

    My dear man, with the outlook and views you have, you should be glad that they hid the profile pictures at the matrimonial site. You deserve better than the “FAIR AND GOOD LOOKING’ and a modern outlook with traditional values and God fearing yet not superstitious” lot. Wait till you find her.

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  31. Can I just ask two questions.

    1) If the man was NOT disabled, then what would his criteria for marriage be? Would it remain the same? Or would it change? Ever so slightly?

    2) If the man was not disabled, and if a disabled woman expressed interest in his profile, then what would his reaction/response be? For eg., would the gentleman in question agree to marry a woman who is say, visually impaired or has a hearing disability?

    The reason I am asking this is, we ourselves change when we are in different mental/physical states.

    We are probably more empathetic, understanding and broad-minded when we have undergone something ourselves, rather than when we are ‘so-called-perfect’.

    Basically, our judgements are all relative.

    Like

  32. In continuation of the discussion many lines above (wordpress does not allow me to reply there) and at the risk of digressing….

    Fem: I get what you mean. But that still does not automatically invalidate their choice. My parents wanted a horoscope match, family compatibility etc. But they also understood the kind of person who I would be happy with. They had made clear that they will bring me into the picture personally only after they felt satisfied that all their compatibility requirements were met. There was this one proposal in which everything seemed a fit, until our photos were exchanged (which was not done at the beginning). The fellow replied (thru his parents) that since I was in a saree, he would like to see snaps of me in Western wear, as that is what HE prefers. Now, my dad had hundreds of photos of me in Western wear, but the fact that this guy had a preference, and he expected me to obey it, quickly turned my dad off and the proposal was dropped. I was told of this episode only later, but it definitely increased my confidence in my parents’ choice. When they were accommodating my interests, it was only fair that I allow them their peace of mind (by horoscope matching, family compatibility etc.). After all, by themselves, it could never do harm!!

    Charakan: I beg to differ. I dont think the two are interrelated. Parents who love their children unconditionally will support them if they run into a bad relationship (arranged or love). In fact, I think if an arranged marriage goes wrong, the parents may be more supportive than in the case of a love marriage, as the guilt factor may override their initial “shame”.

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    • //Parents who love their children unconditionally will support them…//

      Yes they would. The problem is parents DON’T love their children unconditionally except a handful enlightened few. The rest of them love the society and their own image in it more than their offspring and are most concerned with being in society’s good books. They’d rather their children suffocate and pretend to be happy in a marriage that *they themselves arranged” rather than help them, even when asked for help. Support for married daughters in India is very much a myth still.

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  33. Matrimonial websites are just not the way to go. If you want independent girls, who create their own profiles, go for dating websites like some one else said. Do you also have to look for Indian girls alone? I mean if you are looking for a compatible person to share your life with and are abroad, why not look at other options too ? 🙂

    I have a few friends – guys and girls who are looking for self created profiles, partners who have a strong sense of individuality. One of them just got hitched after a search of 3 years, the others? Still looking! In fact a friend of mine wouldn’t get responses coz she was a girl looking for herself! Imagine that.

    I have PCOS , and though I don’t consider it life altering , I told him before the wedding . He looked up on it , read about it, he was ok with it. It’s not a disability I know, but I wouldn’t have felt comfortable holding this back and getting married .

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    • Which are these dating websites that various commenters here keep mentioning? I tried match.com for several months a couple of years ago, and there were maybe five or six women in Bangalore who were +/- 5 years of my own age and who had logged in within the past month. I never heard a reply from any of the ladies I emailed.

      I also searched for men in Bangalore (to check out the competition) and I realized that in Bangalore, there were probably about 20-30 men for every woman registered on the site/In fact, there seemed to be more gay men registered than straight women.

      My conclusion: a dating website might work for women in India, but certainly not for men.

      Like

  34. “Its funny, how almost all of them are created by parents and there are like about 2% of the women who create their own profiles. Whats funnier is they have a template description. “My daughter is ‘FAIR AND GOOD LOOKING’ and she has a modern outlook, yet traditional values. She is God fearing yet not superstitious.”

    I wanted to comment on this. My parents told me that it doesn’t look when Indian girls create their own profiles and men will wonder why her parents aren’t involved. Parents also feel that they can keep predators at bay, whereas Indian girls who take matters into their own hands are seen as asking for trouble. WIth the emotional blackmail and guilting, a lot of daughters and sons have no choice but to let their parents make the profile.

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    • I am losing sympathy with this ‘no choice’ mantra. Many of these women are highly educated with good jobs. If that doesn’t give you a choice, what does? Nobody saying it is an easy choice. But there are people who have stood up to much more, with much less resources on their side. Freedom and following what one thinks is right doesn’t always have to come easily and without a fight.

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      • One of extremely close relative (can’t give the details to protect the identity) has been living a hell of life with a husband (drinks, cheats, etc) and doesn’t treat her kids well either. She has two daughters (one placed in a MNC job) and another was studying and a son (who works on the common family business and very much capable of handling it alone) – yet she bears all the crap. At some point the water was above the neck and she asked me to take care of her studying daughter and she said – she would run from the house to the daugther who was studying. We (her daugther & me) all supported and hope she would take the step ! Arranged for her tickets to run silently, etc.. Guess what happened? Next days she calls for meeting in the family- chickens out and choose to stay in the same hell – just bring to the knowledge of elder brothers/sisters of her husband (MIL/FIL not alive) and she continues to stay with probably some agreement.. “No easy choice? ” .. well she made a choice not to come out of the hell, when she could have easily done it and earn some respect for herself! But most ladies – don’t find it easy to bear the social repercussions of the act. Interestingly the husband continues to be in the wedlock as he doesn’t want to bring all the stuff to public either. The good side: He very nicely provides financially for the whole family and at some level the decision maker though.

        Personally, I think you should come out of the hell especially when there is decent option. Maybe if you have a kid at an impressionable age things maybe different. But tough ones have done that too.

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      • Anil, I wouldn’t say she could have “easily” done it, I can see it would have been hard. Because after the running away, what then? Starting like over, getting a job if you’ve been out of the workforce for long, finding a place to stay, dealing with society’s incessant negativity can all be very challenging because she knows she cannot/would not like to rely on the goodness of relatives indefinitely. That’s why i would say it’s a hard choice and I would empathise with her.

        But it is still a choice, and one that can be made and worked out. So yeah, while we can sympathise, I think this ‘I had no choice’ has gone a little too far. There are definitely women who have no choice, but it seems to me that a vast number do have a choice, only that the choice is not an easy one and involves struggle and fighting for what you want and sometimes being willing to leave loved ones behind.

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      • The Bride-

        Maybe I’m misunderstanding what you’re saying, but I hope you’re not blaming the people that feel helpless to go along with what their toxic parents want. I’m not saying it’s impossible to make your own choices, but what I’m trying to convey is WHY people allow their parents to do these things.

        I can understand why a grown adult woman with a job can feel powerless to someone’s demands, as I have been through it myself. Having a career and being educated doesn’t mean that you’re immune to emotional blackmail, emotional lethargy, denial, and minimization.

        I did go through something similar where my parents incessantly demanded that a shaadi.com profile be put up. I had fought with them and told them to take it down. They didn’t. I gave up and went along with it to avoid their screaming and put-downs, and talked to the men that they wanted me to talk to. Thankfully, I was able to stand up for myself again and say this is enough. They grudgingly took my ad down.

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      • Again-The Bride-Forgive me if I misunderstood your post. I’m an advocate for helping others understand WHY people feel helpless in these situations. Realistically, there is a choice and other options, but the person in a toxic situation is so distorted, brainwashed, and full of self-doubt to see that there are other options.
        Growing up in the Indian-American community, I’ve seen so-called liberal and Americanized Indians with careers fall prey to their parents’ guilt and overwhelming pressure.

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      • nolongeraslave, I understand it is hard and the level of hard varies in different situations. And I do understand people feeling helpless also and sympathise. But sometimes life requires you to make tough choices to be happy. I do not understand how educated women with a good job cannot see that there are other options. Of course, the other options are not easy… but they are there. So let’s not say ‘no choice’ (again, there are women who really have NO choice). My problem with ‘no choice’ is that it seems to have become a defeatist, self-fulfilling prophecy.

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    • The bride-

      Thanks for clarifying. You are right. I should have reworded what I said, as “no choice” isn’t an absolute truth. What I should have said is that unmarried Indian adults may FEEL that there’s no choice. Of course, those choices come with negative consequences in the eyes of Indian society. But, good things in life take time to wait and something to fight for.

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  35. Pingback: An email: If you can’t change something and you can’t change attitudes, what can you do? « The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  36. Dee,
    I agree with u that parents may give more support if an arranged marriage is in trouble, but there too the emphasis is usually in some how staying in the marriage as most of such parents are with strong feudal background. In contrast to that in Capitalist Societies parents mostly do not have this stay-in-marriage-at-any-cost attitude.

    Why is this difference? In feudal societies marriages are considered sacred and essential to the society. A woman’s chastity is the basis of family’s honor. A divorcee or even a widow is looked down upon. So early arranged marriage,and staying in it at any cost is the norm. This is because feudal society is fine tuned for protection and growth of family wealth while Capitalist societies are fine tuned for protection and growth of individual wealth

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  37. The main reason is that the Indian society views marriage as for “life”. Children are not encouraged to come out of a bad marriage by their parents. It is for this reason that parents and children want the best “shot” they get at their first and only chance in the marriage market. This translates to a well earning, physically fit and hopefully with broad minded parents for girls and beautiful, educated, working but “homely” girls for guys. All this means that there is a sort of blindfold on parents and children alike with respect to people who are different – divorcees, physically disabled etc.
    It is much worse in the virtual matrimonial sites because your profile can be filtered out and may not even come up in teh searches for the groom. If you want to go the arranged marriage way, try going through the good old parents’ social network. That way, since the proposal comes from a known person,people will be more open to you. If this sounds bad, then wait to fall in love and marry that person who will accept you for what you are.

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  38. The reason arranged marriage is met with derision here is because while it works great for people like you, for others who are different , it can lead to a lot of frustration. My cousin was on a matrimonial site. She was a bit on the plumper side. Every single groom for the first two years of the hunt, who saw her, rejected her. The reasons were not stated but quite obvious. The whole family knew about everything – how many guys met her, how many said no etc since the whole family was involved in some way or the other for the hunt. This is quite humiliatign to my cousin.
    You might say even if she were to date, it would still be the same. It’s correct, except that at least the rest of the family need not know whats going on in her personal life. And rejection will not sting so much.
    This is the story of a person who had a supportive family, which supported her right to say no if she does not feel right about the groom and did not deride her for not being married early. Think about all the cases where a girl or a guy does not even have a say in all this.

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  39. Disability is a very real issue, and anyone who says it does not affect their choice of a life partner is probably either lying or hasn’t thought it through. Having said that, if you’re already in love with a person and then they become disabled, a lot of people would learn to adjust with that situation.
    However, when you’re trying to choose a partner, either arranged or love, you will consider many things, and some of them are going to be superficial. Certain others are going to controversial, and some might even seem downright repugnant to people.
    This person is disgruntled because prospective brides are rejecting him based on his disability, but didn’t fail to mention that he has a fat paycheck. Choosing him for his paycheck and rejecting him for his disability have the same cynical (or practical) basis, only different magnitudes.
    All marriage alliances are a result of both parties compromising on something. Considering he’s unable to find a partner right now, he should probably relax his standards.

    @IHM: I do agree that among Indian families and friends, privacy seems to have no value, and this situation doesn’t seem to change as people are so reluctant to give up what they think is tradition.

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  40. A young man I knew well chose to marry a marginally mentally challenged girl, who happened to have a very wealthy father. At the time of the marriage he claimed that he loved her, when many of his well wishers questioned his choice. However, a few years down the line he became an alcoholic and was a source of great concern to his well-wishers. His wife stood by him through thick and thin, despite her limitations, and I would say I have far more respect for her than for him. I guess one’s intention and motivation to marry a particular person are paramount in determining the success of a particular relationship.

    Another dear friend is a paraplegic, wheelchair bound, married to a wonderful girl. True love and companionship shine through their relationship.

    A severely diabetic relative is happily married for the past twenty odd years through an arranged match. Perhaps his bride’s relatively lower economic status was a factor in her accepting him. However, they are and have been happy through out.

    All good wishes to you, DM. May you find a partner with whom you can share true love and companionship. I’d suggest your meeting more women socially- perhaps friendship can pave the way to love.

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  41. Dear IHM,

    Our Indian culture and conditioning is really screwed up but its not that there is no hope for the guy who commented.
    Heck, he sounds so compatible to me that I myself would like to date him (if he is still single)
    There are girls out there who want a feminist man who understands individuality and independence but alas the majority are just emotionally conditioned fools

    Like

  42. On the one hand you mentioned that you have a good job and therefore should be sucessful in the marriage market, and on the other hand you are not letting the other people decide what their parameters for sucess in the marriage market should be.

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  43. Pingback: An email: So my chances of finding a groom through the arranged marriage system seem very-very bleak… | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  44. I m also not “normal”, as they call it and my experience is exactly the same. Just that I don’t care. I stopped caring when the guy I had been best friends with decided to propose to me and his parents explained to him that this alliance cannot take place. All it took him was essentially 5 days of his parents explaining to him that if he marries me, society will talk about the differences in our physical status, they’ll think that his parents “sold” their only son for dowry, because my family is a little better off financially and blah blah. So this is what I have learnt – People have their own whims and fancies and qualification/degrees from the so called “best” colleges in the country cannot change your outlook. So people rejecting someone on matrimonial site because of their “Physical Status” is hardly surprising. Infact I would like to thank those people – at least they are a little more clear than the rest in what they want. The problem would be when you meet someone who initially feels he/she is ready to accept you but a few years down the line succumbs to social pressure. So I guess every rejection is a time to say thank you to God that this person knew what he/she wanted.

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  45. I dont know, and somehow don’t understand some of the comments written above. I am a disabled person with an additional problem that made me loose most of my scalp hair, i am a bit plump…but in addition i can walk without many problems, i earn pretty good, i am a classically trained singer, musician, an MBA, an iitian(it matters in India, believe me), a poet, a good friend, and an understanding person(atleast i along with most of my friends believe)….but as it is written above in the main text body, people would reject me for something that could happen to anyone even a couple of days after their marriage(god should forbid), but won’t accept me for something that i have built upon my persona all these years….If this is not illogical then i have a shortsighted imagination it seems….

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  46. I am 30 year old guy with a cheerful and emotional nature.I acquired disability following an accident when I was 21 but even then I always have a big smile on my face. I really want to marry and have a good family life.But what bothers me is that when I, myself don’t want to marry a disabled girl then why should I expect anybody to marry me.I do believe that there exist a female who can accept me, but still don’t want to spoil any body’s life.

    One more thing,I really don’t like this ‘differently abled’ thing.I believe that even non handicap persons are not good at most of the things, but they will definitely be good at something, then why not refer them as ‘differently abled’.When I read the words ‘differently abled’, I feel that I am being mocked at.Why don’t use the simpler word ‘handicap’?It appears that non handicap people wants to pity us and they feel that by calling us disabled or handicap,they are going to offend us.How silly.I am comfortable when somebody calls me a handicap.Even I call myself a handicap several times a day so that I don’t forget who I really am. I behave normally at my office and always tend to keep myself and other people happy and have lots of laughs.But I have noted that people around me don’t like me laughing and being happy.I have even heard people commenting,’He shouldn’t forget that he is a handicap’.I think most Indians have an inborn ‘thinking disorder’.

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  47. Haha…so the whole game is played weird when it comes to arrange marriages..but boy, if you are disabled…people will not let you rest it at peace!

    i have seen people staring at me, especially the moms, once you go to see them! it is such an awkward place and position to be in!

    since i have hearing issues, my invisible hearing aid makes it difficult for them to interpret “whats wrong with this girl?” why is she like so normal!! haha..it is funny.

    just waiting for a day when “some” guy do not bother about small things like this … and the society in general gets big hearted!

    and what disability rocks says above “thinking disorder” —totally agree on that!!

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  48. Pingback: But if there is so much of hesitation in spending time to know a person… aren’t the marriage hopefuls playing with fire? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  49. Pingback: ‘I feel that arranged marriages are for extroverts, and there is no place for us introverts here.’ | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  50. Pingback: ‘I feel that arranged marriages are for extroverts, and there is no place for us introverts here.’ | HOMEBLOG.IN

    • Do you want to marry a girl because she is handicapped? Or you like a girl and she is handicapped and you don’t see that as a reason for not marrying her… because you want to be share your life with her?

      Like

      • Hey, read through some of these comments after your post…just wondering…did you have any luck finding a guy through these websites? I have been looking since 3-4 years now…have a hearing disability and I am super short…and I earn well – so guys with egos and comparison with paychecks reject me outright! Not sure if I will ever find that someone – who is easy to deal with and real.

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  51. Ok so I have looked around a lot on this matter and I keep finding stuff like VNC (or VNSea) that allows you to access the computers on your WiFi network, but all of these require you to install something onto the computer itself. Is there a way to access the computer WITHOUT even touching the computer?. . Thanks in advance!.

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  52. You kno wat…v are not disabled but our society is.their thinkging…der lyfstyle .dey cant think beyond this disability thing. All they want is a b’ful girl who earns do all household work n make d family happy. Why cant our society accept the differently abled people wholeheartedly. Why dey always look for the defect in other person.cant dey just praise it.in my case for marriage people are gossiping that her eyes are disturbed..she cant see..blah blah…i dont kno hw do i tell dem if i cant see things..then hw m i working in banking sector…whatare u people…completely blind…or dumb Head…feeling depressed coz of der sick mentality

    https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.js

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