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Marrying Anita

Marrying Anita by Anita Jain¹

Written by a successful Indian-American journalist who after failing at finding love in various cities around the world decided to move back to India to find a husband. Anita reflects on a changing India, the shortcomings of the Western dating system, the appeal of arranged marriage, and other prevalent South Asian topics.

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“Where are we in the West supposed to meet someone we’d like to marry…If we graduate from university without having found someone, we assume we’ll meet someone over the next few years. But where exactly?…What surprises me now is how much this system leaves to chance encounter, to a kind of fate or fortune…For a decidedly unmystical society that seems to have the answer for everything else—the best medical care, cutting-edge technology, superhighways, and space shuttles—it seems odd that people are left to their own resources, casting around for another lonely soul, for what is arguably the most important decision of their lives.”

“In the very institution of arranged marriage is embedded the idea of discovery, of excavation, of falling in love with another—to whom one is also committed forever…‘My mother’s father used to describe arranged marriage as the most romantic of enterprises. He would talk about the magic of discovering something new about one’s spouse as well as the opposite sex, each day, every day—at least for a few years.”

My immediate family may be in California and my closest friends in New York, but we live in postmodern times, and we are the arbiters of our own destinies. Who’s to stop us if we decide to stay in a city for reasons as intangible as the glimpse of a Mughal-era tomb out of the corner of our eye as we sit in a noisy autorickshaw, or Chandra’s lovingly made morning lassis? Who’s to tell us that the moments of grace we encounter in a place are not enough to keep us there—that instead we need a context, a future, a father, a husband?”

“Reincarnation, I would wager, is as necessary for the living as it is for the dead.”

Notes:

¹ Jain, Anita. Marrying Anita: A Quest for Love in the New India. Bloomsbury, USA. July 2008.

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