The Degrees of Love

If you missed seeing this elitist , sexist and downright offensive ad, you are probably missing a key insight into the  psyche of the common Indian parent. We can argue whether this is a majority or a minority all our lives, but the fact remains,that these practices have been prevalent since many generations.

1950’s : Most of those who could afford, left the country to settle abroad. Renounced their citizenship and became part of a new country and culture. Thus was the origin of the foreign “uncle”  or foreigner “aunt” for many following generations.

1960’s : Very similar to those of previous decade, but during this phase, the volume increased and spread to many other countries over and above England and the US. Australia and South East Asia were big recipients of migrations.

1970’s : Education migration was taking shape in a bigger way, more people found ways to study abroad, get a foreign degree and land a plump job back in India. As financing options became easier more people applied and got through. Lot of the immigration laws either did not exist or were loosely structured back then, this also helped a lot of the people get in relatively easily.

1980’s : Middle managers got transfers or moved, immigrated  and or joined colleges to study abroad. The first signs of mass brain drain were taking shape at the time. It was the first time people explored work options in any country which was offering more money, a better quality lifestyle, be it the Middle East, or the US or Europe, and even some places in Africa.

1990’s : TOEFL, SAT,GRE,GMAT became like a must have for large part of the diaspora, aided by the technology boom in the West. Late 90’s migration set the tone for foreign return groom looking for Indian brides in a big way. Many parents happily married off their daughters assuming a well qualified groom is best bet for their child in the absence of any other data to whet the “candidate”

There is a surge of students taking up Engineering whether they like it or not, whether they have the aptitude for it or not, fueled by only one ambition, largely pushed by the parents single narrative, “once you become an Engineer...”   it like their insurance policy. It will get them out of middle class to a higher class.

2000’s : Lot of the second or third generation Indian American’s or British Indian’s married in India so as to preserve remnants of “Indian-ness” or the Indian culture, as desired by the patriarch of the family who migrated years ago.

Parents pushing children since early ages to become an Engineer to solve all problems in life, and followed by an MBA so that all management is under your belt. The formula proves right to an extent because right from recruitment to research everyone is an Engineer, right from hospitality to hospitals everyone is a MBA. Yet the fact remains, that 90% of the Engineers are unemployable!  I wonder how the 90% of MBA’s are faring? But India is country of large volumes. so even the 10% who are eligible and competent, they make up in large numbers.

2010’s : With Indian economy growing in leaps and bounds, travel to foreign destinations is no longer a novelty, Skype is everyday practice and tradition starts to look inwards for match making.

The fundamental , yet unspoken question marriage ready families ask: who is the best bet to go abroad,make money, and lead a comfortable life for their daughters?  The women too get aggressive with their choice of convenience over love. They rationalize that after all money can buy happiness, besides all men are the same, so what better option? Certainly not marry the regular guy off the block and struggle – bad deal.

2015 and beyond :  It is much a common practice to advertise for tailor fit custom made grooms on the net. Newspaper adverts reflect the same. Material security is a high preference over character traits, which one can never guarantee they reason, and material success is guaranteed by education or high degrees.

Its almost like going to a mall to pickup the best product. You pick and choose among the hundreds of variants, looks for the best price tag and the most quality marks and then buy it off the shelf. What’s wrong with that?  Did you have a better alternative?

Our society has become capitalistic from the core of its existence. Therefore the difference between the have’s and have not is alarmingly high. The strain has to show somewhere isn’t it? And it does.

Road rages, bitter arguments, crime, fights, all are a by product of this struggle to survive, this struggle to succeed.Scarcity of resources, opportunities and the general struggle for life has changed the psyche of the people.

The strain of a successful India is evident in the frustration of its people.

The need to rise above, to get more than what you have, is often glorified as ambition and drive, but nobody teaches you the pitfalls for over-speeding, simply because who is to decide what speed is right for you? Simple rules for speed limits on roads are a clear indication that no gives a hoot to those signs. There is always a “workaround” for the offender.

So when I read the matrimonial advert , I was not surprised at all. If you look around , you will find many families within your network that sound similar, either blatantly or implicitly. In fact it is so prevalent that if you raise a voice against it, you might even get snubbed for it.

While the gentleman behind the offensive advert has apologized, I think the whole system needs to change and it begins with respecting people for who they are over what degrees they have earned or what financial status they belong. But who’s listening?

Much of India has a rationale to defend these views, which they might not readily admit or accept – is there a guarantee otherwise? Can anyone  vouch that a home-bred regular middle class boy with moderate education will ever make it to the top of the food chain? Will he ever be able to give the comforts and luxuries which any doting parent would want for their child? What about financial security in these expensive and uncertain times?  Of course there will be exceptions, but it’s my daughter you see, why take a chance ?

So don’t shoot the messenger of that offensive ad. These are the realities of our times and few raised elite eyebrows aren’t going to change a thing. The degrees of love overcome all odds!