As Indians, if a couple whose marriage was arranged, tell us that 'love is for useless people', we wouldn’t be very surprised. We may have differing opinions, but that they would think so will not be news to us.
But in other parts of the world where marrying for love is the norm, an Indian man confidently saying, “Marriage is about two things: sexual satisfaction and building generations. Nothing more", can evoke a fair amount of surprise and even shock.
Something similar happened when Humans of New York, the immensely popular Facebook page posted the photo of an old married Indian couple, giving typical 'Indian' advice about marriage. The man behind the page, photographer Brandon Stanton is currently touring the Indian city of Jaipur and has been posting stories from there.
His most recent post, which went up early on Tuesday morning, features some very bamboozled people, mostly non-Indians, in the comments section. Why? Because of this caption that went with the photo:
While young and progressive Indians may brush this off as typical 'grandparent' advice, it's rather hard to digest for those from other countries. They were quick to respond, commenting on the post, expressing sadness at the couple’s plight and saying that they would much rather have a marriage full of love, partnership and mutual sexual satisfaction among other things.
The discussion also went into how this was (rightly) the case with women in marriages across the world, and not just in India. “It isn't about Indians only, trust me, it is the same with all cultures that put less than 0 value to a woman and have arranged marriage and have serious stigma on women that aren't married or divorced, women end up having to " learn " to love their partner, the only way for them to cope with the nightmare they are in,” one person commented.
Here are some of the other things people said.
Here’s the thing though: this is the norm in India. It's true that the post is one-sided (the words presumably came from the man in the picture, and not his wife) and that not all Indian marriages are like this. However, it is a reality that we have to acknowledge.
There were many Indians who commented on the post as well. Instead of fixating on the ‘arranged marriage’ aspect, which is the norm here, they spoke about how marriage in general was hard.