Jul 22, 2006

The Second Match

More than 25 years ago, I traveled to Washington, DC on business with a young man from India. The second (or third day) of meetings ended earlier than expected and we found ourselves with about five or six hours to kill before catching the plane back to Kansas City.

Washington has great museums and both of us wanted to see the National Aeronautical and Space Museum. We walked through the exhibits and finally decided to see the large screen movie. My co-worker was quiet until the film showed India, his native land. Then he whispered that the pictures showed the area he was born. Finally he exclaimed, "Oh, I wish my wife could be here--that's her town!" He added that he really missed his wife. My co-worker was clearly very much in love with his wife whom he had married less than a year before. I asked him how he had met his wife and he told me this story.

His parents still lived in India and their intelligent and ambitious son came to the U.S. for advanced study and to work. The family was determined he should marry a young woman from India. Some of the specifications for the bride were that she should be attractive, of the same ethnic group, and should also have advanced education.

My co-worker explained there is a network of matchmakers in India and around the world. [Google "India" and "matchmaker." You'll get lots of hits.] My companion found his bride in British Columbia. She was the daughter of a banker, was pretty (he said), and was well-educated. Her parents also had hired a matchmaker to find her a husband from India. They wanted a well-educated son-in-law who had immigrated to the U.S. or Canada. The proposed match was made by long-distance phone calls between India, British Columbia, and Kansas City.

The couple were introduced (at a party, if I remember correctly) and allowed to date and meet each others' families, until they determined whether they found themselves compatible. My co-worker said this period was a time to get to know more about whether the other person would be a good spouse. When I asked if matchmakers made mistakes, he said that it was rare because so much work was done to insure that a match was a good one before the couple met. I also asked if he or his wife could have backed out of the arranged marriage. He answered that either one always had a veto power if he/she saw that there would not be a good marriage.

My co-worker insisted repeatedly that couples naturally love each other in marriage if they are compatible. He said both he and his wife quickly 'fell in love' after they were married.

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