a difference of opinion

S:     I won’t even let my parents choose clothes for me and you’ve let yours choose a bride?

A:     Yes, Sadiq, I’ve done the unthinkable! Unlike you, I trust my parents. They’ve always chosen the best for me; be it my school, my university or even the way I was raised. They’ve never let me down. Like it or not, our parents have a big role in moulding our personalities. I would argue that every child is their parent’s project to a large extent.

S:     But surely there comes a time when you have to make your own decisions. I would have picked my school if I was old enough to make that choice. And this isn’t about schools or clothes, is it? It’s about choosing a companion for the rest of your life, the mother of your children, your supposed better half! What if you two don’t even get along? Has that possibility even occurred to you?

A:     My parents had an arranged marriage. Sure there were difficulties, but they worked around it. They’re happy, and I turned out just fine. Didn’t I?

S:     Do you really want me to answer that honestly?

A:     Brilliant.

S:     Look, I feel most people have a very depressing idea of happiness. Often times, they just make do with what they have, even if what they have isn’t very much. In Pakistan, marriages are for life. It is a tedious exercise of managing expectations, compromising at every turn, sometimes for each other, other times for children, even if it is sucking the life out of you. So excuse me if I want to marry a person I actually know and love.

A:     You say that like love marriages have a 100% success record! If anything, they fail more often. Just so you know, not every one amongst us is cut out for the dating game. Some of us are actually relieved that arranged marriages are a phenomenon.

S:     That’s sad. May be you should let me take you to those parties you always turn down. Girls don’t bite. Mostly.