Friday, January 11, 2008

The gender (dis) connection

Sorry friends for not posting so long here at TP. The holiday mood lingers and working from home has not helped. I am mentally still in the Christmas Season 2007. But then issues and lives go on and a chance meeting with a friend at the Forum yesterday, bought me back to reality quicker than a trip to office.

R is a premier B School alumni, mallu and in his late twenties. R is still not married even though he is a hot pick with his credentials. I remember teasing him with a gal in my office, who had a crush on him and instead of blushing he replied gravely that romance was out of the question for him. A long chat over coffee and he told me things which I was beginning to notice around me anyways. The dilemma of the well read, well traveled or just plain old modern mallu man. The dilemma of not having much of a choice in mallu women of the same ilk, who can make decent conversation or are simply, cool company to hang out with.

This post might offend some. But then when I started writing TP, I knew that I wasn’t going to make many friends here anyways.

R has no dearth of good proposals. Smart, highly educated and good looking girls, but as he mournfully asked me, what would he do with them? What he meant was, what would they be as a couple after a couple of years of marriage? Just another couple who will coochie coo in the initial years, then settle down to work and due to lack of a common interest or inability to communicate on issues other than domestic or work matters, fall silent in front of the TV. Or if there are kids, go through the routine of the daily grind, the kids grind and life!

R is not alone. I know quite a few such guys, who push their luck “one more year” hoping their parents will come up with someone interesting or they will find someone on their own. Then they resign themselves to an arranged marriage with the best among the list of proposed brides, a type of marriage they were hoping to avoid.

I remember D, another guy in a similar situation. He finally settled for an arranged marriage as age started piling on. He is married to an extremely nice girl. He is happy, “not ecstatic” as he told another close friend when she bumped into him the other day. But then he hoped that he didn’t have to go out of the house to find stimulating conversation with friends. He hoped he could have a decent conversation with his wife on matters like politics or sports or anything else under the sun. He hoped he had a friend and less of a “wife” in the traditional sense of the word.

This is of course, a small percentage of the mallu male population. Most men are quite happy with a well educated and or well dowried gal. And they are content with the same.

I guess guys these days, at least a small percentage and a growing percentage of guys I am told, want more than the homely, God fearing gal who can cook and clean and has a professional degree to boot. These guys are looking for people on the same mental wave length and sadly, for many, the search will lead to nowhere. Our society has seen to that most girls are brought up conservatively and the freedoms given to guys ensure that the exposure and growth of the male and female of the species are skewed. Ironic that people who have to live together are brought up so differently to the point of incompatibility.

Guess this is the wake up call for parents of daughters. But are they listening?


Alameen said...

You made a very valid point Anjali..

I haven't started looking for a gal.. But somehow i feel that things will be worse for us as option for a muslim graduate gal is still less. There won't be any room to think about the mental frequency..

Thanks to the middle east money.. Nowadays things are changing for good...

aaron said...

The reason why your cousin George ended up with a white girl????

I am sure there exists a small percentage of mallu women who are having similar problems....???

anN-series said...

a very relevant post... mallu girls too suffer from the same problem...but strangely a mallu guy with 'exposure' is seen as a 'good catch' ..while 'exposed' mallu girls are looked down upon..(talking from wat i hav seen in my family)

anN-series said...

oops i correct the statement...such 'exposed' girls r looked at with contempt rather

Rockus said...

Its really sad that even most of the well educated girls don't have many interesting interests (at least from my point of view!). Brought up in a way
where everything they had to do was to study, study harder, get great marks, get into college, get a job, marry, kids and so on...May be its me, but I have found the female demography of interesting people rather low (but not nil!)...

I still remember an online conversation with a cute junior (whom many suspect had a crush on me :-P)

(after pleasantries and some sugarbeating)
me: I just wrote something on my blog. Tell me what you think :-D
her: okay :)
her: oh, I dont understand these stuff.
me: (checking what I wrote, wondering if it was some philosophical crap. Nah! Just the regular crap!)
me: ohk :)
her: :)
me: :)
(looooong pause)
me: me very tired...gonna sleep :)
her: me too :)
me: (scary thoughts raging in mind!)
her: (happily going to sleep)

Its not very different for guys too...but at least most of them party hard ;-)

Yup, I can completely relate with your friends!

silverine said...

alameen: If things are changing then it is indeed good news!

aaron: George was a different matter altogether. I guess you are talking about the post "White Pawns". And yes, a small percentage of mallu girls in Kerala and a big chunk of NRK girls are also facing this problem.

ann-series: It is ridiculous how we compartmentalize people as good or bad according to 'exposure' and other criteria. Ultimately it is us who are the losers due to this myopic attitudes of the elders!!

rockus: I so know what you mean! sigh

Annie said...

You and me have had umpteen discussions on this. And you have to agree, that we the mallu women face this more than the men!

Jiby said...

heylos...been away for long...sort of lost my blogging rhythm and i thought i should go back and read your recent blogs here and learn once more what blogging is all about!

few weeks back met an old friend who had an arranged marriage. met his wife too. real nice but quiet girl who just couldnt seem to be able to speak anything to me. he later confided that he was now "educating" her all over again and trying to get her out of the ultra-conservative setup she was brought up in. he said he even went to the lengths of taking her to a bar...and this is in tvm...i just couldnt help but crack up uncontrollably when i heard that...kettiyaal olla ororo problemse!

all said mallu guys have it better than the gals owing to the favourable sex ratio...the pick of gals for the guys is better than what the gals are left with after so many of the hot picks in both genders decide on non-mallu partners...hehe!

mathew said...

"These guys are looking for people on the same mental wave length and sadly, for many, the search will lead to nowhere"

'mental' is tough to find matching weirdness..;-P

On a serious is just that everyone is getting choosy..everythin from a a a life partner..

searching a partner is now like can lot of keyword searches these days..but there could always be answers like "No results matching your search"

it aint like old times that you adjust to other life..its more like you find someone who can adjust to your way..neverthless most searches leave nowhere..

dont have any exp. to talk about this..but thats what i guess so...

Vinod/Kakka said...

What I feel about this is that if you want an open, educated and ... girl, you have to know that and work towards that while you are still in college. 5 of my female classmates went for marriages of their own arrangement (out of 10), while 3 (out of 30) male classmates did.
I went for arranged marriage. My mother used to tell me that any girl that I found would be welcome into the house. Minutes before I proposed to one, she told me of her engagement.
My wife does not have any strong political leanings. Religion is on her mind, and Philosophy on mine. We do have interesting arguments on those, and also on social issues. Another thing that both of us enjoy is watching award type movies. We are both feminists.
What most males do not understand is the circumstances that women are brought up in are far different from those of men, even in the same family. The framework of thought is not just because of families, it is because of society as a whole. What we develop into is a product of our framework of thought too.
And friendships (and intelligent discussions, political talk etc) can get as stale as any arranged marriage. Any relationship has to grow with the people involved. And people themselves have to mature.
I certainly see the point of the post, but I also think that this issue is more naunced, as with all things human

Deepti said...

I guess girls face the same problem tooo. From personal exp :( i have heard guys who do a doun=ble take when you tell them that you are a sports freak... "Girls and sports???" amazing post silverine...

silverine said...

annie: Lets agree that there are a fair number of people of both sexes caught in the same dilemma ok! ;)

jiby: That was a sweet thing to say :) What you described happens all the time!! And gives occasions of great hilarity at the poor gals expense :p

mathew: I don't think it is unnecessary choosiness, just a desperate attempt for someone you can relate to. I don't think these guys demanding too much frankly, especially when most are willing to forsake even dowry for the right girl.

vinod: You are the most exp guy here. Guess I will show R your comment :) Not all men are like you and most of them don't even know the circumstances of their own sisters upbringing. So segregated are families when it comes to bringing up girls and boys. But you are absolutely right that people should start looking in college itself for like minded people. With most IT cos, resembling campuses nowadays, many a success love story are blooming here, thankfully!

deepti: Very true and with our vast population such people rarely get to bump into each other too.

Adorable Pancreas said...

One reason why I'm dreading marriage is because mallu guys? Are boring. My parents haven't started enthusiastially reading matrimonial columns, and I'm glad. Everyone seems to want a 'homely, God-fearing, beautiful, educated girl from a good family.'

I don't know any mallu guys with whom I could have a conversation. A lot of the girls I know don't read any books outside of the textbooks, and I sholdn't think they would have my problem. Not that I have one yet, but soon my parents will start getting 'she's not growing any younger' thoughts. God preserve me from mediocrity.

Adorable Pancreas said...

On second thoughts, that was very disjointed. Forget I commented. :(

Hammy said...

Hey, Anj...

I gotta say this is my favourite post. Possibly cos I relate to a lot of stuff said here.

I'm putting in a lot of effort 'pushing the discussion'. Just don't know how long I can put that up.

Freespirit said...

I wonder if i can agree to your post about poor mallu dudes not finding mallu babes who are more than 'god fearing n from good families'. You have no idea wat poor mallu babes are goin thru :D.

N i cant help but wonder if the 'mallu weds mallu' thing still has to be given so much of an importance. Maybe its my metropolitan upbringing, but I am one of those who feels strongly about religion/region/caste ... not holding any significance whatsoever when it comes to matters of the heart.

I am sure its easier said than done and we have parents sitting there who still believe its easier for a relnship to work when ppl share common grounds of religion/region n so on, but I am sure where there's a will there's a way :).

Again, i have strong reservations against the arranged marriage thingie. My funda is meet someone whom u think you can spend the rest of your life with, u marry him. Else you dont n wait. Wats age got to do with it?
You buy this funda, but cant convince your folks? Then go ahead do what ur folks ask you to, but make sure ur kids have it your way! That keeps all happy!

Ajith said...

Well..something interesting.. Incidentally, I cannot even recollect one good instance of a long intelligent conversation with a girl..Once I tried this kind of a talk with a girl ..and after that she considers me highly philosophical :( ..whereas in I was barely into philosophy then ..This topic is interesting.. Would put up a post on this some time :)

Dhanya said...

I think girls also face the same problem.. also parental pressure is more for girls.. I have faced the q " he is educated , has a good job and is from a 'good family'. Then what is ur problem in accepting that proposal? " how do I convince them that the wavelengths just don't match or that you can't accept a partner by tick marking some criteria.. :(

ap said...

During Xmas I had went to one of my friends place in Munich....This guy (mallu)was telling me the same things....
So he has decided not to marry a mallu to start with...And has started dating a Mexican girl...

silverine said...

AP: It was not disjointed at all! :)

hammy: I know what you mean :)

freespirit: This post is not about poor mallu dudes. But a certain type of mallu dudes :) And you got to meet them to understand what I am trying to say.Your funda of marriage though straightforward is complicated believe me in a country like ours. But then hope it works for you :)

Ajith:Well it depends on what you call intelligent conversation! And Philosophy is something I run a mile from, because it is usually personal in nature and the discussion leads to nowhere :p

dhanya: I am talking of a certain type of people here and not in the general context :)

AP: What is really disgruntling is the fact that people are so scattered! There is no common meeting ground for people like community initiatives and even we do have the sexes will be segregated brr

Pradeep said...

I don't think it's a Mallu issue. I am one who hates the stereotyped bringing up a child -- both son or daughter. The damage is more pronounced in a girl I guess.

It's the home and parents who shape people first. The world outside comes later.

CarbonMonoxide said...

Victim / About to be victimized.


neermathalam said...

Great expecations...
at the age of
15--->100% beauty....if she wear shorter clothes wow heaven...
20--->60% beauty....40% brain...she should not expose this much yaar...a little more homely...
25+--->goodlooking and intelligent...does dress is all attitude problem yaar..still Sneha looked great in parthipan I chauvenistic..aahh I don't know..

When all your batchmates are married..and you belong to the last lot...

Change in expectation...
All girls are good some are very good...I wish I am 15...;)..everything boils down to linear programming...

Arun Jose Francis said...

This is a very relevent post, Anjali... I totally agree with you.
Whenever I think of a future life partner, first thing that comes to my mind is that she should not be just a homely girl. She should have her opinion about everything in this world and not just about domestic matters as you rightly put.

silverine said...

Pradeep: Very true!

carbon monoxide: :(

neer: Thats called being practical...the last resort :p

Arun: You are right, but see the Matrimonial adverts! And this is what parents are influenced by. Homely, God fearing, adjusting etc are the magic words :p

Divya said...

I guess the wavelength issue is a general one for all....

But the other side of this story is quite the sadder one.... The girl trying to find someone who would match her expectations/wavelength...And in the 'arranged marriage' setup where 'its totally your choice'.
And I have spent 21 years of my life in Kerala....So I wouldnt say I was brought up any differently from most of the other girls here.

The guys are at a huge advantage.

And your male friend, he CAN go out and meet other friends and discuss his interests/passions/thoughts.

Once the girl is a wife and the husband doesnt share her interests, can she go out and meet her friends (guys/gals) and share that part of her personality/life?
I believe the female population is the bigger loser in this picture.... or since everyone here seems to suggest this is the case maybe I should rephrase it to... The (few) intelligent women are the ones facing the bigger loses!

silverine said...

Divya: Agree with you.

Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

Sh*t, scary post! :( I think I'm going to marry a rich widowed woman thrice my age(by which time, even if she wasn't intelligent she'd have enough stories to keep me amused), have decent conversation with her for about a decade till she dies, then take all her money, add it to mine, and drown in drunken revelry :)