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Shadi ka Ladoo- Love ya Arranged?!

August 23, 2012 , 19 Comments

(This post is written for SET India Ltd & Indiblogger contest- Love marriage or Arranged marriage? All characters fictional. The story and illustrations are authors original and pleaseeeeee do not copy)

Marriages, undoubtedly is the oldest and most popular tradition of our country. Throw a glance at any nook or corner, you will find at least one wedding on. One of the status/ photo updates on your Facebook wall will be related to marriage. If in marriage a man lose his bachelors degree and woman gains her master, than entire marriage is a PHD in itself. 

We are born brides. Every girl has at least once dreamt of being a bride. Practice start from childhood, from decking ups our dolls to putting a dupatta around their head and staring at mirror for hours. Ask any girl what is/was her favorite toy, favorite doll. Prompt comes replies- kitchen set and bride doll. (No wonder Barbie has introduced- bridal Barbie in India). All girls will play match maker to hilt and will marry their dolls at least once with other friend's doll over a lavish ceremony.

Some more adventurous like us even plan about love or arranged. One such girl is Dhanno aka Dhanya Iyer. In her last birth, this mare was carelessly left by Mr Sippy amid the rowdy horse gang of Gabbar Singh and sent Basanti to dance on "kutto" ki tune (Basanti in kutto ke saamne mat naachna. Basanti followed her heart, Lo and behold jumped on the first ever glassy dance floor & jigged with 45 inch kamariya on 75mmcinema screen- jab tak hai jaan, mein nachungi). Gabbar died, Garam Dharam cried but none knew what happened to our Dhanno. Well Dhanno took a reincarnation and born at Mr & Mrs Aiyyar’s house as their daughter Dhanya. The rebirth saga did not end there. When Dhanya was young, her mausi gifted her a pet pony named- (Hold ur horses)- Basanti oops Basanthi.

Since childhood Dhanya aka Dhanno dreamt of love marriage. She got doubly inspired with Kareena kapoor’s character in Jab we met in her growing years and often dreamt to be a runaway bride. Her parents got worried knowing her “runaway” ambitions but enrolled her for best of education at best of colleges hoping good sense will prevail her someday. Co-ed colleges, mind you.

Dhanno is now 23 and raring to go. She finished her MBA and for certain creative reasons, let go of her corporate job to pursue radio jockey career on a popular FM. Her show “Double horsepower” became a rage on radio and sooner male adulation started flowing in. Like a good Aiyyar, parents wanted her to marry someone in their community but alas good boys these days are far lesser in nos than female to male ratios. For every 100 nice girls barely 25 good boys are available. (No wonder adultery is so much on rise and I wonder if that’s loved or arranged). They were even open for inter caste groom for the happiness of their darling daughter. “You did not like anyone in your college kanna” her parents asked. “Naah all useless fellow” she replied. “Register your profile in Kalyan kanna”- they requested. Dhanno paid no head. Her childhood secret ambition notwithstanding, she outsourced the job (headache) of finding a groom to her parents. Her briefing went by- the guy who will make me weak on my knees so that I can run away with him. “Why does she always want to run” wondered her supportive parents. So she labeled her expectations in mere 3 worldly words- Good looks, good looks and well good looks. “Beti you want software engineer type, MBA, Doctor or businessmen?” “Whatever” she said and moved on to take her Basanthi to derby grounds. Dhanya was a trained rider and often loved to race Basanthi in suave Derby races, also an opportunity to check out other thoroughbred horses in her neigh-bourhood for her beloved Basanthi.

Today’s derby was abuzz with entry of the young and dynamic businessman- Madhavan Parthasarthy, making his debut with his favorite stallion- guru. Needless to say both decided to run their own equine today. Basanthi has won last 2 races consecutively and wanted to coin in a hatrick today. The gun shot does the trick. The match started and all horses ran towards the finishing post. There was a neck to neck, mane to mane competition between Basanthi & Guru. Bhaag Basanthi, yeh teri dhanno ki izzat ka sawal hai (run Basanthi, its a matter of my pride & honor) quipped Dhanya. Just an inch before the finishing line Guru looked at Basanti, guffawed, and took a screeching halt. Basanthi won the race but lost her heart to Guru. Behind the race track when Basanthi gave Guru a high five and asked why he halted before finishing line. He neighed and said “Haar ke hi jeetne wale ko Bayard oops bazigar guru kehte hai. Tumhara naam kya hai Basanthi (The one who who wins despite losing is called a champ. What's your name, Basanthi?). In that one moment, Basanthi knew that she has found her 'sole' mate & dreamed running steeplechase around the bollywood tree.

One love story was breeding here another was about to catapult at the stalls. Dhanno was greeted by Madhavan who invited her to join post Derby party at his mango orchard farm. "Post party, I can also teach you how to use a gun to pluck mango from trees" he said. Before she could respond, her parents came and introduced them saying he is 2nd suitor that they shortlisted and happy that they already met. Dhanya was flabbergasted by his flamboyance but parents insisted that this is initial hiccup commonly visible when you meet a groom via arranged set us and things bound to get amicable later on. After many proposals, flicker exploration and SWOT session parents finally shortlisted the 2 suitors. Suitor no 1- Arvind Swamy was a coy, simple Tamil Brahmin green card guy who worked in IT MNC in Hyderabad and just relocated to India on a project from Detroit, USA. Meeting him was atypical arranged marriage scenario. They came to see her; she walked in Kanjeevaram with tea tray in hands. A blush of pink went over Dhanya’s face which found some spots in Arvind’s eyes too. His mom probed her with questions ranging from cooking to stitching to babies and all that. Dhanno’s mom served them Medu Wada and showed an Anchor knit frame saying that Dhanno made all of them. Dhanno couldn’t stop laughing and went to other room. Arvind’s mom thought- Shy Indian girl.

The family liked each other and Dhanno found Arvind Swamy cute. She met Madhavan today, only to get confused.

To make the confusion worst, enter Karthik Rajan. A young adventure sportsman cum blogger who once came to her studio for an on air interview and that’s where eyes met eyes, microphone met microphone, Twitter met re-tweets, blog met comments and they fell in love. When she came to know Karthik finds runaway couples adventurous she saw her dreams singing Koi Mil gaya. Post few coffees meets and luncheon she decided to tell her parents about him. When she entered the house, she saw her cousin Radhika sobbing on drawing room sofa. On probing she learnt that Radhika had big fallout with her husband of 4 years and is left heartbroken.

Radhika's was a typical arranged marriage, lots of pom pom and fanfare. Her to be in laws shown great interest in her and alleged to keep her like their own daughter. But post wedding everything took 360 degree turn. She was often traumatized by them for something or other. Her once upon a time doting husband turned askew.  He couldn't handle their pressure, shifting heat often on himself, then Radhika and love ran out its steam in due course. Romance got folded in bed sheets and slowly faded away. People advised them to move out of family home and stay alone by he refused. She was so tormented with his puppet act, forever questioning/ fault finding behavior, which took a toll on their relationship that she chose to concentrate more on her career & work at office. One day all hell broke lose when he accused her of having an affair with her boss. She picked her dignity and walk out of her marriage of social convenience. This shook Dhanno’s confidence on wedding vows; arranged marriages and even marriages. She felt numb seeing one of her favorite couples faltering like this.

Dhanno's Predicament
"What if Arvind or Madhavan turn askew after marriage? What if her now "look good feel good" in laws do not support her? So many cases of women burnt by her husband and in laws? What if Karthik's love for her changes or his parent do not approve of her? Would he still love her?" True love’s course was never smooth but when did true waited for approvals, wondered Dhanya. Mr and Mrs Iyer got worried and asked Dhanya to not let such unfortunate cases change her view but reinforced the institution of arrange marriages. They requested Dhanno to take her time and chose the guy she want to spend life with.

Teen ka tadka” said Basanthi! Yup my life turned from “comedy circus” to an episode out of “CID”. “My bade achche lagte hai” thoughts looked at my cousin’s face where kya hua tera vada was written all over. This situation truly inspired never ending debate of “Love marriage ya arranged marriage” oscillating between 3 “Indian idols”. Jab we Met post interval situation flashes off on, on-off.  Anshuman ditches Kareena kapoor. Whatever it would be, I certainly do not want to be in same condition as Geet who wasted her emotions for an Anshuman like guy who didn’t have the guts to accept her even when she left everything and came to him. While, Dhanno felt like standing in “Adalat” of marriage and wondering “Koun Banega mera pati”, suddenly a Sony TV promo took their attention away.


It’s a new serial on Sony television where 2 protagonists were delightfully debating for one over other. Dhanya suddenly turned at Basanthi and latter neighed. Eureka! They immediately switched on YouTube and watched the ad several times all over. Basanthi saw smile on otherwise careworn face of Dhanno and asked - what did you construe from that? Pat came reply- that, that that bread pakora looked so yummy esp that lead actress eating it up so temptingly. I am asking amma to make chai and bread pakora for us. “Dhat tere ki” (what the heck) said Basanthi. “Dhanno tu ghodi ki ghodi reh gayi.(Dhanno you remained horse even after reincarnation) I am not talking about the bread pakora but the laddoo. Shadi ke ladoo.

Shadi ke ladoo Basanthi? Yup Dhanno, Shadi ke ladoo, jo khaye who pachtay, jo na khaye who bhi pachtay (Marriage sweets, one who eats repents; one who does not eat repents too). Dono ke mann mein ladoo phoota (they got a happy inkling) and together they envisaged a chart to weigh pros and cons of love marriage v/s arranged marriage. This what they have made-

Well our Dhanno got her houseful (handful) and need to find her way. But if you are in same dilemma- toh apps (aap) ka kya hoga janab-e-ali? Suggestions? Most welcome.

Marriage is not a child’s play. Love or arranged is the century old debate that is going on and will continue forever. Neither of one is perfect. Both require immense commitment, understanding, adjustment and yes luck. It’s only in movies that you get hunky dory families like of Yash Raj or Sooraj Barjataya. In reality, truth is more like Amrita Rao’s Mami in Vivah with her own pre conceived notion. No matter what you do it sometimes becomes hard to please and calls for agnipariksha (now you know why couple go 7 rounds around fire). One can always manage their parents and in laws as long as the spouse is right and support you. You can’t get all 3 rights all the time. So when you can’t get lucky, get right. Society can lead the horse to water but cannot make him drink Concentrate on finding the right spouse/ setting either route- love or arranged. Take time to live, the world has so much to give and marriages are bliss when clicks!

The debate continues. Do visit this Facebook page and explore this debate further with Mansi and Shivani. Long hai magar strong hai. I loved writing this blog. If you loved reading, do express here)

The autor is half Human, half machine. Go Figure or just revel in what I write


  1. Super, as always. Only problem is I do not understand the Hindi sentences. May be a translation in brackets will help non Hindi readers.

    One familiar quote from Rajni Kanth. I am sure you already knows this. Instead of marrying someone you love/like, marry the person who loves/likes you.

    1. Sure...I will incorporate the same...was half asleep when I posted this...will do the changes n let u know.

    2. done...u may like to read again :)

    3. Hey bhagwan do you come up with such posts...I am telling you that I can never write something like that...You really have thought a lot for this....Brilliant...

    4. Stephen,

      Thanks...I too a struggle with ideas but sometimes simple drafting helps you gain some...I started the post and somehow the story idea flew in...Off course I modified, re wrote the draft again and again...Esp the BCG aka BDG matrix...went crazy thinking n finally God helped me with some idea :)

  2. Tushar28 August

    Loved the BDG matrix thoroughly...mgt for marriage? not bad not bad.


  3. Super like it..!! particularly the matrix..!!! :D

    1. Thanks a ton Surabhi. Glad you liked it!

  4. Awesome, just loved it. From Hema to Kareena you covered all...I only pointed to Saif and Kareena in my post for this contest and a tiny mention of Ranbir Kapoor.

    And yes, I agree, we are born brides...

    All the very best Ekta:)

    1. Thanks Saru...lemme read thru your post again :)

      I was planning to write a mad hatter post like this from long...somehow the Basanthi's idea clicked and words flown in. somehow did not wanted to include celebrities in my post....but I guess all modern love marriage talks are incomplete without mention of JBM & Bebo's magnificent character:)

      Thanks, stay in touch :)

  5. the matrix was quite original..

    and that was quite a read.

    Cheers. & good luck for the competition.

    1. Thanks so much Muthu...I lost that competition...Sony did not like my post :(

  6. Plots within plots. Ohh damn, well plotted and crafted. excellant post

  7. :-) Your post brought me smiles and triggered some memories. Back in my MBA days the BCG matrix was one of the most used and abused framework. Not prepared for the case? Don't know how to analyze the case study? Very simble! Just use a matrix.

    But using the matrix to analyse a human condition i.e. marriage, unique... very unique. I like it I say! :-)

    All the best!

    1. i also weak in matrix, but it can use to find the relation, nice explained the marriage

    2. lolz Sanjay..u nailed it...yup true that.

    3. Thanks Indianist...Matrix is something that if you crack one, you can crack all!


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