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By Sandi Bhutella

When my mother told me she had arranged a date for me, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I mean, an arranged date? That can only lead to an arranged marriage in my family’s culture? And, besides, how old am I anyway? Sheesh, I’m 15, living in Canada, and nobody really believes in arranged relationships anymore, do they? I needed some firm ground to stand on, so I checked the whole ‘arranged marriage’ situation out.

I found out arranged marriages have been around in some cultures since the dawn of civilization. In many Middle Eastern and Asian countries (including India), arranged marriage is a practice that has been around for a very long time. In the beginning, arranged marriages were done as a way to keep people within their place in the social system. It was also a way for parents to receive a dowry (money and goods brought to the families by either the bride or the groom depending on what country you are in). And even today, many of these practices still hold true, however, the situation is more complicated because we live in the 21st century and when the old and new world meet, there are bound to be conflicts.

Take me for example - who did my mom think she was kidding? I’m a hip, young Canadian male, so naturally I want to date who I want. There is no way that my mom and I are going to have the same taste in women! I mean, okay, so mom lucked out and Hema turned out to be a total fox, but that won’t likely happen again. When it comes down to it, statistics show that arranged marriages often work and in fact, the chances of arranged marriages ending in divorce are no greater than non-arranged marriages. The difference for me is that I’m a 21st century male and although I want to please my parents, I also want to please myself. I want to get to know the girl and I don’t want to be put in a situation where I have no choice on the matter.

I just hope that one day I do meet a girl who wants to date me and get to know who I am, or I might be rethinking my whole stand on arranged marriages…

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