Confessions of a 25 year old.

Toastmaster Speech # 7 – 1st attempt at Mono Acting

Objective: Research your topic and back your opinions with history and statistics

All of us have a day- that one day when we realize that we are not the same anymore

For some it’s the day they realize they are in love

For some others it’s the day they leave home for greener pastures elsewhere

For many others it’s the last day of the carefree college life

Though the days are different for different people, the feeling they bring about is the same in everyone- it’s the hard feeling that we are not children anymore!

Toastmaster of the day, fellow toastmasters and guests to me that day arrived in all its glory 3 months ago on 15th June 2014 when I turned 25.

Unlike my other birthdays, this day I was greeted rather gloomily by my father. First thing he asked was “Renu, what do women normally do when they are 25?”

For such a loaded question I wanted to give an impressive answer and took out my ubiquitous smart phone and with the help of Google I told him,

“Appa it was when she turned 25 Madonna released her debut solo”

“Marissa Mayer, the now CEO of Yahoo joined her first job at Google at the same age”

“Oprah Winfrey was introduced to media at her 25 years of age”

You know 80% of successful women started their career when they were around 25 years of age – I finished with a flourish.

Under normal circumstances he would have been very proud of me for the kind of father he is, but that day I met a very different man!

His face fell and his shoulders slumped and when he finally looked up, he calmly said “Renu, I don’t know all that but I know 100% of the women in our friends circle are married by the time they are 25”!

This one statistic blew me off, Damn Why did I not think of it!

To my defense I added “But Appa I don’t have a boy friend, I can’t get married now even if I want to”

Appa: Arranged marriage is not a bad option you know

Me: Arranged marriage :O

Appa: Don’t give me that look. The bad connotation associated with Arranged marriage is because it’s seen as a “Forced” marriage. But traditionally it is not.

The Arranged Marriage of today’s scenario borrows the age old concept of “Swayamvara” where when a girl reaches marriageable age the father summons the prospective suitors who are asked to perform some brave feat. The man who impresses the daughter the most is garlanded by her and then on they go on to become man and wife.

Me: Ok I get it, I will be given the freedom to choose from the list of guys you and amma shortlist for me. But how can you assure me that I will get my prize catch. Did you not know that all good guys are taken!

Appa: No No No. You are not the only one who knows to Google here. I googled too and found that 77% of the eligible bachelors in India are ok with Arranged Marriage? They do not want to commit to any relationships when they are in their early 20s and want to enjoy their singlehood. When they are ready they commit to the girl their parents find for them. Unlike in western countries, here marriage is entered into on the basis of commitment and not on the basis of feeling.

Because the base is strongly established with commitment and not the feelings that may wane, the relationship that is established would be strong and would last forever and ever

And what more, Harvard Academic Dr Robert Epstein researched on this for over 8 years and found that on an average 10 years after marriage affection in arranged match is twice as strong as in love marriages. His idea is when so much planning goes into education and career why not into choosing our life partner as well?

Me: Gawd, who the hell taught him to Google(murmur)

Appa: I am not done yet, you like data don’t you, so here you go – UNICEF, Human rights council and ABC News have together reported that the average global divorce rate for love marriage is 55% whereas for arranged marriage it is only 4% and in India the overall divorce rate is only 1.1% because 90% of the marriages in India are said to be arranged.

Me: My God! You actually did so much research to convince me!!! Now I am impressed!

Appa: Thank you Thank you. so what do you say? Shall I start searching for guys for you?

Me: All of that is good Appa, but how can I marry someone I hardly know?

Isn’t it better to know someone well before marrying him to ensure there is mutual respect and understanding?

Appa: Similar culture, upbringing and background would ensure compatibility. Believe with all your heart that I will find the best match for you. Trust me arranged marriages have worked for centuries, it has worked for so many and is still working so it will work for you also.

Me: Now that he appealed to the optimist in me, I just couldn’t refuse.

And so the hunt began, watch out this space for the funny recount of arranged “dates” I had to suffer through later on.

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