“City Girls are modern, social (more than required), do not respect elders, spent lot of money on cosmetics, would not adjust to village life”
“Village boys are old fashioned, chauvinistic have outdated notions, not in sync with modern times. They want their spouses to be like their mother”. (Loud claps at the last point)
I was watching a debate on the titled topic on a Tamil language T V Channel. On one side were arrayed the “village boys” dressed in white dhoti and white shirt (probably courtesy the TV Channel). The “girls” were on the other side with varying dresses.
They were actually unmarried adults well into mid to late 20s. The women were said to work in “IT” companies (Information Technology companies). The occupation of the men folk was not clear to me. The core of the debate was the conflict between traditional values and modern thought and practices.
Tamil Nadu is said to be a conservative State with a large agrarian and village base. Movies with village background are still popular. The words ‘Tamil Kalacharam” (Tamil Culture to put it loosely) is still used as an ultimate weapon for any unacceptable action or practice. (We don’t heare of UP culture or Jharkand culture being used as a weapon in a similar sense). A major segment of the population has rural roots.
I think the above debate and the individuals participating in it represent the changing economic face of India. The mobility of an otherwise limitedly mobile and insular populace –within and outside the State- and also influx from North India has created an increased awareness of the world outside. There is a desire to be modern at least in the external sense, while at the same time conforming to the tradition which is present in an “on the face” basis.
One participant spoke of the informality prevailing in today’s Office (a superior can be addressed as ‘Hey Raj’). A male participant feared that a ‘City Girl’ would call his uncle or aunt similarly (hi Lallu – for Lalita Aunty or hi Ambi for Ambhi uncle). The Village Boy was gravely mentioning the lack of respect for elders thereafter to the fury of the ‘City Girls’. I thought that an insular population was getting exposed to outside world in phases and reacting in at times in an uninformed manner.
A realistic firsthand experience of village life is described in the following blog.
My limited experience of village life is that while we have adapted to changing times swiftly, in some matters it is as though time has stood still for the last several centuries- if not millenniums . I remember my wife whispering to me sternly to walk a few steps ahead of her when we were in her village (this was few decades earlier). I was amazed and embarrassed to follow this edict. I then wondered what would happen if I was to hold her hand and walk in close contact thru her village with our eyes full of romance on each other and so on. Perhaps things have changed now-somewhat.
What has definitely changed at least in some southern States like Kerala and Tamil Nadu is the large scale participation of women in economic activity across all strata. Increasingly the subservience/male domination exists- if at all- more out of tradition or practice rather than necessity. Women also use it as an excuse- “I have to check with my husband”- to delay any decision.
My young cousin working in an IT major re-told one interesting experience. He has a female colleague who lives close to his house. In the office she is exuberant , articulate and mingles freely with all . One day he had to drop her at her house due to late sitting. Her father was waiting to meet her at the bus stop. Her behavior in front of her father made it seem that she had severely limited interaction with opposite gender in her workplace. It seemed that this was the approach required to survive in cultural gap between the house and office.
In such a changing environment, it is a challenge for a young Indian to be clear about the choice of a spouse. My experience is that the emphasis is on less relevant matters in human relationships (height, looks), locational aspects (relocation post marriage is “no no”), industry in which employed (IT boy/girl wants IT boy/girl), sub sects within the same community and so on. Probably this arises due to lack of appropriate opportunities to interact with members of opposite gender on an equal basis for a reasonable length of time so as to arrive at a balanced judgment on various aspects of man woman relationships.
There is a word used during the “due diligence process” for marriage alliances which captures its’ spirit very well – MANAPORUTTAM- that is ‘matching of minds- to translate it loosely. This, I think, is vital in any marriage- whether arising out of love or arrangement. However, that requires better understanding of human relationships and not dwelling on less relevant factors discussed during debate.