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Arranged marriage Vs Katol (Jack Fruit)

December 26, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I went to visit one of my friends who I haven’t seen in a while to share my good news of my impending marriage.  He was very pleased for me and congratulated me.  He then became somewhat perplexed and he asked “is it an arranged marriage?”  I told him that I had arranged it myself.  He responded by saying “that is very good, because an arranged marriage is like buying a Katol”.  Well, firstly I thought it was very apt that he described it as a Katol, because it is one of the fruits with the highest protein within it along with the Dorian fruit – not to mention that both fruits are seen as aphrodisiacs.  In addition to that, it is Bangladesh’s national fruit and I look forward to the summer months when I can eat them.  They can be seen displayed outside Bangladeshi / Pakistani grocery shops.

 

So, on with the story; he said that when you go to purchase a Katol, you never quite know what it will be like inside.  You may take along with you a friend who is good at picking out a Katol, failing that, you can ask other shoppers or even the shop keeper.  They often come and have a look and touch the Katol for firmness and ripeness – they will then make a judgement and say “this is a good one, but it is a matter of luck, whether it is really good and you will only find out when you actually open it up”.

 

He said, this is no different from picking a prospective wife in an arranged marriage situation.  As you are shown several prospective brides you are told of their virtues by people who know them – but ultimately they can’t guarantee the outcome.  He said, “it is only when you take them home and taste them, you realise if they are good or bad”.

 

I reassured my friend that both systems have flaws, as I have friends who have very successful arranged marriages along with those that arranged their own marriages.  I had this conversation with my friend nine years ago and I can gladly say that I remain happily married with two lovely daughters.

 

Arranged marriages are still common in our community, but less frequent.  They are more common when prospective grooms go back to Bangladesh to find a wife.  What is becoming more common is prospective suitors being introduced to each other by family and friends.  Of course, more and more people are finding their own spouses, who aren’t always within the Bangladeshi community.  The women from our community are outperforming men in educational attainment and employment – this has upset the apple cart somewhat, as the men have traditionally been the main bread winners.  Many women have been unable to find suitable spouses and as a result are marrying outside of the community.  This was unheard of when I was growing, but it is becoming more frequent and parents are putting up less barriers as they are simply happy to see their daughters married.  Amongst the many middle class Bangladeshis I know, many of them have married outside of our community.  Much to people’s surprise it hasn’t diluted our culture, if anything it has enriched it……I guess this is part of integration.

 

In conclusion, I would rather eat a Katol than marry one!

 

 

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