Today, my young friend in the gym confessed that his friendship with a girl who has been chummy with him for the past 6 years has broken off. Her family did not approve of him because of his caste, his being ‘only’ a graduate while she was earning more in the IT industry.
I asked him how old he was and he said ‘24’.
“So where is the hurry for you to think of a relationship” I asked. “Should you not think of getting more qualifications”.
He has to work as his father has a job in public transport and his younger brother is still a student. He says there was no question of it being a failure at love—he felt sad that a friendship of so many years had come to an end.
Another friend of mine asked me to suggest girls for him from our Brahmin community. I rattled off a few alliances—a common custom in our part of the world where family connections and arranged marriages are still common. Then I asked him about his qualifications. He too was ‘only’ a graduate. Then I had to bring the guy up to date and tell him that girls today want a post graduate as a partner. They themselves have multiple qualifications and expect partners to have equal degrees. Many girls are really earning a lot and they tend to look for the same earning capacity in men.
My advice to both these guys was get a second qualification by studying in the weekends, put away some money to pay the basic sum required to buy an apartment—8% of the total cost and then think about marriage.
Meanwhile another artisan friend of mine had a rude shock when his daughter, aged 22, with a post grad qualification in Commerce and computer skills said that she wanted to marry a man not only from another community, but also from another religious background altogether. He is a simple man with no learning. His craft is his only wealth. The boy strangely enough has moved away to another city and wants a couple of years’ time before he will commit himself. The girl is adamant about marrying the boy. The parents are going through a harrowing time as the girld has stepped beyond their own social and economic background because of her education and earning potential.