We went to see Meet the Patels last night. A delightful documentary: Witty, insightful, one family's dilemma but universal in its message--especially for those of us who think (or whose parents thought it for us) we have any sway over who our children decide to marry.
The Patels are an Indian family living well and successfully in California. The dad, who came to the U.S. to study and stayed on to make his fortune, and the mom are a well-suited, arranged-marriage couple who've been happy together for more than 30 years. They want the same happiness and sense of Indian-culture family for their son (and daughter--but it's the son's story that is the focus of the film, which was filmed by his sister).
We who do not believe in arranged marriages--the Patel son does, or thinks he does--can sit back and laugh with the film's story teller (the son) who does not disparage his parents or make fun of them but takes us along on some of the real-life arranged dates, which includes a speed-dating event for Indian singles. We may laugh at the folly of trying to set up for marriage an American-born and very California-ized son. But the reality that underlies the movie and its message is how universal the parents are: What they want--what motivates them in what they consider to be their modernized marriage-arrangement journey--is for their children to be happy.
Isn't this true of all of us. Or to put it another way, we are only as happy as our unhappiest child. Let joy be unconfined.