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Are Marriages Really Worth the Drama, the Bias and the Money?

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By Anushri Saxena:

Truly, a marital union in the house calls for a huge-scale celebration. It all gets started fifteen days from the marriage as relatives start pouring in from everywhere. There will be a group of youngsters making merry, getting mehendi designs on their palms, and on the other hand can be seen the pre-occupied elderly going beyond their means and making arrangements for the big day.

All right till now, it is your child’s marriage; you have the liberty to make it happen your way. Call as many people as you want. The more the merrier; but am not saying that!

Now, comes the bias. How is it fair for only the bride’s parents to cover for ALL the expenses incurred for the hospitality of the groom’s relatives, in addition to their very own? How CAN the guy’s side take it so easily, don’t they feel ashamed? On one side you are getting a lovely girl for the rest of your life (conditions apply!) and on the other you ask for dowry? Can anyone give me one good justification in its defence?

These days, 70% of women are financially self-supported. So, it cannot be like, “Oh I’m the guy; I’ll be taking charge of her from now on, paying her bills and stuff. So, dowry is my right! Compensate me for the future now.”

I’m only trying to suggest that the task of arrangement should be equally divided amongst both the parties. It becomes a huge burden for the bride’s parents. Agreed that it is widely practiced, but however rich they are they always have to go ‘beyond their means’.

It’s time I get back to our wedding guests. Remember them? They had come over, brimming with joy, in an ‘all-party mood’! Now, why need they be personally served? Technically, it should not make a difference to them. They are all well-off and weekly restaurant visits are fixed for them. Who cares for real blessings these days? Everyone comes to have a gala time, with free buffet, DJ et al. Next year, how many of them really wish the newly wedded couple a ‘Happy Anniversary’? Like it matters, I know, but little observations do help in painting the whole picture.

I just came up with a bit of a solution. Why not share your joy with those who will value it even more and to whom it actually makes a difference! It may sound all far-fetched and impractical but there is always a beginning. I’m just giving an example of an orphanage, for instance. Imagine, those kids enjoying a day different from their regular lives, when they get to savour delicious food, dance and play around. Arrange a wedding party in a place like that.

In the name of prestige and honour, parents of the bride are ready to go beyond their ability so as to secure her a smooth future. Oft times, the family-in-law mistreats the girl if they find themselves dissatisfied with the amount of dowry or marriage arrangements.

Similarly, the familial relations are to be pleased. This is to get the public discussions in their favour. People are best at talking and making stories, “Did you see the diamond-engraved watch he got from his in-laws?”, “The girl has only received a gold-plated chain!” But I blame none. Some things can never be changed.

While at such an occasion, that I described earlier about the orphanage, you can also invite your guests to dispense their blessings over the young couple and also the kids. A side-advantage of this for everyone is to be able to at least earn some karma points.

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  1. Prashant

    I always ask these questions to everyone whenever there is a talk about marriage..Why the girl has to pay and leave her house ?

    I wonder why ?

    And very much in favor of celebrating with the people who has got nothing instead of people who will come like kings & queens and then will try to find fault .
    Not even 10% of these people will wish you on your anniversary.

    I wish more guys read this article.They need to.

  2. Ankit Dwivedi

    Congratz writer…Its well woven and written…!

    Well, honestly speaking, yeah! marriage is worth the drama..!
    Man is a social animal… He look out for company in his joy and grieves, who most of the times, come out to be his family members, relatives or neighborhood. In Indian society, coexistence is a must, specially in rural areas and developing towns. Though, its rapidly diminishing in the urban living hood, but we simply can’t deny its presence.
    Through the ages, humans are practicing some exercises, which combine to form rituals. These are not enforced, but are supposed to be carried forward to the next generation, bearing in mind the changes that have occurred during passing time. I feel the problem occurs when we continue to perform the ritual without having the sense and feeling of the same. The possible reasons are our poor understanding of our own culture.
    eg. Married women in our culture bear vermilion on their forehead…It may seem rubbish to have red powder in your forehead..But, It is believed to be a sign of life of her husband, It gives women mental and emotional strength….which have a scientific support that it brings positive energy in their mind as it it placed at spiritual center of our body…What I mean to say is that these rituals were not framed..They emerged out of human practices over the years…so we must perform them with spirit, if we do so…!

  3. Anushri Saxena

    Mr. Prashant: I agree with the second question of yours, ‘why the girls get to leave their house’, however I believe this is going to take a loooong time for the society to digest.

    Back to the dowry thing, in your family have you been practising what you questioned?
    In the last marriage in your family, did you too try to make a differenne by giving mometum to your thoughts..?

  4. Anushri Saxena

    Mr. Ankit Dwivedi: Yes, wearing vermilion is like a mental assurance for the women of their husband and marital existence itself. And it is also personal choice.

    However, the marriage ceremony should be a collective effort. This should not be left as a personal choice.
    It needs to be understood by the people.
    Law has already been forced, but it still happens. Why?! Ignorant masses..

  5. Ankit Dwivedi

    Anushree… Its right that the law is there, but most of the people prefer to give and have dowry as It’s their personal choice. We have to understand why is it so…because masses want it that way.
    Social acceptance is by and large the dominating reason. A marriage is not just an affair of a girl and a boy, but rather it’s coming together of two set of groups of people. It’s occasion in which whole lot of relatives and known people come together and new relations and bonding are formed. So, it can’t be called a simple waste of money catering people arriving at the marriage.
    And one more thing, I don’t feel its a one side’s trouble. As far I have witnessed marriages in Bundelkhand… Its is a collective effort. While, bride’s parents take expenditures of the marriage day and dowry items, bridegrooms’ parents spend for premarriage events and jewellery and ornaments for the bride. The relatives coming for the marriage bring gifts for the newly-weds, so neither they are free of financial burden. In reality, marriage comes out from a collective efforts from all the people involved. During marriages, money is given to the poor as a compulsion for various rituals…It gives employment to many women who do household works…It is a seasonal employment for food vendors…and ceremonial decorators…However, the problem arrives when somebody have to make all these arrangements out of his comfort zones…!
    And you know one thing, in villages, farmers marry their girl as soon as she is young and they harvest a good crop, as theyaren’t sure if they’ll get the same in coming years…

    I can make out from your words that marriage: a show off for those who have becomes a burden for have nots’.

  6. Apoorva Puranik

    Marriages, in its true sense was just a set of Mantras and havans in earlier times. However, it is the influence and infusion of different cultures, people, beliefs etc, marriages have assumed the shape of a commercialized and commodified entity. More the drama, better the marriage. It’s sad that our society uses a ritual like this which inn fact very important as means of wealth display. Nuptual ties are tied with crisp currency notes today.

  7. Sagrika

    Marriage is auspicious union of two souls and it must be understood by the society well. The traditions and customs are part and parcels but they should not become a burden on anybody. Earlier, girls were not very educated so the parents used to compensate that part with the dowry. But today they spend so much on their good education and grooming and make them independent…So I want to ask , where is the need of Dowry. Dowry was meant for well being of the couple to start a good life but today both are earning well then where does the question of Dowry arises. It has to be understood by the society that marriages are to be celebrated and is a merry time for both the sides.So ,in my opinion it should be made a trend to divide the expenditure equally between both the parties. I wish to witness this trend.

  8. Shilpi

    Wellll great article …a traditional marriage in India …has all the elements to re establish the inferiority of the women… leave the “dowry” which is social..all the rituals in the ceremony itself…are all oppressive and insulting to women..Kanyadaan means..the women is a “possession” which is passed on from one man(father) to another man(husband)…Somebody mentioned vermilion here…It NOT a sign of what you think..It is sign that a girl is taken( Lost virginity as first sex has blood (conventional) and the vermilion is RED) Hence ,In my opinion, I find it oppressive..AND NO THESE ARE NOT PERSONAL CHOICES…it is the conditioning of the society which keeps women in illusion of being it a personal choice (same in case of burqa )…why i am saying this is because NO SUCH THINGS EXISTS FOR MEN..No surname change,no vermilion,no kanyadaan!!!and a progressive society for me is a society which is egalitarian!!!!!!! Till the time we will keep endorsing these in the name of culture and tradition..the equality between men n women will never come….And till the time we shun these….we should not tlk about equality..if you are doing any of these…you are promoting oppression of women in my opinion…and you are NOT AGAINST IT!!!

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