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Pre-nuptia​l Agreement: Worth Paying For?

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By Deepanwita Goswami:

This was me. I was clad in a red bordered yellow sari, the ‘atpoure’ (read Bengali) style. My forehead glistened with a small red vermilion bindi. My neck looked dazzling in that ‘rani haar’ and my earrings matched its counterpart. Bangles adorned my feminine wrists and anklets tinkled as I walked. My eyes were lined with kohl and feet with alta. I was 9-years-old.

It wasn’t my wedding day. This was the occasion where the groom side were visiting us and especially me, ma had said. They were here sharp on time. A young gentleman accompanied by three elderly men had arrived at our abode and looked prim and proper from head to toe. I was told that my groom was 21-years-old and a teacher. My aunt told me he was wearing dhoti-kurta and looked fittingly handsome. I was just hoping to see the charm that could make my world swirl. My heart was pounding.

My elder sister had dressed me up. She was 11-years-old. She was also married an year and half ago and looked more alluring than me with the vermillion streak in her forehead. I always wished to be like her and today was the day where I could find my distinguished half. I could see myself turning into her, having someone along my side loving me with all his life, desiring me in all his fantasies and protecting me in his entire guise. I was called and she was the one who took me to them.

I didn’t raise my head but I could see him. I liked him. They asked my name. Ma had instructed not to speak unless asked three times, so I kept mum. I was called Giribala, my father said. My sister loosened my hair which was tightly held up in a bun. They admired the length of my tresses. They asked me to walk. Ma had taught me the walk. I was then asked to turn round around. I turned twice. They asked me to sit; I took the weight off my feet. They asked me to sing, I hummed a hymn. They asked me to write my name. I wrote it instantly.

And then he raised his voice, I don’t know why but he said stop. He was not happy. I was enjoying every bit of it but I guess he didn’t like my voice or even worse, me. I didn’t know what it meant but I could sense the restlessness of my people. Even his people were baffled with the turn of the events. I thought I was rejected, but from the corner of my eyes I saw my ma smiling. Why? I wondered.

Later after a week or so, a letter arrived. They approved me. He too would have liked me, I hoped. It was a blissful moment for my family but to me…finally, I was going to be sent to my home.

This is an account of what might have had happened if I had been born 90years ago. But the feeling still remains the same. It doesn’t sink in- why people get married when there is no acceptance of self. Is it a favor or fervour? Why do they settle down, only to have a dismantled life later on? Our parents bring us up only to give us up, I suppose…

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  1. Rigya Singh

    There is a short story by Rabindranath Tagore I had read which was translated as “The Exercise Book”. It was about a little girl who got married and how she loved writing in the little book of hers. Do read it. It is opposite in terms of the bride’s reactions in your article.

    1. Deepanwita

      have read it..thanks for sharing your thoughts with this article..

  2. Pranjal

    This a kind of eye opener. I used to think if not the parents the child atleast never wanted to marry at such a tender age when she is so attached to her parents. Nevertheless today atleast minds are changing and altough there are many people who resort to such crimes , they need to be firstly told that it is a punishable offence and its consequences because in many cases illiteracy and lack of awareness , following the rituals blindly are the main reasons . The next step is to punish the guilty and also make everyone realise that following a ritual blindly is not good for anyone neither them.
    with proper policing and taking care of the local centiments necessary steps are to be taken

  3. ipsa arora

    Even after living in the 21st century some things haven’t changed and its hard to chnage them, even harder to accept!

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