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Why Am I A ‘To-Be-Bride’ Since The Moment I Was Born?

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By Ojaswini Srivastava:

“Study hard so that we can set you up with a well-educated groom”.
“Dress up well so that you look attractive. Look after your hair, nails, clothes, face, pimples, blah blah …. ”
“Don’t laugh too loudly.”
“Meet everyone with a smile. Greet every elder nicely no matter how they are. Never say you don’t like a relative or things like that”.
“Don’t make a fuss of little things”.
“Don’t be annoyed if you have to serve your brother or father all the time”.
“Learn to cook. No matter how much you study, ultimately you have to do this”. . . And it goes on and on.

These are some of the constant instructions that some Indian girls are raised up with. We have to listen to these things each and every day. Since the moment we are born, we are not a possession of our parents. Our destiny is to be married off. Our destiny is to go and live with another family forever, after spending the first few years of our life with our real family.

freedom

I cannot say to my mom that I don’t think god lives in those idols she worships, because I don’t know if my in laws will tolerate it. I cannot tell my father that I don’t think I should be a docile, sophisticated, always-pleasant creature only because I have to leave him one day and go to another house. I cannot express myself in many ways because they are unconventional and I must remember that it holds the risk of my not getting married ever. A nice family may not take me in if I believe and practice anything too liberal or unconventional. I am sure there are many other Indian girls in my situation.

A girl is a bride the moment she is born. She is a girl. She has to get married one day. She needs proper grooming. She must accept all conventions and become an eligible bride till she turns twenty five or so.

My question is why? Why are we brides throughout our lives? Our education, grooming, upbringing, thoughts, culture, clothing, and everything has to be, since the very beginning, what can one day make us a perfect bride material?

I agree, this is the way of life. We need to have some conventions to live and all those things … But I ask; is giving some meaning to life, setting up a way of living, laying down a set of fundamental ideals of the society so inevitably dependent on what a woman should be? Why do we have to be a foreign entity in our own family and grow up forever learning what we ought to be when we get married? Why cannot I live like a free bird, preach my individual thoughts, not compromise on my choices and still be a good bride one day? Only because I am a woman why do I have to surrender to conventions and make some or the other compromise of my personal choices only to be able to get married into a ‘respected, well-off, nice’ family?

You must be to comment.
  1. kanika

    And if anyone dares raise a voice against it, they are termed as too ‘liberal’ or ‘modern’ for a traditional read conservative Indian family.

  2. Nivethika Raja

    even expressing these kind of emotions result in outraged response from parents… restricting from taking up different hair styles, dress is actually irritating. it is actually to make the girl as a appreciable and acceptable bride among relatives…… after knowing the real reason it is just disgusting to think about.. are we a product to get more demand in the marriage market??? the marriages arranged on looking up these values really sucks……

  3. shilpysharan8

    Hey ojaswini,
    Your write up is quite thought provoking, actually gave voice to some of the most subdued queries at marriages during marriages in Patna and the home town. Thanks for it.
    It is quiet a challenge to maintain a balance when it comes to performing duties , especially while rooting for an independent career. It takes lot of work and courage to challenge these mindsets. That is my take on the issue. Rest, kudos for a good article . 🙂

  4. leena chadha (@rhyme1000)

    So true…but thankfully things have changed and women have more opportunities now.

  5. Jaya Gupta

    i agree with u that most of the girls are brought up like this only. But thank god that my parents are not like them, i can tell my mother what i feel about god,that i don’t believe in the institution of marriage, and so many other debatable topics fearlessly, the society and parents really need to open up and listen to different opinions.

  6. rosechaula

    Well all that has been by Ojaswini in the article is the fact of life.To add fuel to fire, all we hear is that is this how you will behave with ur inlaws? What will ur inlaws will throw u away if u come home late from office. U have boys as friends means boyfriends omg, ur husband will not like them just say no. But by continously hammering us like this at the day of the marriage we are reduced to pulp, conditioned by parents and society to be a perfect wife. In doing so she is thrown alive by her own parents into the holy pyre lit for marriage used for satisfying her husband’s needs, take care of the kids and the in laws. And be the perfect healer and listener for everyone around and all she gets is not even a moment of gratitude.

    Have they realized how broken we feel and just want to leave our homes and be on our own. We are raped daily day in and day out by such comments. Our dreams, aspirations, self respect and self esteem bhaad mein jaae. We are forced to live a dependant life and we have to sacrifice each and every goal of ours so our husband and our kids progress.

  7. sahiba kaur

    i think answer to all the questions which the writer is asking in this article is the existence of patriarchy in our society..

    1. HP

      What is the alternate way, please suggest?

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