By Vaishali E:
“Marriages are made in heaven.”
Ah! Such a wonderful quote, ever wondered who coined it? Perhaps some happy chap who had a wonderful and satisfying love marriage. But many poor souls who don’t get the opportunity to try love are fated to get into arranged marriages. It’s not like I hate arranged marriage, it’s the process that tires me. Particularly, finding the groom i.e. ‘quest for the inamorato’.
I am a working woman who has all the happiness in life – loving family, great friends, wonderful colleagues. But society says that that is not enough, you have to get married to be happy.
Being part of the society, my parents have started looking for my soul mate. After nine to ten ‘interviews’ (I’ll say interview because that is what they were), I am not pleased with the ways of thinking that I have encountered. We as a country have reached so many new heights but as a society we are still lagging in some fields, especially in the arena of marriage. My experience of finding my other-half was an eye-opener. I came to know that I had so many ‘faults’ and I was not what a lady was expected to be like:
I was shocked to know that age was one of the factors. That’s right, there is a correct age for getting married. I came to know about this when one of my uncles (who thinks he is the guardian angel of all ‘unmarried’ poor souls) came home. He looked at me with concern and said, “You are still here. I thought you got married and went to your husband’s home” followed by a laugh. Because according to society, girls are supposed to get married in the ‘marriageable age’ which roughly falls in age category of 22-25. If we are still at home by that age, there is something wrong with us; we are ‘defective products’. By 27, we are old. Because, for men 40 is the new 30 and for us women, 25 is the new 40. Some even thought I was too old for them.
Another shocking revelation that I had was that the dowry problem is still prevalent in India. Even the affluent literate working class are part of this insensitive custom. One woman dies every hour due to dowry related reasons on an average in the country. That’s a sick fact. Is money more important than people themselves? I got the answer when one kept on asking questions like, “How much property does your dad own? How many cars? How much gold do you have?” I was asked 50 sovereigns of gold for my darker skin tone. I guess I will get lighter skin once I give them the money.
Our country is so obsessed with ‘fair’ skin. Movies, soaps and even sds show that a girl or a boy should be fair-skinned to be called good-looking. There are so many songs that glorify ‘fair’ skin in Bollywood. I have been told by my honorable perhaps-to-be-in-laws that I am a bit dark for their son. They even joked that I will be like a ‘kaala tiika’ for their son. They suggested that I get some fairness treatment done. I instinctively asked them to get some behavioral treatment done. They looked at my dad and my dad gave me a high-five. It’s not a matter of joke though; colour should never be a reason to reject somebody. That is downright inhumane. Everyone is beautiful, every colour is beautiful.
My ‘lifestyle’, i.e. my work, my social circle became a big problem. First, they don’t want me to work after marriage. They asked me I would work after marriage. When I responded in the affirmative, they leave. And later, they call and say that if the girl goes to work, who will take care of the house? Taking care of the household is only our job. One of the ladies even told me that I have to stay at home and do all the housework because she doesn’t like employing help. I wondered what they were looking for, a maid or a daughter-in-law? Moreover, when I tell them that my friends circle has both female and male friends, they reject me because I have ‘boyfriends’.
It was not all rain in the process. I met some really wonderful people too, People who genuinely respect other human beings. Some didn’t care about my colour or my lifestyle. They didn’t care that I could cook only vegetarian food. They accepted me for who I am. I even met a guy who didn’t care about my religion too. Sometimes when the guy’s parents told that I should refrain from working, the guy supported me telling that I should work because it was my life.
I think I still have hope.
They say marriages are made in heaven. But so is thunder and lightning.