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4 Faults Prospective In-Laws Found In Me When I Was ‘Shown’ For Marriage

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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:

1. Age

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.

2. Dowry

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.

3. Skin Colour

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.

4. My Lifestyle

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.

You must be to comment.
  1. Aparajita Guha

    I am so sorry for your personal experience. As an Indian, I can’t believe the dowry system still exists. Like our Western contemporaries, most of us are selfie-obsessed and have similar obsessions with modern fads (*hacking cough* challenges). Then why does this stupid problem of dowry still exist? But I’m not giving up yet. There is still hope.

  2. Rahul

    Vaishali, I hope you have finally chosen to remain single after finding all the issues with marriage. You might like the post here regarding the benefits of remaining single in today’s society along with issues faced by liberal women today.
    https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2019/08/marriage-for-liberal-women/

  3. Rahul

    Vaishali, I hope you have finally chosen to remain single after finding all the issues with marriage. You might like the post here regarding the benefits of remaining single in today’s society along with issues faced by liberal women today.
    https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2019/08/marriage-for-liberal-women/

  4. Rahul

    Vaishali, I hope you have finally chosen to remain single after finding all the issues with marriage. You might like my post regarding the benefits of remaining single in today’s society along with issues faced by liberal women today (post titled marriage-for-liberal-women on my profile page).

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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