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This ‘Non-Sanskaari-Feminist’ Shows You How To Deal With Patriarchy Like A Boss

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A couple of days back, I happened to meet one of my hostel juniors at a barbeque place. She was accompanied by her family. It was a chance coincidence that the moment I entered the place my eyes went in the direction of all the glitter. And there she was! Newlywed! You don’t have to ask, you just know! (If you know what I mean.) She was wearing a heavy saree (heavier than her own weight), shiny gold jewellery (the only piece of jewellery I remember her wearing was a gold chain which was surprisingly missing), red lipstick and all that jazz.  Only a newlywed can adorn such a look, Bappi da aside, on regular days.  The moment she looked at me and smiled I could not stop but wonder the reason behind her stiff smile. Isn’t she supposed to be happy? Maybe the lipstick isn’t letting her lips curl properly.

I had always seen this little girl jumping around and chuckling in the hostel corridors with her ever radiant smile. I could not stop myself from asking her: what happened? She gave a sad smile. “Marriage. Marriage happened di,” she said.

I was quite taken aback by her answer. It felt like she had aged by 20 years.

Being an outspoken and change-the-society, naari-shakti (women power) kind of girl, I instantly turned to her oh-so-modern-family. I call them that because I noticed an aunty wearing a skirt or some sort of a dress. Well, they should have a logical explanation for this girl.

Namastey. Sorry for asking, but may I please know why she is wearing such a heavy saree on a Saturday night at a place where people come to chill?” Looking at the same aunty I further added, “we don’t need to look anywhere else.”

The family was obviously flabbergasted. Naturally, because of a stranger was intruding in what seemed like a warm family dinner and without a doubt, the question wasn’t what they would have ever expected.

Not even trying to hide their wonderment, her aunt (in-law) answered, with a look of dismissal: “because she is a newlywed.

Ok! Fair enough I thought. But does that answer it all? I could not keep my tongue shut despite knowing that I am about to make a mess. “Who do you have to show this to? Don’t you people already know she is a newlywed?

They were stunned. “What?”

I knew from their ‘what’ that I should have gone about minding my own business. But that’s not what life has taught us, right?

Oh I am sorry,” I laughed at my own silliness, as soon as I realized what I had just said. “Of course, you know she is a newlywed. You just told me that. Oh, so you want to show it to the relatives? Neighbors? But didn’t they already come to the big fat wedding you had organised to bless the couple? I mean aren’t these people the reason behind throwing such lavish weddings?

Oh, by the way, I saw the pictures on Facebook. Amazing decoration. Just like a fairy tale wedding. Loved it totally,” I said turning towards my junior who stood there, definitely enjoying the conversation even a little sceptical about showing it on her face.

This was almost infuriating for them. “Excuse me?” said some aunty. (They always have to be right and when they see someone pointing their faults at them, they do not like it. And her words delivered the same message.) But do you think that stopped me from blabbering my ultra modern, not in-sync with the society, and not-so-sanskaari vichaars?

Ha! You wish!

Oh, forgive me, you are trying to remind her that she is married now. Now I get it. I am so foolish. Forgive me, aunty,” I continued and that didn’t lighten the mood. I “understood” their feelings now. I was “with them totally”. A girl needs to be reminded every moment that she is married, otherwise, she might go around screwing random college junkies. I was about to say my goodbye when my eyes settled on my junior’s husband, who I recognized from her FB posts.

Oh but wait a second,” I said, “doesn’t he need to be reminded that he is recently married? I mean isn’t he supposed to wear a sherwani or saafa or something other than jeans and a casual t-shirt, knowing full well that even he is also a newlywed?

Are you totally insane? A newly wed girl is supposed to wear all this. This is a sign of happy marriage and also a good shagun,” I was informed.

Wow! That solves it all, I said, thanking them for such an amazingly simple solution.

Thank you, Aunty. You have given me a great solution. A friend of mine is facing problems in her marriage and might file for divorce. But she doesn’t have to anymore. All because of you. I will ask her to dress properly in a red saree and wear heavy gold jewellery. After all, it is a good shagun. I am sure her husband will be more understanding then. I am so sorry, I never knew that a couple’s compatibility lies in the attire and presentation of the girl. This is such an eye opener. Thank you so very much. I will always be grateful.”

This probably was their threshold because next, my friends pulled me to my table and ordered a dessert for me. I love desserts. They make you feel good. They tell you how heavenly delicious the world is!

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  1. Shubhadeep Sarkar

    I don’t know which part of the country this ceremony happened because I have seen north Indian and Bengali wedding party and in all of it men also wears those heavy warm dresses that you mentioned , i mean serwani .. I don’t know about the southern or western part, may this one of that part. I am a Bengali , and happened to live a small town where most people belongs to a middle class economic class. One of my friend has a shop , in the neighborhood and his wife runs a ‘ tatya management centre’ well if you know bengali marriages , the bride and groom both present the other party gifts , and sometimes it takes a form of competition, and here comes the ‘tatya’ thing. Well my friend’s wife is very good at it and I used to take fist site and give (well Indian men are made to give gyan ) her some suggestion. And from each such ceremony as most of these things were outsourced , my friend’s wife, i mean sorry , I should tell her name instead of using that patriarchal relations, well she is Arpita , I dont use to call her by name , I mean I call her boudi , Arpita boudi , because some ancient values; she earns a hefty money. May be I am too skeptical but she really helps her sons education.
    My point is sometimes those useless Indian , unscientific , out dated ceremonies help out many families with money.

    1. Shraddha Nyati

      Hi Shubhadeep
      To be frank I could not understand what you want to convey. On the basis of my understanding lemme focus on certain points which you might have missed while reading.
      1. I was mentioning post wedding time and not what happens during a wedding. And even if you talk about the shit load of jewellery and make up a bride adorns it is nowhere in comparison to a serwani a groom wears. Try to cover your head with a towel (not a wet one) for even 20 minutes and you will know what it is to carry a heavy lehenga.
      2. I could not understand Arpita’s case! At all.

  2. Shubhadeep Sarkar

    Hi Nyari ji .. what I conveyed is this.
    1. Indian marriages are full of some thing idiotic for both men and women. Which cannot be judged by some lines. I have seen UP grooms on a horse like a knight which I felt ridiculous while i always found the bride in a more fashionably presented. My point is indian marriages always have something for both man and woman. After reading your article I got an essence of a voice against this. I may be wrong but i think you pointed out the misuses of our marriage system. Is not it Therefore i tried to show the benefits of it.
    2.And of the heavily laden jewelry , i have seen girls wearing a sleeveless and backless dress in Delhi i wonder how they simply come out when I simply shivering with laden of cloths and from that my conjecture is that I must not think about what and how an woman wears because I will be clueless. So for your women in jewellery and ghum ghat all may be suitable for her. Well you will argue had anyone asked her well I know even men somoy have the privilege in wedding . It has nothing to do with sanskari

    And I tried that towel thing. well for my benefit it was scorching out side and I managed to keep it for some time. It was not that bad at first but after 30 minutes or so I perspired heavily.. i will try it in a ac room some day . Thanks

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