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I refuse to be put at a ‘disadvantage’ just because I’m the parent of a girl. It is time we looked differently at marriage and its traditions.
As an “Indian” mother of a daughter I “must” start thinking about my daughter’s marriage since the birth of my child. When the news of a girl child being born is given in Indian society – the image of lakhs of money given as gift to groom’s family comes to mind, maybe kilos of gold of donation and of course the vidaai ceremony of the daughter who is just a day old in your hands… but is this how it should be in a modern society?
Let me share a little instance with you all – I was sitting with a friend of mine who “fortunately” is a mother of a “boy”, having some normal chit chat over tea.
This friend is a very well educated, independent, and working woman in her 30s who works for a corporate in a big city (giving background here is important). We were having this conversation not in some village or a small town of India, but “outside India”.
After some talk about how her in-laws were treating her and how she has many restrictions in her own house (the in-laws house which cannot be hers), we went on to talk about the dowry system in some parts of India. I was shocked to know that despite her background, Bothe personal and professional, she was fine taking dowry for her son in the name of gifts. She tried to convince me that giving gifts is perfectly normal in any marriage, because after all I was a girl’s parent.
This conversation was an eye opener for me. No matter how well educated or financially independent some women became, some of the customs imbibed in society will not change. We as women don’t want that change, we ourselves are encouraging those age-old customs which make no sense in today’s world.
I told her I have a different perspective about all this. Not just because I have a daughter, but because I think it’s unfair to the overall development of the society.
I also have an image of my daughter’s wedding but that doesn’t mean she should get married – that will be her choice. In case she gets married to an Indian boy with parents of the ‘boy’ obviously still attached to the age old Indian customs just because they have a “boy”, I beg to differ in the customs to be followed.
I really don’t subscribe to the tradition that the families to be ‘tied’ in any sort of relationship, because that is a big hoax of Indian marriages. Nowhere are the families tied if there is indifference from the very beginning of the relationship; the bride’s parents are always considered at lower stature than groom’s.
If the bride and groom are capable enough of organizing their own wedding that would be the perfect situation. They are earning; however small or big a ceremony they want, they can spend their own money rather than spending the money of their parents.
The whole onus of spending money falls on the bride’s parents– remember we are the ones who were “doomed” after the birth of girl child? Buying gifts for the groom’s parents and siblings, showering gifts on the not so close relatives of the groom, organizing the whole wedding – why does it have to be the responsibility of only the bride’s parents?
If the happiness of getting their kids married is mutual, then all the exchanging of gifts should be mutual; the bride’s parents should also be showered with the gifts. After all it’s their child also who is getting married.
In an ideal situation there should not be any gifts exchanged, just everyone should have a good time and all the expenses dually split between two wedding parties. Again, I feel that this should be the second choice, in case the kids want the parents to spend money on their wedding – ideally parents should also be invited by the kids to give their blessings and have good time.
As the bride’s parent I should be treated with equal respect and warmth, rather than considering me someone who just raised a daughter and is now passing their own responsibility to the groom and his parents. Please bear in mind we are no longer passing on the responsibility. Our daughter is an asset to this marriage, because we have made her so capable that she does not need any financial assistance from the groom’s side to take care of her needs.
I don’t want the Vidaai scene at all in my daughter’s wedding. Why should the bride and her relatives shed tears? These days both boys and girls move out of their parents’ house so why should only the bride’s side feel bad about it? It should be a happy send-off wherein the parents and families are blessing the newlyweds a good life ahead. But we tend to again make it a pathetic situation for the bride’s side.
I want to be a part of one of the happiest moment of our children’s lives and live it to the fullest – eat, dance and drink (maybe), not just get bogged down by the worries if the groom’s side is happy or not after all the hard earned money has been put down the drain on the bride’s side.
I want my daughter and son-in-law to choose what kind of wedding they want, and not just impose one on them as parents because that is the “Indian culture”. I want the kids to get married so that they are committing to each other for life, not because they must show off the power of money in big fat Indian weddings.
After spending a good amount of money and energy to raise our daughters and get them to a point where they can earn and feed themselves, I am not obligated to put on a show where the groom side is treated as God and we are the lesser ones giving up our self-respect in the name of Indian customs and culture. We cannot change society unless we put an effort to change ourselves. But if we continue to have a mental block like the young lady I mentioned above, then all this talk of equality and women empowerment are just mere words; nothing has changed since ages and we are making sure nothing should change!!
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