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She had so many dreams from life, and hoped she could follow them even after she gave in to parental pressure to marry. That was the beginning of the end!
“The roses and lilacs bloomed
So were her dreams and aspirations
But the storm came, without warning
And with that came her ending”
How can one be inhuman towards the feelings of others? These was my first reaction when I read what happened to a friend who was just 24 years old. I couldn’t sleep that day. I couldn’t believe what had happened.
It wasn’t so long ago that she was a junior at my college, and had confided her dreams in me – “I want to do a Ph.D.”, she had said. She loved animals, and had two dogs and a cat at her parents’ home. She loved her parents and always spoke about them. We girls, at the hostel had spent many happy hours studying and speaking together. Who would have thought that such would be her destiny after a mere 2 years?
Sapna (name changed) hailed from a beautiful place. A place which is known as Abode of Shiva- Dehradun. She was married right away after her MBA into an upper middle class Punjabi family. That was against her wish as she wanted to go abroad and do a Ph.D. as I have already mentioned above. She fought with her parents but they did not listen to her.
A royal big fat wedding was arranged, that called for gem encrusted ostentatious dresses for the bride and groom and elaborate baraat and where everything screamed money. These type of weddings often serve to show the family’s social standing.
Sapna had made her peace with the situation, and hoped that she could still follow her dreams after marriage. Her husband showered her with gifts and ostentatious love for some time. It was all glitter and gold for 4 months. New outfits, showering attention, exotic vacations and expensive gifts. She was in the gilded throne for that period. But the truth always peeps out too soon.
The husband who poured her love and care did not get impressed with her wish to study further. Her dreams were slowly reaching the grave. Yet she did not give up. She took this matter to her in laws but they too turned a deaf ear to her feelings. They, including her husband, shut her out from the external world and asked her to be a royal khandaani bahu who breathed gold, walked silk and applied paint.
It was just 4 months into this relationship of the heart, but the heart never came into consideration. Family honour and this silly obsolete mindset were crushing everything. And that black day came when the news flashed that Sapna was no more. I came to know when it was splashed on Facebook by other friends. I got up, washed my face, thinking that I had just had a nightmare.
She was ruthlessly murdered by her in-laws because she couldn’t draw more money. She had the same fate as a sone ki chidiya. The dowry was not enough. But what about the promises? Those sacrifices which she made. She was the only child of her parents. They were shattered, cheated and everything came like a sucker punch.
This was the fate of my friend Sapna. The dreams and wishes to study, do something out of her career, walk ahead in life, know more things, write a book, do research and many such things were gone with her. The sun was fully set and ahead lay an endless night. The dark shadows that lurked in her life in the form of marriage and stupid customs and traditional beliefs never got her anything. And our gender stereotype worshipers will not point their fingers to the money eating parasites but would raise questions about Sapna.
What if Sapna had been allowed to study further? What if she had not followed tradition? What if she had not bowed to her parents? Would she have faced this terrible fate?
Truth be told, the beliefs are laid down by us. The rules are drafted by us. This over-generalization or defining roles for the genders, most of the times, makes life difficult for women. Till the time of early Vedic period, women were treated with great respect and had everything in favor of them. But the later Vedic period saw no comfort for women and that era defined some ill rules and traditions for women which we are still following blindly.
Gender stereotypes have a negative effect on the minds of younger generations. These societal norms, or dictating patterns that a certain gender should follow, has ruined by friend’s life. It is time this changes!
Image source: hands of an Indian bride by Shutterstock.
I am a writer/blogger from Mumbai. I work as a teacher and spanish trainer
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