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The ‘boy’ was perfect for my cousin Neha. But Neha wasn’t convinced that this was the right family for her to marry into. Why did the prospective bride refuse?
It was my cousin sister Neha’s big day.
She and the ‘boy’ were talking in her room with the door shut while the rest of the cousins were parading outside giggling and craning the necks hard to get a good peek at the ‘couple’ through the window. It was a perfect scene of ‘girl seeing‘. The ‘boy’ aka Vinay was a software professional from California. Neha too was a professional employed with Microsoft at Hyderabad.
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Neha was an absolute darling. A trained Carnatic singer with exceptionally brilliant communication and interpersonal skills. She was the youngest of all cousins, the prettiest, the pet of our family, and our sunshine girl. All of us cousins had gathered at her home, hoping to get a glimpse of ‘Neha’s guy’.
The proposal from Vinay’s side came to us about three months back. They were from a neighboring town, around two hours drive from our place. The horoscopes had matched perfectly. Vinay’s father and uncles had come home to see Neha last month. Vinay was now on his vacation from his job in California and his father had called last week to inform us of his arrival. Neha’s parents arranged this get together for the families to meet and greet.
Vinay came along with his father and two uncles on the Sunday morning. He was a handsome fellow, 5 feet 10 inches tall, cleanly shaven face and neatly dressed. One look at him, and we were gaga over him. He would be perfect for our Neha. His actions and mannerisms too were gentlemanly and the way he ushered Neha to her room and held the door open for her was rather impressive.
We waited impatiently outside Neha’s room and after what seemed like an eternity, the door opened. Neha exited her room, soon followed by Vinay. Vinay stole a glance at the giggling, gawking cousins and stifled a smile. We knew instantly it must have been a ‘Yes’ from him. Vinay joined his father, uncles and other men of our family and within the next five minutes the gang got up to leave. We tried to poke Neha for an answer but she remained quiet.
The men of our house accompanied them till their car and as Vinay entered the car we found him extending his gaze to spot Neha. But Neha didn’t come out to see him off and stayed back inside home.
We waved our hands at their car watching them leave and ran back home to reach Neha’s side.
“So Neha, how was he?” I could not hold it any longer.
“He seemed nice didi. He is well read and had good manners,” Neha replied.
“So is it a ‘Yes’ from you? Oh he is dashingly handsome. He is such a good match for you. ” The excitement in the room was exponentially growing.
“No, its not a Yes from me. It is a ‘No'” Neha responded sharply while the rest of us were baffled.
“Why Neha? Do you want to talk more to him? May be spend more time with each other?” Neha’s mom took over the discussion.
“Well I have concerns.” Neha replied slowly as we raised our eye brows.
“I am not sure if this is the right family for me,” Neha was thoughtful.
“Why Neha? What concerns do you have of his family? We enquired very well. Their family is highly reputed. They are very affluent and respectable people in their home town.” Neha’s father too got involved in the discussion.
“Oh I don’t doubt their affluence or their stand in the society Daddy. But I don’t think the family respects women,” Neha said.
“But he had great manners towards women. He held the door open for you. He let you walk ahead. He even did a namaste to your mother and grandmother.” I interrupted, with my background in MA psychology backing me up .
“Yes his manners were impeccable. But I do not want to get into a family who did not care to bring the mother of the boy to meet the prospective wife of his son both the times they have been here,” Neha made her point and we all nodded to the fact. It was indeed a notable point. Both the times the family came over, the mother was absent. Why is it that they don’t respect her opinion?
“Did you mention this to Vinay?” Neha’s mother asked.
“Yes I did. His response was that the first time his dad didn’t get the mother along as the proposal was not finalized. And when Vinay called his mom to accompany him today, she responded saying it’s Vinay’s decision that matters, not hers.”
“That makes sense Neha, after all it is yours and Vinay’s decision to marry or not. Not his mother’s.” I suggested.
“Yes but Vinay has grown up watching his parents. He has seen a dad who does not care for his wife’s presence, and raised by a mother who does not consider her point of view relevant enough. She need not be a decision maker. But she doesn’t think of herself as important enough to meet her proposed daughter-in-law.”
We all nodded our heads in unison.
“Vinay could be as modern as he could get. He could be the futuristic idol a woman could dream of. But the relationship between his parents and his mother’s lack of self-importance speak volumes of how their son would view his own wife and his life. I would never want to get into a family with whose women I cannot connect!” Neha concluded as the rest of us agreed to her notion.
Neha may have been the youngest of all. But her observation made us all ponder. It sometimes takes the new generation to lead us to the right path.
Women are social beings and feel the inherent need to depend on each other for support, mentorship, approval, and friendship. Be wise in choosing your women be it in-laws, friends, co-workers, for it determines the kind of person you would eventually shape up to.
It’s not just the men we choose that matter, it’s the women we choose too!
Published here earlier.
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Manju Nambiar hails from the southern state of Kerala, India. A computer engineer by profession,
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