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We as a society have a very skewed idea of ‘sanskaar’! Girls are told from childhood to be sanskaari, and we should be – just that I think it should mean something different altogether!
We use the word Sanskaar for value systems, and I usually feel proud that I have some good values. I also don’t doubt that Sanskaar are essential for anyone to be a better human being and have a scrupulous and respectful life, to have peaceful sleep, and most important to be able to look into your own eyes with confidence and dignity.
But my questions are:
a) Are these Sanskaars only meant for the families having girls as their children?
b) Can families where people have sons blithely ignore this aspect and still expect the Sanskaars to come with the bride who joins their families after they get married to their non-Sanskaari boys?
These questions aren’t random, but come from my experiences of meeting matrimonial alliances.
Presenting a few matrimonial meetings which are embossed on my soul with a ‘danger’ sign forever.
Since I have an average height of 5 ft and am a little ‘chubby’, many times families have rejected me. They liked my details but my picture was not upto the mark for their rajkumars.
Along came this fellow from Mumbai. He was fairly short, plump, and had scanty hair. He was very well educated and was working with a renowned organisation at a good position.
I didn’t give much attention to the average looks because I too am an average looking girl. He had been communicating with my Dad and he sounded really nice from what they had spoken, which made me little good about him. My Dad asked him to have a chat with me over phone.
He called me, we chatted for a while. He was good to talk to and said we should be in touch more often. I was happy to know that he was ‘broad minded’ enough for this.
He then mailed me about things he had done at a party last night. I wrote to him about the things I like to do. In response, he wrote about all he did at another party the day before.
I wrote about how I felt about life and relationships. He responded after 2 days and wrote about what he did at the party he had a day before.
I again wrote a little and asked about his family. He responded with some information about his family, and elaborated again about what he had done at a party he had some time back.
This was getting on my nerves so I responded saying that we were chatting for a reason, and let’s not waste our time in talking about parties. So he asked me to have a video chat with him the next evening. I was happy that the guy would finally talk with me face to face. The agreed time was 6:00 pm sharp. I got ready and logged into the video chat, sat in front of my computer and messaged him about my readiness. He messaged back asking me to wait for 5 more minutes, which was not an issue for me.
6:00 turned to 6:05 and then 6:30… then 7:00 pm and then 7:30 pm, but nothing from him. I felt insulted, but since I was sanskaari, I just messaged him saying that I was logging off. He replied with a “sorry” and some lame reason of some girl in his neighbourhood who had come over.
Disgusted with this attitude, I requested my Dad to not pursue this gentleman further. My Dad who thought he was a gentleman, kept messaging him but in vain, and finally he also gave up, thinking that I might have said something to him!
After a month’s time he called me, saying that he was visiting Delhi and could we meet? Though I didn’t want to meet him, my family which is very sanskaari wanted to give him a chance. He came with his father, and we all met at my sister’s residence. His father had suffered paralysis so could see the deformation on his face. We both sat and spoke for a good while and I being me, gave him another chance just because his father seemed to be a real gentleman belonging to a good family. I was happy to give him the benefit of doubt, agreed to meet him alone at a restaurant the next day.
We were supposed to meet at 11:00 in the morning. Just before 11:00 he called up to postpone the meeting when I was just getting out to drive to the venue. Another benefit of doubt, and I waited for his call. He messaged me to meet him at 1:00 pm. Since it was just 2 hrs from 11:00 I opted to remain at home and leave at 12:45pm. At 12:30 he called me to postpone the meeting to 4:00 and at some other venue, near his place.
My family again pushed me hard to not reacting to his yo-yo-ing tantrums. Inside I was feeling as if someone was killing my self esteem, but being a sanskaari girl, I agreed to meet him at 4:00 at a different venue. Please note that the whole day, I was not in a position to relax, to change my clothes or do something of my interest; my time almost held to ransom. I left at 3:50 pm, and mid way I received a call from him saying that he would take another 1 hr to reach there. Since I was halfway there, I had no other option but to reach there. He finally reached there at 6:00 pm, with an insensitive smile and no apologies for destroying my day.
We sat at a restaurant and I could see his changed colours. He was different when he was with his Dad and totally different alone. He questioned me about my medical background, if I have any diseases. When I said no, by God’s grace, to which he said that he wanted a healthy girl for his family as his father had got a recent paralysis attack because of high BP, and his mother was sugar patient. My Sanskaar stopped me from asking him what about the girl’s wish to have a healthy family!
After this, he went on a different track exalting himself. He mentioned that he was in great demand by many families, and girls drool over him (for what I have still not understood!). He then embarrassed me by asking me if I colour my hair, to which I said yes. My sanskaar stopped me from saying that I at least have hair to colour, you don’t even have them!
Then we decided to have an icecream. We ordered and he ensured that he kept his hands in his pocket. I noticed that and I took out my wallet to pay. He gladly and shamelessly said, girls should also pay sometimes. He had thought that I would be another girl to drool over him for being a ‘cool dude’, but I had made up my mind that my life is not meant for wasting on such men.
This chap was the only son. He was a pale, almost white skinned guy with greenish skin where he had shaved. I felt he was a cold and arrogant guy when I looked at him for the first time, but I being a sanskaari girl, didn’t want to make judgments because his parents who were old for and looked like really decent people.
My parents and his parents sat at one table and I sat with him at another table. He started by asking me about my daily regime. I told him casually what happens on an average working day when he interrupted and asked me to take him through step by step from the moment I enter the office. I thought maybe he belonged to some process excellence team, and really wanted to help me improve my processes.
After a while I got really irritated with his interrogation, but I being a sanskaari girl chose to be polite and answered his questions. He the very coldly asked me what time I reached home. The moment I replied that I am generally back home by 7:30 to 8:00 pm, he questioned me who was going to make dinner for his parents. I felt he wanted a maid, not a wife, but keeping my sanskaars intact, I told him that I might think of keeping a full time maid.
Making an uncomfortable face, he then asked me how I think I could add spice to his life after I come back from office. It was one of the most disgusting questions I had ever been asked, (especially given I was meeting the chap for the first time), but my sanskaars had made me thick skinned, so I just tolerated it.
He then asked me how I make a claim for HRA and LTA in my organisation, and if I use fake bills or not. This was an astonishing question, after which I was sure what I wanted. I saw that both sets of parents were really enjoying each other’s company so I was quiet right then. My dad was really happy to see me so comfortable with him, but he was not aware of the fact that I was comfortable only now that I knew what I was going to do with this chap.
After the meeting was over, my Dad asked him what he wanted in a partner, to which he bluntly and coldly said, “I want everything.” God knows if he has got everything, but I was lucky that I could get rid of him.
Another meeting happened. This man was bold enough to ask my Dad if he could take me to another table for discussing things with me. I and my family were impressed by him and his boldness. I have always liked men who are bold and straight with no manipulations.
After the discussion and feeling a little impressed with this guy, I agreed to meet him the next day alone. He was extremely nice to talk with, and very confident.
When I met him the next day, he started telling me about himself. He told me all the ‘truths’ about what he is and how he thinks. He was extremely honest. He told me that I have to put all my money and savings for the welfare of his family, as he had invested all his money in his new business. He told me that he might be young by age but inside he is a grumpy old man who only wants a clean bed and a pillow, and nothing else in his life. For him my parents after marriage would not be part of the family. He would treat them as guests and nothing else, and I would have to have the same approach. He also wanted me to check and let him know my reports related to HIV, as he “doubted my character” and never believed any one could “stay clean in her 30’s”.
He also said that he doesn’t have good rapport with his parents, so I will have to keep the same approach. He will not like it if I mingle much with his parents. All he wanted from me were my savings to take care of his household expenses.
His honesty was so appreciable that I knew what to do with this jerk. He again emphasised that I should think about him over the night and give him my decision. He was a different guy and I really felt time was testing my sanskaars and tolerance. He deserved slow claps and a bow down for what he was.
Remembering these stories and many more similar ones makes me feel as if I am reliving those experiences. Luckily my parents are not such that would force me to get hooked up just for the sake of getting married. But at times I think – what preparation did the parents do for their boys to meet a prospective alliance?
I am still sanskaari but yes, I now know where to stop, where to get up and where to move on to not allow for such disasters. I am happily single with hopes to meet a decent man in the near future, but at the same time I feel that I am what I am looking for, so rather love myself than to wait for someone else.
We in India, specially the middle class families have always made their girls learn to respect and tolerate others at the cost of your own comforts, respect and requirements.
Sanskaar in my opinion now is all about self esteem and dignity. If you have it in you, the rest will follow.
Image source: YouTube
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