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Despite it being outlawed, people still expect dowry, sometimes in the form of 'wedding expenditure' and 'gifts for your daughter'. A daughter speaks up against it.
Despite it being outlawed, people still expect dowry, sometimes in the form of ‘wedding expenditure’ and ‘gifts for your daughter’. A daughter speaks up against it.
We haven’t met. You have a face from the photos that I have seen of you in your matrimony profile, but no identity. Many of the boys in my friends circle and family have opted for arranged marriages, so you are easily one of them. In my head, you are already a human being, filled with what they call the three R’s- respect for self, respect for others and full responsibility for all your actions. Which is why saying ‘no’ comes so easy.
No offence, but the conversation regarding this could easily be held between a chief courtesan and her customer, where she has set a price for the virgin she brought up and will not settle for anything less. She has been getting better offers from across the world, but she is doing you a favour by talking to you because she thinks that you need to have a chance too. Even here, the girl is usually offended by this, yet, you are not.
Or, think of it this way. There are places in India where families sell the girl child as a bride to the highest bidder. Which means that the potential groom pays money to a family in exchange for their daughter. Sometimes, this makes its way to the newspapers. The bride is shown, sad and forlorn, the pang of betrayal sparkling through her tears. I understand that. I may not know a lot about love, but it surely should not begin on such wrong footing.
But somehow, you are not saddened by the fact that your parents are seeking a reimbursement on what they spent on you and a little bit more, in the name of finding a bride for you.
Have you seen the hoardings of ‘beti bachao, beti padhao’? The parents of the bride are the ones who did just that. They treated their child as a person first, they educated her- like the girls you have as friends; the ones who grew up to be responsible, hardworking women, and stood shoulder to shoulder with you. At the time of their wedding, however, these girls realise that the world is stuck at where it was centuries ago. She still has to be decked in gold (when her idea of dressing up is nowhere close to looking like a Christmas tree) and pay a little more to get married into a house where the boy is as educated as she is.
Don’t be fooled by those who call it her ‘share’. What you are getting is mostly the entire hard earned money that they have managed to save since her birth. There is nothing respectful about it all. Do you see how your silence and acceptance of all this as being part of the norm is a big contributing factor to female foeticide? What’s the point of being progressive in every other aspect of your life, except with the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with?
I know that my friends would cut off all ties with me if I offered them riches and asked them to be my friend for life. Why isn’t it an obscenity if it’s done in the name of marriage?
It’s really sad that your parents are selling you for money, not for one night, but for life. The fact that you hope that you will find love somewhere in this transaction is another level of ignorance. I don’t hate you, because you are easily every person I know of our age. But the fact that you are ok with your parents looking for the highest bidder shows how little thought you have put into it.
I am simply trying to slip in a mirror from under the door that separates us for you to reflect upon. But if you are more offended by the fact that I slipped in this mirror, maybe it is because you don’t like the person staring back at you from it.
Food for thought?
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: pixabay
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Mostly Normal is a book of innocence, longing, filial love, angst and acceptance, encapsulating a gamut of human emotions within its lightweight edifice. The book touches the human heart and will stay with you.
Some books enthral you till the last page, and then there are those that you stop reading after turning a few pages. Some books are a one-time read, while you carry some books with you long after you have read them. Then, once in a while, a book hits you so close to home that you find it difficult to slot into any category.
I will put Priyadeep Kaur’s Mostly Normal (BookSoul Reads, 2022) in this last bracket.
At a little less than hundred pages, Mostly Normal is a testimony of the power of words to inspire, irrespective of their length.
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Trigger Warning: This deals with domestic violence, gaslighting, murder, and abetting violence, and may be triggering to survivors.
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