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So now, my parents who used to be proud of me and my career just a year ago, feel ashamed of me as I have told them about a guy whom I love.
I would not be wrong if I say that no action can make our Indian society completely happy and especially when the topic of discussion is ‘Marriage’.
Marriage is one of the most discussed, favourite topic of our social ‘aunties’ the moment a girl touches ‘marriageable age’ again according to our Indian society. Every girl must have heard the same line “aur beta ab to career bhi ban gya, so ab shaadi krle jaldi se” (now your studies have also finished, now get married soon) at least once in her life, no matter how ‘modern’ the society she belongs to. We might even find a series of jokes on the same topic, but here I want to raise another query.
The answer to this question is partially on the back cover of Chetan Bhagat’s Two States. The back cover (blurb) of the book says “Love marriages around the world are simple: Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy they get married. In India, there are few more steps: Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy. Girl’s family has to love boy. Boy’s family has to love girl. Girl’s family has to love boy’s family. Boy’s family has to love girl’s family. Girl and boy still love each other. They get married.”
But in the actual world, there are multiple filters for those 5-6 steps to happen.
To explain my point I will tell my story. I am a 28 years old girl, have completed PhD from one of the most pioneering institutes of our country. I am financially independent for the last 5 years and have traveled to many countries around the world completely on my own. I am in a relationship with a guy from the last 3 years. In terms of his career, he is also doing pretty well.
In short, the idea that if you fall in love then you cannot make your career has proven wrong over here. In the 21st century, when our country is still struggling to even understand that there is something like a gay marriage, there are many parts where a love marriage is still the biggest sin that you can do in your life.
If I start about the rules of marriage in our Indian society, then it says:
A girl should marry a boy or vice-versa. (checked)
Both girl and boy should be from the same religion. (checked)
Both girl and boy should belong to the same caste. (checked)
Both girl and boy should belong to the same sub-caste. (Unchecked)
Yes, sub-caste. There is something that is called sub-caste that I was not aware of in my life. I was always being told by my mom that you should study efficiently, make your career, make your parents proud, and then you can marry a guy of your choice with “conditions applied: boy should be of our caste”.
I used to be single at that time so I always thought myself to be so lucky to have such understanding parents. I did everything to make my parents proud right from doing well in my education, to wearing clothes of their choice. I did all possible things to make them happy and avoided any action of myself which can hurt them.
During all this time, I met many boys who proposed to me, and I also had a crush on many of them, but I avoided any relationship as they were not of my ‘caste’. I felt that as an ‘ideal’ daughter I can do this for my parents.
Then I met a boy whom I liked very much who turned out to be of my ‘caste’. So I happily accepted his proposal after about a year of friendship with him. I was pretty sure that I had all requirements of my parents covered, and that they would accept him willingly as my life partner.
First, my boyfriend tried to convince his family, who became ready for our marriage instantly.
Then here comes my turn, where, I first told my elder brother and his wife about my boyfriend. To my surprise, they said that it should be my parents’ decision, and that they can’t help me. Then I told my mom about my choice, and there started my journey of a long fight as she told me that the ‘sub-caste’ of this guy is different from ours; we can only get you married to the boy of exactly the same sub-caste as ours.
I told my parents how much I love this guy, about our compatibility, understanding, his support for my career and everything. But, nothing matters to them except the fact that the sub-caste is different!
My mom clearly told me that all girls need to compromise after marriage on her personal as well as professional life. She explained to me that I should not let my Ph.D. or my career come in between my arranging my marriage, and I should compromise on the growth of my career according to the ‘choice/ willingness of my future husband’, who will be chosen by my parents.
So now, my parents who used to be proud of me and my career just a year ago, feel ashamed of me as I have told them about a guy whom I love. They told me that my ‘love marriage’ can’t happen as our society won’t accept this fact. They told me that anyone can be happy after marriage “if you adjust/ compromise according to your husband’s choice.”
So, when we are about to enter 2020, another decade of progress, another decade of women empowerment, another decade of self-happiness, I, a woman who imagined herself to be a care-free, self-dependent and modern woman a year ago, lost the longest fight of her life for her happiness against her family and their society. A society, whose happiness matters a lot more for her parents than the happiness of their own daughter, who tried to make them feel proud but still failed.
Today, the same ‘ideal daughter’ is sitting in her room, being ignored by her family for her act of loving a guy, and turned out to be the ‘worst daughter’ anyone can have. This is the beginning of a new decade for this ‘ideal turned worst daughter’.
Happy 2020 for many more girls like me out there.
Image source: a still from Khoobsoorat
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