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The same man who parties with the elite circle of my home town every week lectures me everyday on ‘how to be a good wife.’ All he wants is for me to be married!
I cry almost every day, whenever my father says I have to get married soon. Today, my heart broke when he said, “You are young right now, 24 years old. Getting married around this time is good. Your mother was 22 when she got married. She wanted to pursue B.Ed, and I supported her. I used to accompany her to her exam centre when she was pregnant with you. Some of your cousin sisters, who are in their 30s, are struggling to find a match. The charm of a female fades away as she nears the 30s. If you get married in the next one or two years, by the time you reach your 40s, you’ll be able to see your child married.”
He further said, “We are your parents, and we want to see you happy, not struggling. You are already a First Division post-graduate, and are studying for UGC-NET and Ph.D entrance exams. Also, you take care of the house efficiently. When you will get married in this rich and cultured family, you will be surrounded by servants. You will not even feel like working.”
Does this mean that a girl with a job is “struggling in her life?” There are a number of women in India taking up jobs to make ends meet for their families. At the same time, there are girls who work for their own financial and social independence and the happiness that comes from the fact that they are of value to people in their work places. That these girls come from affluent families is a fact that surprises my parents.
I am one of the other type of girls I mentioned. And I actually aspire to be beauty queen who wants to represent India at a beauty pageant. At the same time, I also want to be a lecturer in psychology and counselling.
It is shocking that my parents, who are both working, and insist on academic excellence for us three sisters, ultimately wish for me to get married. They want me to marry in an affluent and cultured family who belongs to our own community. It baffles me that my educated mother also agrees with such views. More than that, it scares me what my younger sisters- a pair of twins who have just entered their teens- might have to endure.
And my father, despite being raised entirely by my grandmother who did odd jobs and his elder sister holds such conservative views on women (he believes- girls are like cows, who should be carried ‘gently’ with a leash/rope around their necks) The same man who parties with the elite circle of my home town every week lectures me everyday on ‘how to be a good wife.’
Finally, my father finished with this dreadful sentence, “You think about it. And after a week, you tell me. If you say yes, only then, will I see the boy. I have to see if he matches your level.”
Hello! You easily say that you are “giving” me a “choice to think about it,” but every day I see your obsession with my marriage. You ask every other person to find a match for me, and even list what all you want to do for my marriage!
I was born a rebel – passionately expressing my views in front of anyone and questioning the logic behind social norms. At the same time, I was also hyperactive as a child. This made my mother label it ‘badtameezi’ (insolence)
Having seen my father beat up my mother when I was about two or three years old, and my aunt being beaten up and harassed by her drug addict husband and in-laws, I condemn the concept of marriage. I am scared for my life! All I want is to have pure autonomy of my life, where I decide what to do, what to wear, what to say, and where to go.
Girls are not the commodities for enhancement of the social statuses of our parents. We are not “beautiful show-piece articles” to be given away to strangers. Just because we have been brought into this world by our parents, it does not mean that we give our bodies and souls to fulfil their whims and fancies.
We have our dreams and desires that we want to fulfil, before we take a big leap of entering a marital relationship. Or maybe not even marry at all. It is time that Indian parents accept the fact that their daughters also have their minds of their own.
We are also human beings with hearts full of emotions like them. Even if you genuinely love your daughters and want to see them safe, secure and happy, it is unacceptable that you dictate the “correct” age to marry, work, or go out with friends.
You have been given the boon of a baby girl for a reason. To be a true exemplary of women empowerment and equality in your respective communities, not as a medium to boost your reputation. Your image, social status and reputation lies in your own hands- through your thoughts and actions. Not by the age you got your daughter married, to which family she has married into, whether she is a virgin, whether she had been in relationships or not.
Picture credits: Still from movie Dilwaale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge
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