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In spite of everything, today’s man expects his life partner to be an epitome of perfection, appropriate height, figure, qualification, career, dressing sense, values ….NOT MORE, NOT LESS.
A late night call from my colleague startles me; I wonder what’s wrong. She’s always been an early to bed and early to rise kind of person.
I hurriedly answer the call. “I can’t sleep, he’ll be twenty nine soon and he’s miles away, all alone,” she laments.
“Oh, he’s still very young, just finished with his masters and has found a job. Aren’t you being a bit too hasty about marriage?” I try to cheer her up.
“He’s a vegetarian, he hates eating out and craves for home cooked food. He has to do all household chores by himself. Isn’t it my responsibility to find someone to cook for him, to tend to him and clean the house?”
I sigh, that’s marriage for you in a nutshell. But then I recall our last conversation, her son seemed to have liked someone in his office.
“Oh her, yeah she did belong to our caste, and he had sent her photographs . But she was too short. My son is a handsome six footer. Don’t know what he saw in her, but eventually we convinced him she wasn’t good enough. You know, his bride should be at least 5’6”; I don’t want short grandchildren. That girl is also born and brought up abroad. I’m sure she smokes, drinks and what not. We couldn’t afford to have a girl with no values as our daughter-in-law. I’m glad we took him off her hook.”
I cringe. She’s describing me, someone who has always been short and stocky for our society standards. But I realize I’m having fun. Match making makes for interesting tete-a–tete.
“So anything in the offing?” I keep her going.
“Relatives are bringing in some proposals as well, now that my son is an NRI. We had known one of the girls since long, she’s distantly related and her parents are acquaintances, though I don’t particularly like them. But you know, her degree has no scope in the US. Moreover, she’s so plain, always dressed in Salwar Kameez and Indian attire. Doesn’t like western garments it seems.”
Now I’m offended, “Come on, don’t we wear Indian as well?”
“But the girl has to settle abroad with my son, right?” she counters, “He hangs out with his team all the time, they are all modern, some of them westerners. We have been very clear, the bride has to be modern, but with traditional values.”
“That’s being so picky.” I chide. “It’s like choosing the best filters for some commodity, how many homo sapiens would satisfy all the conditions; caste, height, colour, clothing, degree…?”
But she doesn’t understand sarcasm.
“We found just the right girl. And that’s exactly why I can’t sleep anymore. She’s tall, fair and a post grad from US. She has applied for PHD, she’s accustomed to the lifestyle there and guess what, she’s trained in Carnatic Music. She performs at concerts, there are a few videos on Youtube as well. So pretty, I almost made up my mind. But my son rejected her.”
“Why?” I’m genuinely surprised.
“He says, her PhD would take three or four years, so she would be studying all the while, with no time for him or a family. And post her studies, she would be a doctorate holder, more qualified and perhaps more dominating. Plus, her talent is also a deterrent for him, between a career and passion, he feels she would be unable to fulfil her duties as a wife.”
“Oh, I’m sure you can bring him around. He happens to listen to everything you say, he sacrifices the girl he likes, you are lucky to be blessed with such an obedient son. Press it a bit more, I’m sure he’ll be convinced,” I scoff gently.
“Of course I know he’ll listen, but then he’s not entirely wrong. What man likes a woman who’s overly qualified, earns more than him, and perhaps turns out to be more famous? You know, all men have a certain level of ego, and it’s alright. I don’t want to push him into something which could make him unhappy all his life. So as of now, I’m left with no more girls to pick. Please help, do let me know if you find someone, now that you understand all our conditions.”
A few more pleasantries and I hang up. As I retire for the night, I can’t help but wonder. It’s the twenty first century, my colleague is educated and independent (at least that’s what I believed), and I know her son since long, he always came across as a modern emancipated young man and I unfortunately, expected more from him. In spite of everything, today’s man expects his life partner to be an epitome of perfection, appropriate height, figure, qualification, career, dressing sense, values ….NOT MORE, NOT LESS.
And men like him still get a chance to judge and ‘reject’ strong and empowered girls. I still await the day when my colleague loses sleep over her son being rejected by girls, for him being a Mama’s boy and a chauvinist.
Until then, I close my eyes.
Image source: Viresh Studio on pixabay
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