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Have you ever noticed that newly married women are given the blessing ‘sada suhagan raho’? I don’t really think it’s a blessing. Here’s why!
‘Blue or pink?’ Mrs Bose asked me whimsically with a strange little smile on her face. Slurping the hot tea, I pointed at the pink one with my freshly done eyebrows. She seemed annoyed at my answer and brought out the other loose blouse as an excuse to wear the blue one. (Yeah! The loose one, since you know what the tight one suggests!)
I am sure why you’re wondering what we were doing here and why we were choosing blouses and sarees. Well, for a wedding, of course! Banarasi sarees, gold jewellery, tons of make-up and over 100 pictures for Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. All the things that define a wedding today.
No, I am not complaining at all! I am also a part of the tribe of people who look at weddings as an opportunity to deck up to their heart’s content.
So finally, after sitting for four long hours to get my desired look, Mrs Bose and I headed to the venue.
The entrance to the venue had a number of blue decorative lights near the ceiling and attached to them were tissues making them looking like really pretty snowflakes. At the second gate, there was a cutout of a floral heart which was tilted slightly to the left.
Once we crossed that, we reached the place where the beautiful bride was sitting on a grand chair. She was surrounded by other women who were trying to get the perfect selfie with her. (No, none of us was wearing masks. I am sorry for disobeying the norm here.)
When we reached the bride, I handed over the gift I’d got her. Mrs Bose, who was right behind me, blessed the bride and gave her the Ashirwad,’sada suhagan raho.’ (may you always stay happily married). And it was this blessing that intrigued me.
I have heard far too many old women in my family say this exact same thing to multiple brides on multiple occasions. And honestly, I don’t think this is a blessing in the first place. By saying this, aren’t we implying that the newlywed bride would die before her husband? Is it really a blessing, then? (This is just something that has personally been bothering me a lot.)
To add to all this, we put a plethora of rules and regulations on how the newly-wed bride needs to appear. The sindur on her forehead supposedly increases the lifespan of the husband. And the sakha-pola or chuda she wears supposedly is for her husband’s healthy life. The mangalsutra will claim his mangal (bad luck).
However, the biggest irony here is that the woman is supposed to wear all this for her husband. Honestly, when all these things are meant for him, why aren’t men asked to wear them? I think the items would work better that way, wouldn’t they?
Oh, and yes! How could I forget Karwachauth? Fasting without water till we see the moon and our husband’s face. And why do we do this? Because it will apparently do wonders for him! Romantic, isn’t it? I don’t think so! Honestly, I think it’s almost like torture.
In India, since time immemorial, we have been conditioning our daughters to put themselves last and no one really knows the reason. We instil such values upon them that they start believing that they are responsible for any wrong that befalls their significant others.
By now, I am sure you’re thinking I am this anti-religious person, but trust me, I am not. I am just another happily married Indian woman who will strongly protest such problematic rituals and ashirwads that do no good to anyone. In my opinion, these things need not be protocols and forced upon women, instead, they should be choices made with love, not coercion.
Mrs Bose shoud’ve said ‘sada khush raho’ (stay happy forever) to the bride since she’s starting a new life with a new family. I don’t think the bride left her parents’ home, the one where she grew up only to go to a new place where she’s forced to follow norms she doesn’t believe in.
What do you think?
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Veere Di Wedding
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