‘No Dowry, Only Gifts’ Is Just A New Face For An Old Tradition

“You are the first girl in the world who does not want to go. Almost all women have their first delivery at their mother’s house,” her mother-in-law tried to convince her.

“We don’t believe in taking dowry. We only want the kids to be happy. We come from an educated family. All we want is for you to pay for the wedding. That’s how it works in our religion,” Karan’s father told Jia’s family.

“Absolutely, we understand. Don’t worry; we will take care of the same,” replied Jia’s father.

“Didn’t we decide on splitting the expenses, Karan? Why do we have to pay for the wedding? Isn’t it your wedding too?” Jia messaged Karan, who was sitting across the room with his parents.

“Don’t worry, I’ll talk to them and sort this out. You have my word that we will share the expenses,” Karan reassured Jia.

It was a love marriage and both of them were praying for nothing to go wrong. Both the parents had agreed after a lot of reluctance and were not very happy with the union.

Karan kept his word and made sure that the marriage expenses were borne by both sides. His parents were not very happy, but they agreed. “It is a love marriage, so we can’t say anything. When your elder sister got married, we incurred all the expenses. That is how it works in our culture. Who are we to say anything when you don’t support us? Not like we asked for a dowry of any kind like a car or jewellery.”

Jia and Karan mutually decided to marry in Karan’s way. A marriage conducted in two ways means double the expenses. Jia’s parents also advised her to have all the rites as per the groom’s side lest they get upset.

A year passed and Jia was expecting their first baby. In a month’s time, she would have her bundle of joy in her arms.

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“Wouldn’t you be going to your mother’s house for the delivery? You would feel more comfortable there,” her mother-in-law questioned Jia.

“No Ma, I don’t think so. My office is closer from here, so it’s more convenient. Let’s see, maybe I’ll go after my delivery,” Jia replied

“You are the first girl in the world who does not want to go. Almost all women have their first delivery at their mother’s house,” her mother-in-law tried to convince her.

“We have already registered for delivery in a hospital that is 5 minutes from home so it is best that Jia stays here as it is more convenient for everyone,” Karan intervened.

“I just wanted Jia to be comfortable, so I suggested the same. Do you both have the funds for delivery? Do you know how much it would cost approximately? If you need funds, we are always there to help you.

“We had your elder sister staying with us during her pregnancy and we took very good care of her. The first delivery always happens at the girl’s home as it is tradition. We paid for all the expenses and even stayed up nights taking care of the baby so that your sister could get much-needed rest.

“She went back to her in-law’s house only after the baby was 3 months and easier to handle. It is a good arrangement and is being followed since olden times,” Karan’s mother tried to reason with her son and daughter-in-law.

“Don’t worry Ma. We have it all sorted. This works for both of us and I would like it if Jia stayed with me. The medical expenses are covered by Jia’s Mediclaim, so we are covered up to a lakh,” Karan replied

“That is nice, but what if it exceeds that amount? Will Jia’s parents be helping you with the remaining amount? I am sure they would like to help you both. After all, it’s their first grandchild,” Karan’s mother probed further.

“Why will they pay Ma? We don’t want you or my parents to pay for the delivery. It is our child and our responsibility, so we both will bear the expenses.

We are both earning and are self-sufficient. Besides, I have my company covering my expenses. I have worked there for almost 6 years. High time I enjoy some of the perks of working in a corporate,” Jia replied.

Jia was getting increasingly frustrated and impatient with the entire conversation. She felt burdened by the sugar-coated unrealistic expectations from her parents. They had raised her well and made sure she had the best education. It was unfair to expect more from them.

It was a man’s world, after all. She suddenly realised why many people didn’t want a girl child. It all made sense to her now.

Jia was blessed with a little miracle soon and she vowed that she would raise her son well. Her husband was always her biggest support and he always stood by her. She felt saddened by the plight of women whose husbands were not supportive and had to bear the wrath of their families and society.

It was soon her baby’s naming ceremony and her family and the extended families were invited. She made sure that it was Karan and her who decided on the name of the baby and none of their parents. They did take everyone’s suggestions, but the final decision was theirs.

Jia’s parents gifted a beautiful gold chain to their first grandchild. After all, it was a tradition that the girl’s parents gift gold during the naming ceremony. Her in-laws were elated that Jia finally decided to follow some traditions. They kept reminding her during her pregnancy that in their religion, this is what they follow. Hadn’t they done the same when their daughter had their first child?

After the function was over, Jia called her mom, “Hi Ma, hope you enjoyed the naming ceremony. It went well, didn’t it? I am waiting for the pictures to come.”

Her mother replied, “Cut this conversation. First tell me, did your in-laws like the gold chain? Hope they didn’t expect more from us?”

Jia answered, “Don’t worry Ma, they were very happy. No matter how much you give people, their greed will never be satiated. I think it was the most sensible decision when I didn’t accept the birthday gift you gave me.

“You got me a gold chain for my birthday, but I asked you to hold on to it for a few days. If I had taken the gift, my in-laws would have expected expensive gifts on every birthday of mine. I knew they were expecting gold during the naming ceremony, so I asked you to give it as a gift to my child.

“The funny thing is that it is only the girl’s parents who are asked to follow the so-called traditions. I don’t really expect anything from my in-laws but isn’t this their grandchild as well? It seems the rules apply only to my parents as my in-laws didn’t give any gift to our child.

“I don’t understand why anyone has to give gifts or gold in the guise of tradition. All we need are blessings. It is a different thing if someone gives something out of their own will, but you can’t possibly decide on what gifts you expect.

“Please make sure you don’t set unrealistic expectations by gifting exorbitant items. Besides, this is all the money you have and you need it for your retirement as well. I can’t change the thinking of people around me overnight and it is not possible to have an argument every day.

“As they say, sometimes peace is more important than being right. Today I stepped back but only to preserve my energy for the fight that’s yet to come in the coming years.”

It is not easy to change or fight this overnight, but it is high time we think about this new form of dowry. There are many people who succumb to the pressure every day and then there are a few who stand up to it.

Which one are you?

Image source: YouTube/Myntra Ad

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