Feb 20, 2010
Now these things happen on and off. People falling in and out of love, some get married to their sweethearts others marry outside in spite the love that bonded them for a while, while they were together. However, love marriages are not the only way to get married in our society. I know I’m making ridiculous mundane statements first thing in the first few lines of the latest post. What I’m coming to is the problem when an arranged match is delayed, when an alliance is difficult to come by or when alliances are not nearing a prospective groom or bride.
What happens? They age, of course. Time never stands still. It moves on and so does the people involved. So does the worry and anxiety of the parents and this is filtered to their children of marriageable age, especially if the offspring is a daughter and she is residing in the same house. Whether she is employed or waiting at home after her stint in college or …the multiple course she joined, some completed others left half done… to get married, at home in her absence or presence, she becomes the constant subject of conversation; and the talk of the neighbourhood; the innumerable relatives who comes visiting; in their houses and elsewhere.
I sometimes wonder what kind of a mental state the girl would be in, constantly bombarded with the one and only important topic in life: marriage and the non-occurrence of it. Mentally or psychologically euphemistically speaking, she would be upset, pessimistic, ranting and raving and boiling over and yearning to find the man of her life! Escape, would her watch word, I am assuming.
Nevertheless, girls in Indian families are reared in this manner. Maybe, marriage is the first word and concept they hear, learn, understand and internalize! Because it is oft repeated time and again within a family especially if the off springs are girls! With it come the instant distinction, the current temporary address and the future permanent address. I think growing up listening to the multiple facets of this topic, when the girl becomes of marriageable age she too wants to go off to her home. And when marriages get delayed as a result of various reasons, her patience and life also takes a beating. And even within the family people talk and hurt, mother-father-brother-sister, whoever out of their concern, but the words hit the heart! Poor thing!
The ripe age for marriage in India for girls is 23-25 or is it 18-23. Anyway, 25 is the outer limit and when a girl turns 25 she is considered old! Recently, an international model claimed she was too old to walk the ramp because she had turned 23! Occupational hazards, there are certain job profiles that require their staff to be of a certain age. In case of marriage for girls in India, to have an unmarried daughter of say 28 is a shame! People read this situation mostly as poor financial status (read not enough money to give dowry in cash, gold and kind), sickness or abnormalities of the birth stars, moon- and sun-signs, something fishy in the family!
And then, the girl fed up with the taunts decides to get married to the next guy who comes home for the bride-seeing ceremony. Her dreams of her dream guy are compromised somewhere amidst the many ceremonies of the wedding. And when life starts after the D-day, if she is lucky, her groom would turn out to be her dream, hopefully.
Or our girl tired of all the arranged marriage hullaballoo at home looks out for a guy in the neighbourhood and the office she works in or in the bus-stop or these days in the chat rooms and on Orkut and FB etc. on her own. And most likely she would fall flat for a guy who mildly flirts or shows interest in her. I’m not being pessimistic when I say all of these guys are bad. However many are and their intentions vary. But our girl in her state of desperation never opens her eyes wide enough to see any of the wrong details. She sees pink everywhere! It might be too late when reality strikes. Many fall prey to such plots. A need for an immediate release makes many blind to the far away future troubles. Sad!
Now, why do we train our girls from childhood only to achieve the apex called marriage? I think there needs to be some kind of right handbook a how to broach the topic of marriage with their girl children, so that it does not remain the sole aim in their lives or their career goal. Aiming to be an excellent wife is one of the best career options in the world, but not at the cost of anybody’s mental health though!