Again an intriguing fact about marriages in Indian society. Wish there was a solution!
Neeta and Nandini were sitting together in the drawing room of their rented flat and watching television when Neeta suddenly asked Nandini about her plans for marriage. Neeta, 24 – 5’5’’ tall – fair – beautiful – Engineer, hailed from a small town in Bihar while Nandini – 26 – 5’2” – fair – average looking girl – Consultant in an IT Firm, hailed from a town in Uttar Pradesh. They were different in their attributes and mannerisms but there was just one thing common, both of them had big dreams and both of them were living and working in Bengaluru to make their future in the IT industry. Neeta’s question was not inappropriate but a little intriguing for Nandini who had never conversed with Neeta on a personal note. She was relatively new to her and Nandini was least bothered in the people around her.
“No plans as yet!” replied Nandini in a rather sluggish voice.
“But your parents and relatives must have been pushing you to get married...like mine. What do you do in such cases?”
“Nothing, they keep telling me to meet a new man every next day but I have not found anyone who could match me and my standards, so they have been waiting”
“Oh, that is so nice. In my case, it is just so bad that I can’t tell you!”
“I have a boy-friend and my parents want me to marry this man who is settled in Singapore”
“OK. Tell your parents that you love someone else”
“My father will shoot my boyfriend if he comes to know about him”
“Then marry the guy they have been suggesting”
“I don’t want to but they are not asking too much dowry and the family is good too”
“Excuse me, dowry?”
“Yes, in our caste, dowry is common. Infact, people bid lacs and lacs for the girl’s marriage and the better position the groom is in his career, the higher the amount of dowry they ask. My father said he could manage Rs. 25 lacs for me because I have two more sisters and they agreed.”
“Are you kidding me?”
“You are educated and independent; you know dowry is a cultural disaster. According to the Indian history, dowry was the gifts given to the bride when she left her parent’s house so that she could use them whenever she needed and did not have to ask anyone else for anything atleast during the initial days of her marriage. It included clothes, bed sheets, jewelry and other household stuff. Dowry today means gold and money which is not even used by the bride but in-laws. The definitions have changed so devastatingly and you are supporting it. Are you mad?”
“But what can I do?”
“Say no, simple”
“But if I don’t get married what will happen to my parents and their reputation? Ours is a very small place and every one will boycott us. Nobody will marry my sisters because they will think that the entire household is uncultured.”
“Uncultured? Because you would say no to dowry; Come on Neeta, you cannot do that to yourself”
“I can’t really help it because my father will not like it”
“So you will kill yourself for that”
“Maybe that’s my destiny”
Nandini was shocked and realised that she could not help a person who did not want to help herself and left Neeta alone to deal with the situation she was in. But what kept troubling Nandini was how deteriorated the society had become and she could not do anything to improve the situation.