Saturday, 25 September 2010

For those of you who are not very familiar with Indian traditional methods of choosing a bride and the functions appurtenant  thereto, here are some hints to follow. The prospective bridegroom visits the bride's house to see if she meets with his expectations and will give his consent to marry her if he is satisfied. This visit is a great occasion in the life of the bride and her parents make massive arrangements to welcome the prospective groom (with his army of relatives!!) with food and everything. Despite the enormous progress in technology and the views of younger generation, this practice is still prevalent among the orthodox section of communities!  The welcome change that I see is the shift in Male Chauvinistic dominance and increased importance for mutual respect. Now read the article:

It was a fateful day in November and it was raining heavily in Chennai, erstwhile Madras, India. A costal region, Chennai had principally one season throughout the year, Summer, barring a few episodes of some rain which the people enjoyed greatly. As an eligible bachelor, Engineering Graduate with a good job in an MNC, I had everything a prospective groom would aspire for. Coming from a not so rich background my habits were well grounded and I did not care much about socializing or indulge in smoking or drinking.

Our family astrologer visited us  on that rainy day with his inseparable umbrella which he always carried with him, rain or shine! My mom offered him a seat and enquired what was the purpose of his visit. When his breathing settled to some level of normalcy, after running in the rain, he said that he had found an excellent girl for me and that all the planets and stars in her horoscope perfectly matched mine, which is a rarity. Knowing the astrologer's habit of getting excited for anything, my mom did not show any visible signs of excitement. He was very hurt and hastily pulled a photograph from his bag along with a piece of paper containing the details of the girl's planetary positions at the time of her birth. My mom looked at the photograph and her eyes widened with pleasure and it was very obvious that whatever  she was looking at pleased her enormously. He added that the girl had completed her MCA (Master of Computer Applications), she could sing and dance like a pro and trained well in all the household chores. Yes, it was a pity that despite a good education and artistic traits a girl was expected to be mainly a housekeeper attending to the needs of her husband and kids.

It was agreed that we would visit the girl on next Sunday at 6PM. Attired in a simple traditional style of Dhoti (White cloth measuring 8 cubits in lenth and about 6 feet in width) and a Shirt I set out on my journey not knowing the surprise in store for me. The girl's family comprised of her parents and a younger brother, a real devil, and an old grandmother. They had invited the entire neighbourhood for the function and all the ladies were looking radiant in their silk sarees and glittering jewels. After the traditional high tea and sweets the talk turned to specifics! My mom was boasting about my academic pursuits and how I was offered the job by the MNC in campus selection etc.  The girl's mother politely asked my mom if she would like to hear her daughter sing. My mom said ok and Shreya, that is the girl's name, started singing. The entire gathering was stunned into silence with the exceptional quality of her singing and the gifted tonal quality of her voice.

Her father showed the innumerable certificates and accolades she had received during her academic life and everyone was satisfied that she was the perfect match for me. When my mom was about to say something, Shreya spoke in a clear voice saying that she would like to have a chat with me before she could give her acceptance. This move shocked my mother. She was brought up in a culture where no one bothered to know what the bride thought or felt about the bridegroom. It was the opinion of the bridegroom and his family that always mattered. Seeing my mother's embarrassment I volunteered to have a chat  with Shreya and joined her in the next room.

Shreya asked me several questions about my views on Marriage, Gender discrimination, Raising Children and my religious views etc. I was so impressed by her vast range of knowledge and intelligence that I just kept answering her . As she finished questioning me, Shreya felt a bit uneasy about the way she shot so many questions and was very happy that I answered them clearly. Then she asked me if I had anything to say or ask. I asked her whether she liked me and would she accept me as her Husband.  Hearing this tears rolled down her cheeks and she said "I Do, I Do"

Short Fiction

15 Comments:

  1. lakshmi said...
    Wow that is so beautiful
    Abhishek said...
    Liked the Story.
    First after reading the Post Title i thought it would be about your own experience.
    Happy Blogging !
    Pooja said...
    It was a lovely narrative. Beautiful!
    Nalini Hebbar said...
    Wonderful post...and I hope it is the true story of your life! If not it should be of your son and many boys and girls of his age! Really enjoyed reading the post.
    Mohan said...
    Saras, even i thought it was your story... You should start writing short stories :)
    Saras said...
    @Lakshmi
    Thank you.
    @Abhishek
    Hahahaah!The title was to lure you into reading the article. Please read my other article couple of posts below! I am glad you liked it.
    arpana said...
    nicely expressed and enjoyable!
    Saras said...
    @Mohan
    I do write Short Stories. Read my posts under Labels "Short Story" or "Tamil Stories" if you can read Tamil. I try to give a message in all my stories.
    Saras said...
    @Nalini
    The spirit of the story was from my life but with some little changes here and there! I am glad you liked it.
    Saras said...
    @Pooja
    @Arpana
    Thanks for the kind words.
    Maitreyee Bhattacharjee chowdhury said...
    So simply yet beautifully written..I think you brought out the simplistic magesty of Indian arranged marriage very well..It might not be exotic but is indeed a mystrey that enfolds slowly.
    அப்பாவி தங்கமணி said...
    Wow...beautiful story... luvly narration..:)
    Rajendra Raikwar said...
    nice post
    Rajendra Raikwar said...
    nice one
    DEE DEE said...
    AFter reading all i could say was "Awwwwwwwww........"

    I hope the guy who wold come to see me wont ask me to sing...I would end up croaking the crowd to silence

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