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"
Labels: Short Story