Marriages are made in heaven. Yeah right! Couldn’t the almighty be a little more considerate to match not just the pair getting married but also their families. Rather the families first .

Let’s look at arranged marriages.  They are a different story altogether. The families in question here seem to be getting along right from day one. And this hunky dory rosy relationship between them continues till their respective children are living the happily ever after life. One tremor that shakes their relationship gets their parents into a verbal war shooting arrows of accusations on the either side .Then it is left upon the families to decide whether the alliance should continue or not because the newly married couple looses no time in throwing taunts at their parents like…”Tumne dhoonda tha yeh rishta,maine nahi.”(you guys decided upon who I was to marry, not me).

Love marriages are another scenario .While the boy and the girl are still under the sparkling glory of bliss and content that they have found the right partner for life ,their families are in a state of shock .From the very minute that they know  their daughter is in a committed relationship their minds are on  a rollercoaster ride assuming and calculating the financial, spiritual, cultural, emotional ,a-liking-for-maid quotient and also the aggression quotient of the boys family.

The boy’s parents are not far behind. They have their expectations overflowing from their brain, eyes ,ears and mouths all bombarded on their son who should have ideally waited for his parents to choose  a bride for him. Now since he has committed this grossly unacceptable crime of deciding on whom he wants to spend his life with, he must fulfill  the long list of their expectations .

Finally after a dozen cold wars the families agree to unite their children in holy matrimony. The boy still stays with his parents and nothing in his life changes except for the fact that now he has a wife. But for the girl , she must drop all attachments ,pack them nicely and tuck them away under the bed that she slept on for the last two decades since she was born.

She must waste no time and address people she hardly knows as mom ,dad, didi ,bhaiya, chutki all because they are the mom ,dad, didi ,bhaiya and chutki of her husband. Even worse she is expected to be a gold medalist in home science from day one. Her other interests and aspirations can be flushed down the drain along with leftovers of food when she does the dishes.

If she is lucky enough the boy’s family accepts her the way she is, but more than often it is the other way around. The so called  shonu sweetu baccha who is now her husband  is quick to turn into a diplomatic darling assuring his wife how each member of his family truly loves her and that she must ignore their dragon like stares and venom like taunts if she wants some peace of mind.

The question here arises ,is it that simple to forgive and forget an attack on your self respect .An attack on your upbringing .An attack on your caste(if it is an inter caste  marriage)?And all this for petty reasons like she forgets to dump her husband’s trousers in the washing machine because of which he has to compromise and wear something else to work. Excuse me!! Couldn’t he do his own job of dumping his used clothes or his mom deliberately did not teach him anything assuming one day he will have a wife at his service.

Next she is politely told not to run after money and to quit her job so she can spoon feed her husband and children for the rest of their lives .Here too if the girl is a doctor ,lawyer or a pilot they will not ask her to quit since these are professional degrees and it takes a lot to earn one(with no offence to women in these professions….i wish you a life long journey of the work you love).But professions like a flight attendant ,an investment banker ,a HR assistant ,a public relations officer are like they just dropped into our laps from the heaven above and we did nothing to earn them ,so quitting such jobs shouldn’t hurt your  conscience or self worth

Sadly even today ,the mindset of people bringing someone else’s daughter into their homes hasn’t changed and only a handful of people actually believe that though a girl is married she still has an entitlement to her own life and her own aspirations. This is how depression suicides and divorces are on the rise.

I wonder, is this the reason parents fear having to raise a girl child? Are they skeptical about the future of their daughter ?They work hard for years together to provide the best of education to their daughter so she is self dependant with a job of her choice .And after all this who on earth gave these so called in-laws the right to rip her off her dreams ,her job ,her self respect and all at the pretext of being a good bahu(daughter-in-law).There ought be a law against this.

Hopefully our daughters will see a different and favorable scenario in the coming decades. Mindsets will change, will they? Or we too as in laws will make our daughters in law live a life that is not her own…Only time will tell…..

Submitted by : Mandavi Dhople

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