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Archive for December, 2013

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Darling I can buy you a hermes, but what I can’t buy you is a husband to keep. No not even with a lavish wedding, not even with an arranged setup. As my friend’s one year old marriage falls apart bit by bit-a marriage that includes-a recent miscarriage, abuse and a kid who was just not ready for a commitment like this, she complains and plays the age old blame game. 

V should be standing up for me, she shouts in my ear from the other end of the phone, she claims she is suicidal, she sounds suicidal, suicidal because of a guy? been reasonably close to that place, okay, I empathize. We are on a three-way call. Ten years back we were discussing our new-found boobs, now we are discussing the asses we employ to suckle on them. Truly. But P has always made it about herself, K was and is the reserved one, and I would rather talk about P’s boobs than bring up mine. When I have had enough of it. Then I have to politely remind her that we too have boobs, and it hurts just as much to transition from trainees to real bras, so she agrees to go to marks and spencers near our school to shop. Ten years hence, I have to again remind this woman that we too have sailed her boat, that if she suffers from a broken marriage or a marriage that is breaking apart, we too have had our respective share of heartbreaks, so she agrees on a yoga retreat. K is on the sideline, with on-point advice and letting us heal each other as always. 

“But my dad spent 10 cr on the wedding”, she is complaining, “and my cousin’s dad? he spent 1cr (1cr=166,667USD) on her wedding, but look, she is happier”. Firstly, comparison is the thief of joy, and secondly, I am telling her how can she say that, how can she straight up put a price tag on it all? I could have a mere 10 rupee wedding tomorrow and heck it could be as much as of a fail as her’s or as much of a success as her cousin’s. Point is a wedding is not an investment, its an expense, from an accounting perspective. And even with the expense you dispense, you just can’t buy love and your place in someone’s heart. For that you need to put in some damn effort, and hey sometimes it works, and not so much the other times. 

India’s upper class and upper-middle class has a well kept secret, they have brought up a generation of kids who don’t work. Who don’t know housework, who have never cleaned a dish in their life or even fetched a glass of water for themselves! the rich dont let their kids work a “job” they have comforted them thus that it is hard for these kids to go off and sustain themselves on an entry-level salary. When girls are married, and married with dowry they expect to be treated exceptionally, you are tackling two evils here, the evil greedy in-laws(the frankenstein monsters you create) and your own damn attitude towards one of the most important relationships of your life, your marriage. You can’t expect money to fix it.

P also complains that V, the husband, doesn’t stand up for her. That when her estranged sister-in-law two years her junior, physically abused her, he should have stood up for her. How can you expect another human being to stand up for you, when you don’t even expect yourself  to stand up for yourself? A supposed MBA, from one of the wealthiest familes P is struggling in her marriage, and where all else fails she puts in our age old “kundali”(birth chart) argument, thats where my logic is truly raped and murdered with this woman when she says something on the lines of how her guru has recommended this and that. 

While I do commend her parents for standing up for her, I cannot help but foresee the problems with the system. A lot of cultures around the world have dowry system, but dowry is and shall remain evilly tabooed, because one cannot phantom how much evil it creates on both sides. The girl side, creates a frankenstein monster of the boy side, by first feeding into their whims and demands and then later falling victim to their increasing greed, the girl expects to be treated well, sometimes without putting in any effort because her family has given a lot at her wedding, on the other spectrum she also feels obliged to work on a sometimes failing and dead-end marriage because of the “capital investment” already deployed by her parents. In India a daughter’s wedding is something of a liability, if one reads enough paper female foeticide (killing the baby girl in a mother’s womb) is common for this same reason. They not only want sons, they also don’t want daughters, since daughters mean dowry in the future.   

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