Saturday, December 17, 2011

If Marriages Are Made In Heaven, Please Let Them Stay There For A While

The latest demon in my life – marriage proposals. For the usual girls that we see in movies and soaps, that should be a lucky phase of life. Having grown up on a staple diet of Mills & Boon and Yash Raj films, I always thought that when I reach the age of getting marriage proposals will be the golden period of my life. And thus I, modern Frankenstein, created my own monster.

I don’t know where it all started, but suddenly, as I realized that I was a graduate, proposals started pouring in. I think some people take it as the standard ‘qualification’ to get married to a suitable groom who earns well and is a few years older to you. I read something about it when I was 15 – “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife” said Jane Austen in my favourite romance ever. But the paradox of my life has come to be – "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman with a post-graduation degree and considerable appearance must be in want of a husband.”


But I am getting scared of stepping out of my house these days. The next-door neighbor wants me to get married to her cousin’s son. The front door neighbor wonders why I am not letting my mother search for a groom. This front door neighbor prides in the fact that she could get both her daughters married off by 19! However, her son is working and doing well for him. So, I realize that it will be completely ‘ulu-bone mukto chhorano’ even if do anything more than giving a nod to all that she says.

And that’s not all! One of the girls in the para, 3years younger to me, got engaged to a "professor" last month (it was an arranged match, so you know that the whole para is praising her for remaining single and her parents for having found such a suitable groom even though he is 8years older to her - but i suppose the gap in age only makes the match all the more suitable keeping the traditional Indian marriage concepts in mind). So that did enough to worsen my condition that was already suffering from she's-getting-too-old-to-get-married syndrome.

And yes, the final nail on the coffin was hit yesterday. By my other next-door neighbor who is a girl just a couple of years older than me. She is getting married in a few months which, I suppose, gives her the license to lecture poor girls like me who want to make a living on their own. So, I made the mistake of visiting her in the afternoon and we ended up having this conversation:

She: “Maami (my Maa) ke naki tui chhele dekhte dichchis na?”

I: “Chhele?? Ekhoni keno? Darao, age ekta bhalo chakri kori, ektu bank balance jomuk!”

She: “Meyeder abar bank balance ki? Ekhon theke na khujle to buri hoe jabi.”

I: “Buri? Iye… Mane… Ami ashi go…”

And I fled with my remaining pride.

So, here is my question. No, you know them all. So, I just wonder why they won’t let me live in peace. I have practically stopped socializing with people who seem to have nothing other than worrying why I am not getting married. And my Maa, my poor innocent Maa, she gets all so worried when they pour their worries to her. It takes me and dada some good deal of effort to sometimes scold her and sometimes soothe her that marriage is not the salvation of life. It is a choice, and not even an essentiality. We all make our choices, some early and some late. But with the education that we give our kids, we should also give them the opportunity to decide for themselves what they want. Getting a graduation or post-graduation degree cannot be the aim of everybody’s life. Some actually want to DO something with their lives.

Well, before this topic gets too serious and long, I just want to end it by requesting the Indian government that it should be made illegal to ask people “Biye korchis na keno?”

For heaven’s sake, “Taate apnar ki moshai???”

And a little food for thought here. How much have we actually advanced from 1813 and the days of Pride and Prejudice? We jeer at a Bride and Prejudice and criticize it for lowering the intellect of a smart girl like Elizabeth (or Lalita here). But what has actually changed? NOTHING.