The bride material

Sakal Times
Wednesday, 14 June 2017

In an arranged marriage setting in our country, often the groom’s side puts forth unusual demands. Some of them are downright hilarious while some are demeaning, leaving the bride-to-be fuming

In an arranged marriage setting in our country, often the groom’s side puts forth unusual demands. Some of them are downright hilarious while some are demeaning, leaving the bride-to-be fuming

Recently, the former Chief Minister of Bihar, Rabri Devi announced it loudly and clearly, that she didn’t want mall-visiting daughters-in-law for her sons. Is that such an ‘unsanskari’ thing to do? According to her, yes. Then, there are other in-laws who demand that the bride stay with them in the village, or that the daughter-in-law better learn to blow conch shell or she shouldn’t wear makeup and so on. Here are a few specimens...

Dodged the bullet
Most families have their in-house matchmaker. Ours had one too, an aunt. Ever since I turned 21, my parents started insisting that it was time for me to ‘settle down’. The match-maker aunt found a ‘suitable’ boy for me and brought his family to our place for a meeting. I was forced to wear a saree and serve them snacks. I was asked whether I could sing, cook (they specifically asked if I could make a few of the authentic Bengali dishes their son loves to eat) and they inquired about my educational qualifications.

When I told them that I had a day job and planned to work after marriage also, they tried to reason with me by saying that I would not have time to take care of my husband and the household then.

I instantly made up my mind that when they leave, I would tell my parents that if they want me to get married, they would have to look for a boy’s family which doesn’t live under a rock. I did so.

My parents still waited to hear from the boy’s side. In a few days, we heard that the boy’s family had only rejected me because his paternal grandmother had passed away, and they thought it was because they were going to make a positive decision about me — a person whose stars were set in a position to bring good luck to their family. It was like I dodged a bullet.
Indrani SinghA
30, Content Specialist

No caffeinated drinks
When my in-laws were looking for a bride for their son, they did not want a person who drank beverages, not even tea or coffee. They are firm believers of a certain religious sect, which does not encourage drinking anything caffeinated. Thankfully, ours is a love marriage and I was allowed to make tea for myself. Of course, the vessels I make tea in, are kept separately and not used for cooking anything else.  
Pooja Patil,
30, IT Professional

No makeup please!
My mom sent my photo clicked during a cousin’s wedding to the prospective family. I was dressed in a traditional saree and had applied makeup. The family rejected the alliance because, according to them, ‘I am a modern girl, who applies makeup!’ And, they didn’t want one.
Saili Pradhan.
25, Event Management Professional

Living apart from her husband
A proposal had come for me from a boy working as a probationary officer in a government bank. But his parents’ demands were really absurd. They wanted a highly qualified girl, who would not work, but stay with them in their village home! Not with their son.

I didn’t know how to react to this, because I was raised in a liberal home. I didn’t mind living with my in-laws, but why could we not all live together in a city?

I was totally appalled when I learnt that my father was giving the proposal a second thought. He believed that things would change. Thankfully, he later realised that I wouldn’t fit in a family where I can’t move around freely.

Thankfully, today I am in a much better place, where my husband and my in-laws are  active participants in my development process and encourage me to do everything that makes me happy.
Shilpi Misra,
28, MBA Student

Blowing her trumpet
For middle-aged Bengali women, to be able to blow the conch shell is a matter of great pride, an integral part of their culture and their direct ‘connection’ to god. Although I am a Bengali brahmin, this was not given much importance in my family.

So after our courtship of about two years, when our families finally met at my place to initiate talks about our wedding, my would-be husband’s mum wasn’t impressed with the fact that I didn’t know how to blow a conch shell. It didn’t make any difference to her that I was a school topper, had scored great marks in my Bachelor’s and that I had completed my MA from Kolkata’s best college with distinction.
She had the audacity to tell my mom that she and I had two months time to learn blowing conches so that I could perform morning and evening pooja and aarti once I was married. I was flabbergasted! I am an atheist and not only did I feel offended but also felt that she had been disrespectful towards my parents.

In a fit of rage, I went to my brother’s room and got his guitar and asked the boy’s mother to play or learn to play it soon. She gave me ‘what the hell’ and ‘how dare you?’ looks. I told her if my mom and I have to learn how to blow a conch shell, then she too must learn to play the guitar and head banging so that she can be a member of the band I was planning to form soon. She simply walked out of my house along with her husband and son. Things got quite messed up.

Later, after much efforts, everything got sorted out. She did become my mother-in-law but till today, she has not asked me to blow a conch.
Aayushi Chakraborty,
27, School Teacher
(Inputs by Anjali Jhangiani,
Amrita Prasad and Nupur Pradhan)


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