The call - the ringtone… she had customized her ringtone not because she wanted to pick it up, no matter how much ever busy she is, but to brace herself for what would eventually follow the ringtone when she answers it. She wanted a break and if she couldn’t avoid the talk, at least she could prepare herself for the inevitable talk-cum-lecture, she has been receiving for past few months now. What else could you expect from the call of parents to their daughter who is in her last semester of completing her education (this is irrespective of graduation or post-graduation), in Indian terms- of age?? Marriage. *Drum Rolls*
“Ladki padh likh li ab iske haath peele kar dene”
This is not unusual sentence that one would come across the house whose daughter is done with her studies. It doesn’t matter whether she is preparing for further studies or is trying to cope with her first job. The father is not as proud when she gets her job as he would be when he would see her settled. Is it just about giving her the needed education so that she can stand on her feet, if need be? What about her dreams? Her aspirations? Her hard work? Her perseverance? God forbid she says she doesn’t want to marry now. She would be condemned as condescending by buaji who is concerned about her well-being and wants to see all her nieces and nephews married and play with their kids before she dies. No offense buaji.
When a girl dreams, it is not necessary of a Prince who would protect her, care for her and even if it is than that’s not the only dream she is entitled to dream about… she could dream of becoming an architect, a doctor, an entrepreneur, a social activist whatever she wishes to be. And she would expect the Prince to support that dream too… because he is the one who made it possible for one of her dreams to be true. How can anyone expect that she would be happy living the dream when one of her innate dream has been burnt and ashes scattered in the air? Husband might say she is, because she always hands that handkerchief in morning with a smile… when in her lone time in noon she uses one to wipe the tears which are the remnants of her dream of designing clothes and owning her boutique has been mercilessly killed in the joda that she was thankfully allowed to design for herself. She would cook for her husband and her in-laws finger-licking food but her dream of becoming a head chef has been squashed in the mandap on that fateful day… just because the family doesn’t want a bawarchi as their daughter-in-law.
Bahu – their lajja. Doesn’t an in-law ever imagine what would happen or rather it would feel like if their son is asked to sit home and cook food and look after the household chores after he has toiled and put in his soul, mind and body in completing MBA or MS and landed up lucrative job? Would the so-called jamaai agree to these terms if they were kept during the marriage proposal? I definitely don’t think so. The irony is. Even if they do, the guy would be ousted as a henpecked. I mean there is no way out of the sham that is put up during the marriage proposal. No wonder I have heard the word ‘Marriage’ with a sigh from the newly married ones… in real life… in reel… and in books.
She might get her dream-Prince but would the Prince understand not just that dream, but all others too? Accept her with her dreams intact?! When they say ‘I Do’, it is not just for better or for worse but also for whatever is in between better and worse, because as it is said – ‘Life is not just black and white there are some shades of grey too in between, sometimes somewhere…’