Do you think Marriage is ‘just’ the consensual union of two persons?
Well…Not at least in my country! More than this, here, it’s a socially and ritually recognised coming together of two partners which in addition to love also establishes rights and obligations between them, and between them and their In-laws, and not to forget, the relatives!
It’s complicated as majority of us actually like these customs, and go miles to maintain a ‘preset’ social image. The couple remain too busy tending ‘important’ relations that it gives them quite some time off each other. Possibly these potent distractions have contributed to ‘one-life, one-life partner’ concept, prevalent here (you spend less time with each other which is by default the ‘quality’ time 🙂 ). Though, variations do occur but yeah, the expectations are heavier on the side of a ‘SHE’.
It’s rather hilarious that the moment a girl is chosen for the wedding, she is paralleled to Lakshmi (the Goddess of wealth). There’s no harm in that but after all, the girl is compared to a Goddess, and the Goddess is obviously expected to shower bounty of riches in every possible form. Undoubtedly, the Bride-cum-Goddess is lost in a catch-22 situation as it difficult to satisfy the never-ending greed of the pack, and she is soon to run out of the resources. Minus-resources, she longingly looks towards her saviours, ‘her parents’ who are often seen desperate to fill her emptying cache. Receiving such inexhaustible boon, the people live happily ever after…well…not exactly…such people are never happy; the feeling is temporary, soon to fade!
I too am married and have seen plenty of marriages (simple and extravagant; successful and unsuccessful; happy and unhappy) in my culture and a few subcultures as well. Exceptions do occur, mind you! Not everyone is equally ‘insatiable’. I am one fortunate soul but marriage in itself is no less than an adventure from the very beginning!
Lately I got interested in researching the basic philosophy behind this marriage thing (so expect some more such articles 🙂 ), and here is the crux (and I believe many of my own culture people don’t know it!). In our sacred scriptures eight types of marriages are described, out of which ‘Braham Vivah’ is considered the ideal form of marriage between a Boy and a Girl from equal stature families. In this, Boy’s family approaches the girl’s family; No Dowry is involved; and the girl is accepted in two sets of clothes and a few ornaments. (It’s hard to spot these days as no girl wants to have such limited options 😉 ).
Our Shashtra also acknowledges Love marriages as a marriage which does not involve the consent of any of the parents. Interestingly, a marriage would also take place when everyone was ready except for the girl’s parents. (Past people were bolder, I tell you. People today are so confused, they don’t know their own history and keep condemning love marriage for no good reason except for breaking some hearts 😦 ).
None of the eight marriage types revealed anything in particular about the much hyped Dowry from bride’s side however when the Boy is either not of equal stature or is deficient in some nature, it is said that he used to pay the girl’s family (reverse of present day Dowry).
So basically this unnecessary burden of dowry is added later on by some clever minded folks. What else justifies this evil?
One of my colleague said that earlier both the families used to contribute positively in some form so that the newlywed couple could settle their home; it was a kind of help but slowly this became an obligation to be born only by the girl’s family.
Having a son is still considered a privilege by many. This is partly because our system still works on family ties, and the ageing parents still hope to be taken care by the son during the dusk of their life.
Okay fine, I have no problem with that. What I wonder ‘Is it some of fee that a girl’s parents pay in advance to buy a pass for their daughter to enter your home? And then she is also expected to take care of you more than her own parents!’
Surprisingly a girl manages to do it somehow but don’t you think it’s too mean for an expectation!
(*This post is author’s personal view on the matter and is not targeted at any special person. Day to day observations and ‘the willing’ but ‘confused’ ‘to-be-wed’ people inspired this write-up)
World has become a difficult place to live; People are fighting over anything and everything. But the most prominent factor which always remains ‘in’ for debates is the ‘religion’.
I was never told about my religion by anyone; it automatically got imprinted in my mind after being part of numerous rituals and customs. And one day when a form asked my religion, my hands didn’t pause, even for a second, to write ‘Hindu’ in the column. I didn’t hesitate because it’s the years-long conditioning and I never thought of asking, what’s the religion? What’s a Hindu? Partly because I believed, our religion is what we are born with. Hence, I kept following…the Hinduism.
And now that I am reading ‘The Geeta’, I wonder why I never noticed that ‘this’ word is not even mentioned in this ancient and highly respected scripture of Hindus! It is said that ‘Geeta’ is meant for all humankind and is not any religion specific but then again, do you ever hear people claiming it as a Global scripture? No!
My curiosity took me to Google and for the first time in my life, I googled, “the meaning of Hindu….”
First thing that got revealed to me was ‘Hindu is not a Sanskrit word!’ (Which explains its absence from ‘Geeta’).
The story behind the origin of word ‘Hindu’ is even more interesting! The credit for its formation goes to the Persians who were not comfortable with the pronunciation of ‘S’ and instead, said ‘H’.
At that time ‘Sindhu’ was the Sanskrit name of today’s Indus River, flowing partly in the northern part of today’s India (Bharat earlier) and partly in Pakistan. Instead of calling it ‘Sindhu’, the Persians mispronounced it as ‘Hindu’ and referred to all the people living beyond this river as HINDUS, irrespective of whatever religion they were practising.
Amazing! Isn’t it? So basically, the word HINDU originated as a Geographic name rather than a religion. So yes, I am a Hindu and technically, so are the other 1.2 billion people living on this side of ‘Sindhu’!
But that’s not the case. This land has its share of religious diversity where the people are trying their best to attain heavens in their respective ways, sometimes even demeaning the others.
How I wish that we all had a common religion—HUMANITY. Just imagine a time when there will be peace—No problems, No disputes, No bloodshed in the name of religion and no one would ever care to ask the question, ” what did you say your religion was?”
I am back from work and ‘Mr Coolhead’ handed over an envelope. It was an invitation card to attend a function ‘Delighting Moments’ at my daughter’s school. I was delighted but at the same time, it made be nervous. This is going to be her ‘first stage performance’, I am not sure what she’ll do and I am more worried about her reaction after seeing her parents in the audience. I am trying to assure myself by seeing her rehearsals, time and again, and she is doing a great job (actually she is doing a kind of remix). I don’t have a clue, ‘what is she performing tomorrow, in particular?’
We have been asked to spare our precious time from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm tomorrow therefore, I am thinking to take an off from work. As soon as I revealed the news to ‘Mr Coolhead’, he immediately took leave from his daily house responsibilities and is enjoying TV leisurely. Isn’t it great? (Man will always be man). After making the dinner, I am getting her dress ready for tomorrow with matching accessories and mine as well.
In the Morning:
It’s really cold and foggy outside, with little visibility and I am not getting up early, reason you already know.
“Honey will you make some tea?” I shoved ‘Mr Coolhead’.
He got up without a murmur! I am surprised.
After sipping the freshness in, it is time for the princess to get ready. Well, I seldom get this opportunity so I whole-heartedly indulged myself in her service and it was an honor, I admit. Sometime these kids give you the best rewards on earth, which are beyond words.
After sending her to school, it was ‘Mr Coolhead’ who also headed towards his work leaving me alone with my stuff and expecting me to get ready on time (which rarely happens) and this is my ‘first appearance’ as a parent for the ‘very first stage performance’ of my child. She is just three years of age. I am bewildered what to wear according to occasion as I have to look good aptly?
In the Evening:
Because I took much time getting ready; we were late but thankfully function hadn’t begun yet and my dream of occupying the front seat was attainable. Imagine… we were the last to reach the spot and the gates opened just on us and there we were, sitting in the first row, just in front of the stage. Yahoo! I was more than happy.
To my amazement the management called the ‘parents’ upon the stage to kindle the lamp as an auspicious sign to commence the program. Among all the parents, I was one (of two), on the stage holding candle and being photographed; all time spent on getting ready, is remunerated. Ha Ha…
The colorful, cute and vibrant performances of the little buds were on track. I was desperate for ‘THE’ moment. In between, it was game-time. Guess who was again on the stage? Yeah, yeah, you guessed it right; again it was I and my ‘Mr Coolhead’. We were supposed to participate in a quiz about ‘Diwali’. Really! Honestly I am a shame when it comes to traditions. I spent a good amount of my life-time away from home and now post-marriage too, we are on our own. So culture and customs are not among my flavors! (But if you please, I shall participate).
The mommy dear in the competitor team was little (actually a lot) arrogant, Ahem! She didn’t responded back to my smile. However, she had vast knowledge of our customs and answered many questions which I don’t think I had even heard before! I was asked for how many days ‘Diwali’ is celebrated according to ‘Hindu’ culture.
Initially, I was prompted to say ‘one’ but a thought crossed my mind, “why would someone ask such an easy and obvious question?” Therefore using some common sense, I said ‘two’ instead.
And I was wrong. It never occurred to me that we ‘Indian’ celebrate ‘Diwali’ for five long days! What kind of ‘Indian’ am I? But is it my fault? I have always seen it being celebrated for two days, max. Here, for the first time, I saw people pushing the buzzer first and asking to repeat the question after that and then giving a wrong answer on first attempt just to correct it again and eventually get the credit! Who on earth does that? I have seen and conducted many quizzes, trust me!
Finally they won. But don’t think we lost, Bravo! (We got a token of appreciation, same as the winners :)) and enjoyed every bit of this one sided game (it was a fun in itself to object to every act of biasness). For a moment I forgot, I was a parent there ;).
Then came ‘The Moment’ I have been waiting for, keenly; my little cutie made her ‘appearance’ and she was a treat for the eyes; smiling and all confident (to a mother’s pride). She performed really well, danced without any assistance (OMG, she remembered every step). There were kids who would stand still seeing the camera or the crowd and would forget to move but my princess even managed to utter the song along; she really acted and danced like a ‘Rock-Star’. I could see ‘Mr Coolhead’ already feeling like a proud ‘DAD’ and his chest kept widening with every passing moment :).
These delighting moments came to an end but they will always stay with us and keep delighting us forever and ever….
Amid this entire razzmatazz, I discovered something, I discovered my live ‘AlpenGlow’…right in front of me…my golden glowing daughter and Today, it’s a historical moment as I am giving her a blog name, “GlowinGal”. She always makes me realize many things I have taken for-granted as a daughter and thereby gives me a boost to act accordingly. She is the one who keeps testing my patience and teaching me lessons of courage and forbearance. But the very next moment she compensates for the hardships with her angelic smile, an affectionate hug and divine kiss. From her I have learned to hang-on and wait for that inevitable blissful moment to arrive; there’s a belief that it’s somewhere around the corner and no matter what it will definitely come.
“Sweetheart you will always see me there for you…cheering you up…It’s Mamma’s promise.”
But for now, I am in dire need to brush up my knowledge of the diverse culture of country. Who knows when there’s again a chance to prove me truly ‘being Indian’…and I may stand a chance to come out as a Winner ;).