One of the most important issues in my part of the world is getting married. And if you are a girl, oh my days, you were born to get married more than anything else!
A friend of mine, Sidra, had two elder sisters- the eldest was a typical bollywood beauty, second one had pretty English features and Sidra (I thought) had perfect supermodel looks. We had just finished our O level and entered into our A level days when Sidra started staying depressed all the time. Why? Because her parents were depressed all the time. Why? Because she had turned 17 and she was still not married. Being seventeen was considered being a rustbucket in her family. Both her elder sisters got married when they were 15 and 16. Infact the eldest was six-months pregnant when she appeared for her O Level exams.And since Sidra had now crossed her ‘potential age’ of getting the proposals, her parents were worried about the poor daughter who’s life was in deep shit since she could not get married ‘on time’. Thus they made her life a living penalty by venting all the time and complaining that probably she was ugly that’s why nobody wanted her to get married to their sons blah blah blah. This was a reflection of a rich part of the society. (P.S. I am 22 and unmarried; I wonder what her family has to say about me)
Here’s an example of a poor family: A girl I know (was raised by a single mother and) was made to get engaged with this guy (I happen to know him too). Arranged marriages are a norm in our part of the society so basically there was no chance that this girl could say no to the proposal. Not that she wasn’t happy as the guy belonged to a relatively well earning background .The engagement was dragged up to six whole years after which the guy woke up deciding he was no more interested in that girl who had been waiting for years to get married to him. What happens next? His family breaks the ties with the girl leaving her sobbing over her ill-luck. What does the guy do next? Finds a ‘better-match’ and gets hooked up with her. And what happens to the girl? She was left taking care of her mother who became a heart patient because of the harsh blow. It’s been five years to the break up now. She gets no proposals till date because some guy abandoned her after six long years of engagement. And what happened with that ‘some guy’? He is married; and has a son.
Girls cry if they don’t get married ‘on time’. Others keep crying if their daughters aren’t getting proposals. For these people there’s no life beyond getting married. This frustrates me. While I certainly don’t deny marriage can be a beautiful experience, I certainly can not give all my chips in its favor. Marriages can be a disaster and can prove to be psychologically fatal for a being. Especially the kinds that happen here (mostly) where the girl knows jack about her husband-to-be but feels honored and delighted for getting married to him. Why? Because she has been mentally fed this way from the very time she transformed into a girl from a kid. I hate such mothers who destroy the individuality of young girls merely for the greed of them getting married. Every other mother you talk to will tell you she teaches her daughter to compromise at every step; hardly any ‘compromise lessons’ are given to any of the men. That’s hypocrisy to me and that’s what fumes me.
The typical process of getting a proposal and getting married is one where a girl’s self-esteem, eccentricity and personality are slaughtered with utmost diligence and finesse. If a family comes to see you as to speculate whether or not you are fit for their son, you will be asked to smile, frown, laugh, walk, drink, eat, take your shawl on your head, take it off from your head and thoroughly scrutinized from head to toe as if you are not a human with feelings and emotions but yet another item in an industry of mass production. And a girl is not to feel bad or mind any part of the entire scrutiny. God Forbid, if she speaks up saying she can not laugh on demand, walk on an order or take off her shawl on being commanded, her mother’s bombarded with ‘okai so you forgot to teach her some manners’, ‘this way your daughter will be left unmarried her entire life’ and the likes.
I know dozens of women who feel like a failure only because there was no family and no guy to accept them for who they are. They feel dejected and rejected because they were a little dark, a little short, a bit fat, with small eyes (etc etc) for all those mothers who were out there shopping for their sons. In this apparent pursuit they completely failed to notice an array of beautiful personalities…thus crushing them under the weight of an immortal insecurity, and undying sense of depression which they are never able to cope up with.
My question goes out not to the mothers of those sons but to the parents of those daughters, who failed to deliver the idea to their daughters that life is much much more than being selected to be a part of someone else’s family. Life is not just about being accepted or rejected; it’s about making a mark of your own and finding your true self instead of losing your identity in the race of being picked up by a family to get married to their son. When will people change their frame of mind and start taking their daughters to be souls of substance rather than mere beautiful bodies? When will people start inducing in the minds of their daughters, the motives and goals that go way beyond the petty idea of getting married? When will the people realize they are killing their daughters silently..?? I hope all these realizations make their way soon. Till then I will continue to wait with fury.