Friday, July 13, 2012

Wedding Days- I

I have my issues with the sexist practices that a Hindu wedding involves, but more on that later. What baffles me more is the enigma called arranged marriage. I mean how come two people come to the decision of spending the rest of their lives with each other by just looking at each others' photographs, with or without a single chance to speak to each other for barely 5 minutes with an entire battalion of relatives waiting for them to come out blushing and say yes to the proposal? More bewildering is the fact that more often than not it is not even the parents but rather some mediator who brings the proposal. Agreed that the families do look into the background of the to-be-bride or to-be-groom by asking friends and neighbours but how accurate such appraisals would be is not difficult to realise. 
What makes it worse is that the scales are heavily tilted against the woman. Firstly she needs to comply with all the expectations regarding how a newly wed woman is supposed to behave no matter what her orientation and upbringing are like. Secondly she needs to go to an entirely new place and adjust superbly with perfect strangers. Thirdly she needs to fall in love right away with her husband for the act of consummation is associated with her 'duty' and as it is the phrase 'marital rape' is still frowned upon in our society. Numerous more difficulties await a bride, enough to make her suffer from a nervous breakdown if she is not psychologically prepared. I recently attended a family wedding, rather attended all the umpteen ceremonies in between the acceptance of the proposal by the two families and the reception that an Odiya wedding entails and came across so many sexist practices as made my blood boil at times.

It was my Mamaji's wedding and thankfully it was right in the middle of my vacations. There is no place I love better than my Nani's place(save my home and my department) so helping out in the preparations became an excuse to spend a fortnight there. I had never got to take part in wedding preparations even though I have witnessed the marriages of my 4 Masis. This time, naturally, I was eager to learn, and later, to please, as I gradually discovered that part of me which could cook, do the dishes, baby-sit and go for shopping girly stuff. Every single day threw some new surprise and I couldn't but marvel at the Shravan Kumar that I found my Mamaji to be for complying to every nonsensical ritual with no complaints and a genuine smile.

Continue reading- Wedding Days- II

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