My father made the grave mistake of giving dowry to my in-laws who apparently asked for nothing.
Penning down your struggles is probably the easiest and the most difficult thing to do at the same time. In this country, abuse at the hands of in-laws is as real as child abuse. Still, I have seen this topic being brushed under the carpet as if it does not exist or as if people wait for it to become real.
Now that it’s over for me, I have a few things to say as a daughter to all the parents out there. My story is an appeal to all the parents to be aware of this new generation of in-laws, who do not demand anything in marriage or at least they say that during the initial phase of the wedding.
This is the most evolved species of in-laws who are well educated, hold respectable positions in society and are engineers, doctors, teachers. Some might even be members of some anti-dowry squads.
Please, dear parents, beware of these specific species. They are most poisonous. They are almost like sheep in wolf's clothing. Do not fall prey to phrases like "we do not want anything" or "we are blessed to have everything".
Please do not promote this custom of giving dowry/gifts/huge sums of money. It is an indirect satisfaction of their ego. Don’t strip your daughter off her dignity, try not to compare her with any kind of commodity or money. Isn’t your daughter your most prized possession?
How can people who are happy to accept such gifts at the start of a relationship be good to your daughter or respect her? Is there anything wrong with her that you are giving such gifts to make them happy? In many households, daughter's do not even agree to it, but parents still do it going against the daughter's wishes in the hope that in-laws would keep her happy.
But dear parents, have you ever realised that you are more at fault by promoting a regressive custom than people who benefit from it? You are feeding their ego and raising their expectations. And this vicious cycle of expectations goes on.
But you triggered it, dear parents.
If you still think that it is necessary to spend a huge amount of money, then why not for your daughter's career or her education? Why cannot that investment be directed towards equipping her with resources, strategies, tools so that she can continue to be independent even after marriage? Why cannot you sit down with her and discuss her career choices post marriage with the same zeal and enthusiasm that you show when booking a venue and deciding on what gifts to give?
Nothing could be a greater gift for a daughter than parents who understand that her career is the biggest asset. So dear parents, please trust your children and their abilities. They are your pride. Let them know that marriage is a part of life, not the ultimate goal. Do not pressurize them to be in toxic relationships. Instill in them a feeling of self-worth to an extent that they refuse to take sh*t from other people.