Indian society is as hypocritical as it can be, and all under the guise of social niceties, culture and tradition. And this really needs to STOP! Right from birth to death, our ceremonies are riddled with pointless rules and rituals that are designed to torture the average Indian family. Nobody has any control over their own birth and death rituals, but 100% people have the choice to control what goes in between (take a hint). It’s time to fix some things.
WEDDINGS, for example (a.k.a the brilliant coverup act for dowry transactions).
Well, weddings are deeply and thoroughly hypocritical. The so-called new generation, the ones that consider themselves suave, polished, and evolved still indulge in archaic social systems like dowry. The bride’s father has to bear the whole expenditure and he is even responsible for giving gifts in cash and in kind to the whole lot of the groom’s immediate and extended family. How is this fair at all?
Had my father put away all of that money for me in a fixed deposit, I wouldn’t have to worry about finances for at least half of my lifetime.
But let’s not dwell too much on how wedding capitalism has brainwashed us as a nation. There are less expensive evils that take bigger tolls. CHILDBIRTH, for instance:
I do not want kids for a whole lot of other reasons, but one major reason which I don’t talk about much, is that I cannot bear the thought of my parents making the same mistakes that they did during my wedding.
For those of you that are unaware, certain communities follow some lame tradition where the girl’s parents (yet again) are robbed of more cash, gold, kidneys, what not, if they become maternal grandparents to a baby boy, and slightly lesser cash and gold if it’s a baby girl.
In the timeline of an average couple’s marriage, that’s relatively early. So how does ‘happily ever after’ happen? With a little something extra from time to time. You know, like MAINTENANCE CHARGES:
Okay so the girl’s parents have to be forever indebted to her husband (their son-in-law) for marrying their daughter and giving her a ‘comfortable’ life.
But to make sure he and his parents continue doing that, they give ‘maintenance charges’ every now and then (Holi, Diwali, Makar Sankrati, Karwa Chauth), and when the girl visits her parents’ house, that can be anything in cash or kind or both. How many of you cringe at the boxes of mithai and seasonal fruits that your parents send, which is then distributed to the boy’s relatives, neighbours and ultimately given to the household help to take home?
They’ll crib about how ‘itna saaman kyu bheja, yeh sab koi nahi khaata hai, yeh saara system bandh ho jana chahiye’ but no one will ever take a step to stop this nonsense. Can’t you buy your own mithai for your own relatives? Ridiculous! And how can I forget? They won't even call and say ‘Thank You’ because they consider it their right and privilege. I have never been able to understand this smug sense of superiority in the ‘ladka walas’.
And despite all this circus, THE ‘BAHU’ IS STILL AN OUTSIDER!
You have to take his parents as your own, live with them, ‘adjust’ to their lifestyle, the guy doesn’t even call or visit your family for days or months and it’s perfectly fine. And you’re going to be blamed for everything. You are suddenly responsible for this man-child and anything and everything that you do will be under strict scrutiny.
His family is going to scorn upon you if you want quality time with the man you married, if you want him to take a holiday with your family, if you want him to pay for your expenses or you want a say in the money he makes. You will come after everyone else, because if he makes the mistake of putting you first, he will be labeled ‘Joru Ka Ghulam’ — and of course how can his masculinity deal with such an insult?
He takes pride in not heeding to the nagging wife, not visiting her parents’ house more than once a year, calling her ‘high maintenance’ when she wants things she’s grown up with.
Of course, things are changing these days. I am lucky to have a husband who speaks up for me when life seems unfair, and wonderful in-laws who adjust well to these winds of change. But all you other men out there, who don’t think it is important to speak up for your wife, please get rid of your age-old mentality and become modern in the true sense. She married you, and if you were eager enough to take all the cash, jewelry, gifts, please also be eager enough to take care of her emotional, physical, financial needs, defend her when life is being hard, be a MAN and love her and don’t be afraid or embarrassed of showing it!
What you should actually be embarrassed about is accepting subtle dowry or about not being a good husband.
Try living at your wife’s house for a year with her family, according to their lifestyle, their rules and regulations, and then maybe, just maybe, you may understand how it feels.
But you don’t have to, because in this society, taking away a girl from her parents is tradition whereas taking away a boy from his is cruelty.