Saturday, January 26, 2008

Circa 2008

We've always prided ourself over being an educated family. This isn't to say we aren't. Most people in my family are quite well-educated. And last night, on 25/1/2008, my cousin called off his engagement. Which was scheduled for 27/1/2008. Because suddenly, he decided that the girl wasn't good enough for him.

I don't want to make him out to sound like such a villain. In fact, I don't think it's his fault, in a manner of speaking. Marriage in my household is such an obsessive family decision, there is an immense pressure on every single kid to prove that we're obedient children, who will do whatever our parents ask us to do blindly. And interestingly enough, most of us do, when it comes to marriage. But I digress.

The facts are as follows:My cousin told his parents that he'd be okay with marrying any girl they chose, he had no preferences whatsoever. His praises were being sung loud and clear everywhere, even in my house, for being such good boy, for being the sort who completely trusted his parents and so on. Around the 15th of this month, my uncle and his wife (yeah, my aunt, I suppose) met the girl and his family. They approved, and said yes for the wedding. They decided that the engagement would take place on the 27th of January. Then suddenly, a bit of fear crept into my uncle's mind, and he inserted a clause saying that everything would be subject to my cousin and his sister approving. My cousin flew down from Delhi, and he and his sister met the girl on 22nd. Noone said anything. Everything was going smoothly. He said he was cool with the marriage. As did his sister. Clothes shopping and all is happening.

And then, on the night of the 25th, my cousin was looking really upset. His sister and mother asked him what happened. After some coaxing, he said he did not like the girl. She didn't seem 'smart' enough for him. After which even his sister said she'd felt the same way, and that she'd held her tongue because he hadn't said anything. And then, when my uncle tried persuading him a bit, he started crying and said that if they wanted to force him into it, it was fine. So the engagement was called off. The girl's father and uncle begged my uncle and aunt to tell them the reason. You know what's appalling (if all this already isn't!)- my aunt told them that they'd at least told them before the engagement, and that they had given them enough time. She did not have any remorse in her voice.

A lot of questions come to my mind. Firstly, if you've chosen to play the role of the obedient son, why did you not stick with it till the end? If you had preferences, why didn't you declare them to your parents when they were looking for a bride? Let's not even go into the subjective analysis of what he said. Not 'smart' enough leaves me with way to many stones to throw at him. But most importantly, it's a question of principles. If you've said yes, how can you go back on your word? I completely understand and appreciate that whatever problem you have should be declared before marriage, and much better late than never. Also, it'd probably have been more disastrous for a girl to walk into a house where people thought badly of her after marriage. But even so, couldn't he express his views on the 22nd, when he saw her? It would've been cleaner then.

It's the most pathetic thing I've heard to have happened in some time now. And I'm really disgusted and ashamed it has happened in my family. I never thought a cousin of mine, in the year 2008, would treat a girl like a commodity to be selected or rejected even after having given his word as if she was some grocery he was buying and suddenly changed his mind about. I cannot even begin to imagine what she or her family is going through. It breaks my heart more so that my cousin's sister and his mother, being women in Indian society, having borne the brunt of how the girl child and the question of their wedding is treated like, could have been party to something like this. They are all turning around and criticizing the girl today, saying she was indeed not up to the mark.

In any case, I'll stop now. I don't know what to say, really. I know I'll never be able to communicate it to the girl or his family, but I convey my deepest apologies to them. I cannot believe someone in my family has done this. And I wish I didn't have members like this in my family. May they never be forgiven.

And I hope they remember, what goes around comes around.


Anonymous said...

here goes my story
i ask a girl out in a neat respectable manner, she smiles
and replies as "sure" not taking even more than 2~3 seconds to reply. when i ask her whether this Saturday will be okay she says after exams. it was last day of semester in fact just after last lecture i asked her out.

the exams were after 15 days and and diwali was in between the preparatory leave.

when exams ended and i finally asked her to fix the day and timing.

this was her reply.

"when you asked me out i was not seeing anyone.
however now i am seeing someone and the relationship is not yet concrete.
i cant tell him that i am going out with you also i don't want to lie at beginning of the relationship.
hence i cant go out with you.
however we can surely go out sometime later"

now you being a girl can you please tell me what do you think of the reply.

nearly everyone in my class knew that i liked her with a very good probability even she knew that.

please comment

Anonymous said...

oh just remembered you are a lawyer.
your argument was quite logical

Bhavya said...

Ouch! It's really sad someone did something like that to you. Really terrible a thing to do to someone! And I say this (despite or because of, I don't know) being a girl.

Please don't misunderstand the emphasis on gender in my post. I was not trying to establish that only men cause hurt, and that a woman's actions cannot insult or torment a man. All I was trying to do was say that given the social structuring, it is especially sad that my cousin, an educated and sensitized(expectedly) individual, could act like that. It is a fact, and I'm sure you won't deny it, that for whatever reason, the marriage of a girl is so big a deal, and it being called off such an awful thing to happen, that it quite adversely affects her matrimonial prospects to have one wedding called off. Prospective suitors and their families will, in an uninformed manner, conclude that it was her 'fault'. The fact that there is such undue emphasis on a girl's getting married, and that it is a pathetic social norm, is another thing, to be discussed another day, perhaps in another blog entry. I'm not saying that if she had called off the wedding, it'd have been any less disrespectful. All I'm saying is that it was an incredibly irresponsible thing to do, more so because of the opinions that are so easily formed in our society.

And er..thanks.