Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pre-marital torture

When the alliance of a girl and a boy are getting finalised, what should normally be the mood?

Happiness. An eager anticipation of a great day when two families join to become one. A day that will see two young hearts merge in a sea of love.

What should the parents of the boy and the girl be looking forward to?

Towards the happy married life of the children; towards greater happiness of the boy and the girl; towards the building of a new family.

Unfortunately this is not the scene, at least in one case, that I am getting to know.

The girl and the boy -- who got to know each other after their parents looked for an alliance -- are well-educated, and well-employed in MNCs. They are bright, knowledgeable, wise enough and well-off financially to take care of themselves. Ever since the parents decided that they had indeed found the match for their child, the two -- the girl and the boy -- have been interacting and getting to each other.

The good news: The two are hitting off well. It's after some four or five years that an alliance had finally fallen in place for her. They are discovering each other's wavelengths, and feeling comfortable with each other. They are fast falling in love, if not already in love.

The bad news: The parents are squabbling over dowry. The claim of the boy's father is that he has spent a fortune to educate his son, and through the alliance the girl is benefiting from it. The price is Rs 4 lakh. The girl's parents can, with great difficulty manage now Rs 2 lakh, but have assured the groom's parents that the rest would be paid after marriage. It's not that the groom's parents don't believe the girl's parents, but they say if the money is given after the wedding, it would go to the girl; meaning, the parents of the boy won't get it.

What do the children feel about this? They have no say in this. The boy feels there is nothing to worry and such discussions do take place during the firming up an alliance. The girl is too taken in by the attention she is getting from the boy and the prospect of a happy married life, that all this is just like a bad dream for her, nothing more.

The boy and the girl have got too close now that they can't think of separating. For them, no options; only marriage; come what may.

I am getting to know of this only from the girl's side. She is being advised by her friends to tell her father not to commit anything that is impossible to keep. She is tense, but the hope of joining the guy is too overwhelming for any worry to take root. The boy should be told to prevail upon his parents against tormenting the girl's parents.

The way the groom's parents are looking at making money (or recovering the cost of educating their son) through the son's marriage, is too shocking.

What more should parents want than see their child / children happily settled in a good career and family?

Why don't the parents realise that the squabble for dowry vitiates the atmosphere and strains the relationship of their child with his/her partner?

How can the parents of the groom ever think of making a holy alliance like marriage a business proposition. And the look at the excuses they have to demand dowry!

Shouldn't the parents, instead of bargaining for dowry, help the children settle down happily and set up a home?

Why can't the boy step in? Why can't he put his foot down and tell his parents in clear terms that marriage is not an excuse to make money. Why can't the boy tell his parent: "You helped me get a girl. Thank you. Now leave the rest to us..." Few parents would go against their son's wishes.

Hope it's all resolved amicably...


  1. Pradeep, its sad that this is the state of affairs in the household of the educated! I hope that the boy gets to see this post, he will be well reminded of his role. I personally feel that this will become a non-issue if the boy steps in and does the right thing!

  2. This is not very unique. But seems like it has been to you. My friend in Hyderabad says he is worth 2 crore rupees. And he says it with pride. It is almost a norm. And so to object or oppose is not even a question for him. Sad!

  3. Jas - the narrator in 'londonstani' puts it like this
    there are 2 kinds of marriages - arranged where it is like the boy & girl get to sit like passengers in the back seat of the car driven by their parents. they get to sit in the front seat only for the other kind of marriages like love,semi-arranged, guided, encouraged, misguided and discouraged marriages.

  4. I know of an incident where a love-cum-arranged marriage got cancelled bcoz the guy's dad asked for more dowry at the last moment.The couple had to part ways finally...

  5. hope the boy is able to convince his parents ...even if he succeeds , this might create friction between the bride and her in laws!

  6. As nanditha said... even if he convinces his parents the friction will be there...

    But I dont understand why the boy cant go to his parents and say "I am not a commodity for sale"