Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Girl's ‘Horror’scope!

Deepti Menon writes about the trials and tribulations of what many young women across India face when it is time to be married off. Even as many girls in urban India are empowered with the best of education and careers, the sword of society’s prying eyes hangs over their heads when it comes to matrimony.

Would such a hue and cry have been made if
the boy had rejected the girl? Not really!
The flurry begins when a girl turns eighteen and wedding bells begin to ring in every neighbouring home! Sly glances are cast, comments on complexion, education, appearance and lifestyle begin ricocheting off the ceiling. A dusty/musty horoscope is pulled out and perused by a plump astrologer who predicts the position of planets, benign and malevolent. 

Matrimonial sites loom ahead, with thousands of profiles falling into one's lap like manna from heaven. That is when one realizes how many different kinds of species make up the world, and that one man's meat is another man's poison!

Luckily an uploaded photograph can be protected, if one is a paid member on the site. It is worth it to pay to keep one's picture away from covetous eyes. For not all viewers are genuine as some are out to just have fun. Like the man who claimed to be a Hindu Brahmin and wrote an enticing message, “I can see the beauty in your profile despite there being no photograph!" Very romantic and very off putting, as a person who could wear his heart on his sleeve for the whole world to see, could have very little left over in the end.

However, the rest of the profile proclaimed him to be from a different religion. Not that one has anything against any other faith, but why on earth would a Hindu mom looking for an arranged match for her daughter look for a groom from so different a background?

The girl in question does not want a Prince Charming or an Adonis - just a boy who is well settled [youngsters today are very level headed and practical!], tall [but that is negotiable!], family oriented [which includes an orientation towards his spouse's family as well, warm and genuine. And yes, most importantly, she needs to like what he looks like [no Adonis, mind you!] And her mom wouldn't mind a son-in-love with a good sense of humour, a person she hopes will laugh at her horrific puns! 

Suddenly appears the perfect horoscope -the well settled boy, compatibility 8 out of 10, a well known family and the whole proposal one made in Heaven. There is no question of the girl rejecting the boy, and the family waits with bated breath for the response - which never comes! The girl finds the boy not quite her type. She does not want an Adonis, but she does need to feel a tiny bit of attraction towards him, after all! 
An ice rink forms, the verdict is consensual! How dare a chit of a girl reject such an eligible boy? Who does she think she is - Miss Universe? The clucks increase, the nods are disapproving and the whispers clear, "No point in looking out for any more boys!" 

The sad part is that this is the first proposal put forth by the family, not the 25th, and yet, they take it to heart. The parents shake their heads in unison. They will stand by their daughter, and hold her hand, and why not? Would such a hue and cry have been made if the boy had rejected the girl? Not really!

The heartrending fact is that no one can gauge the tender mind of a young girl as well as her parents, who have brought her up with care, nurtured her every wish and allowed her to blossom out in her own beautiful way. They have spent hours of joy and laughter, wielded control and chastisement, doled out advice and cherished very moment spent with her. They have allowed her to make her own choices in life, reposed perfect trust in her, fully aware that when the time comes, she will take the right decisions. So when it comes to the most important choice in her life, is it fair to fetter her and make their choices hers?   

Deepti Menon has always believed in the power of the pen. Having done her post graduation in English Literature and her B.Ed. in English, she had the option of teaching and writing, and did both with great enjoyment. She started writing at the age of ten, long before she acquired a Diploma in Journalism. Deepti also had the advantage of being an Army kid, and later an Army wife, and loved the idea of travelling around India, meeting new people and acquiring new skills. She firmly believes that much of her personality was honed during those travels. For Deepti, writing needs to sparkle with simplicity and originality, and she strives to find that one word that conveys her ideas most meaningfully to her readers. She believes that Mark Twain had the right idea when he said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”