Indian girls of ‘marriageable’ age are an oft harassed and tormented bunch. The obsession with marriage and ‘settling’ down starts from the time the girl reaches the ‘old’ age of 24 and does not let up till a suitable boy is found. Not only do they endure a chauvinisitic society, sometimes they even have to suffer through the prejudices of their own well-intentioned albeit pushy family members. Most parents of our generation have become liberal, giving the girl child the same rights and privileges that they do to their sons. But when it comes to her marriage, they regress and fall back to their ancestors’ shoes effortlessly. Not just the parents, but countless auntyjis, unclejis, buas, mamas, mamis, mausis, neighbors et al will hound the single woman as to when she’ll get married? Does she have the ‘necessary’ skill sets to become the ‘perfect’ wife? Does she fit into the mold of the ‘sanskari’ bahu? Will her horoscope (Kundali) get her the perfect groom?
Whew! Do these “well-meaning” relatives ever stop to think about what the man has to offer to a committed relationship like marriage besides the obvious i.e., being born male? Does he have a sound academic and professional background to match the over-achieving woman? Does he have any interests besides work? Is he a pig – in any sense of the word? How does he treat women – in general – as his inferiors? As his peers? As his superiors? Does he think a husband who helps his wife is a ‘joru ka ghulam’, or does he treat her with dignity?
Hmmm. Loaded questions for the parents and relatives to consider when marrying off their precious daughter to a stranger, don’t you think?
Anyway, on a lighter vein, there are a bunch of cliches that most Indian women will have encountered during their lifetime. So here’s a list of the eight of them to bring a smile to your face:
“Beta, you should know how to make mutter paneer. Everybody knows, that a way into a man’s heart is through his stomach.” What it means is that you’re going to be married off to a chump who doesn’t even know how to turn on a stove let alone boil a glass of water!
2) Skin tone
“You should try some lemon juice mixed with neem leaves to get a fair complexion.” What it means is that your natural skin tone has to be shades lighter if you have a prayer of getting married. Really?
3) Doing Pooja
“You should do Pooja everyday. A ‘sanskari’ girl should know all this.” What it means is that if you make a lot of noise in the designated Pooja room at your home, only then you’re considered ‘sanskari’. Chuck spirituality; who needs it?
4) Dressing sense
“What kind of dress is that?!” Code for: since you’ve reached the pain-in-the-ass marriageable age, you should toss all your normal fashionable clothes in favor of a salwar kameez, or better yet, a saree.
“Who was that on the phone? Is that who you keep talking to through the night?” What it means is that we know you might have a boyfriend and that’s our cue to get you married ASAP.
“You have such beautiful long hair.” Code for: if you even look at a pair of scissors, we’ll restrain you – physically, if we have to!
“Look at you. Seems only yesterday that you were in your cute little frilly frock. Now you’re all grown up.” Code for: we’ve already started hunting for a ‘suitable’ groom, we’ll let you know once we’ve shortlisted a couple of them for you to nod your head to.
“Why are you running around? You’re not a child anymore. Behave like a lady!” What will the neighbors and/or extended family think, if you are prancing about happily minding your own business? It reflects on us as parents when you go to your in-laws.