She stood at the corner of the room, as the old lady hurls abuses at her and her parents. She is too naive to bounce back at them. She rather chooses to listen it all, cursing her stars for not being rich and capable of anything.
What if my parents and my brother had not arranged my marriage and send me to this family? Was I such a burden to them? Was there an urge for an urgent marriage? Thoughts run in her mind as she sobs. She loses herself in thoughts and sits down to the ground, her back strongly supported against the wall.
She remembers the better times of her life, her childhood which was vibrant and colorful, those times when she was pampered much more than her siblings as she was the youngest. She was raised like a princess by her parents and they made her feel so until she was married to this place. Were those good days a compensation for being thrown into fire later?
As her thoughts begin to subside, she gets to hear the old woman again continuing the feat. This time the old lady has a company, her daughter alongside to provide support to the old, tired, abusing mouth of her mother. The husband enters the house, seeing and hearing his mother and sister gone wild. He pleads them to stop and tries to console his mother. He has some amount of alcohol running through his veins. Just the daily dose that he downs with his friends.
He pleads to them to stop. The mother unleashes it on him,
‘You are happy and you are married. What about the promised gold and money? I have a girl who is growing old day by day. I want to see her married. Do you have any concerns? You should send your crooked wife back home to her crooked parents and allow her only when they do what they promised to’
He again tells them to stop as he walks into his room. He finds his young wife sitting on the floor and crying her eyes out silently. He pats on her back and assures that everything will be alright before he crash lands on his bed and falls asleep.
She is still awake while there is a muteness as though after a war. Her thought process helps degrade herself further.
Days passed, months passed, a year passed. After a year and four months, today she is seen walking on the street towards her home holding her new born in her hands. This is the final repercussion of the year and half long abuses by her mother in law and sister in law. She is going with her new born back to her parents’ house to fetch the money promised by them. Sun ain’t showing any mercy on the new born; she had covered quite a few miles and still had a few to cover. She approaches her parents and her brother with a teary eye and narrates the incident. They make the money available in two days and delivers it to her husband.
The old lady is happy, her daughter is delighted and husband finally is in peace. They have won a year and a half long battle. Better late than never.
She wipes the tears off her cheeks as she jolts back to reality from the 27 year old memory and she smiles again as she sees her son tie the knot with his sweetheart and yes, without any dowry.
I hope you guys enjoyed the story. I know there are umpteen articles on this social evil called Dowry. This is just another attempt to draw your attention to this.
This social evil has cost us a lot of things, things like female infanticide, father’s disliking their daughter’s, suicides and even killings. We have seen huge decline in the feminine population in certain states of India.
I can only think that dowry was practiced in olden days as the bride was expected to serve her husband and his family only. They were not allowed to take up employment and earn for the family. Hence the father of the bride pays a small sum as a token for taking care of her daughter. It’s not too good an explanation but this is all I can come up with.
We say we will be a super power by 2020. Come on people, wake up and smell the coffee. How many of us has seen such social evils taking lives in a developed country? I would say zero. We are far from reaching a developed status with all these social evils.
It pains me to see that even educated people fall prey to it. This is one reason I doubt the education system in India. Are they able to impart right kind of knowledge to the youth? At least in rural India it’s a big NO.
It’s widely practiced and still fathers strive hard to earn for their daughter’s marriage in order to fulfill the social requirement. At least in Kerala I see this.
I have stopped arguing with people as I look defeated in the end. It’s not because social evil wins but I am bad at arguing. Some say my ‘in laws’ are rich and they give me and I don’t deny, what’s wrong with that? I don’t have an answer to it. But only a prayer that this social evil stops for good.
Image credits and courtesy: Found this image in Google, credits to respective owners