A woman crossing over to the ‘wrong side’ of 20s and still remaining unmarried (HAAW!) has been known to send family and extended relatives into an overdrive to ship you off to the in-laws. In a heartfelt post by Humans of Bombay, a woman narrates what life in a traditional Marwari community looks like:
“…. But I came from a traditional Marwari community, whose ideas about marriage were different. The boy and girl are matched according to how much dowry the girl’s family can afford. Of course, it isn’t openly called ‘dowry’, but is talked about in terms of the girl’s ‘budget’. Every girl has a budget, and the boy’s family tries to get the highest possible one,” the woman tells Humans of Bombay.
She wasn’t allowed to study what she liked because it would hamper her chances of finding a suitable groom. At 21, even though she wasn’t ready for marriage, her biodata was circulated within her community, which estimated her ‘worth’. “My relatives lectured me about how my budget was low so I was at a ‘disadvantage’. The fact that my father was no more, and that my mother has Vitiligo were ‘minus points’ too. It didn’t matter that I started my own crafting business a couple years ago; or that I made enough sales to become financially independent,” she said.
After attending what she describes as ‘the single most humiliating moment’ of her life – the ‘Parichay Sammelan’ or matchmaking event – where she had to audition for the role of a prospective bride, she realised the only requirement was money. Now, she’s at a loss because she’s ready to compromise, but it’s “not to the extent that I have to marry someone I don’t even like”, she says, adding, “I’m waiting for the day when nobody is represented by a budget. When the world finally sees that we are more than just a number.”
This is how netizens reacted to the post:
At a time when anything that goes against ‘Indian culture’ has often been rabidly trolled on social media by self-proclaimed protectors of our sanskriti, this post drew quite a few sympathisers who lent their support to the woman.