Marriages are settled in heaven but celebrated on earth. The unity of two souls written right from birth.
This is how marriages in India are defined. Being born in an Indian Sikh family, I was brought up with the thought that marriage will be an extremely important aspect of life and that my husband will be the centre of my world.
Just like any other Indian girl, I too grew up dreaming about my man and of course my D-day. Finally, the day came when I met my professed ‘Prince Charming‘. A smart, educated person with a dignified job and a decent family. It was an arranged match, but I was happy. After all, all my dreams of my courtship period, wedding and married life were about to come true. But little did I know that my most special dream will turn into a horrifying reality and a blinding eye-opener!
It all began in February – the month of love- last year when my parents told me about an alliance they came across in a newspaper. Soon we met in a local Gurudwara and the first meeting went really good. The man managed to woo us all with his sugarcoated words and the next thing I know was that we were getting ‘rokafied’ (a ceremony to officialize the alliance).
I was excited beyond imagination just like any other girl would be. But this was just the beginning of a nightmarish future. While courtship periods are all about knowing each other, the endless talks, romantic dates and whatnot (or I at least I thought so), my courtship period was full of mysteries.
The man I was getting married to had zero interest in talking to me and he also refused to meet me before marriage. Sounds strange, isn’t it? Which man, in this day and age, is not interested in spending time with his fiancee? However, he was really good with my family. I was in a constant dilemma. How can a person who is so polite, humble and considerate towards the girl’s family ever be wrong?
But I was suspicious and had a strong feeling that there was something fishy going on. But given the society we live in, we are always taught to think positively and consider the men’s family above us when it comes to the matrimonial alliances.
Nevertheless, with encouragement from my family, keeping aside all the dilemma and with beautiful dreams for my married life, I prepared for my D-day. It was certainly the most special day for all of us as it was the first wedding in my family.
I got married and stepped into my new home with dreams, hopes and expectations. But Alas! All my dreams turned out to be mere slumbery illusions. They shattered the moment I entered my so-called new house.
Things were not the way they were supposed to be. There was no warm welcome for the new bride- no hugs and smiles. However, I tried to move past all that and decided to try and adapt to the new environment. Days went by and my attempts turned into failure each time demotivating me. Everything turned into nothing the day I got to know that the man I was married to never wanted to marry me at all!
They said I was fat and didn’t match up to his personality. I was subjected to mental harassment. I was subjected to body shaming, dowry demands, and even domestic violence. They would even insult my family time and again.
It was certainly the most torturous period for me which lasted for a month. I felt trapped. I felt devastated. It took a lot of courage and gumption to get out of that living hell and opt for a divorce. Thankfully, my family did support me on this difficult path.
Today, I often wonder what exactly went wrong in my case? Is this how the educated woke men of the Gen Z supposed to behave? Are we really moving towards women empowerment and gender equality? Is marriage the ultimate destination for women?
And, is me being a soon-to-be-divorced lady supposed to bring ‘sharam and beizzati‘ to my family?
Well, the answer is NO. This isn’t what women empowerment and equality is all about. It is high time that the middle-class Indian parents understand that marriage isn’t the ultimate validation for their daughter and that one should scrutinize every bit of a matrimonial alliance instead of just being positive about everything.
One just can’t shrug off every incident saying ‘ladke wale hain, unki baat manni zaruri hai‘ (We’ll have to agree to what all the groom’s family say). Besides, the society needs to learn to respect a woman and her choice.
Also, one should not get married just to strike off a task from their ‘to-do’ list. Instead, one should get married when they are ready and with someone they are really sure about. Life is too precious to waste it with the wrong person. So be careful who you choose as your partner.