Walking down the aisle with the person of love is a dream which is cherished by nearly everyone. A marriage is a celebration of love and bonding between two individuals. However, there are certain prenuptial customs which can deter the charm and enjoyment of a marriage.
The matrimonial ads have always fascinated me. Even a few years ago me and my friends, in our free times, used to read them aloud and laugh out loud at their sheer absurdity. The “Brides Wanted” ads were so similar, whether it was meant for Hindus, Muslims or Christians. Though I do not follow them anymore, it remains the same till now. The grooms and their parents are always on a lookout for a bride who is “fair, really beautiful, convent-educated with traditional values and modern outlook”. Are they looking for a single girl? The other requirements notwithstanding, people are still obsessed with fair complexioned girls. It acts as a mirror of the Indian psyche which is yet to shed its fetish for fair skin and embrace inner qualities of a person. When I was a kid, there was only the Fair and Lovely advertisement which was seen on TV. The people around me and the culture in which I was brought up gave no importance to superficial aspects like skin colour. On the contrary, priority was given to our education, our thinking and our power to judge things in the future. However, the past few years have proved me wrong again. The consumer market is now flooded with fairness products who unabashedly flaunts their bias toward fair skin. Popular actresses and well known celebrities are all promoting the so-called fairness products. I feel it’s a shame that we are drawing the younger generation towards a notion that beauty is all about possessing a fair skin and not a fair mind. The concepts of fair ideas and fair judgments are nowhere being instilled in the minds of the young people. For a country like India where majority of the people are below the age of 25, I feel there is the utmost need for all of us, at least the so-called educated ones, to be the change and stop this shameless portrayal of our preference towards fair-complexioned people.
For a girl the insult does not stop with the ridiculous matrimonial ads. Arrange marriages are something which have been part of our society from time immemorial. The arrangement is done after following a number of prenuptial steps, the first being the grooms side visiting the brides place, with or without the groom! As a part of such affairs, I was a witness to the bizarre methods which some of the family members resorted to. The reason – to find out whether everything is fine with the bride. The most interesting thing is that all those were done by trick methods – the girl being asked to serve tea to everyone in the room to see whether she walks properly or not, the girl being asked to lift her sari a bit in a bid to know whether the her facial colour matches her other body parts! Can customs get to be more ridiculous and demeaning?
Matching of horoscopes still forms an integral part of a prenuptial list in majority of the marriages, specially the ones which are arranged. The fact that the concept of Mangalik is still now given utmost importance irks me to the core. Personally I feel it defies logic and reasoning. A Mangalik cannot marry a Non-Mangalik and if such a situation occurs the Mangalik person has to marry objects like a tree or an idol so as to resolve the ill-effects of Mangal Dosha. In this 21st century, wherein people are striving and reaching new feats everyday, certain segment of people are not able to overcome such disgraceful notions. The practice of entering into a “false marriage” makes it all the more undesirable. It is like insulting you for being a Mangalik, thereby ridiculing your birth!
There are a lot of things which irritates us and we are eager to change them at the earliest. However, how much we detest them we tend to succumb to societal pressure and practice them. Though our lives are nowadays dominated with everything science and technology, we are still unable to conquer such stereotypes which were entrusted to us by some people with selfish motives. People fail to understand that it is not our skin colour or our natal time that lead to a harmonious marriage. It is compatibility between the partners along with some spoonful of adjustments which determine the success of a marriage.
On a personal note, I would also like to say a blood test before marriage is far more important and its heartening to see that there are a few couples who have vowed to follow this regime. Our skin colour and horoscope matching may or may not result in a successful marriage, but a blood test before marriage will definitely help us in saving our progeny from life-threatening diseases like Thalassemia.
Marriage is an important phase in our lives. Hence, instead of complicating things it is always better to spread cheer, happiness and positive vibes during the entire affair. It is time we change and distinguish between traditional values and superstitions. We are being educated not just to land up with a lucrative job and a plush apartment, but to think sensibly and to compare between right and wrong. It is important for us to know and imbibe traditional values but without getting trapped by beliefs which are illogical and absurd as that might stagnate the society.