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?