Marriages are made in heaven, but the conditions and pre-conditions are imposed by the brides on the earth, goes the latest saying. At a recent horoscope exchange meet, interesting things were observed. In one registration form, the prospective bride stated that her salary was Rs.7 lakh a year and hence her husband should earn at least one rupee more. In another, the requirement was that as the girl had completed MBA, her fiancé should have a higher qualification.
Things have changed much from the past. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was the bridegroom's party which put forth demands, putting the girl's side to a lot of difficulties. Many girls could not get married and concern was felt in society to help them. Dowry was a stumbling block to many a girl and even religious leaders stepped in to condemn the practice of offering and accepting dowry. Now girls have become choosy thanks to their financial independence and their demands sometimes look like acts of vengeance. In the corridor of the exchange mela, two women were sharing their experiences. One of them said that she started hunting for a bride for her son of 28 years and even after eight years she could not find a match. The other replied that in her son's case, the alliance was almost finalised, but the girl put a condition that the boy should resign his job in Mumbai and come to Coimbatore, where she was employed. There are instances of the brides' fathers insisting on boys from their own sect.
Among other strange conditions, one girl ruled out the possibility of her in-laws staying with her after marriage. She said the “unwanted luggage” should be left behind. Another condition was that her salary would be available only to her parents as long as they were alive. The conditions which boys used to set looked milder. One prospective bride said she should be allowed to attend late night parties. A parent of a boy offered to share the whole expenses of the marriage if only he could find a match.
In a bizarre case, the boy and the girl were discussing the destination for honeymoon. They could not come to an agreement and, lo and behold, the marriage scheduled to take place within a fortnight got cancelled. In another, the boy refused to marry the girl at the last minute, for reasons known only to him. He had to compensate the bride's family with a handsome amount!
Coming to the selection by girls, we find a lot of inter-caste marriages taking place now. In some cases, girls or boys select their partners despite vast differences in age — oftentimes a puzzle! Girls are now in high demand.
The girl child was a curse till not long ago and there were reports of female infanticide in various parts of the country. Suddenly, the girls have become precious. The birth of a son, which is essential for one not entering “hell,” according to the sastras, has become a liability as a parent will spend the rest of his life, worrying how his son would lead his marital life.
One woman was enquiring with another: “How is your daughter who married a non-vegetarian? How is she managing?”
“She has now learnt to make non-veg. dishes too,” was the reply.
And in the hall, one elderly person was rushing in as he was late for the meeting. Someone asked him whether his son, the prospective bridegroom, had not come. To the surprise of one and all, he declared that he was the prospective bridegroom, searching for a partner for the last several years. We wished him well and departed thinking about what is in store for the future bridegrooms.
(The writer's email ID is: firstname.lastname@example.org)