Monday, December 10, 2007

A Suitable Girl?



IT WASN’T LONG AGO THAT there was a Kannada movie called ‘Awale Nanna Hendati’ that had evoked a strong social response. It dealt with the demon that has haunted India time immemorial – the dowry system. Whenever I would, as a young boy in simpler times, watch the male protagonist of the feature dance around talking about the evils of this shameful ritual, a bizarre thought would cross my mind. All of twelve or thirteen years old and I would amuse myself with the amount I would ask my would-be bride’s family. One lakh? No no. That is too little. By the time I marry it would be at least 10 lakhs, I would convince myself with blissful ignorance. It seemed like a very cool thing to have such financial control over such important aspects of life.

That was then. As the years of arrogance turned into an era of further agony – also known as the 20s – a few things started to finally make sense. The 90s came and revolutionized the way India behaved. With an immediate effect of globalization and cross culture exchanges, it was becoming increasingly obvious that everything was bound to go through a dramatic change. Even the way marriages were conceived and executed. As I noticed many of my cousins, friends and relatives from afar get tied in holy matrimony, I continued looking for further ways to keep myself enlightened about this process. The word ‘NRI’ seemed to be the next big thing. The three magical letters seemed to open those wonderful golden doors behind which lived the most precious damsels holding pots of happiness which they later would use to flood their groom’s life with. Ah! I was immediately taken to the concept. The very fact that the prospective groom was ‘well settled abroad’ seemed reason enough for anxious parents of the girl to knock harder on the boy’s door. It seemed like the boys from the previous decades who had sat around doing nothing beyond get decent education and a straight forward job, now were taken over by the much adored NRI.

When I flew out of India for the first time almost a decade ago, I had stepped into the holy shrine of that elite class of Indians who were supposed to be some sort of ‘special’ breed. Or so I thought anyway. I was now part of that community that could have their parents grinning from cheek to cheek mouthing words like ‘Oh yes. He has been abroad for many years now. Yes, he is an NRI.’ I now knew that not only had I reserved a special place for myself in the hearts of the bride’s families but also had managed to become eligible for super special attention.

Sigh.

But again, that was then. Call it bad timing or great coincidence, I do not know. Post 2000 AD and things were again snowballing into something more bizarre. A few months ago I officially began the much adored ‘bride hunt’ having roped in my family into the mix. With so many years of enjoying that ‘special’ status behind me I could not wait to hear the many knocks I was convinced my door would get. It had almost made me grin in hidden pride.

But you know what they say. Change is the only constant thing in life. And the same happened with yet another misconception of mine about girls wanting NRIs.

News Flash – they don’t. Not anymore. With the way the working economy in India has taken such a roller coaster ride, the working girl today enjoys the best of the ‘F’ words – freedom, finance, friendship and family. Well, then why on Earth would she give up all this and take off on an unknown journey to some place she does not even care about? The allure and glamour that living abroad once had is now dying slowly. Initially I was rather surprised by this turn of events but with time and quite a few rejections, I have started to come to terms with the fact that the ‘NRI’ status isn’t as rosy as it was. It had to die one day for sure but the darned thing chose to do it when I was getting ready to step into the next major phase of my life.

Sigh.

But sometimes I wonder. How the girl can be rather happy getting up at 6AM in the morning, bundling up with her colleagues in the work-cab that is popular these days, head off to work by 9AM (yes, the traffic factor), work her head off till 6PM, enjoy a snack with friends till 7PM and then head back home by 9PM again. I do not know. Maybe my conception of a working girl’s life is way different than what I listed here, but either way there is so much one tends to miss when they get shelled up in cocoons like this. It becomes ironic that globalization gave them everything except the one important ‘F’ word – Flexibility. It now looks like I should be the one giving her a hefty dowry to get her approval. Seems the dowry system has now come a full circle after all doesn’t it?

Meanwhile I am yet to find a girl brave enough to make that move. When that happens, please be assured I shall let you know.

Amen.

..ShaKri..

4 reflections:

Anonymous said...

Any luck after December 10th 2007?:)

shakri said...

@Anonymous

Dec 10th? What happened on Dec 10th? And no. Nothing major after or before the 10th. :)

Thanks for being here.

SK

Madhura said...

You cannot totally come into the conclusion that the girls are rejecting NRIs only because of all the Fs working girl is enjoying today. A working girl better knows the working culture and problems associated with traveling or staying in other places for the sake of a job. Today girls are equally educated as boys, they too are career oriented and more over hold strong self respect for themselves. It’s hard for them to just give up their jobs and follow the NRI guy and get adopted to a new place. It’s the satisfaction at the end of the day that they get even after going through the hectic work schedule and traffic problems they face in India.

Living in abroad and getting married to an NRI had fancied for quite some time. I think it is dying slowly because they became more aware of the problems faced in having and raising children and their education in foreign lands. Getting grand parents to care of the children in abroad may not be possible due to various reasons. Having maids to work for them is also very expensive. The balance between professional and married life for a women with less problems is possible only in India with the help of parents and in laws.

I think you have to look out for girls of those families who have their family members or their relatives who are NRIs and are open to travel. I wish you best of luck to find your suitable girl as soon as possible :)

Prathi....... said...

Well Said Madhura... I second your views.........

Prathibha

 
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