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It has been a really long time since Vidyasagar banished child marriage in India. But such is not the case when it comes to our Indian aunties.
I recently turned 21 and let’s just say all hell broke loose. So last month, my uncle got married. In the venue, there was this one old woman who seemed to be very keen about getting to know who we were, my age, and my qualifications. Mind you, we didn’t even know the woman.
After a pretty uncomfortable staring contest, she approached me and asked what my views were on marriage. I simply told her that I’d rather focus on my studies now. She was quite taken aback by my response. In fact, she actually retorted, “You’re 21 already. When do you plan on getting married? You’ll have problems conceiving children if you don’t get married soon.”
For a moment, I was genuinely confused if this was still the 21st century. I mean, of course, a woman’s entire point of existence boils down to marriage and the ability to give birth. So what if a woman wants to be financially independent and wants to pursue her dreams? What superficial things!
Moving on, this wasn’t the first time and nor the last. What genuinely shook me to my very core was when I was asked the same question at a family member’s funeral. People are in mourning. They’re grieving. But this one aunty had the courage to come up and ask me when I plan on getting married.
Read More: Is The Indian Law Allowing Child Marriage And Dowry In The Hindsight?
Annoyed as I was, I answered as politely as I could that I never want to. For a moment, her eyes were so big with a shock that I felt if she stretched them anymore, they’d probably burst out of her sockets.
In a very disgusted tone, she commented, “One has to get married. It isn’t a choice. Parents too have expectations. What about what they want?”
The exchange in conversation was not only taxing but toxic on so many different levels that I can’t even begin to decode the layers.
What Is With This Unwanted Peer Pressure To Get Married?
Even today, the significance of a woman is gauged by her ability to “keep her man happy.” If you can’t, then you’re worthless.
The worst part of it all is that such a patriarchal norm is enforced by women on women. Here in India, marriage is an institution. It isn’t about two people falling in love who want to spend the rest of their lives together. Marriage in India depends on the correct alignment of stars, that being, astrology and pleasing the families of both parties.
If and only if these two criteria are met only then can two people get married.
And then there are those jobless aunties who have no other work but gossip about their daughters-in-law. My God the complaints. I’ve heard people call their daughter-in-laws “Queen of England” all because maybe they asked for a glass of water or some tea. Somehow, it has been normalized that a daughter-in-law is basically a sophisticated facade for a househelp.
No wonder 80% of the marriages in India end in separation owing to aunties gossiping about their daughters-in-law and instigating their sons against them.
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This post is tagged under marriage, peer pressure, forceful, arranged marriage, Indian aunties, gossiping, early marriage, desi, toxic wedding culture, love marriage, importance of marriage, honeymoon, kids, children
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