Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The choice is out there!

“Will you marry me?” His question caught me by surprise! I hardly knew this guy. He used to drop in home from time to time whenever he was down from the US on holidays as his sister lives in Bangalore. He is a year junior to my eldest bro and his junior at college too. He, lets call him AS, is six foot tall, good looking but an extremely quite gentleman. So why did I say "no"? Because I am a chatterbox and someone like AS would drive me to suicidal depression. All he can talk about is technology, when he talks and that’s occasionally. I may not be spoilt for choice, but neither am I so desperate to say "yes" to the first guy who proposes. Besides...I am firmly committed to single hood till marriage, which will happen in a couple of years only! Period! Unless of course Mr Right walks into my life. But then such things happen only in movies. And I am a realist. I am no more the head in the cloud gal of high school. College beat the stuffing out any romantic notions I had about romance as I learned some eye opener of lessons from watching classmates and friends in relationships.

There are two ways to go about life if you are an Indian gal.

1)You learn from the mistakes your friends make.

2) You don’t learn your friends make and make the mistakes your friends made and wonder why life is so unfair.

I chose the former route long time ago. And hence the resolution to stay single until Mr Right walks by or get married on the appointed day at the appointed time to the appointed guy, mommy dearest fixes. I am sure she will do what’s best for me in her opinion! :p Let me not pretend that my wedding will be some dreamy Bollywood sequence. It will be as ordinary as anybodies.

Coming back to Mr AS. I looked at him and asked in absolute wonderment why “he” of all people on this Earth would have problem finding a gal with his credentials. AS like the Malayalee Christian men I mentioned here, wanted more than just a wife in the girl they marry. He is facing the same dilemma. That’s when I said something that surprised even me!!! “Why are you only scanning the resumes of girls whose parents have you promised you a good dowry? Why not girls whose parents cannot afford such a dowry?” He was taken aback. Clearly the thought had not occurred to him like many highly sought after grooms!

I refuse to believe that there is a dearth of well read and bright young Malayalee women out there. If there is a dearth, then it is of bright young Malayalee women whose folks cannot afford a big dowry. Mr AS was dumb struck at my query. I persisted. I told him that if he really wanted, he could get the best of the best gals if he could only give up the idea of a huge dowry. It is difficult to get both i.e a good dowry and the perfect girl!

AS didn’t say anything. I don’t know what he will do. But this conversation opened my eyes to something that was so obvious but unnoticed. As an addendum to my last post on the subject, I have to add that guys who grumble about stereotypical Malayalee gals are the types that have unconsciously narrowed their field of choice. They never thought of the other option i.e the millions of gals out there who may be the perfect fit, but whose pops cannot afford the big dowry they want.

And I also realized why so many Malayalee couples who have had love marriages are so happy. And that’s because they were not constricted by the considerations that govern an arranged marriage and hence gave themselves the best gift of all….the gift of choice!

You cannot have the best of the world. So quit grumbling all you eligible mallu Christian men who want that bright, intelligent, scintillating conversationalist etc lady! You do have a choice. Now let us see you taking it!

p.s On a lighter note...all you people who make fun of mallu names eat dirt!!! That includes me too, I just realized! *gulp* Congratulations Mr err Kanth! You just made us mallus, I mean all of us proud! Thanks Karthik for this gem!


Deepti said...

Very true .. The moment I hear a guy say he wants a gal from financially sound family, I tell my paernst to cut him off... if he cant earn enough to take care of his wife, its better he stays single :)

| Balu | said...

And I thought dowry funda was dead! They still take/demand dowry wow! =0

Philip said...

Hmm...this problem is not as simple as guys taking a stand on dowry - it's also about the girls taking a stand.

The girls(and their families) also need to ask the question: Are they willing to say that they will not give dowry when the girl gets married? Since you're expecting a 'normal' arranged marriage like most others, is that going to involve dowry? If it does, then you are doing as much harm to the girl who cannot afford to pay dowry as a guy demanding dowry because through that act, you have legitimized the practice of dowry and driven up the 'market price' a bit more. If you say no to dowry demands, then finding a guy for you is going to be next to impossible for your parents and they will be subjected to huge societal pressures. In the Mallu Christian scheme of arranged marriages, not giving/taking dowry is social suicide.

I'm not justifying dowry by any stretch of imagination (I am personally against it and have taken the stand). I'm just saying that it's not just the Mallu men who have to make the choice, but the women too.

PS: Is this rejection # 568 or 569? I forget :D

Anonymous said...

The first half of err..kant's name really means rice in some language, Konkani, I think.

silverine said...

Deepti: Absolutely right! Well said!

Balu: It's still prevalent!

Philip: Actually I haven't faced dowry demands till now. All proposals have been without dowry demands! There is now way I will marry a guy who asks for dowry from my Dad. I am very clear about that. And the good news is that there are many girls like me who have guys willing to marry them without dowry. But then there are many girls who are not this lucky for some reasons! If they don't pay dowry, then they don't wed because there are people willing to "shop" for grooms. A stand against dowry has to be taken collectively! Or it is doomed!

"Is this rejection # 568 or 569? I forget"

LOL!! So you haven't forgotten that! :p

Anon: I was just pointing out my relief that there are other people who have names like us! No offense meant to anyone! :)

Dhanya said...

Nice thoughts.. but unfortunately not many guys are willing to take the choice. I know many of my christian friends who have faced/facing this issue. The guy and gal would like each other and sometimes would even have started going out together. Then when it comes to fixing the dates, guys parent's would start dowry talks and nothing would work out. None of these cases, the guy came forward to say that they want the girl and not the money.. :(

Anoop G said...

what i hav seen is in christian families in kerala, they give the girl's full share of family property just after marriage..

i am not supporting this practice.

But its followed in majority of families in kerala.

Macadamia The Nut said...

It's proof enough that 'education' and 'culture' alone won't dispel these social-rapes. Bleddy peepals!

cluelessness said...

Dowry is a no-no, no matter what! Two people choosing to live their life together cannot be offset by any amount of money. Frankly, I do not hold guys who want dowry, or girls who offer them in very high opinion.

Karthik said...

While what you say may work out in a love marriage, the case is different in an arranged marriage.

Like Dhanya says, in very few cases does the guy come forward and tell his parents that there should be no dowry. Hope things change at the earliest!

mathew said...

Young Mallu Christians Association(YMCA) plans to gherao this post and demands a dowry as compensation for this henious accusations!!

On a serious note..
I was talking to a friend about this..and he asked me how does a well intentioned gift from a father to his daughter count as a dowry..Prob is there is a thin line about it and most of the time it is on the wrong side..

Anoop G said...

u have lot of YMCA fans :)

hammy said...

Hmm... Silvie, I don't think the dowry problem is the directing factor in the shortage of prospective brides.

By most accounts, it is difficult to get the right mindset and attitude. As you know, I am currently brandishing swords and building barricades to thwart the ongoing attack by family and friends to get me out of the singlehood throne.

And as I am STILL confident about holding the fort for a considerable period of time, I haven't thought much about the traits that should adorn the future (LATE future) Mrs. Hammy

But one thing that was always known... was that there will not be any dowry. As were the cases with my dad and his brothers... family matter... It was never even an option.

But even then, I don't subscribe to the notion that it would be easy finding Miss Right.

For now, I shall continue fortifying my defence area.


That was good.Very straight.Writing style was unassuming.Good sense of humour.
Keep on writing.
Best wishes...

anN-series said...

we malayalees will still have to eat dirt cause shitikanth means lord shiva (unlike shitty george) :~(
and its not pronounced as 'Shittykanth'..rather ShitHikanth..btw i hope he is aware of the alternative 'mean' ways his names can be pronounced...

Praveen said...

wow that was pretty blatant and well put, ..i think the dowry system is slowly dying out in mallu society except in christian families..its high time it stopped there too..

ToOothlEss WOndeR! said...

--to say "yes" to the first guy who proposes
did i not ask you like 17 times already?

The Smokin' WDM2 said...

Though the marriage stuff is still a long long way ahead for me, its true - what you said about people preferring their partners to be in the same mental wavelength..

oh wait.. was that in the linked post or this? whatever..

Add to it, the damn community forces the poor guys to narrow down their search area.

And even now people are sticking up for dowry...well I thought it just remained as an appendix, a mere custom, but certainly not to come to the point of deciding the fate of the wedlock! Maybe it's just some communities, though.,. but I see it kinda getting reduced to a 'just as much as you wish' affair in mine. But there certainly are exceptions.

Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

@toothless wonder: Oh good lord! So was it Silverine then who made you a 'toothless' wonder? :)

(Trying to sneak this one through the censor. I just couldn't help! :D)

silverine said...

Dhanya: I think it is parents who don’t let their sons make the choice!

Anoop: You are right! That was the original intent!

Macademia: I am seeing a lot of dowryless marriages among my immediate seniors. Most of them are love marriages and happened here in Blr away from the eyes of the parents! So I can definitely see the change! :)

cluelessness: I am afraid saying no to dowry is not a choice for many mallu parents unless they want to see their daughter live her life as a spinster! :(

Karthik: True! But things are changing now though slowly!

Mathew: I know how to deal with the YMCA! Mere putty in my hands ;)

About the thin line, one cannot take what parents give as a gift as dowry! It is what is demanded from the boys family and on which rests the finalizing of marriage that should be considered a dowry!

Anoop: :)

Hammy: It is one of the reasons for narrowing your field of choice down. Not the only one!

Man in Painting: Thank you!

Ann Series: "Shitty" in mallu has no meaning. It is a harmless word. It is the English meanings that makes it a faux pas. :)

Praveen: I am very sure it will die down in the X'ian society too in the near future!

Toothless wonder: And 17 times you didn't get it right!! Hummpphh!!!

Sriram: Actually the 'just as much as you wish' is also a trend in my family. For the record, my Dad and bro both married without dowry.

Karthik: LOL!!!

Ahem...jokes aside...that was just a loving tap. I underestimate my strength sometimes…sigh.

ap said...

It seems Gherao wont work....
An All Kerala Hartal has been announced to protest against this post!
jai jai YMCA... :)

Seriously ,I think with dowry or not most of the times girls are cheated.
Some time back I had commented ...
Dowry is not always the correct division of family porperty or whatever.Its just a small percentage of the total assets.

And why is it so prevalent among Mallu Christians only?

Anonymous said...

When girls and their families stop looking for "professionally qualified" grooms (read MBAs from reputed institutes, Engineers with high earning capacity, Doctors or CAs) then boys and their families will stop demanding dowries! Its simple. Somewhere I can hear some pots calling the kettle black!


Macadamia The Nut said...

That's the point! So are we to think that love marriages are the solution? Nope. Because I know guys who's married their sweethearts, after a nicely recited dialogue of "What can I do hon, I've told you how my mom is. If we have to be together your dad has to make a compromise"

Looser dude... LOOOOOOSER dame!

What's worse is when the girl's family 'insist' on giving a dowry to ward of real and imagined future problems. Where does this end? Or for that matter, where does it begin?

saphire said...

as far as this dowry drama goes...few other things make me as sick to my stomach.. :-/

firstly as far as the "gift" to the daughter is concerned? y not a "gift" to the son too...dont they love him enough to help him afford a new life? Sadly this rubbish parading as a custom is a slight on the face of our country..

Totto said...

In my case, dowry is out of the question.But i learn too, to marry a well mannered,smart,beautiful mallu girl with enough exposure outside kerala to meet my wawelength is too much to ask for unless i win some seven advertising awards and get promoted to CD with a fat sal.. and when would tat be.. when i'm middle aged? So. guys have a problem too..

Machiavelli said...

Me and my would-be (both openly greedy mallu christian yuppies) are waiting to get married so we can spin dry the mamas and the papas (on both sides...we believe in fair play) off maximum amount of money and go honeymooning in Maldives...who is the victim here i ask? Is this an acceptable mindset in the mallu xian blogosphere?

Pradeep said...

I still haven't been able to understand how money can be a determinant in a marriage. If money is going to determine a relationship, I don't know how it can ever survive. Because the toughest of relationship problems aren't solved with money.

I agree with you when you say, guy limit their choice when they look for dowry, limit not just the availability of girls, but limit the scope of happiness even.

Scribbler said...

Well now a lot of mallu xtian guys and their families do not ask directly for dowry...Instead they enquire thru other methods as to how much dowry the gals parents are capable of giving..This happens in the Muslim families too..
I am not bringing the religion aspect here... When I was in the north I used to boast to the northies that we mallus do not ask for dowry, I had seen my cuzns getting married (gals and guys), without the word dowry uttered anywhere ... In the middle class hindu society (there mayb exceptions) , if the word dowry is uttered then the marriage might be called off..
There is something that my fiance has specifically mentioned :
When his folks visit my house my parents are not supposed to talk or mention about what they will/can give their daughter... if it is so then they feel insulted and might call off the wedding..
When I came to work in Kerala I was stunned by the way xtian marriages work, there were a lot of weddings between colleagues... even in those cases dowry, pocket money (not sure what it s ) etc were involved... Their argument is eiter: the gals father gave this car, flat etc etc to me ..I didnt ask.. (If u take dowry accept it, these lame excuses make the situation worse)
OR those who have the nerve to accept say :
I am educated so I need it.. In most cases the gal will be earning as much as or more than him (in the case of mallus) why not take that into consideration?
Another arguments is that she needs all modern amenities , I cant provide all that myself , so her parents must support coz its for her.. WTF ?? who shud be blamed int his case ??

I do hope the situation will change.... But seeing the educated , high class people still falling on it ... I doubt when it will happen..

How do we know said...

so true... the choice is out there!!

Desert Rose said...

"So quit grumbling all you eligible mallu Christian men who want that bright, intelligent, scintillating conversationalist etc lady! You do have a choice"....You hit the nail on the head ! So very true and as a matter of fact, I think we, women too can make a difference on leading by examples!

Vivek Menon said...

I liked your comment on why mallu couples in love marriages are happy. After all they are not bothered by dowry & "what will people say"..!!!