Marriage has too many complicated stereotypes attached to it. The more obvious ones include what the rishta aunties say all the time:
“Apki beti khana pakati hai?”
(“Does your daughter cook?”)
“Apki beti lambi hai?”
(“Is your daughter tall?”)
“Apki beti ziyada umer mein bari tou nahi?”
(“Your daughter isn’t too old, is she?”)
“Apki beti zeyada tou parhi likhi nahi hai?”
(“Your daughter isn’t ‘too educated’, is she?”)
The aunties want their sons to be the ones who run the show — the girl shouldn’t be too smart, too educated. She has to be just the right amount of literate.
Also, she should definitely know how to cook because that’s supposed to be her job after getting married. She should know how to make all kinds of desi dishes, know a thing or two about baking and brownie points for that girl who can whip up some ‘gora’ food for her husband’s cravings from time to time.
Doesn’t this read like a casting for a movie? Or ingredients for a dish?
Every auntie has something in common with Victor Frankenstein: They, too, want to have the ‘perfect’ specimen.
When the couple has children, the girl obviously has to be the nanny because cleaning diapers, washing clothes, keeping the house clean have to be a part of her resume. She shouldn’t be too much of a spend-thrift but should also be well-kept. Her hair should be perfect, but not too perfect so it doesn’t look like she spends most of her time at the salon.
This is basically what used to be expected of girls when they were getting married a few years back. Slowly but gradually, times are changing. People are evolving and mind-sets are reshaping. Parents are realising that their girls are so much more than just house maids.
I no longer feel I have to ask how they expect their daughters to mould their ways according to their husbands when so much time and money has been spent on their education, empowerment and liberation. The divorce rates have taken care of that.
The urge to write this blog came to me after watching the ad for BIBA that aims at breaking the stereotypes surrounding arranged marriages where girls are asked to serve tea and display their domestic prowess.
So many marriages fall apart because the two individuals realise how they cannot compromise enough for each other. And that, I feel, is okay.
I’ve heard the older generation speak of the girls of this generation as being “sar chari” (spoiled). I don’t understand the older generation’s obsession with the word ‘compromise’. It’s perfectly logical to not want to mould your true self completely for another individual.
Instead of glorifying the idea of compromise, we should be encouraging our girls to spend as much time as possible with the person they intend on marrying, just so the chances of divorce are lowered. But even if things don’t lead to it eventually — it is not the end of the world.
The BIBA ad does exactly that. It calls for equality between the two genders in a marriage. If the girl cooks and cleans, so should the man.
I hope that our local advertisements also become stimulated by the changing times. Sexist jingles, gender-centric ideas and patriarchy are no longer the ingredients for a successful ad campaign. Our advertisements should reflect the sentiments of our society.