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Chapter 13

Marriage to be Or not to be.

“Quick! Can anyone get me the contact number of the zoo officials or a Wildlife Sanctuary forest ranger? A wild animal is on the loose. ” I panicked and commented after seeing the bridegroom. Mom hit me on my hand and scolded, ” You aren’t supposed to insult the bridegroom. We are here to attend the wedding and wish the couple. ” ” Mom,” I joked, ” Why do you forget that we are here mainly for the delicious food?”

Rhea couldn’t help giggling at my remark. There were murmurs all around. How could a beautiful girl like Pooja Mehta marry a creature like Sanjay Sharma? We were from the bride’s side. Pooja was my paternal aunt, Anupama Mehta’ s daughter. She had just finished her graduation from Mumbai University and a topper ( Bachelor of Commerce). She wanted to pursue her studies abroad but her parents belonged to a typical Orthodox family where a woman was denied her freedom to lead her life.

” Shhh.. Anupama Didi told me that the groom was from the USA. She wanted her daughter to get married as early as possible and settle abroad with a decent guy. She could pursue her education if her husband permitted her. They seem to be quite affluent and he seems to be a nice guy. You shouldn’t judge people by their physical appearance, ” lectured my mom. I was furious. I replied, ” Why doesn’t the same principle apply to a guy who rejects a good girl because of her dusky complexion or her chubbiness? Why don’t you advise the prospective grooms not to judge a girl by her physical appearance?” Mom was speechless whereas Dad and Rhea approved my comments whole heartedly. I wanted to get up and leave before I could watch my favorite cousin ruining her life by marrying an ugly pig. This guy was smirking at his good luck. Pooja’s parents were lured by the NRI label from the USA. If they are so Orthodox, they should have chosen an Indian groom.

I hated my aunt and uncle. How could they do this to their own daughter? She had dreams and ambitions. Mom said, ” It’s their choice, Lekha. Just calm down and watch the proceedings. ” I turned to my sister and said, ” I am worried about Pooja Didi. If they get married and have their first night, either Didi’s bones will be crushed under the weight of this elephant or they will be sleeping on the floor with the cot broken.” We giggled and heard the boring shehnai ( a musical instrument similar to western oboe). I thought it sounded more like a funeral than a wedding. Yes, it was the death of Pooja Didi’s freedom. I prayed to God for some kind of miracle just as they show in a Bollywood movie.

The groom, Sanjay, let out a huge fart and the priest got up in disgust. I could hear Didi (elder sister) giggling. Sanjay apologized and the priest continued to chant the mantras. Suddenly, Sanjay got up and said, ” Excuse me, it’s an emergency. I have to go to the toilet.” He ran away, carrying his bulk body, to answer the nature’s call. He came back after fifteen minutes and the rituals resumed. But again, he got up, and ran away, much to the amusement of everyone. Pooja’s parents and Sanjay’s parents were embarrassed by Sanjay’s behavior. He did this several times and the audience burst out laughing. Finally, the moment of tying mangalsutra ( sacred thread around Didi’s neck) arrived. I was going to close my eyes when Sanjay got up but his parents and Didi’s parents pleaded with him to control his bowel moment until the marriage was over. He picked up the mangalsutra and about to tie when his facial expressions changed. A foul smell permeated the air. He was nearly crying because he had pooped in his pants. Nevertheless, he went ahead but the bride stopped him. Everyone was astonished and I was delighted. The bride removed her veil to produce a handcuff. It wasn’t Pooja Didi at all. ” What’s the meaning of this?” screamed my uncle, ” Where’s Pooja? Who are you? Why are you arresting Sanjay? “

The bride replied, “Relax, uncle! Pooja is safe. She’s sitting among the audience.” Pooja Didi waved at her parents with a big grin on her face. She was wearing a simple pink chiffon Saree. The fake bride continued, winking at me, ” This cross breed between a pig, hippopotamus, a rhino or an elephant, has been running a marriage racket. He pretended to be an NRI holding fake passports and luring gullible parents to force their daughters to marry this rascal. I am surprised at his confidence. With a face like this, he should have been rejected ten thousand times. But the parents of the brides emotionally blackmailed their daughters to consent to marrying him. I am ashamed to say that inspite of being a police officer, I failed to investigate this man because my silly sister fell for his charms.

As this girl in the front, pointed out, we convince our daughters to ignore the physical features of a man and consider his earning capacity and his good qualities. But what about men? They are given complete freedom to reject a girl if she’s fat or dusky. Why do we adopt double standards while choosing a life partner for our daughter and expect a beautiful bride for our son, though he may look like a monkey? I completely agree that facial or physical features should not be a criteria at all for a marriage. It’s imperative that we should respect our daughter and give importance to her opinion as well. Sanjay Sharma alias Kaluram Malpani is a thug from Bihar and these are not his parents but actors from a drama troupe. Please don’t fall for the NRI label. There are so many eligible bachelors in Indian. Why not choose an honest, modest, good Indian boy? If a guy has the freedom to reject a girl, so does she have the equal right to turn down a proposal. Please don’t force your daughters to live a life that you choose for her. I am not a feminist, nor am I against any man. I believe in human rights. Women and men are to be given equal importance. Neither of them is superior or inferior. Now, this animal will first clean himself and wear a prison jumpsuit. He will be behind bars but there will be no visitors for him.” It turned out that Pooja Didi had sought the help of the police inspector who was the elder sister of her college mate. It was her friend, Sheila, who dropped out of college and eloped with the fraud, after showing his photo to her. Pooja had tried to convince her parents that the groom was a fraud but they didn’t believe her. They thought she was making up stories to avoid getting married.

There was a huge round of applause. My uncle and aunt apologized to Pooja Didi and gave her permission to continue her studies. Though the marriage didn’t take place but my uncle addressed all the guests and said, ” Please continue to enjoy the grand feast for celebrating my daughter’s narrow escape from a horrible life and also because she’s a university topper. Don’t make the same mistake as I did. Give your daughters a good education and allow them to express their opinion before taking any decision on their behalf.”

I joined my parents and heaped food in my plate. God had answered my prayers!

Thank you so much for taking your precious time to visit my website. Hope you enjoyed reading my blogs. 😊😊


2 thoughts on “LAUGHTER TUESDAYs (52)

  1. You make some very valid points, Aparna! I know that arranged marriages serve a social function and benefit families, but it’s the woman who seems to get the short end of the stick. Great story!

    Liked by 1 person

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