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The Bride Bazaar

The hopeful would-be-bride sits in line with a refrigerator, a washing machine, a music system and other consumer items - bedecked in bridal finery. She carries a newspaper containing her marital advertisement. One wonders who or what might be chosen. In the end, it could even be the TV! A collection of less 'hot', or yesterday's items stand rejected at the back. Meanwhile, a fresh set in crates await unpacking.

You may visit the The Skull from here or keep on reading....

The "Bridebazaar" is about commodification of young girls in the bridal market. In some less enlightened sections of society, a girl is made to feel insecure right from her infancy. A woman is supposed to be like a treasured bundle - a precious bird in a cage, to be taken care of successively during her lifetime by the father, the husband, and the son.

With approaching puberty, she is made to learn that in marriage lies her ultimate salvation. Intellectual achievements, if any, is secondary. Marriage is the ultimate celebration of womanhood - society impresses upon her continually. Hence the bridebazaar, hence the desperate urge for a good match, the dowry and all the exploitation. A succession of visits by probable in-laws, anxieties, cursory rejections, and the ridicule of 'failure'! A slow and deliberate dehumanising of the young and tender soul.

So, would you now like to move on to The Skull? If not, I am equally glad to have you here with me. Thank you.

Dont you get me wrong, I am not against the concept of arranged marriage - whether that pleases or displeases you(to be truthful, my actual observations on love could be too unorthodox for some people to stomach!). Who am I to question a system that has been astoundingly successful over the centuries? In all of my 30 years of life, and of all the people I know firsthand, there has just been a single incident of divorce. Isn't that amazing! Yet this is not a unique experience, but Indian in general. If you ask me whether all those 'non-divorced' unions were actually successful - all I can say is that true subjective estimation of a marriage, for that matter, of any relationship is hardly possible. Just look at the Lockhorns!! But divorce is an undeniable objective indicator of failure. And most arranged marriages in India stick.

So all that is fine. But should we be abusing the system because it is so well entrenched in society? If not by the Cupid's bow, should marriages be held at gunpoint, as an all or none event?

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