Rajamma looks at the 14 year old and smiles to herself. She was just 2 years old when Akka laid her in my arms and went to heavenly abode. And today is her nichayathartham. I have kept the promise I gave to Akka. Her father has chosen the best groom. Akka must be watching from above and admiring her lovely daughter.
“Ok, if you say so”.
Rajamma starts to lovingly drape her step daughter with the traditional Kanjeevaram saree.
“Amma, this is so heavy. How will I carry this?”
“Dont worry ma, you will learn to carry this very well as there will many more occasions on which you will be wearing such sarees”.
She smiles and starts to adorn Rajlakshmi.
“Amma,why do girls have to go to another house when they get married?”
“That is because after marriage, husband’s house is their own house”.
“Amma, Then does that mean I can never come here”.
“Of course dear, you can come but your first and foremost priority should be to look after the needs of your husband’s house and make me a proud grandmother soon”.
After 25 years…
Rajlakshmi is talking animatedly to her daughter Sumati. The boy’s parents were coming to see her daughter. If they agree then she can soon start the preparations for her daughter’s marriage. Her husband calls out to her,
“Rajlakshmi, they have come”.
She hurries out to welcome them. After the usual formalities, Rajlakshmi goes inside and escorts her daughter to the living room where everyone is seated. She makes her sit next to the boy’s mother. The boy’s mother asks her the usual questions. Rajlakshmi looks lovingly at her daughter as she meekly answers them all. The boy’s mother and father discuss something and then the boy’s father clears his throat. Rajlakshmi silently says a prayer. Her husband looks fervently at the boy’s father.
“Sir, we like your daughter. If we have your approval, we can proceed with the other things”
Sumathi’s father replies, “Sir, we have no objection. “
The boy’s father and Rajlakshmi’s husband start discussing about the marriage date. Rajlakshmi silently says a prayer again and exchanges pleasantries with the boy’s mother. Sumathi sits transfixed through the entire proceedings. One part of her wants to run away from all this and get back to studying for her B.A. 2nd year exams and the other part of her yearns for the new life which is yet to begin.
After 30 years…
Sumathi is talking to her daughter Sree. She is doing her MBA 2nd year. Sumathi is telling her about a good proposal. Sree replies
“Not now ma, my exams are going on and I am yet to start my career also. I can’t even think about marriage now. Please ma, don’t disturb me about this marriage stuff now”.
Sumathi puts down the phone and looks at her husband and says “Girls these days!!! I didn’t even utter a word when my parents fixed my marriage right in front of me. They didn’t even ask me”
“Times have changed Sumathi. She is the modern age girl. Let her be. When she wants, we will get her married. You don’t worry so much”
After a year..
“But Sree, its a year since you joined the company. What more career do you want to establish”
“Ma, its like a rat race. Its hard to explain to you. Give me some more time I will surely tell you when am ready. As of now, Marriage is a sure no”
After 2 years…
“Sree, you need to decide about your future ma. You should get married. We are also getting old. If we wait for some more time, we wont get a good proposal ma. Already, everyone has started talking ill about you. No ma, you should decide this time”
“Ok, if you say so. Can I talk to Daddy?”
The conversation goes on for a long time as Sumathi watches her husband’s face change from astonishment to understanding and a multitude of other expressions in between. Finally he places the phone and says,
“Sumathi, you future son-in-law is coming to meet you in two days”
3 generations with only one common factor, “When will my daughter get married?”. With time, naturally the perspective of the mother has changed from informing her wishes to her daughter to asking her opinion and then coming to a decision. Globalization has brought a remarkable change and the woman has grown from being just a housewife and mother to a strong, independent individual with a mind set of her own. She perfectly understands what is right and what is wrong. She understands what she seeks in life. At times though, she is still confused and still looks about for advice. At heart, she still remains the soft and meek person barring whatever facade she may show to the outside world to protect herself from the vagaries of the outside world.
It is time that the society and the world at large understand her and allow her to grow as an individual. Let the world look beyond her marital qualifications and revel in the glory of her academic and personal qualifications. In hope for a better tomorrow for the woman in me…
After 20 years …
Si packs her bags. She needs to catch the flight to Bombay where she will be setting up her new world. She will be working part-time at McKinFish and studying her art course too. Its time to move out of her protected cocoon into the open world with no support.
“Ok Mom, Its time for me. Am moving and don’t worry I will take care of myself. Dad doesn’t need to send me money every month now on”
Sree looks on as her daughter races towards her new world.