Graciousness of a permission
Recently I had to back off from my wedding owing to dowry, and I think it was for the better, as that guy or my ex projected an image of himself, than what he really was. I fell in love with the image, and the real guy was the complete opposite and quite repulsive.
More recently, I was reading stories posted by strong women who too took a stand against dowry, faced hardships marrying in an oppressive family and one of the lines reminded me of a bizarre conversation I had few months ago with my ex, and it was again a reminder of the patriarchal society we all live in.
With 2 months left for wedding, we went to India for Roka, to fulfill his mom’s wishes and for my father to foot the entire bill. Unfortunately, my dad fell sick to a viral fever, and was running high temperature. This had no consideration on his family or him, and my parents dutifully drove all the way to Delhi to fulfill his mom’s desire. I still remember how Pranav was laughing when I told him, mom was putting ice cloth on dad’s head to bring the temperature down calling my family backward, and unscientific and stupid, but was sulking when he realized his dear mom might not be able to spend as much time as he wanted her to spend with me due to my family insisting on an early ceremony owing to health issues.
Cut to the entire drama of Roka, his mom calls later to complain about the lesser amount of money given, and again just reciting a story on how her elder son got a car, and maybe the younger one should now get a house at least. Anyways, she sweetly suggested mom that when she comes to drop me back at Delhi airport for departure, can she bring the remaining money, coz this was a business transaction.
Owing to my dad’s health I went back alone, and later in USA I was discussing with Pranav, as to why there are any monetary expectations. He explained graciously as to how demand for a car or cash was not dowry but traditions to be respected, he pointed out that his mom is showing us the light, and that they are nice ppl who should not be questioned as he and his mom, had not stopped my from boarding the flight. At that time I found this argument bizarre, but now I realize that it was not as bizarre or crazy as it sounds to begin with. He was exhibiting traits of a chauvinist patriarchal male.
I came to US for my master and in the beginning was funded by my dad, until I found an on campus job. If anything, my parents had a right to stop me from boarding the US flight on grounds of maybe misbehavior because they were sponsoring my stay, my ticket, education until i find a way to help myself. I soon did, and after graduation began working in USA. My parents never asked me for the money back or ever in my India trips even imagined that they would threaten me from boarding the flight. Their daughter never listens anyways :)
I wasn’flying back to USA for him. I came here for my studies, was doing a job when met him. Our desire to be married was not born out of a dependency or a need for each other, but a mutual liking that culminated in love, and we made a commitment to spend our life together for happiness. Yes, i would have been spending time with him when back in states, but i was going back like I did after every holiday to report to my job just like him. The truth is I had paid for my own ticket, was paying for my rent, had my own car that he used to borrow all the time, and due to his love for money, never ever did I let him pay for my shopping. If anything, I was the one who had gifted him things of utility with my own paycheque. I got a few flowers that withered with time, but none of them justified if I said you cannot board the flight. The truth was, we both were individually independent and it was a mutual decision to take care of each other. If I cared more, that was my volition. This would not give me a right to not let him enter the country, so how did it give him right
This made me realize of how i was saved timely. Had i married him at no point even as a mutual decision or visa issue or anything could i be dependent on him. If he gave the downpayment of our house (we had decided he would put the money, i will do the monthly payments), he would always feel entitled to throw me out after an argument and I am glad.
I am no ones property and will never be