Facts about marriages with no demand for dowry #1

We often come across people (especially the girl’s side) who feel blessed when their daughter/sister/ any girl of their family finds a match whose family refuses to accept even a cent in dowry. A not-so-rare event in today’s times when the law is so strict against people demanding dowry.

It’s quite commonly noted that people fear the very word dowry as if uttering it or even the slightest mention of it would suffice them to be guilty enough to be hanged till death. For convenience, this forbidden term is often replaced with gifts. The following is an account of what actually happened in my life, my marriage and with me.

As you are aware, mine was an arranged marriage. The boy’s family visited us, met me and my parents and once they were satisfied with everything they had in their mind, it was left on me and the boy to meet and decide whether we were happy to get married. The boy didn’t come to meet me straight away because he was overseas at that time and his parents wanted to meet us right away as soon as they had heard about my family looking for a suitable match for their well-educated daughter.

The point to be noted here is, my family and the boy’s family lived in the same city at that time, so both families had gathered enough information about the backgrounds of both sides. Everything sounded fine and the boy’s family agreed to no demands of any sorts (for my parents had made this point very clear right in the start ). An informal ring ceremony was organized before the main event (that was to happen after a while once the boy would return with a longer leave and arrangements for my visa).

All went smooth until the actual wedding day when the boy’s father demanded one lakh rupees (for air travel and other expenses that according to him his son was bearing but should be borne by both parties). That was arranged and the marriage took place and I reached my husband’s home.

Two days after the wedding almost all guests had already left and it was only my MIL, my two SIL (one elder to my husband and married with a baby and the other almost a decade younger to me), my FIL and my husband and myself. Then started the drama that still sends chills down my spine. Screaming and shouting by my FIL stating that the wedding was just ordinary and the dresses gifted weren’t according to their expectations (greed and expectations have no upper or lower limit).

My MIL was upset because she was expecting a gold jewelry item with every saree that was gifted to them. According to her, each saree should have been from a designer collection not costing less than ten thousand rupees. (I found all these remarks absolutely ridiculous for it was my marriage, not my MILs so I should have been the one to receive gifts and not she or her daughters. Secondly, till date has she ever bought/worn a designer saree? or any saree that costs more than two thousand rupees??)

The grumbling didn’t end in a day and the outcome was, all the designer sarees I had brought with me were eyed upon as their future assets. I was trying to adjust and swallow their bitter words in hope that very soon the man I was married to will wake up from his sleep and be by my side. But I was sadly mistaken. In no time my husband joined the team with majority of players and started accusing me for all that his family had to say.

I retorted back and told my MIL and husband, that if they had so many issues and demands, why didn’t they specify them before the wedding? To this I was told,‘ that it was taken for granted as common sense of the girl’s side to gift the in-laws appropriately and generously’. I was shouted at like a stray animal for daring to put on a salwar kameez instead of a saree while in sasural.

Things didn’t get any better at any point. When the time came for me to cook the very first time, the sweet I made was tasted with a look as if they doubted me of adding rat-poison instead of sugar. I was tipped (literally) with a hundred rupee bill by leaving it by the corner of the table after my FIL had finished eating. (I found it very humiliating and downright unacceptable for I myself have never ever treated anyone, not even an animal in such rude and rough way).

The taunting and constant remarks about how their desires for their only son’s marriage were trampled upon by my family were constantly loathed on me, with my husband being the dumb spectator of my suffering. I was an idiot to hope things will get better with time. I was so wrong in hoping against hope that someday when he’ll love me he’ll stand for me, for that day never dawned.

Continue to the next part

The song on my mind:

45 thoughts on “Facts about marriages with no demand for dowry #1

    1. Please keep it in mind but then again, there is no hard and fast litmus test to prove that who actually means what they say.
      But there are always signs (especially in the indirect hinting) some of them I’ll be pointing towards as the series moves along.

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  1. Have these uppity ‘ladke wale’ types made some sort secret pact with each other, given their systematic similarity in torture-the-new-daughter-in-law-techniques, I wonder? Maybe I should write a sarcastic post on this next!
    Two phrases that Desi girls have to be very cautious about when entering into a Desi marriage.. (a) ‘ we have no demands; (b) ‘give whatever you want to your daughter’. Both these phrases are sugar-coated ways of saying ‘our demands in future will be so endless that you can work your fingers to the bones, sell your soul to the devil for all we care, but get that money to buy us those designer saris and gold and yet you will never be able to fill up our bottomless well of greed!’
    And to think that this ex of yours had 2 sisters! I am most certain they were being treated like queens by their husbands and in-laws! That’s what I have generally observed in families that treat their own daughter-in-laws shabbily!

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    1. Your observation is quite true even in my case as far his sister being happily married goes…I’ll be writing more on this issue in near future.
      I totally agree with the two phrases you mentioned.

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  2. Well we married my sis and thankfully we did not have such a problem .. she is married for a few years now and We were lucky to have found a good family…

    but sometimes i have heard so many stories that how can people be so cruel..
    you know I have my own house and evertyhing that i need in the house why would i want dowry thatwud mean throwing away things i have bought with my own hard earned money and put new stuff..

    jsut thinking

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    1. I wish to emphasise, not all people are like my in-laws and I glad your sister is happily married in a caring family 😀

      You raised a very valid point there, why would you or anyone with a good job, his own house etc. want dowry? But the reason again is, greed has no upper limit 😦

      The figures in my marriage were shockingly big too…but still just one small thing greed and greed alone almost got me killed (all of it is soon coming up).

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    1. Tharani, when the newly wed cooks a sweet for the first time, she is given some gift, and many people give money so she can choose what she likes, but when there is no love and respect, it becomes ‘tipping’. This gesture seems to be intended to show displeasure and to humiliate.
      Even the idea of a newly wed cooking in the new house for the first time is to ‘test her skills’. Such insensitive, degrading customs can make settling into a new family even more challenging for the young bride. It seems she is there not to be a part of the family, but to be a cook and a male heir provider.

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  3. Yeah!!Its always the girls’ side to be blamed for – either for not giving what they expected but dint say or for not giving the dowry they demanded on time or for not giving more than what they demanded as the girls’ family was expected to have common sense (like what happened in my case). And they just find pleasure in repeating things over and over for a million yrs…

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  4. Very similar to what I dealt with. Nobody screamed or shouted at me, but they made a big show of “Oh look we never even complained about xyz.” As if it was their birthright to complain! As if my family was born to appease them. The “husband” was soon telling me they were all being so NICE to me by not saying all of those things and I wasn’t being appropriate grateful. Which they WERE saying except prefaced with “we never even complained about.”

    And how do you act “appropriately grateful”…..what does that even mean? I think it means being servile, being a doormat. I don’t think these people even realize that they haven’t exactly been handed a blank check – in terms of what they can get away with – in return for their “no dowry” clause. That’s exactly how they see it: as a get out of jail free card.

    Write about all of it, girl! That’s the only way your anger is going to go away. My blog was similarly cathartic for me, and I could not be more grateful for having felt NO anger while typing this comment

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  5. I think it’s common belief in Indian society, when groom’s family is soooo generous and don’t demand for dowry, bride’s family is supposed to do everything expected in the name of gifts and love..and they weigh this love n terms of designer sarees and gold jewellery,ridiculous I would say…

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  6. ajay

    Disgusting it is. What I find ironic is female members of the family are equally, if not more, complicit in making such demands and causing mental torture. Education, decency, humanity – everything goes for a toss in front of greed!

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  7. Era,
    From this incident, itself I can understand that they were majorly screwed up people to begin with. And they did not deserve you anyways. glad you moved on gal,and decided to give a healthier environment to Pari.

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  8. Oh MyEra, I really admire your tolerance for you put up with the devils for 6 years of your life.

    And I am more than happy for Pari as she is far away from their shadows even.

    Hugs to you dear. The darkest part of your life had fled away. A bright new start to a brand new life awaits you and Pari. Lottsa good wishes and prayers for you two 😀

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  9. My cousin is is married to a guy just like this…ie, she and her family, plus guy’s family were in one place and the guy was abroad. He came down for engagement and wedding was finalised later. Fortunately there were no dowry demands and all izz well. They continue to live happily.

    Your situation is scary and it is truly sad when guys themselves do not have the spine to stand up for you…. been in that situation before by my ex so I know what that’s like.

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    1. I am glad your cousin is happily married …not all people who don’t demand dowry fall in the category I mentioned.
      It’s a very scary situation to be in…I literally want to warn people of what all goes on in our daily lives behind closed doors.

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  10. Tell me about it – my MIL had all expectations about jewellery, stuff, etc.. and voiced always to her precious son. I got to know that she was the main instigator when my brother-in-law got married and she spoke about the new bride that way in hushed tones with her sons.

    That day, something snapped. I yelled at her and continue to yell at her every shortcoming henceforth. She is scared to visit us due to this.

    Later, my mom told me how she used to always call and narrate stories of how the girls she knew got that jewellery, this car from parents. My mom always used to reply – “it’s not what girls get from parents, but what sticks is the point”. This is because my MIL managed to squeeze everything out of her father and ended up losing everything.

    One picture that always pops in my head is a rabies dog with tongue out, drooling for that piece of rotten bread, and when thrown, devours it and gets back in position. I suggest you put a face on the dog and visualise. It’s fun and it helps.

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  11. Pingback: Facts about marriages with no demand for dowry #2 | The Era I lived in…

  12. Tipped you ? HOW DARE HE?
    Oh my, tight tight hugs myera. I am so happy that you have come far away from what is definitely an unhealthy environment, not only for you but also for Pari.
    Hugs,again. Chin up, for the worst is over. It can and it will only get better from here on.

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  13. It’s stuff like this that has annoyed me always about the Indian ‘culture’. Dowry, sati, female foeticide and infanticide! And then people used to call me a ‘traitor’ and what not. I was seething as I was reading your post. While I do understand probably not all families are like that, I am willing to bet the majority are. As you said, dowry no longer exists — but gifts still do! As if by changing the term one can change the underlying meaning! This is the reason I have never had the inclination to get married to an Indian. And I saw enough in my own lifetime just how much my dad supported my mum when his mum constantly criticised her. I can continue to rant about each and everything you have mentioned but I probably would end up writing an entire post here!

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  14. Whoa!! just reading this sent shivers down my spine 😦 Really, greed and cruelty has no limits!
    And this tipping thing is outrageous! Is it like a custom or something where one gifts the bride the first time she cooks?

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  15. I am so sorry to hear you had to go through all these My Era, now I am thankful that you took that brave step to move out of this greedy husband and in laws..I am telling you, you and Pari deserves a much better life and that is awaiting you..Good luck..

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  16. Pingback: This is not the end of all troubles | The Era I lived in…

  17. I read this and am shocked.Seems like a movie playing out in front of me.You are indeed brave – reliving it by blogging about it must be painful.My best wishes and prayers are with you.
    Will read the other parts now!

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  18. It’s totally annoying when they say that it’s implied that girls family will gift them! They also have 2 daughters! Can’t they really put themselves into other person’s situation? India still needs independence from these cruel practices like dowry,infanticide and what not! I hate when I hear or see these things! And to realise that you’ve gone through so much of pains at the first few days of marriage itself, just pisses me off!!! Hugs to you dear!!

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    1. It sure is a scary state of affairs…but I believe it has nothing to do with nation’s progress, it’s selfish,cruel and insensitive behavior by individuals in the garb of trying to reinforce the unwritten rules of the society.
      Welcome to my blog Nova 🙂

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  19. They tipped you! Gosh, that is so insulting to say the least! I’m sorry that you had to go through so much of humiliation,My Era. Glad that you chose to get out of it. Hugs!

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