Friday, May 25, 2007

some things never go out of fashion!

trends come n go... but some just fight it all and remain people's favorite through the ages.. more so when it's associated with culture, pride, comfort and seen as a status symbol.

wot am i talking about? im talking about 'dowry'...
yeah d same old boring topic.. remember having those silly debates n stuff during school days about this so called evil.. somehow, over the time i've realised that my perception about it has changed a lot...

why am i talking about it now? recently, i got to hear about an ex-colleague who was brought to book by his prospective bride. ok.. i got to hear about it a month later.. my news reception antenna has been under repair since sometime now! ;)

me walked around for the rest of the day with an "!" on my face.. this guy's been a very bright guy, for all that I know about him.. had a lot of goodwill from people around.. generally known to be a cool dude, currently working for the bestest s/w product dvlpmnt company of the world.. so, now he finds himself in a dowry case!! wot's even ironic is the fact that the dowry amount that has landed him in trouble must be equivalent to his annual earning, if not more!

me's confused!! as always, me totally cheers these women who dare to sabak sikhaofy these greedy grooms.. but somewhere I feel bad for this guy for such a fallout..
it's like, "a thief is convicted, not because he stole, but because he was caught stealing!" this is something which a lot of them do.. but when they are caught, they get ostracised by the society n made to pay for it..
this guy is no different from the majority of men.. but hey, he's been in the news now for all the wrong reasons.. so condemn him.. maro usko!! hehe..
but having said that, I'm sure I could never make myself say a kind word to him about this!

thought of sharing some of those dowry related snippets I've come across, lately..


me to Mr.A : hey A, so how did ur sis's wedding go?
Mr.A : yeah it went fine.. n my mom has already started looking out for a match for me!
me : sahi he yaar.. so when do we get to attend your wedding?
Mr. A : pooch mat yaar.. i shouldnt be saying this, but meri behan tho mujhe duboke gayi he, literally.. it'll take me atleast a couple of years to get done with the loan I have taken.

Mrs. X to Mr.A : hey.. tell you what, get the dowry from your bride and pay off your loan!

bottomline: let the father of the bride take a loan n pay for his daughter's sis-in-law's dowry.. no no.. the story doesnt quite end there.. Mr.A's would-be-wife, would be having a brother, whose father-in-law will be paying for her wedding... it's like that pyramid of ecosystem we learnt loong bak at school, remember?! :D


Mr. B is just back at office from his gaon after a bride-hunting session..
me to Mr.B : koi mili, kya?
Mr. B : no.. i didnt like anyone.. someone's just 25 but looks as though she's 35.. someone's got diplomas for anything and everything.. from cooking to gardening .. n even martial arts!! poor me was intimidated.. so did not make my pick this time!

later, Mr. C : know wot, B had told me that he did like a few girls..
(the rest of us thinking: obviously!! the hopelessly desperate guy that he is!)
Mr. C goes on : apparently, the dowry rates being offered wasnt anywhere near what he expected..
me to the rest of the gang: oh yeah? so what's the rate he expects? (poor me knows that back in Kerala, the cost of a groom is 1kg of gold, and a brand new car and a few lakhs of Rs.. mebbe pitching in to cover up a major % of the cost of that swanky apartment the guy's planning to buy in Bangalore too.. atleast dat's what most of my friends' family had to shell out..but hey, I have totally no idea about the rates in North India, right?)
Mrs. Y is quick to clarify my genuine doubt , asks Mr. C : how much do you think B would be earning per month?
Mr. C : say, atleast around 30k..
Mrs. Y : which part of the country is he from?
Mr. C: bihar..
Mrs. Y: caste?
Mr. C : rajput..
Mrs. Y : well, in that case he should be getting a min of 25lac to 50lac
me : !!! (thinking: would someone be dumb enough to pay that much for this dumbo?!)

well.. apparently, someone was.. he's happily married now, a couple of years later..


4 yrs back, the new to Bangalore me, went to meet one of my college friends who got married (love marriage ==> no dowry) sometime back n has a baby too.. but was badly looking out for a job then..
me to Mrs. Z : yaar, your baby's real small now.. mebbe you can wait for a li'l more time?
Mrs. Z : hey, I'd love to.. but know what, we need the money pretty badly..
me : ??! your husband does earn pretty well to support the family for sometime alone..
Mrs. Z : oh usha.. you dont know anything.. its not just about running the household you know.. his sister.. she'll get done with her MCA this year.. my mom-in-law has already started searching a groom for her.. we need to think about her dowry too..
me : oh! (thinking: i've read in newspapers, saw serials on tv about families struggling for their daughters dowries.. but never seen an upwardly mobile young couple worrying about it!)
Mrs. Z: my mom-in-law came across a good alliance for her daughter.. the guy's a doc, he works in Trivandrum, and they have a house off Pulimoodu jn.. near to building A.
me : ok.. got it.. it must be in dat bylane behind building XYZ?
Mrs. Z : yes, exactly.. the wedding's slated for the chingam of next year.. they've asked for xy lacs in cash + a swanky car..
me : hey.. get a maruti 800 for them n shut their mouth..
Mrs. Z : noo usha, people these days are too smart.. the guy's uncle says, all of them in their family are a li'l on the heftier side, so even if we get them a Maruti 800, they will have to sell it off to get a bigger car, it seems!
me : !! (thinking: one can hardly drive a scooter through that bylane!) so what you guys planning to do?
Mrs. Z: we're in the bargaining phase now.. our suggestion is that, in that case, we'll deduct a few lacs from the cash dowry n get a bigger car for them!
me : !! ok, gud luck, dear!

later me was gapshaping about this with my Papa..
Papa : oh they're all too hefty people, is it? such dimwit ppl Mrs. Z n her hubby are.. they should have offered to buy them a Lorry, that should surely suffice!! :P


See this for the Statewise statistics of dowry deaths in India
and this which tells us how gruesome, the state of affairs really is.

Did you know that the Dowry system is prevalent in Europe and China as well?

And for those of us who think that Section 498a is biased towards women, you might find this helpful to save yourself from being victimised by its misuse!


  1. Hey Usha,

    You come to Punjab...the guy's parents want a good amount of money, a swanky car + they want those vulgar bar dancers to dance in front of baratis and of course whiskey and non veg are a must. Thats so cheap. Dowry is what...sort of taking payment for the food and clothing that the guy would provide to his wife all her life...even though nowdays the girls earn even more than the guys.

  2. now you know why I've always wanted to attended fat Punjabi weddings! ;)

    seriously, do they hire bar dancers to welcome the baratis??! *surprised*

    yeah Shalu, wikipedia says: A dowry (also known as trousseau) is a gift of money or valuables given to the family of the bridegroom by the family of the bride at the time of their marriage. It has been regarded as the contribution of the bride's family to the new couple's household expenses. The reasoning employed to justify providing dowry is that it removes the "economic burden" of caring for daughters.

    but people are still hell bent on these traditional conventions of convenience rather than seeing the logic behind it!

    i still know some married women of <30yrs earning 10+ lac p.a. still working hard against all odds to maintain the lifestyles (basically, pay off the loans they've taken) their husbands had planned of, while they were marrying a working woman (albeit the dowries they took!)some are so keen to get a bride who's working for one of the tierI companies, 'coz it should be easier for them to find a job in US!

    very recently i got to hear frm a friend who's at her mom's place on her maternity leave.. n was soo disheartened, when her in-laws n husband called her up, not to know how she / her baby is doing, but to know the % of pay hike she got this march!

  3. know what?
    all it takes to move out of these so-called necessary-social-evils is a will to say i dont belong to this social order.
    atleast for as long as i have been around, there has been no wedding in my family (quite a handful of them have happened in the said period) where there was an understanding about any dowry.

    you ask for it, and we ask you to take a long walk. Our girl doesn't go to a family that asks for money to take her in - it's pretty simple.

    but wedding gifts that are truly gifts - not persuasive overheads - like a car or something have always been given, and that makes the wedding pretty costly, but the difference is that whatever was given was given without anyone aking for it.
    And I think that's how close ties materialize.
    (All the guys who have married my cousins sisters have kind of married into the family ;) )

    It's a pretty story, but it hurts to think that I will have to save for a swanky flat, and not expect to marry into it.

  4. @ bala: well well.. man or woman.. one has to carry one's own cross!! :)

    yeah, more than the social set-up, it plainly doesnt make any sense to send one's sister/daughter into a greedy family.. if only they are concerned about the well being of their girl + their peace of mind..

    but somewhere along the way, i feel this custom has metamorphosed into a commercialisation like phenomenon..
    it's just like a company shelling out a better remuneration package to get the bestest talents in the industry..

    it's like what an acquaintance told me once, when I asked him, why he's so keen about dowry.. n his reply was: 'if I say, I dont want dowry, ppl will say, there's something wrong with me'..
    jst like how we squint our eyes, when the neighbourhood bhajiwala sells d veggies for a lesser cost.. we'll be checking if it's rotten or something!! hehe

    dat's d kind of dimensions it has taken.. but yeah, as you say, one always has the option of deciding not to conform to it!