Thursday, 1 November 2012

Marriage woes, even otherwise

Being the first of the month, I distributed the salaries for the staff and did spend quite some time talking to them just about anything.  One of the main points for discussion or you might call it a debate was the point of dowry, marriages and caste system.  I was surprised to hear from the kitchen staff that not only is dowry given away when a daughter is married off, the parents of the girl have also to give a portion of the dowry for the boys' sister, if any!  That would be to say that the bride's family has to pay not only money for the bride but also for her new sister-in-law!  Gosh!

And if there are a couple of marriages in the villages, everyone - literally, everyone! - in the village, and more especially those closely related to the families are all bankrupt that month.  Reason: the gift they OUGHT to offer at the wedding function.  This is kept record of and when there is a marriage in the visitors family, the one now receiving has to pay something MORE than what was given to them!  And so if there are more than 4 wedding functions that a family has to attend in a month, the 'gift' would drain their whole month's salary! And if there is a fifth one, they'll borrow and 'gift' the amount!  While the staff resented this whole procedure, none would try to break this vicious circle - all for fear of what 'they would say'.  ... the same rationale is given for all matters concerning inter-caste marriages, dowry, girl-child atrocities.

Having heard, spoken and debated with them at length, I only said aloud, "Thank God, I was not born in Gollalapalem (their village), and not as a female!"

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