A Domestic Affair

The bold existence of dowry system in India despite the many reforms that the 21st century and its many wonders had brought upon us had been the focus of most debates in recent times. Torn between the need to hold on to the values that make us who we are and the inability to not indulge in the luxuries of the future, is India, and adding to its many despairs is yet another modern hurdle – the question: does love truly exist in the Indian continent?

It did. A long time ago, in the age of those whom we now call Gods, or at least the stories and the songs seem to suggest so. But one need only take a walk through the ruins of Khajuraho, if one ever makes it there traversing the wilderness called Bihar that is, to learn otherwise. No, there love is but an illusion, an ornament that a woman wears. What they really are, are tools to quench lust. And they are the lucky ones. The others are often reduced to the affairs of the house, a talking donkey that shares your bed.

Does it exist now? Certainly not. Well, the status of the woman, not all of them, but typically, has certainly changed. To put that in a bigger perspective, let us consider once again how dowry systems worked in the past. Let us have a groom X and a bride Y.

If I say X + Y, you would presume that the groom and bride are engaged, not that it ever worked that way, or married already. But No. To understand what is really happening here, one must consider the group ABCD. Now A, B, C and D are well developed milk-giving Bhraman cows which the groom gets as a dowry.

The equation then is X + A + B + C + D = $$. But remember, there is still the bride and she has to be in the equation somewhere, but since she is another extra mouth to feed, she ends up on the other side of it. The final equation therefore becoming this: X + A + B + C + D = $$ – Y

Now if a woman can be bartered away for four cows, however Bhraman they be, can she really be worth much? This seems to be a logical question, one that undermines the existence of love. The fact that groom X and the bride Y only met each other on the day of the wedding when X had been drooling around ABCD for a month puts it beyond question. Here, love did not exist, but was rather a contract expectation that was never met. Like the bookmarks you expected Flipkart to deliver with your books.

Today, love could actually be locked away in a Nazi bunker and fed poison gas, for it has become no longer an achievable target, but a myth to obsess over. Lost beneath materialist wants and ambitious work habits, we now have so very little time to even ponder what love was about, and the fact that we are chained to a stranger makes it even harder to speak your thoughts loud. What would they think? Dowry systems seem to have faded away from the modern society, and the women’s life is no longer confined with domestic affairs, but love seems ever-elusive as before.

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