SAY NO TO DOWRY
SAY NO TO DOWRY2 mins 208 2 mins 208
He broke the rules one by one. Coming from a conservative North Indian family, eating non vegetatian food was not only a taboo but considered 'paap' (sin). When he got a scholarship from the University of British Columbia for pursuing PhD, there was stiff resistance from the family. "No you cannot go, IITs are equally good" his father said, sending off applications all over the country.
Animesh remained adamant. After fierce arguments, his father gave in but with many caveats. He was never to eat non vegetaian food, drink, smoke, or hook up with a foreigner or bring home a foreign bride. They had already selected one for him from within their community.
Within a few months of his stay in Vancouver, Animesh got initiated to both drinking and eating non vegetarian dishes, unavoidable when in the company of friends, coming from different countries of the world. Smoking anyway didn't agree with him, so that rule remained unbroken.
Animesh returned home after four years, despite being offered several teaching positions in Canada and USA. This time round his parents were the first to ask why he chose to return over a lucrative position and earnings in dollars in the West. "We have an offer from the Birla family
The girl is educated and willing to settle in the west. Her parents have offered a huge dowry and shares in their various companies...shall we start discussion?" his father asked with great expectations.
In response Animesh said "haven't I told you since I was barely five that this dowry system has to be abolished altogether. I am not going to be bought off just to swell the family assets. My answer is NO...and I have returned to serve my country. As for marriage, leave it to me to choose someone compatible, and mind you, caste, creed, colour, dowry will not feature in the selection process". His parents were stumped and warned him of excommunication not only from the family but from their closed community.
Animesh was prepared for the consequences and left home. He married a girl from Kerala,
a qualified medical practitioner. Together they raised two girls, instilling the same values they held dear to their hearts. And so what if they were never accepted by his family?
He knew he had done right and inspired me, his younger brother to follow suit. "Bhaiya you are my role model, I have decided to marry a Bengali girl", I confided in my brother. Please give us your blessings and attend my wedding as no one else from our family will participate".
Animesh and Kamla performed their roles as elder brother and Bhabhi!
The family lost not only one but two sons and two big dowries.