You dare not dream

Sunita Giri 11:12 PM |

It could have been somewhere around the time when I was in seventh or eighth grade. Just when I was in my early teen years, definitely not the time I would have been any curious to know about the marriage or the dream associated with this union.

It all started when a new male staff joined the nutrition food division, which office is within the premises of Bal Mandir. I am quite not sure, what triggered him to get the idea about it - he wanted to marry a girl of his choice from Bal Mandir so but he made his desire public to the NCO and the other people in management channeled this news to the girl named Usha, who was only about a year or two senior than me. For some unknown reason, when the offer came to Usha didi’s hand, she resented this idea.

Adult around us, took her response in very negative light. When I say adult, whether they were educated who were in management or staff at the NCO or the illiterate nannies or junior staff of the Bal Mandir had one voice in unison that she did a blunder by rejecting the offer for marriage. Now, I know why so; but then I did not know, why they reacted that way. It our culture, it was considered -  not just then but even today  - it is presumed that girls in our house should not have their opinion or choice, when it comes to selection of their life partner. Undoubtedly, Bal Mandir being a part of the very society was not excluded from that kind of strong reasoning. But, then I thought; it was a practice that used to take place only in Bal Mandir.

I used to think that Bal Mandir was one big place where narrow minded people and conservative ideas prospered in as they used to put their head together all the time. And why not it was a place as big as a small community with more than 200 people around all the time. This alone was a big society in itself and it was the 80s era in Nepal.  

The guy was from the brahmin family and just was back from some kind of battle zone where he had lost his one eye during the war, but; it was well fitted with glass eye and hard to differentiate from the fake one or real eye. Although, I did not have adult’s eyes, but as far as I can remember him, he was irritatingly good looking guy, who was tall, fair and yes may be handsome if only I had seen him with a writer's keen on observation eyes and who was mature enough to understand the good look.

Nannies started voicing it loudly, as always that used to be over reaction from their sides; saying that, she should not have been so choosy about who would be her life partner; when she was picked up by a man who had a steady job and a family. What a girl  a girl who is living in Bal Mandir could ask for more than that rather than a steady life partner and a good husband ? She should just be thankful and accept it for someone coming forward to ask her hand.

What was ignored then was, she was still in school and had not finished her high school. Now a days we call them child who are only in their mid teen years. Girls who were old enough to handle the little bit of household chores, as soon as they grow tall enough to carry a bucket full of water, were viewed as marriageable age then. It was also the time girls were least expected to go to school and college for better education. They were supposed to depend on men for all their needs in life, for good or bad. Men were protector and provider that weakens the position of women as a whole. When she was only in teen, she should not have her own dream of life partner, marriage of life after that.

I think she would have been labeled as feminist in today's time for having her own opinion and choice and not bowing it to adults who liked dominating girls/women in the name of their own better life. But, it was not the time they were called feminist, instead they were regarded high headed, stupid girl from Bal Mandir.

Today, when I look back to understand after about a quarter of a century later, it seems that many things may have changed but not everything. There are still some marriage when men are viewed nothing more than protector and provider which is the reason why they think they can pick up the girl of his choice regardless of her interest in him. Not every girl wants a man to be just a free ticket to meal and security blanket for her. Some also marry for love and respect and also to find her own space within the marriage which is very rate in our society. I have seen men who love but don't respect women in their life, they diligently provide the one who are in home but love wholeheartedly love to somebody who lives outside the door yet expect her wife to keep quiet in return, because; he has been providing and meeting all her needs. Pity, sympathy, protector and provider are not sufficient for a lifetime union like marriage. But then there are people who will be ready to argue all the time that marriage is a compromise and no doubt there are all types of need and all kinds of person to have their say and choice to live life.

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