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  • Writer's pictureVedashree Khambete Sharma

I Do (Not)

Young Indian men and women of a certain age (in their 20s usually) are facing a big problem. The Marriage Question. Parents, relatives, neighbours, even complete strangers, are making friendly (and sometimes not-so-friendly) enquiries about the When, How and Whom To of marriage.

And if you can’t answer the Whom To, then there’s no saving you from a quick and painful arranged marriage.

It’s almost as if we owe it to society to stop being single. As if it’s some kind of a dangerous illness, something to be detected and squashed before it’s too late.

I know people who’ve been tricked into going to meet prospective brides, people who’ve gotten so frustrated of meeting prospective grooms that they’ve just given in and married the next eligible bachelor. And all because they’re sick of The Marriage Question.

The old joke goes that if an annoying relative says “You’re next!” at a wedding, you do the same to them at a funeral. But I’ve discovered a better alternative to The Marriage Question, courtesy Chalky, a friend from the University.

The story goes that Chalky was in Delhi attending a wedding when some persistent aunt began insisting that he wed soon, a girl she already had in mind. Chalky made some polite enquiries about the girl’s education, profession and family background. And then casually asked the lady, “Dahej kitna milega?” (How much dowry will she bring?)

Now, Chalky has a lot to not recommend him. He has an abyssmal sense of humour, entirely too white a complexion – the list goes on. But he’s not one of the dowry-wanted brigade. And luckily for him, the lady didn’t know that and walked off in a huff.

How does that matter to me you ask? Are you kidding? If it works so well for guys can you imagine the results if me, a girl, asks the same question?

PS: If he had married the girl, she’d have been Chalky’s Bride.

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