The pot boiling with masala tea, the brand new China cups impeccably cleaned and Khushi looking her best in her mother’s Banarasi sari.
Khushi picks up the nicely arranged tea tray and moves into the living room where the boy has come to ‘see’ his prospective wife with his parents.
Each one of us, at least once in our life, has lived these anxious moments. It’s beautiful to meet new people and interact with them. And if this ‘first meeting’ ends in a success, nothing seems to be more adventurous and ‘filmy’. The silent love notes exchanged between the eyes of prospective couple (jab aakhian ho jae chaar), stealing quick glances of each other and secretly wanting everyone around to vapourise takes them into the dream world.
The calm serenity holds so much turbulence inside, especially the girl! It could be a happy one or scary. The heart is anxious, either with joy or with ‘will they like me or not’.
As amazing as it is to get to know a new person and a new family, it sometimes turns out awkward and embarrassing too. It leaves an everlasting impression on the heart and mind, whether it’s good or bad.
In view of our social set-up and mindset, it is the girl, most of the times, who goes through the Q&A grilling. Can you cook? Can you sing? Can you drive? Sing a song for us. These are healthy conversation starters, but how about, can you walk for us? Can u see properly, or you wear glasses? Will you reduce your weight before the wedding?
Now this becomes demeaning for the girl’s ego, if they’re allowed to have one in our society. She’s made to parade herself in front of strangers. She’s interrogated about her life, personal, professional and everything else. They will decide her future, from her dresses to her food, to her friends, not to forget her career choices, if she’s allowed to have one. Some even want to know all about her previous relationships and if she’s a virgin. Is there even a line drawn on what’s personal!
But not just girls, even the boys need to speak out about their salaries, their future plans, their past, their smoking and drinking habits and sometimes even their sexualities, not as often as girls though.
The issue here is not who asks what? The purpose of the whole tradition of the tea tray is very positive and healthy — to get to know each other and the families. But where to draw the line as to not disregard anyone is where the wisdom lies. Everyone has a self respect and the personal space and dignity need to be respected, irrespective of the gender.
Let the meeting be happy and positively interactive.
A marriage is a holy union of two people and their families. Why not retain the purity of this age-old tradition. The fairy will serve you piping hot masala tea just the way you like it, all you have to do is, keep her faith intact!
वो गर्म चाय की प्याली, वो शर्म में सजी चंदन सी,
क्यों है तुम्हारी नज़र में सवाल, क्यों है वो नज़र दबी सी,
इक रिश्ता नया बनाओ, चाहे कुछ देर ही सही,
पर इज्ज़त से तो निभाओ!