A guest post by Mr GV.
I once told you I am a member of an on line community forum at yahoo groups. We are about 6000 members located all over the world and discuss matters of interest to the community. Most of us are elderly folks. A subject that comes up often is the difficulty in finding brides for the boys of the community. Anguish is often expressed when girls belonging to the community opt for “love marriages” particularly with boys from outside the community. Unlike the past, today the boys parents are having trouble in finding suitable matches for their sons from within the community. In the olden days, boys parents sat back with pride and were waited on by parents of girls seeking suitable matches for their daughters. These days, girls are much better educated and often better employed than many boys. The shoe is on the other foot now. The issue is now being looked on as a problem in the community. Several mails on this subject have been posted in the past.
I am reproducing an edited version of one such mail from a prominent member of this group. I have sought his permission to post it here on your blog after deleting his name to protect his identity. He has kindly agreed, even after I have warned him that his views may invite strong reactions from readers of this blog, many of whom are staunch and committed feminists.
I will send a link to this gentleman so that he can follow the blog if and after it is published.
The editing is merely to reduce the length of the post and nothing relevant to the subject has been left out.
Regards and best wishes.
JARGON ON THE MARRIAGE BOURSE
Hey guys, most of you, if not all of you, may be very familiar with the
jargon in the share bazaar and commodities markets. Matrimony too operates like the market economy. So this industry too has coined hits own jargon.
One of the most widely used terms to describe female divorcees is “Innocent divorcees”. Other terms that strike the eye are “upper middle class”, “affluent”, “well connected”, “prominent” “compatibility” , “adaptability”, “effervescent” , “ebullient”, “positive”. More Lallies than Venkies use these terms. Want proof? Visit any matrimonial website featuring Lallies and you will see for yourself.
(GV : Lalli, is a typical nick name for a girl from the community. Venky is a typical nick name for a boy from this community)
What does the term “innocent divorcee” mean? Can you fathom it? Honestly, I can’t. Who exactly is an “innocent divorcee”? What is innocence in a typical matrimonial situation. Was Lalli, the innocent BE (computers),MCA, MBA, or CA, or MSc. Microbiology or Pharmacy or MBA, widely traveled working for an MNC and drawing an astronomical salary and one who knows about the birds and the bees and the ways of the world, lured into marriage by a demon, plainly cheated, tortured, betrayed, exploited and thrown out? Or wasn’t the marriage consummated. If so, then what about her four year old son?
One can’t imagine today’s Lalli being so naive. We all know that a camel can pass through the eye of a needle but a Venky has to do Bhagiratha prayatnam to enter Lalli’s life. It’s tougher for a Venky to marry a Lalli than clear the entrance to IIT or IIM. Such is the grilling the poor guy has to undergo, not only from Madam Lalli herself but also from her “super-educated” parents. It doesn’t matter if poor Venky is highly qualified.
That isn’t a bar for Lalli’s superannuated stenographer, section officer or supernumerary father from patronizingly grilling poor Venky and his parents and putting them through the grind. So, what or who then is an “innocent divorcee”?. Honestly I don’t know. Can any one of you enlighten me?.
*UPPER MIDDLE CLASS*
Now for the term “upper middle class”. Lalli’s parents are always upper middle class, whatever that term may mean. How do they manage to include themselves in this class? What is the yard stick they use to decide which class they belong to?
My limited knowledge on the subject makes me ask a lot of questions. The average family income of a Lalli works out to around not more than 7 lakhs per annum. May be she has a Nano or a Wagon R (seldom used) parked in front of her house. The car is usually driven to the temple or to a wedding with Appa and Amma proudly riding in it, sitting erect and tossing their heads pigeon like, left and right, wondering and wishing if they are being noticed. And of course, getting out of the car, slamming the door aloud to attract attention and announcing aloud for every one to hear, “onnum chollaadey, enna traffikk jam theriyuma? ayyo romba bore??”
(GV: Liberally translated from the dialect of Tamil dialect spoken by the community: Let’s not talk of it! What a horrible traffic jam it was! I am fed up!”)
(GV: or as they say in Hindi “kuch mat bol, baabaa, kyaa traffic jam thaa pataa hai?, had ho gayee”)
Sorry folks, I am deviating from the narration. If Lalli and her parents believe they are “upper middle class” living in a shoe box 442 sq.ft apartment in a pattar ghetto in Mulund or Dombivali, (GV: pattar is a popular colloquial term for the community, used with some mild contempt) we wonder about those small businessmen and professionals earning in lakhs every month, the top business executives and middle level businessmen, share brokers, mediamen and film fraternity, cameramen , directors, lawyers, highly paid medical professionals, consultants. What class are they? Are they the super rich, the aristocrats? And then the page 3 people. Are they upper middle class? If not what else?
In their bleak blinkered existence, with Lalli’s father eking out a living doing some subordinate, supernumerary job, a salary of Rs.7 lacs is big. A car is bigger. An engineering degree or an MBA degree, from whichever third rate degree manufacturing institution, and a designation of “Manager” “Executive” (however deflated, inane and silly these may be) is the stuff dreams are made of. Lalli’s appa compares the managers of his times with today’s paper managers. An MBA from Pandurang Patil or Munisami Periappa University, however worthless these may be is the greatest of things. So, he and his Lalli are “upper middle class”.
And that gives them the liberty to talk, act and behave haughtily with persons seeking their daughter’s hand. The result? Daughter’s growing older, their egos becoming bigger, their attitudes and behavior becoming more boorish, more condescending, more patronizing, advance towards menopause, growing fatter and uglier by the day. If perchance some Venky is meek enough to tie the knot with our Lalli, surrendering to her every whim and fancy, then hell awaits him. And very often, the marriage ends in divorce? Lalli is the “innocent divorcee”
This is a much touted word. The first thing a Lalli’s father asks is “onga pullaikki ettanai chambalam kadaikkaradu.”
(GV: What salary does your son get?)
This is a genuine question, and a very welcome question. Valid too!
But the haughty, arrogant way this question is asked would put even an illiterate laborer to shame. There is no politeness, no humility, no kindness. A typical father of a Lalli would phone a prospective groom’s home. The conversation would go somewhat like this:
Boys father: Hello?
Girls Father: Hello, Subramaniama? (Now no Mr. no Sir.) (GV: is it Subramaniam? ) note, no prefix
Boy’s father: Yes?
Now without identifying himself, without a formal greeting, Lalli’s father would come straight to the question
*Ongattulai oru pullai irukkaan innu ketten*
(GV : I heard you have a “boy” in your house , (meaning a son of marriageable age) )
Boy’s father: Aamaam irukkaan (GV: yes, we have one)
Girl’s father: Enna chambalam avanukku? (GV: What is his salary?)
Boys’ Father: Saar, neenga aaru pesereyael, engendu kooppudarayal ?
(GV: Sir, who is this speaking? From where are you speaking?)
Girl’s father: *Aieee, adu ellam avvsiyam illai. Modalla pullayoda chambalam chollungo*
(GV: Arey! Let that go, it’s not necessary (for you to know) . First, tell us the boy’s salary)
Boy’s father: Saar, konjam vivarama chollungo. Neenga aaru, ponnu aaru, onga background enna
(GV: Sir, please give us details. Who are you? Who is the girl? What is your background?)
Girl’s father: “Paarungo, modalulai ongolodu pullayodu chambalam enna chollungo”
(GV: See now, first tell us what your son’s salary is)
Boy’s father: *Enna avasaram saar?*
(GV: What is the hurry sir ? (for knowing the salary))
Girl’s fathe: *Modalla adu terinju aahanam. Kompatibbillittee vendaama?*
(GV: Right at the outset, it’s absolutely necessary to know that. Isn’t compatibility needed?”)
Is Lalli’s father seeking to marry his daughter’s pay packet with that of the boy ?
“Kompattibbillittee” for Lalli’s learned father also touches professional areas. (Nalla kompattibillittee irukku. kompooter=kompooter )
(GV: There is good compatibility. Computer = computer, meaning both boy and girl are computer professionals)
Are two computers going to tie the marital knot?
So Lalli’s father goes from boorish encounter to boorish encounter. Hasn’t he been a supernumerary all his life? In his “aapees” (GV: the community’s typical pronounciation of the word “office”) he was used to being talked down. He suddenly finds himself empowered by his darling Lalli, an ”Ingineeyar” or an “YemBeeeYay”) and has his day under the sun.
I can go on and on about the various jargon words but it is too painful to do so. I will bring down the curtain of charity on this sorry Lalli story and the pathetic parents.
Finally, Lalli, her hormones fast withering, her youth fading away, marries whoever she comes across, generally a Christian or a Muslim or a casteless Hindu. And ends up an “Innocent Divorcee”
Why don’t parents of Lallis shed their stupidity? Their condescending attitude? Their arrogance? And behave like normal human beings?
What they are doing is hurting their own loved Lallis. And demeaning themselves.