“They have both managed to convince two girls (and the girls’ parents) that they are the right match for their daughters.”

Sharing an email. What would you do? 

Dear IHM,

I write to you about a dilemma stemming from a recent news in the family. I thought I would seek your opinion as well as that of your readers.
I have two cousins whom I have known very well since they were young. They were very bright kids growing up but something happened somewhere and as a result of their upbringing and their career choices, they chose to get fake degrees instead of studying, decided to live off of people’s money either by seeking loans from near and dear ones (and not returning them), threatening close relatives and their families who came forward to guide them. In general, they thought it was easy to live by fooling people to think highly about them.
Well, for the most part this was not fine and now that they are adults I have just been watching all this hoping that the brothers would somehow make up for what they failed to do so far and change for the better. The latest I know about them is that they have both managed to convince two girls (and the girls’ parents) that they are the right match for their daughters. It looks like the girls have real degrees and are employed which says that they are hardworking.
My dilemma is this – if it were me, I would have definitely not wanted to marry such people and would definitely not have fallen for such con artists despite their make believe gallantry and pompous display. I would have thought that in this era of networking and connectivity, the girls would have done their homework in finding out about the boys. The fact that they are both engaged to be married suggests that perhaps the girls have not done their homework. To me it feels like I should somehow tell the girls to do their homework better. I have nothing against the boys getting married, if they show some promise of working hard henceforth and/or if the girls know fully well what they are getting into. Since I don’t live in India, I have talked to some of my relatives if they could inform the parents or somehow reach the girls, but nobody wants to bell the cat. They couldn’t care less, apparently.
On the other hand, I hear this from these very same relative who chime, “who knows, perhaps all will be well henceforth”. I think I know very well that things that have not been tended to so far, will continue to remain as is and perhaps the girls will somehow suffer the consequences. I have nothing against people not studying or working. But a life of pretense and public fleecing (which is what these con brothers have been doing all this while) is something I abhor and I would like to think that the young girls would do so to.
Do you think I should somehow reach out to the girls in the next month or so (before they get married) to do a thorough background check on their fiancees? Or am I over-reacting? Should I just let them figure it out on their own post-marriage?
A well-wisher

24 thoughts on ““They have both managed to convince two girls (and the girls’ parents) that they are the right match for their daughters.”

  1. LW are u sure that both the girls do not know the situation . i know there are so many girls who know the truth and still prefer to marry such persons because for them marriage is the ” security in society ” . they feel married woman are respected and are secure in society . whether you inform them or not is your decision

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    • A distant cousin from England was set to be married in India. When the wedding invitation arrived DG’s brother exclaimed the groom was his classmate a college druggie.
      Brother anonymously with another friends left a detailed message with cousin’s parents but they brushed it aside. Two days later the girl was married, when in nine months he reached England after she had baby. Next year she divorced that indolent and sent him back to India.
      Send a message and then it will be their choice to proceed or call it off.
      DG

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  2. This is terrible. I think you should definitely warn the girls if you can. But chances are that- you entire family might turn against you (spoiling family name, washing dirty linen in public, ruined your own brothers marriage etc etc). But if you choose to keep quiet im sure you are going to regret it for a long time.
    I was 12 when my uncle (has manic depression and prone to violence) got married (after a divorce due to same reason). My family covered up this and immediately got him married to another divorcee (a naive village girl from a now well-off family). Same story followed but the difference was that she had no means to escape- no support from family, no education and no job. They have 2 kids now. I remember begging my mother to intervene but she said she was helpless as they wouldn’t listen to her. Now there is no violence but only because hes always heavily medicated.

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    • In my language, there is a saying: “Even a 1000 lies are justified if a marriage must be performed.” This is the sad truth about how many people think. My advice is to speak up. The simple fact that the boys faked their education worries me. This shows they have absolutely no ethics. It doesn’t matter how successful they become (or not). The simple fact that they cheated their way through life is an indicator of how the rest of their lives will be and how they treat others.
      Similar to Nidaa’s example – in my parent’s generation, my mom’s cousin had depression (un-diagnosed in those days, probably unheard of). But the parents knew he would shut himself in his room for days. They thought marriage would “fix” this, got him married to some woman, they had 2 kids and one day, he committed suicide, leaving them penniless. My parents did not know the extent of his aloofness but had some doubts and to this day regret not interfering and voicing their doubts to the woman’s family. My father says, with what we now know and understand, he was showing every sign of severe depression. In those days they just didn’t know enough to know the full implications of the condition. Maybe even the guy’s parents didn’t fully understand it.
      So, yes, I can understand how this can bother you and your urge to do something.

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  3. You should tell the girls and their parents ,simply and without any emotions ! Many people keep quiet thinking – kyon tang adana !! But when something like this happens with them they keep lamenting !
    How would you deal with day to day con deals and cheats ? Hopefully you will talk about how you got cheated so that those people who listen might learn and not get cheated !!
    The girls might believe or not believe you but then that’s their problem !!
    Arrange marriages are fast becoming bigger con jobs with society’s approval ,as it is !!

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  4. It is a dilemma, I agree.
    Should you intervene and save the innocent girls from a possibly terrible future fate?
    Or should you keep quiet and hope that, whatever the past, it should not stand in the way of a better future for them. Who knows they may have put their past behind them. As they say, every sinner has a future. Every saint has had a past.

    To avoid any guilt feeling, why not simply tip off the girls and their families ANONYMOUSLY?
    Taking care to see the tip is not traced back to you, tell them what you know about boys’ past and ask them to do some more checking before they proceed.
    If they go ahead, a big guilt load is off your mind, in case things go wrong.
    If everything works out alright, you have the satisfaction of knowing you did not sabotage the happiness of four persons.

    All the best.
    Regards
    GV

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha ha…smart GV! Initially when I used to read your comments I did not agree with your approach…but now (especially after reading about your cat dilemma) I believe that everything you do and say is after a lot of careful thought.

      This is a good idea actually- saves you from the mudslinging of open confrontation but also ensures that you do the right thing.

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    • At first I thought, ‘why not just speak up, if you have apprehensions?’ But not everyone can deal with the repercussions and not everyone is obliged to. On second thought (upon reading GVs comment), I agree that there is nothing wrong with sending an anonymous letter. You should not feel guilty about protecting yourself against the entire extended family’s outrage for “spoiling someone’s happiness” or “being jealous” or “becoming Westernized” or a hundred other accusations. By spotlighting a potential problem, you would have alerted the sisters and their family. And that is all you can do to help, the rest is up to them.

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  5. How about talking to the brothers directly? Ask them what their plans to support themselves are. Ask them point blank if they have been entirely honest with the girls.
    Decide the extent to which you want to get involved with this matter – expect a lot of backlash.

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    • I dont think confronting the con brothers would help. If LW confronts, then he wont be able to tip off the girls as they can easily relate it to LW. Only solution is to tip off the girls anonymously.

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      • Yeah anonymous plan is smarter for this situation.
        But, this is why i suggest confrontation:
        1. Someone has to take a stance and tell people that they are making a mistake.
        2. Open confrontation also adds some credibility to an accusation – something that an anonymous letter may not have,

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  6. Please see the below reasons why I think you should refrain from getting into this.
    1) None of your business. “I would have definitely not wanted to marry such people” – but then you aren’t the one who is getting married here.
    2) Arranged marriage – business transaction struck between two families. If one party didn’t do the homework well or if the other party managed to successfully exaggerate claims or hide shortcomings, fair enough. Caveat emptor.
    3) Is there a sound basis of your assumption that the women in question are perfectly fine and your cousins “don’t deserve” them? Do you know the full story to be able to make such a judgement (real degrees and jobs are only one part of what they as a person and a family are)? For all you know, they have their own compulsions/shortcomings such that they have some sense of your cousins true self but are still willing to marry them? And what’s the guarantee that they have been 100% truthful themselves in this “transaction”? Things are often not black and white – only different shades of grey.
    4) Have you introspected hard? Are you sure you are only concerned about those women and do not have any sense of “teaching your cousins a lesson” or want to avenge their past fleecing of your family or some such reason? In my experiences, we sometimes manage to lie to ourselves as well – by repeatedly telling to ourselves that something we are doing is “for greater good” and “is for all the right reasons” we successfully mask the real underlying reasons even to ourselves – the ego / vendetta / selfishness / base desir5) Have you introspected hard? Are you sure you are only concerned about those women and do not have any sense of “teaching your cousins a lesson” or want to avenge their past fleecing of your family or some such reason? In my experiences, we sometimes manage to lie to ourselves as well – by repeatedly telling to ourselves that something we are doing is “for greater good” and “is for all the right reasons” we successfully mask the real underlying reasons even to ourselves – the ego / vendetta / selfishness / base instincts etc. which may be the real drivers

    If you are so concerned, rather talk to your cousins and try “appealing” to their conscience – that they cannot play with lives of two human beings by resorting to lies on such an important matter. Talking to the other party that they should enquire more makes no sense.

    It is good to be humane and be helpful towards others. But I would feel guilty of not helping someone only when the following holds true:
    1) My help was sought – directly or indirectly
    2) If 1) isn’t true, at least I was aware that the person wasn’t in a position to seek help because of any reason such as incapacitated / in captivity / child / old etc.

    So even if two years down the line, the women in question are suffering, they will have recourse to their family and even to the law to protect their interests. You aren’t responsible for their well being.

    Live and let live please.

    – Vihar

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  7. I agree with GVji’s suggestion. Send a letter via anonymous e-mail address or by post to the girls making them aware of the boys’ past and asking the girls to do the necessary background check.

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  8. Dear LW

    Its about the girls’s lives, please dont hesitate in revealing the real identity of the boys….if you dont want your name to come up, then do it through hidden means…like send an email by anonymous id or tell them on FB through anonymous FB id. Or you can tell your close friends to warn those girls through anonymous id….its matter of someone’s life please do something about it.

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  9. Dear LW,
    I appreciate your concern for the two girls and I absolutely believe that you must inform them about this but I would like you to think about your approach.
    Firstly, I am 100% sure an anonymous approach as suggested by Mr. GV and others will not work because, imagine you are a girl all set to marry and some random anonymous person sends you a message that the boy you are marrying is a cheat etc… Will you believe and cancel your wedding?? I mean do you really think it’s so easy to break a marriage just based on some baseless allegations made by a stranger. The entire family will just put it off saying that some jealous person is doing all this to damage the reputation of the boys or worse still that some spurned ex-lover has done it is what they are going to say and there are also chances that everyone might blame the girls for not trusting the boys but some random strange and blame the girls for their suspicious mature which might do them more harm.

    If I were you, I would befriend the two girls as they are getting married to my cousin – so I would tell the family that I want to make them feel at ease by being friends with them. This can be done by calling them or sending them FB invite or by google hangouts. This way I will get to know the girls better, their family better and try to get more info. In the meantime I would also try to gather evidence against the boys by either obtaining copies of their fake degrees, or trying to talk to people whom they cheated before and recording their statements or something on similar lines which is concrete and something that the boys cannot lie about. Once I obtain evidence and also have gained the confidence of the girls I will put everything out.All this depends on how much time you have in hand and also how serious you are about helping the girls.
    But do not write a mail or message even anonymously without evidence as you need to ensure your safety too.

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    • agree with you .. anonymous messages never work, Many marriages have taken place in my family where anonymous letters have come telling stories of relationships ..
      So no anonymous please.. Talk with the girls directly if possible….

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  10. Please let the girls know. Inform the girls directly because there is a chance that their parents might brush it aside in their eagerness to get their daughters married.

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  11. @H, @Anita, @Vihar

    I agree with Anita, that an anonymous communication lacks the credibility of an open warning and confrontation.

    But some communication is better than no communication at all.

    An open confrontation can also be misconstrued as the reaction of a jealous person, or a person who has an axe to grind.

    Remember the cliched Bollywood film dialogue? “यह शादी नहीं हो सकती!”. I see visions of those kinds of situations portrayed in our films being re-enacted here.

    The boys will obviously defend themeselves and come up with convincing explanations of their past and assurances for the future.

    An open confrontation will be a brave thing to do, and you will be taken more seriously, but you must be prepared for a lot of unpleasantness and permanent hostility and enmity, whether or not you convince the girls and their families. If you are proved right, the boys family will become permanently hostile. If you are proved wrong and they all live happily ever after, both families will be permanently against you and you will be defamed in your circle of family and friends.

    if you are not prepared for this mess that an open warning involves, but merely have the welfare of the girls at heart, then an anonymous letter is better, in my opinion. Of course you must write in a convincing way, and offer enough evidence to improve the credibility of your anonymous letter.

    Whatever method you adopt, please go ahead and inform the girls and their families.

    I am simply appalled by Vihar’s views in this matter !

    Regards
    GV

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  12. Please tell the girls or their family. A friend of mine married a similar detestable fellow and is now going through an agonisingly long divorce process after wasting four years of her life on him. Let the women decide what they want to do with the truth; just convey it to them somehow.

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