Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Suitable Girl for My Son

This is a poem that describes the sad plight of many Indian women who are thrust into the marriage market. I wrote this from the point of view of a mother-in-law. Please bear in mind that i don't at all endorse anything i've written here. I'm completely against it.

Let me see what she has in her purse.
Let me total all her assets.

Is she tall and pretty and fair?

Is her skin as
velveteen and unblemished
as a newborn's buttock?
Is it a warm shade of peaches and cream?
Does it give a pearly glow
when she pulls back her pallu?

Is her hair
long and thick and lustrous?
Does it ripple behind her back
and fan out like a monsoon cloud
when she loosens her bun
to retire for the night?

Can the curve of her waist be discerned?
Are her breasts big enough
to fill my son's palms?

Are her hips wide enough
to securely cocoon an heir in her womb?

Has she been to school and college?
Can she speak English like an Angrez?
Will she be an arm candy to my son
for his numerous work parties?

What wealth can i wrest from her father?
How much will her dowry
add to our coffers?

Are her rotis as round as mine?
Can she darn torn clothes?
Can she whip up a feast
at a moment's notice?
Can she keep calm in the face of
bawling babies and domestic catastrophes?

Will she stay at home to do the
cooking, washing, bartan, jhadoo and pocha?

Or will she abandon her family
to shamelessly chase dreams?

Let me see her and then decide
whether she'll ever be
as good to my son
as I am to my husband.

Some terms which need explaining are-
pallu- veil
roti- it's a form of unleavened bread
bartan- dishes
Angrez- Englishman


  1. An object of exchange ... livestock plus art!

  2. So sad when women are see as commodities rather than people.

  3. I admire your courage to post this and let us reflect on the mother in law's side ~ Sad that it is still going on and I don't blame girls from shying away from marriage ~ We are surely more than just a sum of mother + wife + daughter in law ~ Excellent post ~

  4. The loss of two people finding each other and marrying for the sake of loving each other is tragic in itself.

  5. don't know whether to laugh or cry....
    Amazing writing on a deep rooted custom.

    Have you tried comment moderation instea of word verif?

  6. an amazing exploration of the indian mother-in-law psyche...they need a little bit of jharu pocha on them.. :)

  7. Let me see her and then decide
    whether she'll ever be
    as good to my son
    as I am to my husband.

    I think this sums up the whole practice of arranged marriages - it is self-perpetuating through the generations, and excused by the term "tradition".

    1. I don't think arranged marriage is an evil as such. People from similar backgrounds marry for convenience. A temperate steady relationship i think, is always better than giddily falling in love and then falling out of love. But what's evil is the way women are objectified, as if they have to comply to all those unreasonable archaic standards to be happy. What's even worse is that society doesn't acknowledge a woman as a person with dreams and aspirations. They trap her in a prison of domesticity and duty while men get to climb all the mountains they want.

  8. Wowzers, kiddo, you totally nailed the point of view. A terrific write. As I wave my magic wand over your head, I send a blessing: May you marry for Love!!!!!

    1. Oh my God! Sherry, i'm so humbled as i bow down and touch your feet in the Hindu tradition to benefit from your blessing. :D

  9. Oh you don't have to say you are against it... it came out so clear for my western ears anyway... a terrible situation...

  10. Very telling write Madhumaki and well worth writing - your words say all that needs to be said and condemns this practice for what it is,... thank you With Best Wishes Scott

  11. This is sad yet true depiction...
    What is devastating that when it comes to marriage, most of the times, a woman is ranked based on the aforementioned abilities and not based on her academic and professional achievements...

    When will this change?

    Nice one!

  12. You have created a splendid poem full of emotion and message. Thank you for sharing your voice. Cheers!

  13. Nice write... will we ever wake up?? :-(

  14. So sad when women are objectified and viewed as a commodity.
    Anna :o]