Marriage is settled in heavens and solemnized on earth. Thus goes the adage. Is it true? Most of the people believe in it. However, in actual practice the marriage in Kashmir is settled with difficulty by the relatives of the groom. Today Seerat (Character) and Soorat (looks ) of the girl is not that important. The house she lives in, the washroom in her house, parking place, her occupation and skills like driving are considered while settling the marriage.
The boy had just arrived from London to find a suitable match. He had desired to meet the buchi first. Nobody raised any objection and the girl was taken to a parlour to sharpen her brows. The beautician also worked on her upper lip. Finally her sister took her to the market to get a new suit for the occasion. A few days later, the broker called. The boy was waiting in a restaurant and the not so nervous girl was taken to the `ramp’. The boy had a curious look on the buchi and the persons who accompanied her. The girl’s brother paid the bill while the boy talked to her. The `rendezvous’ did not mature into a long lasting relationship.
The family later came to know about the boy’s misadventures in Vilayat (England). He had married a Memsahib (English lady) but could not disclose it to his parents. They also came to know that the boy had seen around fifteen girls in as many days but selected none for obvious reasons.
Other brokers came up with many proposals. One day two veiled women were seen in the locality making enquiries. They found nothing adverse. However, the single storeyed house of the girl did not suit them. “They must be poor”, they told a neighbor.
A few days later, the locality received a couple of visitors. “There is no place for parking in their house.” What were they looking for by the way? Parking place or a suitable match for their boy?
The process did not stop here. Two women entered the girl’s house one fine morning. One of them wanted to go to the washroom. “It is not aesthetically made”, she told the other lady. For want of an aesthetic washroom, the girl was rejected.
By this time, the family planned to construct the first and second floors of the house. One day while the masons and carpenters were working, a lady accompanied by her husband came. “What do they need such a big house for? It seems they will force our son to live with them after marriage.” Earlier the girl was rejected for living in a single storey house and this time the number of floors in the house created the hurdle.
A family did not tie the `eternal’ knot because they wanted a working wife for their son. Another family wanted the girl to learn driving. The girl received a shock one day when the broker told her to wear Abaya. “A woman from a religious family is coming to see you. Please wear an Abaya (a loose gown) today”, the buchi was directed. Had she any option? She waited for the Muhtarma (lady) all day. Finally she arrived. She was not veiled. The girl had a good look at her long and polished nails. The Abaya did not work. The “lady from the religious family” perhaps wanted a modern girl.