I Don’t know why I want to share this story, it should embarrass me or may be I should feel scared that out of the ‘prospective’ grooms who haven’t rejected me as yet in this country, will reject me after reading this. But honestly, it doesn’t scare me at all. After multiple rejections, out of which I didn’t even meet some of those guys before the rejection, and their reasons, I realised how full of shit this society is. And how it’s stupid of any one of us to believe that it’ll ever grow up.
So here is how I got rejected many times by spineless men on grounds of age, weight and complexion. And guess what? I said nothing. Somehow, I could not.
It was Independence day and that day was no different from any other lazy Sunday mornings I woke up to every week. It was around 9-ish in the morning, the Sun was out obviously and my hands went straight to my phone. 2 missed calls, 30 odd messages on WhatsApp and 7 new emails — the notification on my screen read.
I decided to scroll through my WhatsApp messages, first. A couple of honeymoon pictures from my friend who recently got married, few messages from an old friend who will be visiting Delhi soon, and a lot of messages from people wishing me ‘Happy International Women’s Day’ were there. While few were simple forwards, a few of my friends had actually put in some effort and brains into writing the message.
“You’re the kind of independent and practical girls the nation needs,”
“You are the true spirit of womanhood,” and a few more messages like these were enough to boost my ego and make my day.
I thought about the messages later, did they really mean it? (I couldn’t help giving it a thought after the last few encounters I had been through) “Well, of course they did,” I said to myself. “I am fearless. I am caring. I was among many of those who joined the rally to protest against the Nirbhaya rape incident. I have slapped a man who tried to touch me at a metro station. I have helped my friend come out of an abusive relationship. I party. I have opinions, and I am not afraid to share them with others. So I guess, yes, I am exactly the kind of woman this nation needs right now.” But it only takes a male chauvinist pig with a hideous mind to push you underground if you dare to feel good about yourself in this country.
Personality of a girl holds no importance in front of a girl’s height, weight and complexion in the Indian matrimonial world. And the executives from shaadi.com vouch for the fact.
“So we can write fair only; wheatish, fair, ek hi baat hai,” an executive from assisted matrimony had told my mom, while creating a profile for me on the portal, a few months ago.
On Feb 14, this year, when the entire world was celebrating the day of love, I was getting ready to meet my prospective husband’s jijaji for an interview round. I have been through a lot of such interviews, and trust me, these are way tougher than IIT- JEE or GATE exams (Not that I have given these, but considering the hype and hoopla, this is the best example I could come up with).
I had met many men in the last year who met, spoke, asked questions, and left as soon as they saw me. The first guy, who rejected me was a CA, working for a firm in Lucknow.
“Media is not a respectable profession for women,” and “things happen,” he had said while informing my father that I am not a good match for him.
The second guy, who rejected me, never spoke with me directly, but his father had told my dad, “Height kuch jyada hi kam hai, isliye baat aage nahi badha payenge.” What surprised me the most about the second case was the fact that the guy’s family did not think about my height or weight before demanding 15 lacs in cash and “char chakke ki gaadi“, which of course my father denied.
But this meeting blew my mind. Completely. This man defined a new level of shamelessness for me. I met my (not-so) would-be groom’s jijaji on February 14, 2015. I should’ve guessed then how stupid and cowardly that man would be, who didn’t have a say in his family. His JIJAJI came to see me for crying out loud. But again, if only we could do all the right things at the right time every time. So after twenty minutes of the grilling round, he decided to throw the big question, which I think had been haunting him all this while.
“Tumhare age ke hisaab se, tumhara weight kaafi jyada hai. 25 se kaafi jyada ki lagti ho tum. Iske baare mein kuch karne ka socha hai tumne?” he asked.
“I know about that and I am trying to work on it,” I said smiling. Yes I hate myself too for this.
Had it been any other day, I would have thrown the glass of water kept on the table on his face, and would have said, “Yes, I know. Got any problem with that?” But of course, this day was not like any other day. The man in question was my prospective husband’s jijaji, who had come to test and see if I am suitable for his family. Maa had called me in the morning, and had sternly told me to be polite and sweet to this man.
“Now, if you don’t mind, could you please stand up, I would like to take your picture for my family to see,” he said. Wanting to just get over with it, I said, “Sure.” I stood in one of the corners, while he clicked a couple of my pictures. I lost all my pride and self-respect at that very moment. The man, standing in front of me, clicking my pictures had reduced me to an object, which did not come in the shape and size he wanted.
I was humiliated, to say the least. It took a while but it happened. I felt like a f*ckin puppet standing there smiling. I was howling in my head but it was too late to react by then.
Well, no points for guessing that things did not work out there, again because of my weight and height. The man I should’ve said No to for not being man enough, his brother-in-law rejected me and left.
However, I’m in a better place now. Looks like, life has come a full circle. My parents have finally found an alliance for me. I always believed in love. I always believed that I’ll marry someone I truly love and would want to be with. But, I don’t know whether I would be able to love this guy, no matter how great he is. I should not have to marry someone, just because everyone happens to think that ‘someone’s’ the best I could get. I want to go places, fall in love and enjoy life. I don’t want to SETTLE down just because the society would ask my parents — why your daughter is not married yet.
I want to be rich, famous and happy and I don’t think I need a man to keep me happy. In my opinion, the day a girl would be able to stay single even at 40, without being judged, that would be the real women’s day.
So, I think, this time, I’m going to say a big fat NO. Not because of height, weight, complexion or profession but simply because I want to reach heights and see the world without increasing my inches. Because I’m really not sure about the man I’ll spend the rest of my life with — how big will his be.
This post was submitted by Shefali Jha.