Yeah, being home alone has a lot of side effects. One of the shining ones is the free and uninterrupted access to television and remote control. So, after steadfastly avoiding the news channels that are preferred by my hubby while he had the control to remote control, I landed up watching a serial on Star TV called Star Vivah [Yes, it has a dedicated website too]
Essentially, the show is about showcasing a bunch of young, not so great looking, eager wannabe grooms and brides who are desperate to bag a partner by telling the host and hostess of the show that they want “loving and caring” husband/wife. Really, how precise is that description!And boy, the serial producers must have really malleable ears to hear these wannabes out, episode after episode.
The particular episode that I saw had this 24-something chap hailing from a family in Indore. While the father-mother looked on, the son described the qualities he was looking in his future wife.
Wannabe Groom (WG): I want her to be loving and caring.
Host: Okay. And what else are you looking in a wife?
WG: I work in Mumbai and when my wife comes [he wants a working wife, by the way] we will buy a house in Mumbai. Then I want my parents to come and stay with me. She should adjust when this happens. She will have to love, care and respect all family.
Host: And what will you do?
WG: (A split second pause) I will also love and respect her. I am a very caring person. You can ask my parents. (pointing towards his beaming parents)
Host: (laughs; indulging parents look on) What I meant was, if you expect your wife to adjust to your parents and family, what will you do for her?
WG: I can help her in kitchen. I know how to cut vegetables.
Host: But if she is working, then she might have a lot of pressure with managing your family, house work and professional commitments all at the same time…don’t you think so?
WG: (gives a confident smile, that says – Oh I know this answer) That’s why you see, if she loves and cares for the family, and me she will manage.
Wow….We still have these male varieties. The thought buzzed in my head. By this time, I was so hooked to the show, that I even ignored an incoming call from my mother. The WG wanted a “loving and caring wife” who has to be a superhuman in doing all that he expected her to, and also manage her professional commitments as the WG clearly is in favor of two members earning in the family.
After this fella, there came a 19-year old girl who described herself as “I am very loving and caring and I like to cook food.” I felt as if I was seeing a 80s Bollywood flick where the sole criteria of marriage was a ability of a girl to manage the household and keep the kitchen fires run smoothly.
Now this wannabe bride (WB) wanted a husband “who will not smoke and drink.” That was her only condition. She went on to say that she likes to cook, draw rangolis, stitch clothes, was doing a course in Mehndi art. When the host asked her if she was looking at husband from a joint or nuclear family, she promptly replied, “I like joint families. I am okay with joint family. I can cook for everyone in the family.”
I am not saying respecting elders, cooking for family or taking care of family after marriage is demeaning for an educated girl. My only qualm is that when men (and women too) begin to think that marriage ONLY means getting someone to respect your parents (from day one without even bonding with them; after all feelings come only when people bond with each other) or worse, getting a person who will cook and keep their homes.
I was so disgusted with the matrimony parade on this show, where grooms showed off their masculinity by asking for traits in wife that I thought were archaic and women meekly asked for men who would “love and take care of them” as if they were the stuffed dolls of the past who could do nothing on their own.