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So, today, at school, when a few of my friends and I were having lunch, a classmate of ours came bursting into the classroom and yelled,”Guys, guess what! Do you remember Ayesha, the girl who won the first prize in athletics last year?”. A few of us nodded in the positive. I did not know her personally, only by sight. “So, what happened to her?”, asked one of my friends.
Eager to spread the gossip, my classmate said,” She isn’t coming back to school. She got married in the vacation. The groom is a 25 year old engineer.”
Most of us stared at her dumbly, not really believing what she said.
Well, many of you might be wondering what is abnormal about it.
The thing is that Ayesha was a junior at high school and was barely fifteen. The time when she should be thinking about studies, hanging out with friends and gossiping about movies and other teen talk, she was expected to take up the role of a housewife. For that matter she is really young to even fully grasp what marriage implies.
She was also yet another teen like us with the same hopes, dreams and aspirations. She was one of the best athletes in our school. What if she wanted to go for professional sports? What if she wanted to study?
What about her dreams and hopes? Did nobody care about what she wanted?
The main thing I feel unfair about it is that her husband was allowed to study, to become an engineer. But she was expected to drop out.
According to Indian law, a girl isn’t allowed to marry before the age of 18, but Aisha had barely turned 15.
And another thing about Indian society is that arranged marriages are still prevalent.
In many cases when a man and woman marry normally, (fall in love and then marry), they are disowned and in some rural areas, killed. (Though that has reduced a lot now). And those marriages are called ‘love marriages’. Kinda implies that the couples married through arranged marriages do not have love between them!
And if two people fall in love, it is talked about as if it is a bad thing. Love is divine, and is the common law of nature. Having boyfriends or girlfriends and living together is yet again considered a taboo in the society.
In arranged marriages in which absolute strangers marry, many a times, the husband and wife aren’t able to get along. Yet, they do not divorce since a divorce is yet again considered a disgrace to the family.
Honestly, sometimes the Indian society is so backward.

P.S. I hope I did not offend any Indians here, but please note that I am only stating the truth and not mere fantasies.
Anu

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