Though outlawed, dowry is a sad and disgustingly regressive fact of life in our parts of the world. I’ve tried to tackle it in a light manner, using broken Indian English and examples of what matters in larger Indian society, but I hope the message comes through strongly. Leave poetry aside, it’s an issue that needs to be outright and permanently rejected through a drastic change in collective mindset. Is education the only answer?
Girl is dark
What to do?
Give more dowry
Two times two
(we have an obsession for ‘gora’ or fairness)
Girl is manglik
Venus in Mars
More dowry answer
It is written in stars
(this refers to the matching of horoscopes as is commonly done.
Only then can a marriage take place)
Younger married, older left
Why? Is she virgin? Any affairs?
What business of yours?
Arre baba, whole village cares
(the last line is an expression loosely translated as, “hey pal, …..”)
Girl can’t cook
Ay yai yo
Disaster in making
Add one crore
(“ai yai yo” is a South Indian colloquialism meaning “oh no!”
A crore is 10 million rupees)
Convent educated girl?
Better speaking English will not do
No, no, boy feel insecure
Hurt his and his parents’ big ego
Boy is engineer
Very much smartest
In marriage market
Boy is only child
All village girls want to marry
If your daughter want, it’s simple
Come with cash and carry
Different caste? How it can be?
It is most horrible
Sorry sir, if I give more money
It will be possible?
(the infamous caste system – a big barrier, even today)
Currency, gold jewellery
Buffaloes, house and car
More, more, more
Buss karo na, yaar
(A Hindi expression meaning, “enough is enough, dammit!”)
”Gifts” are exchanged, deal is done
Poor bride father exhausted lifelong savings
Now who will pay for all guests arriving?
And before that, one minute wait!
Pandit and 500 relatives to be fed
Only then giving blessings
Boy family believe in very simple wedding
(A pandit is a Hindu priest.
And typically, it’s the bride’s family who pays for the entire wedding)
Bloody nonsense, I say
This is insane
When we will rid ourselves
Of this inexcusable bane?
Fathers, daughters, families…
Can’t we feel their pain
Come together, society
Let’s banish this shame