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Two days back, during one of those much treasured slots of time at home with my amma where we entertain each other spilling in news from our sides sprinkled with guffaws, goofiness, groans and giggles, a question popped up from my side as to whether she would yearn to send me off to another family with a bundle of wealth to be tagged along with my ‘beauty,brawn and brains’. As a reply she assured me that neither she nor my father would construe, even in their worst nightmares to sell me away with prior consolidation of a pact or treaty of sorts that would promise a certain amount of jingling while I walk onto my groom’s house. According to her, each ounce of what they compile for me in the name of good or gold serves to satiate their mind, so that thereafter they would feel happy and satisfied that they did enough and more for their children.
Though, unfortunately the good intention gets twisted and tweaked when spineless people utilise this gesture as a means to loot money from the backward sections of the society demanding money in the name of girl’s inheritance. However, i guess now a days more and more families are shying away from the concept of dowry and I strongly feel that the welcoming change found its inception from the fact that you would rarely find a girl now a days who wouldn’t be working, her job in turn serving to be the ‘security’, if I may put it so, not intending pun of course.
A friend of mine recited a particular incident to me a few months back concerning a marriage proposal that came her way. It so happened that during the primary discussions leading to fixing the alliance, her father happened to show the groom’s party the nooks, corners and the pristine formidable assets of their house, the climactic ending of the home-tour being a promise by her father to the groom’s family that every single inch of what they traversed the past one hour belongs solely to his daughter, the would be bride, my friend. As an anticlimax to the particular tryst, the groom’s family withdrew their proposal stating that her father insulted them by his gesture of sealing the deal in the name of money!
Well this post wasn’t supposed to be a dowry post in the first place, but on my conversations with amma and I apologize for the least enticing deviation. Thus the talks proceeded merrily with amma disclosing a dream of her to own a beautiful house, bang in the middle of the city, even when the current scenario is such that our present home is 2km from the Central railway station, 2.5 km from the Bus stand and 3.5 km from the airport. She has always been crazy about artistically built houses and in her opinion, beauty when coupled with accessibility can be a terrific combination (we are talking about houses here, be clear about that).
And before I knew, she had jotted down phone numbers from the Real Estate Classifieds and had started calling them up enquiring about the subtle details about the plumbing, attached bathroom facilities, backyard and the distance in kilometers from the main road stretch. And if at all we had a wrong assumption that a house in the central hub of the city would come for free, we were proved wrong the very next instant. The guy at the other end proposed a certain sum for each cent, hearing which amma winded up the call impromptu in an impulse or was it because she blacked out?! The second option would be appropriate for the total sum that the guy brazenly put forward would amount to a decent one crore and slightly more than that, considering the spiking real estate statistics in today’s world.
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The first plan of action frizzled out, much to our dejection. But my amma is someone who, though utterly lazy like her daughter at times, relentlessly chases her dreams once it seeds have been sown. She came up with a plan afresh, which would see us owning a plot or two in the suburbs now only to be sold out a few years later, which would empower us with the ability to buy a house, again bang in the middle of the city, in her dream locality. My father and I sat marveling at her business acumen for sometime and then we set out yesterday in search of affordable plots in the suburbs.
Two plots down and all we could conjure ourselves to do was to sympathize with the distraught lives of the people in those regions rather than to delve in depth on the pros and cons of the plots. Not that they were sad or looked distressed, but the living conditions were shallow, something I felt that they have accustomed to over the years and might not be having complaints about now. The sight is not something new for I had been to many such families as part of my community medicine health assignments during my college days and even had written essays during my exams on the abject poverty that those people dwell in. Yet, when we thought about the context which guided us to the place, the whole scenario seemed like God’s way of telling us to be satisfied with what we have.
But then, a dream is a dream is a dream and amma has enough reasons to support her too – like the unavailability of auto rickshaws at our place and a few more rational ones. And so also, a couple of days after if amma still feels like owning a dream house – implying a house at a better place, we might as well set out on a sequel to our journey. But right now, slumping down onto my cozy bed, with my jet black laptop on my table and a few good books on the shelf smiling compellingly at me and my favorite song being played in loops by my cell phone, my room with its four sturdy walls to protect me from sun or storm seems like heaven. Maybe something like a God’s own house in ‘God’s own country’ ? (Argh. That sounds tacky)
P.S : My previous template crashed with no prior notice and i had to come up with a new one. The last one was my favourite. But i guess i have no other option now but to start loving this and to hope that this one doesn’t disappear in a bolt.