Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The good ones in my life

We hear a lot about dowry menace and bride burning these days. I am going to narrate an incidence with a difference.

Long back in the 1930s when my maternal grandfather wished to get his eldest daughter married he had settled on a dowry of Rs. 5000.00. The boys family was good and they offered to give her diamond ear rings and nose stud and the ‘koorai’ sari ie. The 9 yards sari that she would wear when the groom would tie the knot with the traditional ‘tali’ or mangalsutra as it is popularly known would be gifted by the groom’s parents.

Due to some communication gap the groom’s father understood that my grandfather would bear the cost of the diamond ear ring that was around Rs.500/- and he started acting difficult on the day prior to the marriage. My grandfather was just around 37 years old and this was the first wedding in the family. The groom’s father was a magistrate in Bangalore and had come across as a very reasonable person during the negotiations. If one gave in under pressure, the probability of further demands in cash and kind could not be ruled out. And he had 4 more daughters to marry off. My grandfather insisted that he had not agreed to pay for the ear ring and the boy’s father claimed that he had indeed agreed to pay for it. It appeared as if the wedding would be called off and every one was upset. Then the unexpected happened.

The groom took my grandfather aside and asked him to be patient. He assured him that his parents were not greedy for a hefty amount in the name of dowry. There has been a genuine misunderstanding and they were as suspicious of my grandfather’s intention as he was of theirs. Finally he said-

“I request you to pay up the 500/- rupees that he is asking for. You will see for yourself how well they would treat your daughter. It is all due to some communication gap and in my opinion all will be well if only you relent. I leave it to you.”

My grandfather gave in albeit a trifle grudgingly. But my uncle’s words were prophetic so to say. My eldest aunt was treated like a daughter in their house and my uncle’s parents were the most accommodating among our relatives by marriage or otherwise. They stood by my grandfather’s side through thick and thin and my uncle was a son in law that every father in law would love to have. I shall soon do a post highlighting the warm and affectionate relationship between my aunt and her mother in law. I have already mentioned it in an earlier post written in 2 parts but I want to recount the lighter side. I feel blessed to have been surrounded by so much goodness in my formative years.

It may not be out of place to mention that my aunt had no children and upon her death her family returned the jewelry given to her by my grandfather to my maternal uncle because she had no children to inherit it. By then my uncle had also died and her mother in law was long gone. This was perhaps the only case that I've heard of when jewelry given as dowry was returned by the family some 50 years after it was given. They were indeed good people.


rads said...

So many relations tank under a volley of words not entirely meaning what the mind thinks.. :-)

It's always a blessing to have in0laws who treat u like you are their own.

R's Mom said...

Thats such a positive story :)

Renu said...

good people are rarely talked about.

Sumana said...

I cannot believe such people existed. It is such a rarity. These days, though the inlaws do not demand anything, but they do the negotiations as part of tradition. In which i have heard people say, Oh what you give is for your daughter only no and then most times all the jewellery gets into the MIL's locker.

Neha said...

Does this really happen today??? All I hear around is about harassment for dowry and deaths consequently. Why can't we have more such people!!!

Hip Grandma said...

Hi all,
Nice of you to have commented. I am not sure if we have such people any more. They lived some sixty/seventy years back. These days people do not/may not ask for dowry in cash or kind. But bride burning and torture has not decreased even a bit. Unrealistic expectation and the attitude of looking down upon the girl's parents prevails.

Anonymous said...

This is a good post, HHG. When I read about the dowry part, I did not guess there would be a happy ending.

hillgrandmom said...

Your uncle sounds like a really wise person. Nice story. What wonderful people to return your aunt's jewellery.

uma said...

Misunderstandings can really take a toll on a relationship. Sometimes, these are just so silly.
Your uncle acted so sensibly. A really positive story ... thanks for sharing it. It is important to share the goods ones too :)

dr.antony said...

It had been long since I came to your blog. Happy to see u all actively writing wonderful stories. I missed out many and sure,will catch up.

This is a story that the younger generation would find hard to believe. Times have changed and so too relationships.

By the way,how are you doing?

Hip Grandma said...

Hi again:I was happy to go through your inputs. When I tell people of my uncle and aunt they do not even believe that such people existed. But they did and they do even now. They, however maintain a low profile and we hardly get to know them.
Dr.antony:nice of you to have popped in. i know you are busy.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hip hop grandma,
I have been reading all your posts. I must say I love them.Very light and very nice. In this post of yours you mentioned that you would post lighter side of the relationship shared by your aunt and her mother in law. But I think you forgot. But I am eagerly waiting to read that post ;). Please do post about it.