When we moved into our new neighbour hood, there was this lady who didn’t like me at all. Somehow from week #1 of moving in, she tried to kind of dominate me over the water supply in the apartments where she and I lived bang opposite each other. She maybe a good 15 years older to me, having 3 college going children. Our very first encounter being quite unpleasant, we became familial enemies. She and her husband squirming their noses and turning away at our sight, my children and hers, not in talking terms, all that fuss.
There is a peculiar situation that I face many times. People tend to either like me instantly or hate me immediately, at the first sight. Majority of times, people older and superior to me really tend to like me, am blessed on that. Also something makes them keep high hopes on me, they expect that I should be doing something more than, just being a house-wife. While people my age share some sour stares, bitter glances, don’t know why. Well coming back to my “unfriendly” neighbour, this kind of a cold war lasted for almost a good 8 years. The eldest daughter Anamika (name changed to with hold identity) smiled at me sometimes, even I quite liked her. Slim, tall, fair, curly long haired pretty young lady she was. She carried herself with confidence yet dressed very simply and gracefully.
After all these years, time flew by so soon, what with all house-hold chores and off and on career keeping me busy, I never realised that this pretty girl had turned 29 and was unmarried still. That’s pretty eyebrow raising in a conservative Indian family. Meanwhile her younger sibling was married and mother of a 4 year old kid now. Owing to my shy and self-sufficient nature, I never got into the community gossip. We are a very closed family, keeping to ourselves all the time. So I never got to know what was up with this beautiful young lady, and what kept her single. Then one fateful day, whilst I was hosting a small party for my husband’s extended family, we heard a lot of noise in the neighbourhood. Lots of squabble going on in the house, banging of doors, some thumping noise, some screaming. We just couldn’t contain ourselves and knocked at their door, asking if they needed any help. And what opened to us was a plethora of unimaginable incidents in their life. Anamika found some confidence in me and revealed that all the fight was betwen she and her mother. Turns out that her mother all the time taunted and abused her for remaining single for so long. Let me tell you that Anamika was and still is working as a senior accountant in a very reputed school, earning a 5 figure salary, enough to keep herself holding her head high till whenever she wants. But conservative Indian women you know !
We Indian women are our own enemies. The fact that society gives us a raw deal, and our in laws dominate us, and the men always get an upper hand over us, is actually all because of the women themselves. If a lady was brought up strictly by her parents or mistreated by her in-laws, or dominated by her husband, or played a second fiddle always because her sibling is a boy child, then this very lady carries forward the same treatment to the younger generation of her house, as if this were some sort of legacy. So there goes, if Anamika is turning 30 in next six months and is still single, then the whole society including her own mother is ready to point fingers at her. It was even more appalling to find out the actual reason for her being single. Earlier she rejected some alliances as her father didn’t want his darling daughter to wed and live in a far away state, so they decided to wait for an alliance from the same city, where in Anamika being independent and having stunning looks, rejected a few for lack of match in wit or opinion in the families, etc.Finally when the father daughter duo picked on one alliance, these people rejected Anamika on the grounds, that she was a ” Manglik” (Afflicted Mars in the birth chart).
For those of you, who cannot make heads or tails out of this let me explain. Firstly that, more than 80% of Indians have arranged marriages, where the family decides, they exchange photographs of the girl and boy, have a family meeting, then the boy and girl are allowed to talk in the the next room, and decide their life partner in a few minutes. The families are biting nails in the living room, and waiting the girl and boy to come out beaming, nodding their heads in agreement to the alliance chosen by their families. Sorry if I sound sarcastic, neither am I against this system, nor am I in for it. I have seen most liberal ways of living where young couple fall in love, have a live-in relation for as long as 6-8 years, then decide to marry, yet the marriages fail. And for some peculiar reason this ” minutes of meeting” marriages are a grand success, many a times. So I really don’t know which side i should take, The arranged marriages or marriages guided by serendipity.
Well as for the second aspect, here in India, from among this large 80% of the crowd of “arranged marriage” practitioners, 90% match the Horoscope Natal chart of both the future bride and bride groom. Where their Ascendant has to match, the moon signs have to match.. etc…etc. Marriages are made or broken on these basis. And if a girl is “Manglik” (with an afflicted Mars in her Natal chart) then she is doomed. There will be no takers for her. It is said that for a ” Manglik girl” only a “Manglik boy” would do. Or any other boy who marries such a girl, will have his life full of Mishaps. And he may even die early, or meet with a fatal accident.
There you are now! with a major task in your hands, start looking for a boy with an afflicted Mars in his Natal chart, to get this girl married, who is now rejected by all. If only she could turn the clock as soon as she was born, so she would not be declared “Manglik” by infamous Astrologers. So now your well connected with my subject Anamika. Such a poised graceful, good looking, well mannered, post-graduate girl rejected because Mars was afflicted at birth. Let me tell you, of all people, its very difficult to handle a beautiful woman who is rejected. Then came in tantrums, blame-game, fights, intolerance. it is said, Its difficult for 2 women to stay under one roof, I never believed this but here it was, right in my face. Mother -daughter, behaving like competitors, enemies.
Since the time I intervened, it became a full time job, The mother, now on talking terms with me, wanted me to explain to Anamika to get married to any alliance that now came her way, in short she wanted her to get lost. The daughter, whom i had taken to by now, cried all her woes and at the same time held her head high and refused to budge. She said she wont marry any oldie, baldie etc etc. Mother says at 30, that’s all she is going to get and she better settle for it. This battle turned so ugly, that i had to now take Anamika to the psychologist, psychiatrist, counselors, astrologers etc to keep her calm. I tried to councel her mother into being a little soft on Anamika, to no avail, because despite now being on talking terms, on the inside i was a still an enemy, according to her.
She had her own woes like “Anamika never lifts a finger in the household chores, I have to do everything, dish-washing, cooking, drying, mopping swabbing, etc. ” To be impartial, Our this fiery young lady definitely had adjustment problems, something like a “princess syndrome”, over pampered by her father, who by now found himself quite stuck in this mother-daughter fights(quite an understatement that is!). Even he joined the mother, because now whatever Anamika did couldn’t be called normal. The tantrums, the abuses, the tearing and burning clothes, opening the window and abusing on lookers. Then at other times that she was with me, she was a perfectly normal, matured human being. If I were not her immediate neighbour, I would think her parents are make-believing things, cooking up a cock and bull story.
I adviced her mother not to be adamant in getting things done from Anamika, she could hire a maid, if she found her hands full with the house-hold chores. I told her to avoid all things that became a bone of contention, so to say. We Indian women have the luxury to hire maids at affordable costs,who do up all our household work, while we bask in the sun, or wear the proverbial pants in the family, or pursue our hobbies etc. But all this on deaf ears. Old habits die hard and Anamika’s mother wanted to do things herself and keep crying the woes of an unhelpful, overgrown,burdensome daughter. While Anamika blamed her Dad, her Mother, the community, the world at large for her situation and continued with her tantrums. How this ended, or will it ever end, does not matter. There are many stories that have no happy or sad ending, sometimes they don’t end at all. But we can definitely end this with a question. Whose fault is this? Whose fault is this that a beautiful independent lady turns berserk? A strict, all abiding family becomes a subject for gossip in the community, Whose fault is it that a girl child is born with an afflicted Mars in the natal chart in a conservative all abiding Indian family? Who can change the outlook of this hypocritical society? The whole lineage has to change. Is it possible in this lifetime?