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Woman's Era - - Short Story -

Q& ECENTLY THERE WAS A HUGE FURORE IN THE CITY OF

CHEN­NAI in which I live, over the tra­di­tional sport of jal­lykatu. This sport had been banned by the Supreme Court on the grounds that it led to bulls be­ing treated cru­elly and col­lege stu­dents went and sat in protest on Ma­rina Beach de­mand­ing that the ban be re­pealed and jal­lykatu be per­mit­ted.

I am a col­lege stu­dent and wanted to go and join the protest on the Ma­rina, but my par­ents re­fused to let me do this on the grounds that I am a girl. Many of my friends, both girls and boys, came and asked me to go with them to the protest site, but my par­ents were adamant in their re­fusal to al­low me to go.

This made me fu­ri­ous and though now sev­eral months have passed since the stu­dents got their way and the ban was lifted, I am still very an­gry. The beach protest is still the main topic of dis­cus­sion even to­day and I feel so left out when my friends talk about the days they spent on the beach. So many par­ents let their daugh­ters go and some went with them when they were afraid to let them go on their own – but my par­ents just re­fused to let me go.

My par­ents keep de­fend­ing them­selves by say­ing that they love me too much to let me go into dan­ger. Do they then mean that par­ents who let their daugh­ters go to the beach, did not love them? That is nonsense! And if they love me so much, why didn’t they try to make me happy by com­ing with me to the beach?

Now I have be­gun to won­der if my par­ents will al­ways stand in the way of my hap­pi­ness.

I am sure that many par­ents did not al­low their daugh­ters – and in fact, even their sons – to go and spend sev­eral nights in the com­pany of hun­dreds of stu­dents of both sexes, on the beach. And surely not many par­ents could and did leave home and work and go and camp on the beach for more than a week with their daugh­ters! In fact many if not most par­ents are likely to have be­haved ex­actly as yours did!

At your age you should un­der­stand that it is nat­u­ral for par­ents to be pro­tec­tive of their chil­dren – and like it or not, most par­ents are more pro­tec­tive of their daugh­ters – be­cause they are afraid of all the bad things that could hap­pen to them. There is noth­ing that you can do about this and prob­a­bly, when you are your­self a par­ent, you too will be­have in the same way. A 10-day dharna at the beach could have de­gen­er­ated into a nasty sit­u­a­tion and in fact bad el­e­ments did cre­ate trou­ble to­wards the end of the Ma­rina protest . That was what your par­ents had feared.

As far as “stand­ing in the way of your hap­pi­ness” is con­cerned, if you show them that you are re­spon­si­ble, they are likely to give you more free­dom. Y SON IS IN HIS MID­DLE TWEN­TIES, AND SOME months ago, my hus­band and I be­gan to think about his mar­riage. Our el­der son is mar­ried to a won­der­ful wo­man who had been a col­league of his and they are very happy. We wanted the same kind of hap­pi­ness for our younger son too. So we de­cided that be­sides in­tro­duc­ing our son to girls, our role would be min­i­mal and he would de­cide for him­self whom he wanted to marry.

Over the next few months, we met par­ents and ar­ranged for him and their daugh­ters to meet and see if they clicked. But noth­ing worked out.

Then one day a cou­ple con­tacted us and told us that they had a daugh­ter who was of mar­riage­able age. They were pleas­ant and when we told them that we wanted our son and their daugh­ter to meet and talk to each other be­fore there was any talk of mar­riage, they at once agreed. They then gave us a photo of the girl and her phone num­ber and told us that she was work­ing in an­other city but that she and my son could talk on the phone and later meet if they wanted to.

The girl in the photo looked pretty and very pleas­ant. We gave the photo to our son to­gether with the phone num­ber we had been given and told him that he could con­tact the girl if he wanted to.

Some weeks later our son told us that he and that girl were chat­ting reg­u­larly and that they got along very well. “My phone bill will be hor­ren­dous this month!” he said with a happy smile and added that he and the girl had de­cided that they should meet.

My hus­band and I told the girl’s par­ents and a meet­ing was ar­ranged. On the day we went with our son for it. We met the girl. She was very pleas­ant and we un­der­stood why our son had chat­ted for hours with her.

She was also very, very dark and not at all at­trac­tive. And she wasn’t the girl whose pho­to­graph we had been given.

We were all quiet on the way home. None of us knew what to say. Later we dis­cussed the mat­ter. It was ob­vi­ous that the par­ents gave us the wrong photo and lied to us be­cause the girl was very dark.

Now my son is say­ing that he does not want to marry the girl be­cause she lied and tried to cheat him. He pointed out that he him­self wasn’t fair and so could hardly have made colour an is­sue for re­ject­ing the girl, but that lack of trust even be­fore the wed­ding didn’t au­gur well for the mar­riage.

Now my hus­band and I feel sorry for the girl. The girl’s par­ents too think that we have backed away be­cause the girl is dark. But my son also has a point and is adamant. Should we try to con­vince our son to marry this girl?

You should not try to con­vince your son to marry against his wishes. And he has a point. How can a mar­riage suc­ceed if it is based on dis­trust? So it is bet­ter if he mar­ries some­one else.

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