Gratitude to Allah as well as a wide round of congratulations are always in order for the wedding of any girl, for we are happy and proud of each and every girl child that has blessed this earth, and that simple ceremony of committing to a new relationship symbolises for her a major and vital turning point in her life!
It does too for the would-be bridegroom too, but as you can see how in the union of two souls the man is referred to in terms of the real datum that matters the bride. So we will leave the topic of the he-part for another episode.
Why I embark on this subject is because there was a time, some will say there still is, when the female child was despised upon, often buried alive as cruel history will remind us. Women were tormented in puberty, in marriage they were sentenced to a lifetime of maltreatment and humiliation. The widow in some cultures was given the rites along with her dead life partner.
Things have to a large extent changed, albeit cesspools of middle-age survives even in the midst of gigantic achievements that mankind (see how unkindly that is to womankind) has carved over centuries of religion, science and culture. Marriage today is more than a religious and social obligation.
Despite my subconscious enlightenment that the Bangali woman has come a long way since the days of Begum Rokeya, my true dawning came the other day when an eminent citizen almost roared at me for mentioning in a compassionate disposition that his daughter had 'gone away', as it were. That was in sincere reference to his daughter's recent marriage. The gentleman taught me otherwise.
Marriage for a daughter is not a matter of going away; far from it. It is her way of saying, 'I have had enough of you guys!' Jokes aside, where can a daughter of the house go? This, her home for the past decade and a half and more, IS her home. She is not going away. She cannot. Even after she exchanges marriage vows she remains with her roots, her parents, and her family. That is the order of the day.
In the past, not so long ago, she earned the disapproval of spiteful villagers, backbiting town folks and mean relatives had she for whatever reason spent a few extra days at the home of her parents, her home. Tongues would fly. Her parents' ears would be filled with hot words. Rumours would conclude that she had been dumped. Thankfully, the right of the woman to return to her home in full dignity is here for quite sometime now.
While all this was happening, the male version of Homo sapiens had been taking full advantage of the jaigirdar system, although ghar jamai was always looked down upon. But that too has changed. But, as I have already said, enough of the adonises, today we are celebrating womankind.
She commits to matriMONY by His ordain, not for money, but for love.
She enters wedLOCK by His command, not to be fastened, but to be tied in trust.
She goes through the SERImony by His ordain, not alone, but with a SERA.
Marriage for a daughter is not a matter of going away; far from it.
It is her way of saying, 'I need to find out how good my home really is!'
Seriously though, how else can she know? Her only option is to check out another.
She will never be really gone; she will just have more opportunity to call her folks more often from afar. She remains as close to her family as the day she found a place in her mother's womb.
She can never be too far away; for truly her home will be as spacious as the two big hearts that have been brought together by destiny, arranged or otherwise.
She consented to nuptials by His will, only because she wanted to enter into a permanent relationship with a companion till death does them apart, however temporarily.
She gave the nod because she was in full control of her will.
She went through all the rituals because she wanted to gift her parents with friends and playmates younger by fifty to sixty years or more.
She made everyone happy with of course the exception of perhaps some others who may have sought her hand as well. That too is very much a reality.
As she departs for the first time for her new home, she now knows she isn't going anywhere far, and therefore even the wailing during weeping has reduced.
We should all thank the brave young thing venturing into a new world for giving us half a lifetime of love, fellowship, and pranks! The other half is just beginning.
We should all look forward to her coming and going till one day she prepares to send her daughter away from her home. Whose home?
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