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.