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Musings - Dowry Menace, Empty Nest Syndrome

Radhika Sadanandan
06/13/2003

The Dowry Menace - Setting an Example
The petite 21-year-old engineering student from Delhi, Nisha Sharma has done her gender proud by refusing to acquiesce to unreasonable dowry demands by her greedy would be in laws and groom on the day of the wedding. It must have taken tremendous amount of courage and guts to have them arrested on the day of her wedding, considering the far reaching social implications of such an act on the day of her wedding.

Closely on the heels of this welcome news was the news of Chennai based Vidya taking her would be in laws to task for Dowry demands on the day of her wedding. Kudos to the parents of both the girls for supporting their daughterís decision.

It is heartening to note that many people have applauded their decisions instead of criticizing their stand, which goes to show that slowly, but surely, peoples mind set is changing. Once the message gets across that girls are willing to risk the embarrassment and ridicule that follows last minute cancellations of the marriage, parents of grooms will think twice before blackmailing them at the eleventh hour.

It is an irony that we Indians venerate Mother I India, pray to Goddess Saraswathi for knowledge, goddess Laxmi for wealth, to goddess Durga for strength. But when it comes to the daughters of Indian soil, we treat them like a commodity to be sold for money and material goods.

Nisha Sharma has surely set a trend and is a torchbearer for other girls to emulate, in similar circumstances. Let us all wish her all the very best, may the seeds of rebellion that she has sown find a fertile soil in the minds of millions of Indians and motivate them to fight the dowry menace.

Empty Nest Syndrome
Loneliness, the great curse of the twenty-first century, has me truly and firmly in its grip. Like a dull ache, constant and relentless, it plagues my waking hours and disturbs my slumber, I try to numb my mind and tire my body with work so as to enjoy a few hours of blissful oblivion in sleep, but it is not to be.

My dear child, I miss you so. You were the fulcrum around which my world revolved. With you gone, I sleepwalk through life, with loneliness my constant companion. Your daily phone calls are the highlight of my days and my sustenance for the next twenty four hours. You say you miss me and it is sweet music to my ears, but soon, very soon, youíll be busy building a life of your own where Iíll be but a marginal influence. My mind refuses to accept that possibility, however likely it seems to be.

Iím selfish enough to want to keep you by my side always, but I realize without a grain of doubt that if I were to do that, one day youíll hate me for it. My pain and loneliness notwithstanding, I can look back and proudly say that I loved you enough to let you free.

(Dr.Radhika Sadanandan, a Pathologist, writes from Kannur, Kerala. )

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Nisha Sharma

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