The Status Syndrome

A brave decision taken by a young girl despite her parents’ shallow reasons to disapprove of her choice of life partner

Abha Iyengar | Posted on 18 Aug 2016
Family & Marriage In India, Status Consciousness & A Love Story | Bonobology

I had decided to get married to Suresh*, an office colleague, but everything was not good as my Dad and Mom had not said yes. They knew Suresh as he had visited my home with other office colleagues often enough. But when I wanted Suresh to speak with my parents about our wish to get married, though I was nervous about it, I was sure they would give us their blessings. He insisted that I come with him. I was glad I went along.

Dad looked at Suresh and said, point blank, to his face,  “This is how you take advantage of our trust in you? Leave this house and never step into it again. And don’t try to meet Asmita* from now on.” Mom began to sob. It was like a scene of a Hindi movie unfolding before my eyes.

Of course, Suresh walked off. I let him leave, for I wanted to speak with my parents first. I asked them why they had refused. And you know what their answer was? Dad called him a gold-digger, who would make a deep hole in their pockets. A gold digger! Dad said that a stone had been thrown into our happy family set-up, creating a big hole in the existing structure.

Dad and Mom had wanted to spend exorbitantly on my wedding.  What hole in their pocket would our marriage make? Both Suresh and I don’t want that!

Dad says he loves me, yet he was talking as if I did not exist, only his money did. I had found someone who connected with me, respected and loved me, whom I had chosen to spend my life with, but that had no standing in the face of Dad’s wealth, and so-derived status.

Suresh belongs to a respectable, educated middle class family. And the two of us have to lead a life together; not be dependent on the handouts of parents. I do have a good job and so does Suresh. We can look after ourselves…we just needed my parents’ blessings.

Dad said that I should marry someone of the same status, someone they chose, then I could continue to live in the lap of luxury and be happy, and they would also be happy. This means, without Dad’s money, I am nobody.

Mom actually asked me, “You will leave us for this boy? We who have loved you and brought you up?” I told her that I was not leaving her. She was leaving me because she considered Suresh a gold digger, and that with or without their blessings, Suresh was the man I had chosen for my life partner.

And Suresh is marrying me, regardless. And I am marrying him.

*Names changed upon request

(As Told To Abha Iyengar)


Abha Iyengar

Abha Iyengar is an award winning, internationally published poet, author, essayist and a British Council certified creative writing mentor. Her published works include Yearnings, Flash Bites, Shrayan, Many Fish to Fry, and The Gourd Seller and Other Short Stories.

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