....'kacchi umar ke pakke rishte'
Balika vadhu is a story set in rajasthan. The serial is aired on the new channel Colors. Its lead is a small girl Anandi who is married off at the tender age of 8 to an equally young Jagdish. Though many of us will never have to face the trauma of being married so early its still a thought provoking topic. Even today inspite of all the reforms & laws such marriages are common place. Its just the nature of marriage that has changed. Even today many parents marry off their girls as soon as they are 1 month past the 18 years Government deadline. I have seen such a marriage at close quarters.
The girl was sent to a convent wherein she excelled in all that she tried her hand at. She was the one who was sought out when it came to winning inter-school elocutions. As a teen she was full of life. She was someone who had heard & read about freedom. She had read about girls being granted their choices. She had heard about her friends latest crushes. She had hence tasted the wonderful taste of being free, being in control of ones life, of having opinions which are valued.
But a day came when all these childhood illusions shattered in front of her eyes. She had seen it coming though. The signs had always been there to catch her offguard in her moments of joy & leave her with the pain of being born a girl. Be it having to talk with her father only through her mother, or not being allowed to play holi & watching her younger brother play it with her pichkari & gulal & the water ballons which she had prepared the night before. The signs indicating her limitations had always been there. But the final blow to all her youthful dreams had come a year too fast.
Comprehending her limitations she had learned to temper her dreams & ambitions & a girl with wonderful talents was left with a simple ambition of being a graduate. However this too was not to be. She was married a year before she could give her exams. Her entire life was uprooted within months of meeting her husband- to -be & she was shown a new dream. A dream which was in a new land. But a dream which could be accessed only after crossing the hurdle of the saat-pheras. The wedding took place & the girl left for her new home with all positive thoughts for her future. This time though she was practical enough in dreaming new dreams. Life had taught her practicality at the tender age of 18 when it was helping her friends scale new heights in their chosen careers & vocations. She kept her dreams simple. A husband who loved, a mother-in-law who was tolerable & a home which accepted her with all her goods & bads.
So what is bad? Being married off as a child when you are helpless & yet too very young to protest? Or is it better to be married off at 18, when though you are as young and helpless as you would have been at 8; but this time you are being married off when you have known what freedom is, when you have seen your own buddies enjoy it to the fullest,when there are too many 'if onlys'?
What is better; to know & then lose it or to not know it at all? Tough question!!!