An open letter to my future wife
I have decided to stitch my soul with the girl of my caliber. I am even ready to accept a divorcee or widow.
By: ABID RASHID BABA
Whosoever you are, may God shower choicest blessings on you. Hope this open letter finds you in pink health. Sorry to burst your bubble but I would like you to know my story before you embark on a lifetime journey with me. To be brutally honest, the Institution of marriage in Kashmir has disappointed me. It is a mere business now, barter trade to be more precise. Young boys and girls are openly sold in this matrimonial market and we let ourselves to be exploited in this marital mess.
I have vowed to shatter taboos and get hitched to a girl of my intellect. I don’t believe in caste system. I am not bothered whether you are a widow, divorcee or twenties teen. Don’t pretend to be nice. Be original. I dislike fakery and show-off. I have seen enough snakes. Remember, snakes bite once you feed them. I would love to know your ability to see inside me, to understand things that I need not to carve out in words. Past never dies. We all carry our memoirs with us. I lost the love of my life. I am yet to come to terms with what happened to her. Whatever comforts us is fashion. Expensive clothes or jewelry fail to shape our personalities. So, I dress according to my pocket. If you judge people on their attire then I am sorry, I shall gladly withdraw my application.
I would like to remind you that I wanted to marry quite early. Three years ago, I launched #Shadikarocampaign in Northern part of Kashmir, I successfully culminated it after hitching few couples. I received lot of criticism for voicing the genuine concerns in Kashmiri marriages. Several people joined me on this mission. I am 26 now. I feel it is high time to start the second innings of my life. In last two years, I received rejections for not having a government job but I feel God is the sustainer. There are thousands of prospective grooms who want to walk down the aisle but uncertainty and insecurity of what will their in-laws think about their earnings, have pushed them to perpetual depression.
Dear would-be, my orchids, paddy fields, degrees, fellowships and other achievements don’t hold any water unless I get a government job. This is how society weights us. There is something called selflessness. It is not available in abundance but it is rare but priceless. I am heart-broken. I am lovesick. Girls wanted to know how much I earn and whether I can afford a car. Wife is the queen of every husband provided conditions are not set. And yes, all material desires are not supposed to be fulfilled.
Dear parents, when you are hunting for a bride or groom, don’t force your choices on them. The toxic relationships have ruined lives, destroyed homes and hearths. Please look beyond physical appearance. Good-looking doesn’t mean good person within. Nothing lasts long. Outer beauty withers. I don’t believe in expensive weddings. It is a complete corporate waste and a foolish act to invest your hard earned capital to entertain random people. When we look around, situation is grim. Our boys and girls in early forties want to settle down with their partners but they feel outdated now.
Dear bride-to-be, I believe there is no absolute satisfaction. Nothing is flawless. There is no perfect match. No two people are same on this planet. At times, things look best on the surface, but they can be the ugliest. We all have to accept our partners with all their imperfections. I will strive to be a better husband. I can cook and clean for you, be nice to you. I will respect your choice and appreciate whatever you will do for me. I will cherish your company. We will share our joys and sorrows. At the same time, I would not be okay if you dictate terms.
I will marry a girl who reads. I will accept a nerd who spends her money on books instead of fancy dresses. I would like to spend the rest of my life with the girl who feels the fragrance of books. Girls who read know that all things must come to an end. They meet hundreds of characters; they know failure is part of life and climax is temporary. So, they are neither too depressed nor over-excited about things. Same is the case with well-read boys.
At this age, I am interested in stability, respect and loyalty. We shall prioritize each other. Nowhere is it mentioned that it is obligatory for a daughter-in-law to work like a maid at in-laws. It is my duty and responsibility to look after my parents. You will leave the comforts. I can understand how difficult it is grow up in your parents place for two decades or so and permanently shift to husband’s home in a matter of months. Men can’t do it. I value this sacrifice. I am a battered and a bruised soul. You will have to put balm to my invisible wounds, repair the damage.
I am not desperate but recent researches reveal that marrying late increases the rate of depression and lesser life satisfaction gives rise to social and medical complexities. The socio-economic, educational and the political developments of contemporary world have affected the practices, rituals, values and norms of marriage. Conflict, poverty, modern education, dowry, unemployment, caste consideration are some of the key reasons of late marriages in Kashmir. The unhealthy changes we witness like declining fertility rate, hypertension, and birth defects to children born to late married couples, reproductive tract infection, and irregular ovum production are few fallouts.
Nikah is a beautiful adhesive bond of opposites. This magnetic relation is the most cherished yearning. Men and women are twin halves of each other. Nuptial –knot is an obligation to please benevolent God. It accelerates and cements organic love. It doubles mutual respect and forgiving factors between the couple. Marriage is a long-term investment. It is sacred. Above all, wedlock is a way to acquire spiritual perfection. I hope the devout readers of Kashmir Images will comprehend the latent message in this open letter.
- The author volunteers as a Mentor/Counsellor at Kashmir Education Initiative (KEI). IIHS’s Urban Fellowship Awardee, executive member of Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP) J&K Chapter, he can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org