*Vinita, 24, is a postgraduate student and writes on social issues.
The bride watch
I was really young at the time, maybe 6 or 7. It was time for *Pinky bua’s marriage. She was in her late 20s and lived with us. Almost every other day, lots of guests came to our place to ‘see’ her. As a child, I was fascinated by them.
Bua would walk coyly into the room carrying a tray of snacks and tea. They would ask her if she could cook, sing, stitch, paint and whatnot. They would make her walk and look at her from top to toe. It seemed really amusing to me at that time.
I always wondered why bua had to do all that. But now I know, they were checking her out for their sons.
A perfect match
In the series of these visits, there is one specific episode, which I will never forget. A very warm family came to our house, looking for a match for their son. I still remember my family was overjoyed to meet them.
The match seemed almost perfect for my bua – he was educated, had a good job and handsome too. My bua smiled and gave a nod of agreement. Sweets were exchanged and everyone was almost sure that the wedding is final.
I even started thinking of what to call him - fufaji, fufu or uncle.
The limp in the tale
However, when their family started to leave, my father noticed that the guy walked with a limp. It was minor, visible only if someone paid close attention but it changed my dad’s expression. His smile vanished and he became serious.
A serious discussion followed amongst the elders. The wedding would not take place, they declared.
I felt really bad. I don't really remember my bua's exact reaction but she also seemed a little disappointed.
In what can only be described as irony, I grew up with cerebral palsy. I need my mother’s help in self-care and many other tasks. Chances are high that I will probably face a similar situation in future.
Someone’s father or mother or a prospective suitor would reject for I am not the ‘perfect wife material’ the society expects. My family rejected that man for a slight limp. I am not sure if they ever think about that episode but all I can say is that the tables have turned.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity and the person in the photo is a model.