Second Hand

The building next door is getting ready for a wedding. Third floor’s daughter is getting married for the second time.

This is unusual enough for my conservative neck of the woods to make for excited chatter, but what really adds spice to this bubbling pot is that the second groom is the girl’s once-spurned love, chased away by family, friends and muscled ‘well wishers’ because he was from a different ethnic community and language group. Besides, he wasn’t doing too well for himself. “How on earth can he support you?”, f, f and m. w-ws demanded of the then-forlorn girl, completely ignoring her cushy Government of India job which — with careful budgeting — could keep a husband and a child till the former found his feet.

Anyway, the entire neighbourhood’s eager to see how this wedding (and the subsequent marriage) pans out. Already, to their delight, there’s hint of delicious friction, only not from expected quarters.

Last night, while coming back from work, I heard Auntie-of-the-bride holding court at the corner of the morning walkers’ park. She was elaborating the brazen inconsiderateness of her niece, who apparently hadn’t come to terms with the fact that she was a divorced woman, being generously taken back by a man who hasn’t yet enjoyed a wedding of his own. Bowing and scraping to his once-spurned family was in order, but the stupid child wasn’t following the script.

“She says she doesn’t want a big ceremony, because it’s embarrassing to go through all that a second time”, Auntie complained, her tone a perfect blend of the stern and the derisive. “But I told her, ‘You don’t get to say anything! You’ve had your fun, now let your new in-laws decide what *they* want’. Why should I let her hang-ups deprive his family of their enjoyment, no? They didn’t have to agree to this. They had every right to refuse us. After all, she’s used goods, but he’s still fresh”.

Her minions all nodded in agreement. I stealthily took the longer detour home.



    • Ruma mashi, you’d be surprised at how many people agree with her that the girl should have minimum contribution to the wedding. No one’s actually saying, of course, that the boy’s family is being gracious and ‘taking back’ the family which had earlier kicked them away, but everybody’s implying that given the spurning and the divorcee-biye manganimity, complete humility and deference is in order.

  1. Curious* How does this woman know that the man is fresh? I mean, I am assuming she was talking about virginity.

    Also, why can’t our society be a little more intelligent.

    • She was and she wasn’t. It’s just that we conflate virginity with singlehood. What she meant was, for purposes of public identity, the boy was chaste and pure, still in his shop-wrapper. The girl’s wrapper, on the other hand, has been ceremonially peeled away.

      Also see reference to ‘innocent divorcee’ above — do you know what that is?

      • ‎’innocent divorcee’ reference ta jaanina. Otherwise, I don’t really get this obsession with virginity.

        • Innocent divorcee comes from earlier times when actual virginity — female AND male — and not merely a public pretence of it was a massive point of importance. Divorced people’s families emphasised they were virgins despite being married, to
          (a) up their worth at the remarriage stakes and
          (b) prove that the marriage was doomed from the start/divorce was not their fault, and that they’re perfectly capable of doing shonshaar with someone else.

          Had the marriage not been doomed/their spouses not been monsters, the implied logic went, would they have been ‘innocent’ after being married? No, right> QED.

  2. Mashima, ekhane manush nie katha hocche, pati lebu nie na X-( tobe ei kodin e ja sunechi divorcee bandhobi der samparke, ami aschorjyo hoi ni.

  3. Well, I see this particular case a bit differently. The girl should have stood up for her marriage to the guy earlier on., then none of this would be necessary. But she did not – she had a govt job, so she COULD have. When you want change in your world, you have to bring it about yourself. Why did she succumb to her parents wishes? Her aunt’s case is a different one, one she could have rebuffed with her actions.

    • Do you know Lali, I quite agree with you on this in theory. But you do know the immense pressure some families can put their children under, don’t you? And not everyone has spine enough to stand up to dearly beloveds who turn overnight into tyrants, convinced they’re cracking the whip for their children’s future good.

      I do think, however, that while her family sees this second wedding as deliverance from shame, she sees it as deliverance from them, and can’t bring herself to act ashamed and grateful.

  4. Good lord. As she is the experienced on among the lot of them, I think that gives her a certain expertise on the matter; therefore, she is wholly entitled to make the decision not to go through with all the biye-fiye nonsense. That said, I hear people traditionally give you lots of stuff when you get married, and I’m all about scamming the system to get what I need. So, I use the biye as a conduit for wealth accumulation.

  5. in my company when one left the job and came back to it on their own, power-play wise the company was stronger than the second-chancer.

    m glad at least once this girl spoke up even if she did not, the first, and second and third times round. the first time when her guy was rejected. the second time, when she was ‘given away’ like that to someone chosen for her. the third time when the bribe of ‘thick thick, packet’ was happening.

  6. My maternal grandparents married twice. Both. My dida actually divorced twice, the second divorce was a sardarji. Tell that to this aunty hopefully she will have a heart attack.


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