I've always been proud of the fact that my parents' marriage had nothing to do with dowries. But as I grew up, I was told that while this was true, it was not that nothing had been asked for. My paternal grandmother (who was, from all accounts, one of the nicest people ever, and certainly not the money-minded type) had hoped my mother would bring some furniture with her, apart from the regulation bed. Not because my grandmother wanted stuff for herself, but because it would show the respect and love her son would recieve from his in-laws. I can understand that, but the question remains, where does one draw the line? In this case, my grandfather, a barrister and a gentleman with very strong views on everything, scolded her and said that gifts had nothing to do with affection etc. So my mother brought with her only as much as her parents felt they could give.
I always knew the issue of dowry would never arise in any marriage of mine. So I smirked when when V's mum proudly told my parents that I was to bring nothing apart from the regulation bed. I got upset when my parents tried to buy me jewellery -- if it was expensive it would sit in the bank locker, and what good would that do me, pray? -- and generally ticked them off for trying to buy me other stuff (kitchen stuff blah blah) till my mother got good and mad and told me it was her daughter's wedding and if she felt like a grand do it was her business and none of mine and would I kindly shut up now, I was being a colossal bore. Or words to that effect. (Now I think back, I know, it was stupid, but back then, it felt really scary, having folks give you so much. And jewellery-wise, I was proved right. It all went into the bank and will stay there till I force it on my poor daughter. Who will then have to pay locker-rent for her life-time. And thus the saga continues...)
Anyway, you get the idea. And as you may have read in my earlier post about the stuff V and I did get after all, one could hardly say that we were stinted. So imagine my utter shock when I realised that the mother-in-law did harbour a vague resentment on the grounds that her son wasn't given gifts as grand as the stuff given to her daughter-in-law. Heh heh... imagine V's state of mind if my parents smilingly told him that the mamarbari money was not to be directed towards his baby (the Mac he drools over every night. Even after 3 months. I hate it) but to, say, something along the lines of rings and jewellery. Even I wouldn't do that to him, not even at the height of a fight. Or, that instead of model cars, they would prefer to give him a, I dunno, what do sons-in-law get traditionally? Say more clothes.
I don't get it. If her son's happy, he must have a reason to be happy, right? And you can't deny his happiness when you see him set out his silly cars (well, ok, they are actually quite hot but they detract attention from ME and that's always a bad thing) or fiddle around on the Mac (which I admit gave me some ecstatic moments too, but I'll deny that if you ever say it in front of V). And it all brings me back to what I was saying earlier about dowry. Part of the reason I didn't want all the stuff my parents wanted to gift us was because I felt V was being bloody bribed to marry me. Me! I'm incentive enough to marry me, any day. Not some stupid Mac. Even if it is a darn handsome machine.
Now the thing is, officially, my marriage was as free of dowry as any other. But I got more as gifts than most brides get as dowry. How does that figure? It makes me vaguely uncomfortable, but then I remember the wedding was also about my parents doing something they had waited 23 years for, and they definitely had ideas about how they wanted to do it. They only spent what they could afford, I do admit that, and gave nothing that they didn't want to, but...
I guess V is right, I do think too much.
I think I ought to focus on 2 points:
1. Nothing was asked for, therefore all gifts were given with love.
2. My parents enjoyed the shopping so much, I did feel bad about playing spoilsport. Ever seen two 50 yr-olds gleefully go over the crockery they have bought -- and which they don't have to carefully clean and maintain -- and which they would never buy for themselves but can totally justify buying now since it's for somebody else? My mum actually did that for the dinner set and the Tupperware while my father did as much over my laptop (a gift I try not to talk about, since it kinda undercuts my grousing over the Mac) and its accessories.
I really ought to have brought my parents up to listen to me more. Now it's too late.