Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The marrying kind.

Thank heaven for little girls
For little girls get bigger every day!
Thank heaven for little girls
They grow up in the most delightful

Remember HonorĂ© (Maurice Chevalier), singing to Leslie Caron in Gigi (1958)? He saw in her just a little girl “growing up in the most delightful way” and not a budding courtesan-in-training. His nephew, the Parisian playboy, Gaston (Louis Jourdon), was more worldly. He saw a courtesan-in-training “growing up in the most delightful way” and wanted to become her first patron. HonorĂ©’s viewpoint was paternal, or, more accurately, avuncular. He reminds me of a friend who did not want his daughter to get married “too soon”. She was working and enjoying it. He enjoyed his daughter’s delight in and success at her chosen profession. Then, as he told me the story, fate intervened. She went with her mother to take part in a puja. The very next day, the pujari (presiding priest), who moonlighted as a marriage broker and astrologer, brought for her a marriage proposal. It was an offer too good to refuse. She decided to chuck up her career and join the kitty party circuit. Her father wasn’t so sure. She was adamant, though. Wiser counsels and the Indian world view prevailed. What brought about the change in the heart of the father? He did not tell me. I didn’t probe. And, although no dowry had been demanded, I know he ended up paying plenty in kind and still continues to pay, the doting father that he is. Which brings to mind another story of four fathers who were taken to the cleaners by a multi-marrying deceiver. The story hit the headlines this morning. While I’m no Sherlock Holmes, the two wedding pictures printed with the report show brides all over whom is written the reason why their parents were anxious to marry them off without verifying the credentials of the bridegroom-to-be. They’re pathetic looking, flat-chested girls who would be a cause for worry for parents. The worst kind of deception, I reckon, is self-deception. Therein lies the unspoken woe of the father - and the mother - of the bride.

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