In good old days matchmakers used to be a key link between a would-be bride and a groom and their families. Now it’s a mobile phone. But too much of communication between the two sides sometimes proves fatal for a relationship. Saima Bhat reports a few such cases
For Imran, a doctor, even in the midst of autumn of 2016, it was like a heartwarming spring. The reason for joy was consent from his conservative parents. They had finally agreed to marry him to his childhood love, Nazia, 29, a contractual lecturer.
After being in courtship for more than a decade, it had become a challenge for him to convince his parents. Once the convincing part was over, Imran’s parents went to Nazia’s house and gave her gold ornaments worth Rs 10 lakhs and other related items.
Both the families were happy, finally. A few days later Imran’s parents left happily for Umrah. Before they left they decided to solemnise their marriage in August 2017. Imran and Nazia were on cloud nine.
First few months were spent in partying with friends as the dream of years had come true. With time Imran and Nazia’s families came close to each other as the would-be bride and groom started shopping.
But as time passed, the chemistry between the two slowly started to wane. Everything was not fine. Nazia started to complain. The first issue she complained about was Imran taking her for granted and not giving her enough time.
As days passed, the complaints started mounting, but the duo managed to stay together. One day Nazia sought an appointment with a psychologist and asked her fiancé to accompany her. Imran agreed to go with her.
“Her complaints were giving us a tough time, so I thought its good if we see a psychologist and seek advice. But I was shocked when she introduced me to the psychologist and blamed me for everything.”
Stunned to see the series of events, Imran remained tight-lipped about the counseling and did not talk about it to anybody, neither to his family or friends.
The counseling session had no impact on Nazia as she continued to raise one or the other issue, says Imran without knowing he will receive another shock.
“Just a month before our marriage, she wanted me to have a separate house from my parents soon after we are married. She has shown her resentment over my nephews and nieces visit to our house,” said Imran.
Being the only son of his parents and lone brother of five sisters, it was unbearable for Imran to manage this crisis. He decided to call it a day. Shattered to see the turning events, Imran had another battle to fight. He had a tough time to convey his reservation to his parents of not marrying Nazia. Once he narrated his ordeal, it not only astonished his own family but his relatives and friends as well. The pain was not over. The bigger crisis for family started when the issue landed with the Mohalla committee, as Nazia’s parents declined to return the gold.
They accused Imran of being in relation with another girl. But the accusations were never proved as neither Nazia nor her family had any proof. The issue was settled with both the families creating a separate list of expenses they had spent while visiting each other.
“Once shared with love, now everything is being discussed in public domain,” said one of the Mohalla committee head.
“Imran’s parents denied to pay Nazia’s family extra money spent on the feast on the pretext that it didn’t taste good. In retaliation, Nazia’s parents asked for alimony, even if the problem started because of Nazia.”
The issue took at least three months to resolve. All the gifts exchanged between Imran and Nazia’s families were finally returned in the presence of mediators.
“The couple was mature: boy was a doctor and the girl a lecturer but such breakups before marriage have become a new norm in Kashmir,” says Mushtaq Ahmad, matchmaker since last two decades.
Ahmad blames ‘technology’ or more precisely mobile phone for the mess. “Every couple remains glued to their mobiles for many hours. But when it is an arranged marriage, it takes time to be compatible. And senseless conversations are always a mess. You never know where they will lead you. And this was not the only case. I have dozens of such cases,” said Ahmad.
Another couple Shahzad, 32, a manager with a private company, and Beenish, 29, a teacher in a private school, were engaged in March 2017 and both the families were happy to see their eldest children getting married soon.
As per Shahzad, both the families, who are conservative and religious, decided the new couple’s Nikah ceremony should be done within a month. “We decided that other related ceremonies will be performed after Ramdhan,” said Shahzad.
As the couple started dating each other Beenish realized Shahzad was also strict like her father and uncles. “I wanted to wear jeans and use make-up, no doubt under Abaya. All my life I wanted to do these things but because of my family, I couldn’t. I hoped my condition will change after marriage but things were still same, even harsh. I wanted to break this relation.”
Unaware of the situation, Shahzad started noticing the change in Beenish, saying she was like a ‘complaint box’.
“I am working in a private office, being on call 24×7 was not possible for me. Even if I tried to meet her every day, she still complained of not calling during days. It was taking a heavy toll on my job as well. I was not able to concentrate,” said Shahzad.
But the worst, as per Shahzad was when Beenish and her family accused him of lying that he had met with an accident before getting engaged, in which one of his leg was fractured.
“They accused that both my legs were fractured and doctors had put two rods inside the fractured bones. It was not correct. I had informed Beenish on our first date about the accident,” said Shahzad. “I told her that the rod was in one leg and that too has been removed. I am completely alright now.”
The case finally landed in Masjid committee where the members of both families were present. Shahzad is an orphan. His father had passed away in 2008. His uncles, from maternal as well paternal sides, were present in the meeting. And after two sittings it was decided that Shahzad and Beenish should get separated, as the girl’s uncle was reluctant to take the relation forward. As per Islam, a girl can seek a divorce, but her family didn’t want to return gifts received from Shahzad’s.
The fight turned into a mess when Beenish’s family cleverly made Shahzad to sign the divorcee deed, instead of a Khula Nama, sought by the girl with a compensation of Rs 2.50 lakhs.
Within two months, Beenish’s family managed to marry her but it was not the same for Shahzad.
“My mother chose a new girl for me but Beenish’s family approached the girl’s family and claimed I was not medically well and the new relation ended as well. And after the incident, my brother, sent one of Beenish’s uncle a hate message and the case landed up in the police station,” says Shahzad, where the deliberations were on if, the police should file an FIR or not, as this report is being filed.
Dr Humaira, a sociologist, believes communication between a couple is important but the whole system of marriage has changed now.
“Earlier couples used to maintain a decorum and respect relations. But when they are 24×7 on phones, endless conversations often lead to problems. We must understand providing space to our spouse is very important in a relationship.”
She also suggests that people should not allow these technology gadgets to overpower them.
She claims because of these breakups, the trend of late marriages has increased in the Kashmiri society. “This is a patriarchal society, where blame is often on a girl.”
But the endless conversations after getting engaged saved Sana, 25, a management graduate. Her father has passed away when she was just ten. Being the eldest in her family, Sana’s mother wanted her to get married first. “Everybody was happy that they could find an engineer for me. But the happiness was short lived as I found the guy was not normal,” said Sana.
Her struggle started when she was not able to inform her mother about her findings. Sana waited for a month so that she could find a clue. “I gained his trust and he told me that he was a drug addict,” recalls Sana.
The news brought respite to Sana but she was aware how it will affect her mother. “When I told my mother about it, her blood pressure shot up. She had to be hospitalized.” But finally, the relationship ended on a good note for Sana.
Week’s after her engagement, Mehvish went out with her fiancéé. They enjoyed their first date, took selfies at a picnic spot. Comfortable in each other company in a short span, the couple wanted to get married soon. Finally, the families decided the date and they continued to meet. But to Mehvish’s surprise, her fiancée Asif fought with her for updating her profile picture on Facebook.
Without knowing the repercussions, she tried to justify her actions with her past activity on facebook.
Ironically, Asif took screenshots of her previous posts on Facebook and shared them with his family asking them to snap the ties. Asif didn’t listen to the repeated pleas from Mehvish, and finally broke the engagement a month before he was supposed to get married.
According to a leading psychologist, “The time between engagement and marriage should be given to couples so that they could decide if they can move ahead with the marriage.”
However, Ali Muhammad, a retired professor, feels, “Being open from day one is the root cause. Today people have access to everything. They see their partners from the same level. Marriage is an institution where we have to take everything along. It can never be a perfect and postcard thing.”