Urmila Pishi- The Rejected Bride #A-ZChallenge2018

Urmila Pishi was not conventionally beautiful. Her beauty didn’t adhere to the compliance of the Bengali matrimonial market. She was plump, dark complexioned, had specs and above all too educated. Nobody liked an educated working girl as a daughter-in-law in those days. Moreover, she was almost thirty years old and thus too old for the marriage market. Above 30 were not suitable as a baby-making machine. Bengali marriage market only preferred fair complexioned, petite, below 25, skilled in housework girl from a reputed family.

Every Sunday family of a prospective groom used to come to ‘see’ Urmila Pishi. What they came to ‘see’ I have no clue. Many of these families used to come in a group of almost 7-8 people. They used to sit in the living room and chomp on Shingara and Sandesh. Then Urmila Pishi used to enter wearing a nice silk saree holding the tea tray. My grandma used to accompany her.

After entering the hall she used to get projected to hundred questions. The first being ‘what is your name?’ followed by ‘Can you cook?’ ‘Can you sing Rabindrasangeet?’ the answer used to be ‘yes’ and then many of them used to ask her to sing one song. Obediently Pishi used to take out her harmonium from underneath the bed. Sit cross-legged on the floor and start singing. She only knew one song ‘Aguner Parashmani’ and she sang it for everyone. Invariably there used to be no request for a repeat performance. Her song used to be well rehearsed but monotonous and reluctant. No wonder it never sounded good. Some families thankfully spared her the trouble of singing. I guess more than singing Pishi used to get irritated by the ordeal of taking out the harmonium.

Even after so much effort, she used to get rejected by the boy’s family. They used to find some fault in her. Some said she was too dark, others said they didn’t prefer a working girl, and then others said she wouldn’t be ‘homely’ enough or she was too old to have babies. Few of them never bothered to give a reason.

Pishi started getting depressed. Girls younger than her were getting married. She became a national concern. Elder women in the family started getting gray hair worrying about Pishi and then something happened. On Sunday, as usual, a family came. Father mother and the son. The usual routine continued. The parents were asking Pishi questions and she was replying.  AND then Pishi looked up at the mother and said ‘You asked me so many questions and I replied now can I ask questions to your son?’ Looking at her audacity the mother gaped like a hippo while my grandma almost fainted behind the curtains. My grandfather was looking with bloodshot eyes at Pishi but she was nonchalant. She then looked straight into the eyes of the boy and asked ‘Do you know how to cook and take care of kids because I am going to keep working after marriage. If you have a problem let me know now itself.’ My grandma could have killed Pishi at that instant. The entire family was shocked and they muttered that Pishi has lost her mind. My grandfather was profusely apologizing to the boy’s family for this.

However, a miracle happened instead of rejecting Pishi the boy said that if he would marry ever it would be only with this girl or else he would remain a bachelor. He had fallen in love with Pishi the moment she dared to ask him a question. Urmila Pishi is the first feminist in the family and she is now 80 years old and till date, we all look up to her for inspiration.


42 thoughts on “Urmila Pishi- The Rejected Bride #A-ZChallenge2018

  1. Shalzmojo says:

    What an audacious woman; what fun to have someone like this in your family in this day and age. Hats off to her and I am so happy to hear she got her happil ever after too.
    Balaka your stories are simply too good and I hope you continue with this long after the challenge too 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Aesha says:

    I second Shalini!! Balaka please do not stop writing stories about people from your life..
    there is something to learn from each of them. Plus I am just fascinated by your life. I want to keep learning about it more and more.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Balaka says:

      Hahaha..you and Shalz are Angels…and as I said earlier my life is per say pretty boring and mundane..it is the stories that I pick up those are interesting..I am just an observer and curator…I am sure you will also find these stories in your life if you start looking for them…next day when you meet a random guy just start talking and I promise there will be a story

      Liked by 1 person

  3. kkwritessite says:

    That’s how a writer observes! Nicely written story of Bong matrimonial market in our childhood – though happy ending were not so frequent – you made me remember stories I have seen 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Rajlakshmi says:

    You must have had aome amazing conversations with Urmila Pishi. Oh I absolutely love her. She reminds me of my mahi who went through the same ordeal of being 30, oveeweight and unmarried. But in the end found a wonderful man.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Anagha Yatin says:

    True feminist! Given the social settings of that era, it really needed guts to speak one’s mind for the fairer sex. I am impressed with Urmila Pishi.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. knightofsteel says:

    The fact that something as simple as asking a question is so hyped up by the girls family shows something is wrong. Glad she didn’t get bogged down and Kudos to the boy as well for not thinking in the Orthodox way.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. writershilpa says:

    All of that courage all those years ago!?? My my! A salute to Urmila Pishi! She is such an inspiration to so many women of today.
    I remember, when I decided I was ready to get married, the arranged marriage was something I just DID NOT want. That entering the room with a tray, with head bowed and answering questions of all sorts…the mere imagination used to give me the shivers. And, I am sure this must be what so many women must feel, too. Urmila Pishi became a hero the moment she asked that question to the to-be groom! A hero to be emulated. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Natasha says:

    Ah! Ha! Hats off to Urmila Pishis for her come back line. In those days something like this would have been unheard of. She broke the shackles and the barriers. More power to the Iron Lady.

    Liked by 1 person

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