A Poem Of An Arranged Marriage At Thirteen
Sports

A Poem—And A Generational Story—Of An Arranged Marriage At Thirteen: What I Wish I Could Say

A generational story of the hidden voices in an arranged marriage.

32

1949- గొప్ప అమ్మమ్మ "Goppa Am'mam'ma"

A girl.

Dancing feet gambol from room to room;

a pace so magnificent and exuberant- the product of youth.

Slender ankles, adorned with tinkling bells, warble brightly;

they weave the tale of a bijou sprite careening headfirst into her future.


Her entire world the breadth of a walnut:

a strand of trees, a lowing cow, a family of thronging children.

A world so small in the eyes of the Earth, and yet, so large in the eyes of a child.


She twirls, and jumps, and leap, and flies.

A grin, broad and sweet, with a little gap between her teeth.

A divine naivety.


The music splinters in a silent weep.

So soon, too soon.

Her story is barely written, her song yet unsung.


- The market is opened, the bidding begins, and the transaction is made and-


Her capering feet, they stutter and scrape, delicate bells give way to leaden, twisted fetter.


-Nowhere to spring and take wing-


So she walks; seven steps, seven lifetimes.

Her body signed by Agni's sacred flame and,

a garland of flowers placed like a noose around her neck.

A wife.

This story is the story of my great- grandmother who was married at the age of thirteen in a rural part of India. At thirteen, a child, she was unable to make decisions for herself and her self- sovereignty was obliterated. For her, her young age, the poverty of her family, and the societal traditions in place, all served as barriers to her free will and choice and yet, her story is not unique.

For countless centuries, the practice of arranged marriage has commodified women and they have been used as bartering tokens by the male figures in their lives, with little to no say in the direction their futures will take. This system utilizes oppression in the name of family, duty, and tradition and is still very much alive and well. So alive and well, in fact, that both my grandmother and mother also had arranged marriages.

But to these women, I would like to say thank you. Through them, this cycle shackled to us by tradition has been consciously broken, emboldening me with the power of choice and endowing me with both autonomy and the deliciously ever-changing path that is my own future.

This generational story is not just the voice of one individual, but rather the silent voice of a generation that has birthed the loud cry of mine; a loud, raucous, bellow I intend to be heard.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Swoon

I Started Dating A Guy Before Quarantine, But Now We Rarely Speak Unless I Double-Text

"He's really nice and cute and I like being around him when we see each other, but he's awful at communication."

Each week Swoonie B will give her advice on anonymous topics submitted by readers. Want to Ask Swoonie B something related to dating and relationships? Fill out this form here — it's anonymous.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

This Is Exactly What You Should Eat Today In Quarantine, Based On Your Zodiac Sign

You've probably been eating it the past three months,

If we added up all the minutes of my life I've stood in front of the fridge or pantry mindlessly glazing over options, it would probably amount to several years longer than I'd care to admit.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

If You Don't Think People Are Legitimately Scared To Stay In Lockdown, Think Again

People are terrified of what could happen if states stay in lockdown too long.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to be the topic of discussion for most U.S. residents. From federal reopening guidelines to individual state timelines, the country is all over the place. This sparks conversations within the news, social media, and in family homes about the consequences of reopening the country incorrectly.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

If You Don't Think People Are Legitimately Scared To Reopen States, You're Not Looking Hard Enough

People are terrified of what could happen if states begin reopening too early.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to be the topic of discussion for most U.S. residents. From federal reopening guidelines to individual state timelines, the country is all over the place. This sparks conversations within the news, social media, and in family homes about the consequences of reopening the country incorrectly.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Feel A Lil' Better: Because You Need To Stretch It Out

Your weekly wellness boost from Odyssey.

No matter how good (or bad) you'd describe your health, one thing is for sure: a little boost is ALWAYS a good idea. Whether that's reading a new, motivating book, or listening to a song that speaks to your soul, there are plenty of resources to help your health thrive on any given day.

Flexibility is an important part of life. Yes, you need to be able to go with the flow and adjust when needed, but literal, physical flexibility is equally handy. Not only does increased flexibility keep you safe from injury each time you work out, but a good stretch session is incredibly soothing after a long day. Your body goes through a lot! It needs to cool down and get loose after all the activities you put it through.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

5 Amazing Things That Happened To Me When I Took Just A Week Off From Social Media

I've taken one-week off social media, and here's what I learned.


You’ll think clearer.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments