This article belongs to Sweet Grace column.


               Yesterday I heard an alarming news on the TV.  The ratio of Male to Female is terribly on the decline.  In several Indian States, for every 1000 male members, the female number is somewhere  between  815 to 925.


              When God created the first Man and Woman, His plan was that for every male child there should be born a  female child as well.  And God has been keeping to this equation  all these years.


            But some families in India, on a war path with God,  have been upsetting the equality formula.  You'd ask How?   The modern medical science has found out a method of detecting the sex of the child in a mother's womb much before it is born.  If the baby happens to be a female child,  a mother  would go in for an instant abortion.  "Why this preference for  male babies?"  A Son alone would preserve  the name and fame of the family  hence the aversion for a girl child !


          What would be the fallout  of such murders?    


          Where the female population is 815, some 185 men out of 1000 there cannot find a bride because of the shortage of the female species.


         ‘Arranged marriage' has been  the norm in most Indian homes for decades.  Even highly educated young women ask their parents to find a groom for them. In this exercise, it is the Man who goes to the  Woman's house for a ‘seeing' ceremony.  If the Man likes the Woman, the marriage would  get fixed and finalized after a full discussion on the  details of the varieties of gifts expected, meeting of  marriage expenses etc.


         In 30- 40 % cases,  the prospective Grooms rejected a Girl for some deficiency or the other.  This is so while the Girl herself had approved of the Man. Poor Girl.  She would cry her heart out and pin her hope on the next candidate. 


          All that is going to change now.  Being in short supply, Brides  could afford to pick and choose their Groom and also put their price up. The interview process itself would be reversed – that is, the Bride would walk into the Man's house for  the ‘seeing' function.  The bold ones  would subject the poor fellow to severe questioning.


         "What's your income?  Are you holding a permanent job?  Are you an employee of an MNC (Multi National /Company)? Would you be able to support me well and meet all my luxury requirements?  Will you keep your mother with you after marriage?    Will you appoint a full time residential maid to do all the house work?  How many children do you expect me to produce?  And so on and so on."


          Very few Men may come off successfully after such  a gruelling  cross examination session.


          Here is the case of one  Sonny, a post graduate engineer in IT and drawing a five figure salary.  He had received an interview letter  from  a prospective bride named Silky,  a school drop out with buck teeth. Despite these shortcomings,  Sonny agreed for the ‘seeing' thing  because he had been rejected by two Girls earlier. 


         Silky seemed satisfied with all the answers.  What impressed her most was Sonny's total humility and his promise of being the most obedient husband !  Presto. The deal was settled.  There was applause and jubilation  all round and sighs of extreme satisfaction.  The marriage was to take place some 3 weeks from thereon.


         Sonny's mother felt highly relieved but only for some 5 minutes. Her worry was how to find brides for her two other sons?  It was then she realized that she shouldn't have gone in for foeticide of  two female foetuses between the first and the second son.


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                                                                  Sweet grace  [Israel Jayakaran]