Cook, Serve, Hide

Cook, Serve, Hide

A Story by Neetha

Mantra for many women



Papa asked, looking and sounding nervous.

“Hmmm… I can understand but by the present standards…” he suggested.

“Okay…. How about Five-? It’s the maximum I can afford. Please…. It’s about my daughter’s future…” Papa was by now helpless.

“Let me give it some thought……… okay…… Five-, huh?” he thought out loud.

“Yes, so we can proceed, right?” Papa added meekly.

I was hearing all this, hiding behind a flowery curtain. After all, this demeaning society just wants women to be confined to kitchens. Cook, serve, hide- mantra for many Indian women.

I couldn’t take it any more. I stomped into their room and just stood there, glaring at both of them.

Oops! Unwritten Domestic protocol- women shouldn’t interfere while men talk- broken!

Papa was horrified, like I have killed somebody.

“What is wrong with you, papa? Are you trying to 

 sell me? And that too, to a man I hardly know?” I   blurted out.

“What! Sell you, my dear daughter? What’s gotten into you? And you are not supposed to be here. We will sort this out.” Papa was furiously surprised.

“ Yeah, I have seen enough of this sorting out. Its my life. Its my future. And I don’t get to have a say in it? You are marrying me off to a man who is downright greedy! Can’t you just see it, papa? ’’ I was furious.

“But… but… I just want you to have a secure future. That’s all I care about” " traditional  Indian saying in an arranged marriage.

“I know, Papa. But you have to care about more things. And one thing, this money talk you were having in the beginning. You should have sort that out with me.”


“Dowry is a woman’s share from her parental/ ancestral wealth. Its not something that has to be gobbled up by the bridegroom’s family. Heck, they should have a say in it only if the bride wishes so!”

“Yes… but…” Papa trembled.

I was not to be stopped.

“But in India, men marry women for the dowry. As if its meant for them in the first place. Its for the girl. She has absolute right over it. It shouldn’t be a marriage bridge. It shouldn’t be a marriage maker or breaker.”

“I never thought like that. You are so different… from me…everyone” Papa said with love.


© 2018 Neetha

Author's Note

India has come along way to ensure women's rights& freedom. But a lot has to be done to ensure equality.

Dowry is for the girl and not a marriage present for the bridegroom. Indians should understand that. Dowry deaths is a shame on Indian society.
Bridegroom(or his family) has no say in what the bride has full authority, unless the girl wishes so.

My Review

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i can`t imagine that,we live in a free society here,well most of us we know they try and watch over our business,but we are free to marry whom ever we please and the men take care of their wives,a woman should be totally free to love whom ever she chooses,wear what she desires and never cover her face

Posted 1 Week Ago

Fantastic Neetha .... the more you speak up about these issues, the more the pressure to address them!

Posted 2 Weeks Ago

Serious issue has been nicely brought under the spotlight. Some places where you wrote (its) it must be it is or it's.

Posted 2 Weeks Ago

You created great tension as the story progressed, but it was as if it could have ended with a cliff-hanger, but remained a bit bland.

On the other hand, the topic is so involved and emotional, this could read better as a short story, or even as a novel. I'm sure that you have 50 000 words to add to this.....:)

Posted 2 Weeks Ago

Very nice Neetha to bring up "dowry" system in India (sadly its presence in India even today despite of stricter existing laws).

Your writing reminded me of my school days wherein Dowey system was a topic for Essay Writing but back then I was a kid and so I didn't knew what that it meant so choose other topic to write.

Posted 2 Weeks Ago

Such a realistic write portraying a real-world issue about women's rights! Keep it up, great job! :))

Posted 2 Weeks Ago

Dowry has been a big curse for the society and it is still existing in Indian society...
Good work, Neetha.

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


2 Weeks Ago

Thank you so much Priyannshi:)
Glad to read from you!

2 Weeks Ago

My pleasure:)
This story must hit close to the bone, Neetha....

It is an unfortunate aspect to traditional customs that sometimes they have failed to evolve with the passing of time and moved into 21st Century thinking. Too much, Dowry has been viewed as a sale price for the bride and not as the sign of respect for the intended bride and the families involved in the marriage to be. Like anything involving assets or accumulation of wealth, there will always be those that have devious motives and aim to profit from what should be a sacred, agreeable union.

Hopefully in this day and age, with the slow ascent of equality and the current focus on female rights, the days of dowry and arranged marriage will come to pass. All of us should have the basic right as humans to choose who we love and want to marry. Here's hoping that right can be exercised freely by all very soon.

A very relevant write, Neetha. Behind the dialogue and story lies a very important issue that needs to be addressed. So, kudos for shining a small light its way. Well Done.

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


2 Weeks Ago

Thank you so much Doodley.
I am glad that you got the gist of my story and also gave an under.. read more

2 Weeks Ago

Very welcome.

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8 Reviews
Added on January 31, 2018
Last Updated on January 31, 2018
Tags: Domesticity, dowry, confinement.



Kerala, India

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