Cook, Serve, Hide

Cook, Serve, Hide

A Story by Wordwhirl

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 Wordwhirl

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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For most American women, the idea of arranged marriage is so unbelievable, it's refreshing to read this & to see how it feels from the point of view of someone in the middle of negotiations for marriage. You do a great job of focusing on what you find especially ugly about this system of having to pay to marry off a daughter. It's horribly insulting to the woman, the way you present this interchange. It's like going to the animal shelter & adopting a dog & the dog has no say about whether or not he/she likes the human who's doing the adopting. It's too hard to fathom, really. I wonder why such young women in India are still putting up with this? Is the alternative that bad? I have friends in India, in the middle of arranged marriages, who say that they can't hurt their parents, & this is why they can never say how horrible they feel in their marriages. So I gather it's mostly about respecting one's parents & putting their feelings over your own, I guess. This is a great little vignette that brings up this & so much more, for women who could not imagine living this way! (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 6 Months Ago

Freedom of choice is so important not fair to force anything- respect for tradition very important but where do you draw the line between tradition and emotions?? I was talking about this the other day- marriage has become all about money entertainment for wrong reasons- it’s between two souls that love eachother and God - where’s the days of celebrating the love and unity of two becoming one?? Not based on finance?? Wonderful deep emotional🌹

Posted 3 Years Ago


3 Years Ago

I wish people can think like you. Thank you so much.:)
Amazing conversation and lesson taught in the story. Old world and new world are different. Thank you my friend for sharing the amazing story. I did enjoy.

Posted 3 Years Ago


3 Years Ago

As always, I am glad to read from you:)
Thank you Coyote!
Coyote Poetry

3 Years Ago

I enjoyed this poem and you are welcome.
What you are writing is true and I like it how some of your poems are nonfiction, well, relevant and similar to the events of the past or the modern. Good job.

Posted 3 Years Ago


2 Years Ago

Thank you Zak
I try to write for good
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 3 Years Ago

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

Posted 3 Years 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 3 Years 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 3 Years 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 3 Years Ago

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

Posted 3 Years Ago

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



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