| March 11th, 2007

Say "No" to Marriage-of-Convenience

Leena is the favorite daughter of her affluent parents. She is good looking, she is a brilliant student, and she just got her Bachelors degree from one of the top schools in Dhaka. To pursue her career further she wants to go to a graduate school in the US. But her parents want her to get married before she goes abroad because they think that way the husband will be there to take care of her. Leena is not too sure about getting married but at the same time she haven’t seen any girl like her going abroad all by herself. So when there comes a proposal from a guy working in a reputed company in the US, Leena thinks,  since she has to get married anyway this might be a good option for her since this way she can easily go to the US and then pursue her studies there. When Leena finally gets married and comes to the US, she realizes she doesn’t really like this guy, apparently her husband has no bad habits but Leena can’t really get along with him. Now what? She is trying to decide whether she should stay with the guy until she get her studies completed or should she just break up the marriage and go back home to her parents.

Dear readers, in my opinion, Leena wouldn’t have to put herself in this dilemma if she were brave and honest enough to clearly state her wishes even before getting married. She shouldn’t have agreed to marry a person just because it might be easier for her to come to the US. Many people will disagree here with me saying, “Well, girls don’t have a choice” — I say yes, in many cases but not as always as we think. It’s your life so if you are not going to take action, you have to take responsibility for that. If you already got a bachelors degree then you should be capable enough to figure out what you really want and what you can do for it. I would like to share my own experience in this context.

Today it may be very common in some society in Dhaka where a single girl goes abroad for studies, but the mainstream Bangladeshis are still very much hung up with the concept, “It is a No-No to send a single girl abroad”, even when the family can afford it. When I was preparing to pursue my post graduate degree in the US, I had a very difficult time to explain to my family that I find it very unethical to marry a complete stranger just because it will help me to go to the US, people thought it was unheard of (why I thought it was “unethical” getting married this way). I don’t know where I got the courage but seeing my determination my parents finally gave me a reluctant “okay” though all other people kept saying to them — “You are making a big mistake”.

Anyway I who never even went to another city by myself finally came to the US all by myself after 30+ hours long plane ride. Fortunately I had a good network of friends and their friends who arranged a student apartment for me near my university. During the initial days I got all kinds of guidance from them. I didn’t have too much money and neither had a scholarship or assistantship, so I started working in the campus after my class. My weeks revolved around, class, work, homework, cooking and grocery shopping. In my whole life I never worked this hard.

In summer I got an internship in a big company close to New York city. This was my first time to be in such a big city, many people warned me about NY that I got really scared but I didn’t have any choice. In the subway I took the wrong route, an elderly African American lady helps me find my route, in the station I had my backpack zipper open showing my wallet, a street vendor warns me about it. The Limo service which was supposed to pick me from the  airport didn’t show-up, some police officer gives me his phone card to make a phone call, all these random act of kindness finally helped me reach my destination.

During my internship days I discovered a wonderful thing, no one is telling me that I am a girl, no one is asking me why on earth I came to the US all by myself, no one is even curious if I am married or  single, all I got is how good I was at my work and If I will be willing to work for them after my graduation. It gave me a whole new meaning of my life… my confidence level went high… I always knew I could do it and I did.

From then on I always tell my little sisters, don’t stop believing in yourself, if you believe in something, go for it, you are the only one who would knows your strength best. And yes when you decide to get married make sure you are getting married because of the person and not for his job or just because your parents thought it would sound good (without knowing the person). A marriage itself is a very serious business; it is not a good idea to begin it solely from a material perspective.


About this blog

Adhunika blog is launched with a mission to share knowledge among women from every walk of life. Sometime it would be in the form of sharing experience to find a feasible solution of a problem; sometime it would be in the form of professional consultation, which Adhunika group will arrange for its bloggers. Nevertheless, the intent of this blog always remains the same - to help and empower women through a common web-based platform....read more



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