"and We have created you in pairs"
Al Qur'an 78:8
Mama! Can you cut me shorter - the pain of an unmarried girl

by: Nisaar Nadiadwala

A beautiful story, a heart opener, a soul pinching and the true face of society. A grown-up girl and the only daughter of her affectionate parents and grandparents, she was a jewel in the house, and was useful to each and every elder. Getting up early and contributing lots of efforts in the kitchen and house-cleaning. Of course she was fair and of the marriageable age and her parents and grandparents were already worried about her departure. But there was one problem. She was very tall as per the Indian standards and her height was a big hurdle for her marriage. 

Parents after parents came and visited her family, found them decent and good, liked the nature of the girl, but could not match her height with their son's. Months passed by and so did years. The younger sister was growing up and ready to be married but, "How can we get her married unless the elder one gets settled", worried the parents. Now, the younger sister was not as tall as her elder sister was, but she was not being showed to any prospective groom or his parents. "Stay in and don't come out until your sister is approved by the would-be-in-laws", she was instructed strictly.

Whenever a family visited to see the elder girl, the younger one was confined to a room. "Because once, accidentally, she came out to serve tea and got selected instead of the elder". It was very hard upon the heart of the elder sister to be rejected and her younger sister being proposed instead. She was completing her 27th year and according to the Indian village standards, she was growing old. Professional matchmakers also tried with the hope of getting good financial returns if "the deal clicked", but alas! The father did not even have enough money to offer dowry if someone accepted his daughter.  

In countries like India and Pakistan, even looks are brushed aside and the couple is counted to be pleasantly matching if the father of the girl is rich. So what if the girl is plump and short and the boy is extremely handsome, well shaped and highly educated? Finally, things got extremely tensed when some relatives remarked, "At least, get your second daughter married. Look, even she is growing old". The father was reluctant. After all, all daughters are beloved to their fathers. Every daughter is the most beautiful lady for her father. "I don't want to hurt my elder daughter", and he kept on trying to find a match, but then he ran short of being rich too. "In our land, either you should be rich or your daughter should be extremely fair and pretty to get married, otherwise it is better not to have a daughter", goes a common saying in the Indian subcontinent. 

Finally, a proposal came. But for the younger sister. The painful father gave up. He agreed to let his younger daughter escape to victory". It was a pleasant day and the presence of roses and other flowers, varieties of sweets and colorful new dresses made it appear lively. But there was no smell in the roses nor taste in the sweets nor brightness in the dresses because there was one heart burning and still beating alive with one request, "Mama! Can you cut a few inches of my legs and make me appear shorter?"