Dahej - A Short Story on Dowry

dowry dahej indian bride
Dahej - The Dowry

She asked, “Bhaia, how much you earn?”

I smiled and asked, “Why you want to know that?”

She replied, “Nothing, just want to know?”

I said, “Nothing. I earn nothing.”

In her cute little demanding voice, she uttered, “Bhaia, Don’t you dare to fool me, I know you earn a lot.”

It tickled me but holding on my laughter, I told her, “Babu, I am telling you the truth. I really don’t earn. I am currently a Begaar.”

She was a little angry, and a little confused and at the same time, she was looking so damn cute. Then after a minute of baffling with her thoughts, she questioned, “What does begaar means? It is some kind of job you do.”

I started laughing.

Looking at my laughter, she asked me again in her meeking voice, “Come On Bhaia, tell me, do you have a job or not and what does this begaar means?”

I stopped for a while and told her, “Begaar means padha likha berozgaar, (an educated unemployed). And I am currently a Begaar.”

She continues, “ohhh…. but how you got me this amazing bike.”

I, “Hmm. That’s pretty good question. But you need to tell me first, why you want to know, how much I earn?”

She blabbers, “Actually, I want to know, what should we need to give you, Actually Mamu got a car and lots of other fancy things, when he married Mami, and I want to marry you, so we also need to give you something.”

As she blabbered, I burst into the laughter, and I kissed her on her cheeks.

I told my ma and chachi, “look what she is saying?”

She innocently reiterated herself, “I just said, I want to marry, Bhaia”

As soon as she uttered those words, we all burst into laughter again.

And when I told them about the dahej thing, all of us were literally rolling on the floor.

Palak, my adorable 7 year old blabbing soul stood still in a corner. 

After everything, when party was over, Palak’s innocent blabber became the matter of discussion.

While heading back home, me and Ma were still laughing on what happened. Ma poked me, “Aur bata beta, dahej me kya lega, (Now tell me Son, what do you want in dowry?)

Ma and me both burst into the laughter but suddenly I realized Palak innocently blabbered something serious? She was talking about dahej i.e. how a seven year old kid can talk about such a thing?

I asked Ma with all seriousness, “Ma, She was talking about Dahej, how a seven year old kid can talk about that.”

She replied, “I don’t know. Maybe she heard it somewhere.”

She paused for a while. And then, out of sudden, she said, “I think she heard at her uncle’s marriage, and then you know about your chachi, she also be blabbering about dahej and all in front of the kid. And this is where, she learnt about it.”

It made me feel bad and I started looking outside through the window pane. The lights. The traffic. The darkness. Everything was beautiful. But this thing that a seven year old was talking about dahej gave me goosebumps.

Ma tapped on my back, and asked, “What happened?”

I replied, “Nothing. Nothing at all.”

Ma, “I know, what happened? You are still thinking about Palak and Dahej.”

I nodded in approval.

Ma teasingly, “Chal koi baat nahi, hum teri bahu se dahej nahi lenge (we will not ask for dowry from your bride house).”

I said, “Ma…”

Ma replied, “See. I know it’s kind of a bad thing. But it is what it is. And you can’t change this thing. You can’t change the society. It’s kind of social compulsion. All we can do, do our bit and encourage others to stop.”

After a minute pause, she poked me, “Ab mood kharab mat kar, mujhe apni chhoti si bahu ke liye shopping bhi karni hain (Now don’t spoil my mood, I need to do shopping for my little daughter-in-law)”

And we laughed again.

But Palak’s words are still piercing me, WHAT SHOULD WE NEED TO GIVE YOU BECAUSE I WANT TO MARRY YOU.

Image Credit: Prathima


  1. I always believe if I'm giving dahej to groom, I'm essentially buying him and his family :P :D

    1. i think its kind of fish market, where groom fish is on sale :D

  2. This is very prevalent in urban India. Also, very well written. Drives a clear message with such simplicity.

  3. Dahej i think is still on..but it has taken a new dimension.. one of my friend did not take the dahej but insisted that his loan amount get cleared.. and to be sasurji did that!! Wow yaar this is amazing stuff. LoL.

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