Serious Matters!

Ok, this is a very serious post and will not contain any gifs. It is that serious! You can either quit now or go ahead and read the entire thing. You may form your own opinions about the issues and the people involved, but let’s not forget the principle of the matter.

This morning I read an article. Read it.

Well, this post was much to close to an incident I faced in my life two years back. I am all for an arranged marriage. And so when this proposal came my family and theirs were in talks. Later this guy’s father and uncle came over to our house. Somehow I was very uninterested. My gut instinct was throwing me warning signals. But later as my parents were the exchanging our photographs, I decided that things were getting serious and could not be ignored. Taking matters into my own hands, I set out on conducting a background check. (I have a degree in technology and worked for Google. But even without inspecting the technical aspects involved, one can find out a lot online if you know where to look.)

You really need to start off with the profile of the person on the matrimonial site itself. Some people protect their photos, phone numbers, horoscope. Some do not give out their names even, just initials or leave it with a ‘Later’. But it is very rare that they won’t have the “about” fields and other details present. Look at those. You will have details about their work. If not the company, then at least the designation. Their academic details as well – degree, college/university etc. There are those who instead of saying MBA from this college, will just put in MBA and be done with it. There are those who give out the details in the ‘about’ block of text. Read the profile thoroughly. And then there are the cases where information is scanty. Check up, no matter which of these categories the person falls into.

The first flag is an absence of an online presence. In today’s world, if you can’t find someone on Facebook, it is understandable. If you can’t find a person on LinkedIn it is something to think about. That network is, if nothing else, a place that most professionals are on, even if sporadically. There are also Twitter and Instagram.

When I was looking up this person, I couldn’t find an online presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. I was not concerned. But on LinkedIn, absence is a definite flag for me. So, I dug and dug further. Thankfully, in this case, I had a name, albeit common, to look up. The name along with the age listed on the matrimonial site helped me and LinkedIn finally threw up a profile. This profile did not have a lot to offer. No photo, no continuous timeline professionally. Even though there were no job descriptions, there were jobs listed, and education listed.

The first thing I looked up on was education. Digging further, I came to know that the university listed was a nonexistent one! But, one has to be thorough when one is making a case. Remember at this point, my parents were already in talks with those parents. So I asked someone to look into this issue. I already the name of this university and found an address to it. It so happened that I knew someone who was also in the same town as that address. And they got back to me saying this address was of a one storey building. The building had three rooms and was the university campus. Well, even the primary school I studied in had more than that. They also gave me a few links about the fraud that it was and cases being registered against them etc. So it was obviously bogus!

What next? I asked two others I knew about the circumstances under which one can get a job in the emirates using such bogus certificates. One of them had been working for the MEA and he was very helpful. This is what I got to know through this saga. For an amount, one can get such certificates for anything, even a PhD! The next thing to do is to get it ‘stamped’. Apparently, all certificates need to be attested or stamped when it comes to the Emirates. There are lists of blacklisted and whitelisted universities and colleges, but again, you can get it done for a sum of money. Then you get a job visa through all this and are in the Emirates. But, obviously, if someone like me can find out so much, it is only a matter of time before someone else does as well. And if this issue was to come to the attention of the authorities, then the person involved would have to leave the country. Worst case, a jail term would be involved as well.

So, my gut was beeping all this while and I am thankful for it. I went and told my parents about this issue. Well, not the jail term and such, but of the bogus degree. Unfortunately for me, no one paid heed to it. I was told “A lot of people do the same thing. No big deal! It will be alright.” I literally was fuming through my ears. Till then I did have an immense amount of trust and respect for my family, and especially my parents. After many many fights and months of me giving them the silent treatment, one night my mother tells me that the next day we were to meet these people again and that the guy will be coming along as well.

A perfect situation for me to put an end to all of it, once and for all. I went and behaved as the most obstinate version of myself. I was even more disinterested in being there than I was in my geography classes. They got the hint and they backed out after that. But my family called me, amongst other things, arrogant and self-centered. If looking out for myself is being arrogant and self-centered, then I am all that and more. I know that my parents were also under pressure from my relatives at that point, but I do not regret causing them hurt or shame. When things fell on deaf ears, it had to be done. But, if there is one regret I have, it is that I do not trust my parents now as much as I did before that incident. I love them as much as I ever did, but the trust and respect are somewhat lacklustre.

My situation, perhaps, was a lot more benign than that of Anliya. However, the thought remained in my mind that if someone was willing to take this path in life, how far would they go? The other side of the coin would perhaps be that they were hoodwinked, but who could be that gullible or ignorant? Either way, I did not want to be associated with such people. I am only sorry for what Anliya had to go through and the trauma that her family shall now have to bear. May her life not be vain, and serve as a reminder to us all.

TL;DR

Anyway, here is the crux of the issue. Always look things up. Listen to your gut! You won’t believe the amount of information that is available online and people are willing to help you. Do not be hesitant to ask. (Even if it is me you have to ask, I shall help to the best of my capability.) And no matter what people around you tell you, about how much they care for your future and wellbeing, always look out for yourself. Make an informed decision, especially when it comes to something as important as marriage.

By Frost At Midnite

4 thoughts on “Serious Matters!

      1. and hey, i’m sorry! i know you’ve a mood today and i might just have added to it! you’re a really lovely lady. there’s so much to you, that i’ve started admiring and maybe someday i’ll tell you all about them! take care of yourself, beautiful!

        Liked by 1 person

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