Hindu customs are many and I have often gotten into trouble because I asked my mother why exactly I was doing what I was doing. Since I was never given satisfactory answers I outright refused to do many of them — sometimes just for the heck of it.
But I recently came across an instance where a friend lost a close aunt. She was a spinster. In typical end-of-life rituals, it was declared, at the last possible minute and amidst utter grief, that if she weren’t married she would not gain freedom or heaven or nirvana or whatever that state is supposed to be.
And then the pandits or pandas I should call them, married her to a tree.
The rituals were performed and only a few days later, did my friend realise what had happened. “She chose to remain unmarried. Who were those people to get her married? And that too like that?” he kept asking. His family did not think it would be worth protesting at such an inopportune time, like her cremation.
And you know what? It was done only for the money. That, to me, sounds better than an unmarried woman who gets no right to a fitting end just because she did not get married.