My name is Celine and my husband Sylvester. We are both of Indian origin. Our marriage was by arrangement as it is the custom back home in India. I came from a very poor family background, one of the six daughters to my dad who was in a clerical job. As it was the tradition, to get a daughter married, it cost an arm and a leg, especially for the dowry demanded by the groom’s parents. He had hell of a job to scrounge enough dowry to get my two elder sisters married and he was dreading how on earth he was going to manage to get me married. I was nineteen years old then and was in the first year at university.
A relative of our family mentioned to my parents about a doctor who was living abroad, who was keen to get married to a girl of his origin and was not particular at all about a dowry. One thing going for me was I was considered to be very pretty by local standards. Fair complexion, petite, well endowed – all were added bonuses. My photo was sent to him and in no time there was a positive response. At no stage during this deliberation was my opinion either asked or was the prospective groom’s photo ever shown to me. I was expected to accept my elders’ decision and be thankful for small mercies!