Arranged Marriage of My Cousin

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“Do you want a shaadi ka laddoo?” My aunt would offer me with a smirk, nearly every day I went to her house after her daughter got married. It wasn’t a surprise that she had a bountiful supply of sweets, as everyone who was invited to the wedding brought a box or two. I scrunched up my nose every time she mentioned that sweet, round, and orange confection.

You might be thinking that I’m not so fond of desserts -- but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Each scrunch was not for the calories I would be taking in with each bite, but for the satisfaction my relatives would get from telling me that I would be a year closer to getting married with each shaadi ka laddoo I ate. After all, a Bengali wedding meant celebrations, new relations, money, and of course, sweets, for relatives. For myself, the one getting married, it meant meeting a man I have never heard of, possibly from another country. After a while, I realized the man is not chosen primarily for the type of person he is, but for the property and money with his name engraved upon it. My cousin was married at the age of nineteen, and I found about her marriage before she did. Naturally, I tried to dismiss the idea of her being married to a man in Bangladesh, as she did...

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