‘And if you are unlucky, you will get an American daughter-in-law.’

Do you think Indians would value sons the way they do now – praying, fasting and sex selecting to avoid having girl children, if there was no expectation of living with and being cared for by a future daughter in law?

What if the parents knew that they could not control or choose who the son would marry or live with? What would change? 

Sharing an email from an American woman.

Dear IHM,

I have been reading your blog for quite sometime now, ever since I have been dating (now engaged to) an awesome and caring Indian man. Even though I am American, I find some of the topics mentioned on here to be universally relevant and interesting, nonetheless.

I am writing to ask if you could share my story on your blog as soon as you get a chance with your readers so that I can get their opinions/truthful advice.

My situation is as follow:

I am engaged to an Indian man who has been residing here in the US for the last 6 years. He has lived here since he was 24, now he is 30. I am 26. We are getting married in less than a year, and he is honestly an awesome and caring person, whom I care for very much, no doubt! :) I have only met his siblings thus far, and they are awesome and all living outside of India now. His parents are living in India, and I have yet to meet them, but speak to them often on the phone. They seem very sweet, kind, and non intrusive. Everyone, including him, is actually very westernized and liberal-minded, and mostly not very traditional at all, as they reside in a big city. They also have several other family members around them, like their own siblings, nieces and nephews.

Awhile back, we were speaking about different things in life, and a topic came up. He mentioned/asked me how I would feel about his parents living with us when they become old, or maybe even before then, I do not quite remember the conversation to be honest. All I remember responding is how I truly feel about it, which is basically that I do not feel comfortable living like that and am not a believer in that sort of family set up. I believe you marry your spouse and share a home with your spouse, and that’s it. Marriage can be hard enough as it is, never mind adding in other family members into the equation. I am marrying one person, not 3 people, simply put. He is not insisting that this happen, he is simply asking because while no discussion in the family has been spoken yet on this topic, there is a possibility they may just stay where they are or live with his older brother. (He has 1 brother living in the Middle East not far from India and 1 sister here in the US.) I think he basically wants to be able to welcome them into their home if they need it, not necessarily that he is demanding it. He just wants to know they’ll  be taken care of later on, which I suppose is fair.

Now I know this is seen as a “cultural difference”. Indians live with their sons in their old age. My genuine question is why? In my European culture, daughters are actually the ones to care for their aging parents, as they feel more comfortable with daughters versus daughters-in-laws. Americans hire full time care takers for their elders but people remain in separate house from their kids, or in some cases, the same house to cut expenses. In my personal experience, my grandmother lived until 95 years old with a full time care taker and in a house of her own. My mom stopped by everyday for an hour, but lived within 5 minutes of her so that as relatively easy. We do not “abandon” our elders like some people think we do.

Now since I am my parents’ only daughter, I would technically be the one responsible for them in their old age, but simply put, I do not want them living with me either, and that is not to sound cold or callus, but everyone, including elderly, need their own personal space, and mostly, their own privacy. I have already discussed this with my parents and they agree. While they want to be nearby to me, they themselves do NOT want to share a house with my and my future husband, as they know they can be just as well taken care of in a separate house than in the same house.

I genuinely would like to hear people’s thoughts on this and how to handle this with my fiancé in a fair manner. I definitely cannot live with them on a full time permanent basis for the rest of my adult life. As I said earlier, I do not even want my own parents living with me. I just want it to be me, my spouse, and my future children hopefully. My future in laws have been to the US once on a vacation and will come for our wedding in less than a year. So they have not been here very much. Logically, it does not make much sense. We are of 2 different cultures, and things may be uncomfortable for us both. Financially, it definitely doesn’t make sense, as a non US senior citizen is not entitled to medical care or any medical benefits.

I believe this arrangement would cause a big strain on our marriage. My fiancé knows how I feel and that I am uncomfortable with it. He laughs at me and doesn’t really understand where I am coming from, he is a man after all, and they just don’t understand certain things, especially if this is a cultural phenomenon. This just worries me slightly and this is really not an issue you can force on someone. I just wish he understood where I was coming from a bit better and had a but more common sense for all things considered. I do not see many elderly Indian people living in the US permanently anyway, and I am not sure he has even thought all of these logistical issues through.

The bottom line is this: how can I handle this fairly, so that he is not very upset and at the same time, I’m not living in misery? And second, why would people in their 60s (by that time they would be) want to live in a foreign country permanently in their old age? If they wanted to live here, I guess they would have done it long ago. And 3rd, why he is discussing this with me when he has not even discussed this with his siblings or parents? Lastly, please do not misunderstand me to be cold or heartless. I hope they are well taken care of also. They may just have more things in common with their other daughter in law, who is also Indian and also has her own relatives residing there also.

Any advice is appreciated and respected. Please reply.  Thanks so much!!


Related Posts:

This email reminded me of  – “If you are lucky you will get an American son-in-law, and if unlucky, you will get an American daughter-in-law!’

American Woman’s response to comments on her email.

An email: Is it fair for parents to say that their happiness depends on who their kids marry?

Love Marriages spoil the Family System of our Nation.

A marriage arranged by the parents is better because they have experience.

Brave new Indian family or no Indian family? Why Indians resist social changes.

Arranged Marriage Market: “Oh! then our son has to take care of you and your wife too”!

100 per cent of the elderly surveyed stated that their daughters-in-law abused them the most.

“I will never live in a joint family, it has its roots in patriarchy and benefits only men.”

40% of rape charges were filed by parents of girls who had eloped consensually with a boy

Here’s a simple answer to why India is so unsafe for women.

The way we define rape is wrong.

1. Rape for many Indians is – ‘sex with the forbidden woman’.

2. Many men (and women) have no understanding of  Consent (by women)

3. There is no effort to talk or understand – ‘Violation of a woman’s autonomy and bodily integrity’.

4. Most Indians can’t imagine (or understand or tolerate or permit) women owning their own bodies or their own sexuality.



1. A woman’s consent is seen as given (to her husband) by the society/family once she has been ‘married off’ (which is why marital rape is not a crime)

2. And if a woman is not married, then her Consent is seen as immoral, shameless, deserving of punishment via killing, sexual assault or violence, boycott etc.

Women’s safety for many Indians is ensuring they remain ‘pure’ (sexually inexperienced) till they are married.

And the biggest concern in case of violent sexual assaults for many is  – to ensure that the survivor’s identity is not revealed. Why? So they can pretend the crime never happened, which is essential for the survivor (and her siblings and cousins) to be ‘married off’.

So, when we are fighting for women’s safety – what exactly are we fighting for?

Do read,

Rape and Rakhi – Patriarchal-Communal Narratives: Kavita Krishnan

‘The recent research by Rukmini S of The Hindu, on rape trials in Delhi, found that some 40% of rape charges were filed by parents of girls who had eloped consensually with a boy, very often from another caste or community.


In these instances, ironically, the girl experienced violence – abduction, confinement, beatings – at the hands of her own family, rather than at the hands of the alleged ‘rapist’.


And the violence may be at the hands of the State too. Policemen routinely abet the family’s violence towards such women. And in one instance studied by Pratiksha Baxi in her recent book Public Secrets of Law: Rape Trials in India, a woman who had eloped to marry by choice, was jailed for abetting her own rape and abduction.’


Related Posts: 

Is rape the worst thing that can happen to an Indian woman?

Where Consensual Sex is Rape, and Forced Sex a legal right.

Panchayat orders girl to marry her rapist because one way to make a Rape right is to make it Marital Rape.

Making Marital Rape a legal offence is the fastest way to make it clear that Rape means forced sex, not lost Virginity or Honor.

“Instituting the idea of marital rape raises the specter of a man going for long periods without sex even though he’s married!”

What do you think of these doubts regarding recognition of marital rape as a crime?

Forcible sex with wife doesn’t amount to marital rape: Court

7 things that can make ‘Rape sometimes right’.

Would this crime have been reported if he had mercilessly raped her but not sodomised her?

Here’s why a 6-year-old rape survivor was ordered to marry alleged rapist’s 8 year old son.

“…offenders who raped unmarried (and virginal) women got higher sentences in contrast to men who raped married women”

“Girls should be married at 16, so that they don’t need to go elsewhere for their sexual needs. This way rapes will not occur.”



“My Mil never likes to cook. They have maid at home who does most of the cooking cleaning stuff.”

Sharing an email. 

Do you think there are some expectations here, from the mother in law? If yes, then are those expectations fair?

What if the mother in law had a career or any other interests, or health issues, and there were no other relatives, …female relatives, who could come and cook for the couple?

Who doesn’t seem to be feeling any guilt in this email? Why is that so? 


I frequently visit your blog.I am an avid reader of your blog. Almost all the topics touches a chord some where.

I m writing about a problem to get suggestions and inputs from bloggers here.

I work with a MNC married for one and half year. Now I am carrying three months. Initially all was good and we both were so happy. My Mil came to take care of me.

First few weeks I was not feeling like eating. Then slowly as pregnancy progress I took interest in simple daal subji chawal but served hot. This is difficult for my Mil.  She never like to cook. They have maid at home who does most of the cooking cleaning stuff.

I work in shifts so can cook only one time.

Now also due to weakness I found it is exhausting to stand and cook. But the truth is I don’t like her food. Sometimes it is good but most of the time she serve cold afternoon food.

And she won’t cook until you feel hungry.

Now I am feeling hungry too frequently.I need small stuff but in regular three four hr interval.

All these needs are not getting fulfilled.most of the time I eat office canteen food or outside snacks resulting severe gas and acidity.

Now I am cooking little things for my self but get tired soon. In all these my husband feels bad that I don’t like his mama’s food. His side is she could not cook now, still she is trying. So I should not complain. In reality I am not complaining for food. I started cooking but I complain of tiredness.

This could be a minor issue but at this time I feel like I m not getting enough nutritious food.

Otherwise I can eat all types of food. Don’t complain much.

Can anyone give valuable suggestion please.

Related Posts:

‘How I am going to manage two toddlers, work, home, chores etc etc without any physical and moral support from my in laws?’

If I made Baghban.

“After all, why do we as kids, feel so entitled to our mother’s time, indeed her entire life and personality?”

Why do men NOT have to choose between being a CEO and a father, but women have to make this choice.

How are mothers treated in Indian culture?

Mommy Guilt: A Western Influence.

This 27 year old woman could not be forcibly married off or silenced or shamed.

I see this news as a positive story.

The young woman had a job. She valued her self reliance and was in a position to refuse to give up a job that her brother (and I am sure many others) did not consider ‘suitable’ for her.

And she was in a position to refuse to submit to a semi-forced marriage.


One Question: Do you think we need a law that bans Forced or Semi Forced Marriages? And another that makes seeking opportunities for Self Reliance a legal  right…  but since that is a fundamental right, maybe a law that  legally forbids preventing other adults from seeking lawful opportunities to make themselves self reliant.

Because, what use are the rights to Equality or Freedom without the power to fight for them? And that power can only come from Self Reliance.

What if this brother had not done something as obviously unacceptable as this? What if he had threatened her with some other more popular (and acceptable) means of controlling – like social boycott or shaming?

Her hair will grow back and now that the case is public, it will be seen as a warning by other ‘brothers’ who harboured similar ideas.

Link shared by Abhishek Oza

Man ‘attacks’ sister’s hair for refusing to marry his pal


BANGALORE: A 27-year-old woman who refused to marry the man chosen by her younger brother was in for a shock: her sibling punished her by forcibly daubing hair-removing cream on her head and leaving her with a partially bald pate.

Santosh was also upset with his sister for working in a bar. Jayanti, who was earlier working as a bartender in Mumbai, had moved to Bangalore a few months ago to take care of her family. She alleged that Santosh never stuck to one job and hardly took care of their parents.

How do some TOI and Navbharat Times commentators view this news?

We continue to excuse the use of silencing of victims to deceive those who might condemn or provide/find support.

Who does this Silence empower?

Comment: It is their business and public has no right to know that, unless the family relents.

Not just Domestic Violence by husbands, but all violence by family members is excused as a ‘Personal Matter’.

Comment: भाई बहन का निजी मामला है (it’s a personal matter between the brother and the sister) Link

And here – Is this even relevant?

Comment: लड़की भी कोई अच्छा काम नही कर रही थी (the girl was not doing exactly a nice job) Link

This is a possibility,

Comment:… इस लड़की के भई ने अपने उस दोस्त से कुछ पैसा लिया होगा तभी वो जबरदस्ती कर रहा था की वो शाद्दी कर ले … (Maybe he had accepted money from the friend that is why he was trying ot force her to marry him.) Link

Shame, honor, freedom and controls are all linked.

Comment: What a shame young girls working at bar for living and our businessmen, politicians and officers earning in lacs n crores. On the top such brothers with no responsibility and barberic nature’

What I found shameful is that the brother thought he could control where she worked and who she should marry.

Related Posts:

Letting an outsider see or comment upon our imperfections is washing dirty linen in public?

By lodging a complaint the girl would get undue publicity and that would adversely affect her marriage prospect.

Dad knifes girl for speaking to lover

How many women would dare to say this?

“Girls need to be little bit aware of the consequences. Men – will enjoy …”

Please watch Queen. Feels like our country is finally changing.

“10 years ago, the girl would have been counselled on how to change her dress sense for the boy, how to do as he says.”

So where did I see this happy Indian bride …and her delighted daughter?

“I am glad that my parents never thought of raising us as ‘future daughters-in-law’.”

If pre-marital sex if here to stay, then so are HPVs and other STDs.

This post is an attempt to respond to this comment.

If pre-marital sex if here to stay, then so are HPVs and other STDs. Even with only two partners, you caught a disease and are wondering who gave it to you. Just image the situation in US/Europe where people have dozens of partners in the course of a few years. How are you supposed to confirm that partner#15 is clean and is not carrying any infection and does not indulge in risky behavior ?

It’s not just pre-marital sex but the combination of casual and pre-marital sex that “feminists” (like the ones here) want to promote that causes the problem. What if someone falls in “love” ten times and sleeps with 10 different people. Are we going to pretend that it’s not a risky behavior because it was in the name of “love”? The more sexual partner one has, the higher the risk of catching an infection.


So, if there was no risk of HPVs and other STDs – then would the commentator above feel differently about ‘the combination of casual and pre-marital sex’ ?

Is abstinence really about women’s (or men’s) health, happiness, rights and empowerment?? 

Do you think promoting of abstinence – over the centuries – has benefited the society in anyway? How?

Isn’t it true that abstinence is promoted mainly for women?

And that has lead to men (and women) looking upon sex as something that is not a pleasurable consensual activity but as something:-

1. That must not be talked about, and ignorance of which is seen as a virtue.

2. That can make women ‘impure’ (more so if they participate and enjoy it).

3. Something that men are entitled to, and can ‘buy’  – but the one who ‘sells’ (or is ‘sold’) – must thereafter be denied human rights.

And hasn’t that indirectly lead to one of the partners being viewed as a commodity?

4. As something that can be used to punish women who don’t submit to patriarchal controls.

Sexual assaults are often justified, mainly by those committing them and those who have the power to control them, as attempts to ‘teach a lesson’.

4. At the same time or because of this stress upon abstinence as something to strive for, sex has also come to be seen as something to feel guilty about – specially for women.

Now, since heterosexuality requires women’s participation – this has made it difficult for many men (and women) to view any sexual activity without associating some amount of guilt with it.

This criminalisation (socially, ‘morally’ and sometimes legally), of an activity which concerns nobody except those involved, is a result of the stress upon abstinence.

If abstinence is really about women’s (or men’s) health, happiness, rights and empowerment - then what do you think is ‘risky behaviour’ ?

1. Denial of information and silence about preventing infections (or sexual and emotional abuse)?


2. Moralising about and glorifying lack of experience (mainly for one partner) – which leads to silence and guilt?

Related Posts:

A tag: But when a woman sees a hot man, nothing happens in her brain?

Romanticizing innocence, chastity and related taboos for women.

Girls morally bound not to have sex before marriage, says fast track court judge

Here’s why I think the society should not obsess over a woman’s virginity.

“let me ask – how many girls in city remain pure till marriage ?”

How does an average Indian define Rape, Child Abuse and Consensual Sex?

“why not marry them first and then have sex ? What prevents you from doing it ? Deep within YOU WANT JUST SEX and nothing more”

“Instituting the idea of marital rape raises the specter of a man going for long periods without sex even though he’s married!”

“There is so little conversation about a woman’s desire for sex that a lot of people simply assume it doesn’t exist.”

How illegal bans on Valentine’s day and birthday parties are connected with dowry deaths and sex selection.

Indian loses online bid to buy Brazilian student’s virginity

‘I’m now thoroughly convinced that the entire concept of virginity is used to control female sexuality.’

Yet another rape that was not about lust but about aggression, revenge and putting the victim in her place.

Ek Hindustani ladki ki Izzat.

What the hell is difference between a homemaker and a porn star?


One special Rakhi.

Today the siblings tied Rakhis on each other’s wrists (though Brat Three was looking at her gift while tying the red and gold thread). Then, when her brother asked for one more thread I was puzzled for a moment, “One more?”

“Tejaswee’s” He said.

I tied one Rakhi for each from Tejaswee.

This was taken on Raksha Bandhan, 2000

Rakhi 2000, Sangli Apartments

Four years ago I was still hoping, against all hopes, and praying on this day.

Related Posts:

Raksha Bandhan…

“The pain will never go, but you will smile again.”

Introducing a new family member.

On 19th Jan 2014.

“I am terrified of confiding in my husband, though I really really want to just cry on his shoulder.”

Sharing an email. 

Dear IHM,

I have followed your blog for a long time now and have found myself nodding my head in agreement at everything you say. I admire what you do to countless women, especially today when I am in need of your wisdom myself.

I am an educated, liberal minded woman married (for almost 2 years now) to a man I fell (and am) deeply in love with. This is my problem. Today I found out that while I have a normal pap test, I am positive for High risk HPV. This means I have a risk of developing cervical cancer (the very word gives me shivers) but that there are no abnormalities at this time. It is entirely possible that the virus doesn’t result in cancerous cells, and that it just lies dormant. With yearly testing and good medical facilities (I live in the US), it looks good for me. For this, I thank the Gods.

But you know what is coming, don’t you? My husband and I have both had previous sexual partners. One each, specifically. I was in a long-term relationship with someone who I thought I would marry until things fell apart, and my husband had a one night stand with a woman who he knew in passing through a common class. Al this was before we met each other.

It is not possible today to test a man for the high risk HPV that I carry. Another one of those cruel twists of biology and gender, much like virginity or lack thereof. My husband and I were both honest about our pasts to each other before we got married, and decided to let the past be where it belongs. However, he has had a much harder time dealing with this than I. For one, I was in a happily committed relationship during the time I was sexually involved with my ex, and my husband simply sees red at the thought of this. He doesn’t see the double standards that he toes the line of, as he claims that what he did was a “Stupid shameful mistake that should’ve never happened”. I try to understand his reactions (I have no contact with my ex, and in fact do not even bring up any conversation that could connect to that time in my life) But this problem is something we have dealt with for the entire time we have been married. It is one of the big troubles we face, but we are happy together in spite of, or despite, this.

I am a blunt, honest woman and want to get this HPV diagnosis off my chest. But there is no way to tell from whom I caught it from. It could as well be my husband who gave me the virus, or the ex. Not only am I dealing with the mental stress of having tested positive for this, I am terribly worried about how to broach the topic to him and what he might say. I am not worried about my safety, as I said, we are in love and he is a wonderful man who would never hurt me physically. But the mental agony I am likely going to undergo has me in tears.

Please help me, IHM. Give me some strength. I have this dreaded virus in my body. I don’t know what it might do in the future. A small part of me feels dirty and repulsed by my own body and myself. I am terrified of confiding in my husband, though I really really want to just cry on his shoulder. I am scared what this will mean for my marriage. I cannot bring this up to anyone else I know, and you are my only hope for some understanding.

Related Posts:

“…if this thing comes out my husband will think my wife is after all not that ‘pure’ or is not that ‘untouched flower’”

Girls morally bound not to have sex before marriage, says fast track court judge

Who is afraid of awareness about menstruation, and open letters to all Gynaecologists?

‘I’m now thoroughly convinced that the entire concept of virginity is used to control female sexuality.’

If virginity was not seen as a precious commodity or a gift (more like a right in India) for women’s husbands  – how would women’s lives be different?

Would there be less silence on sexual crimes? Less ‘gender policing’? [Link shared by Shail Mohan]

Maybe if virginity was not such a valuable thing – sexual assaults (upon women and girls) would not be equated with (and trivialised as) robbing of something (izzat lootna) but as serious criminal assaults on the person?

And then it would not be possible to rape or molest a woman to ‘teach a lesson’ to the woman (or to those whose commodity she is viewed as)?

How did the idea of women’s virginity, honor, chastity, purity first come to accepted by the society?

What do those who are obsessed with controlling women’s sexuality do  – when it is not socially acceptable to use violence, murders, threats of being sold into sexual slavery or social boycott to control women’s sexuality?

Maybe then ten year old girls are led to believe that if they agreed to treat their bodies and sexual experience as everybody’s business, they would be rewarded with approval and Blessings (not verifiable).

Even if this young woman did not need therapy – how do women explain to themselves as to exactly how does the lack of sexual experience (of one of the partners) automatically improve (or Bless) a ‘marriage’?

Link shared by IK.

I Took a Virginity Pledge As a Child And It Nearly Destroyed My Life 

At the age of 10, I took a pledge at my church alongside a group of other girls to remain a virgin until marriage.

…. I learned that as a girl, I had a responsibility to my future husband to remain pure for him. It was entirely possible that my future husband wouldn’t remain pure for me, because he didn’t have that same responsibility, according to the Bible. And of course, because I was a Christian, I would forgive him for his past transgressions and fully give myself to him, body and soul.

Once I got married, it would be my duty to fulfill my husband’s sexual needs. I was told over and over again, so many times I lost count, that if I remained pure, my marriage would be blessed by God and if I didn’t that it would fall apart and end in tragic divorce.

I believed it. Why wouldn’t I? I was young and these were people I trusted.

My feminist husband was horrified that I’d let him touch me when I didn’t want him to. He made me promise I’d never do anything I didn’t want to do ever again.


I’m now thoroughly convinced that the entire concept of virginity is used to control female sexuality. If I could go back, I would not wait. I would have sex with my then-boyfriend-now-husband and I wouldn’t go to hell for it. We would have gotten married at a more appropriate age and I would have kept my sexuality to myself.

Related Posts:

Here’s why I think the society should not obsess over a woman’s virginity.

“let me ask – how many girls in city remain pure till marriage ?”

Indian loses online bid to buy Brazilian student’s virginity

“There is so little conversation about a woman’s desire for sex that a lot of people simply assume it doesn’t exist.”

How does an average Indian define Rape, Child Abuse and Consensual Sex?

“why not marry them first and then have sex ? What prevents you from doing it ? Deep within YOU WANT JUST SEX and nothing more”

On the verge of becoming a Zinda Laash but saved by marriage.

Girls morally bound not to have sex before marriage, says fast track court judge

Here’s why a 6-year-old rape survivor was ordered to marry alleged rapist’s 8 year old son.

Yet another rape that was not about lust but about aggression, revenge and putting the victim in her place.

Ek Hindustani ladki ki Izzat.

‘Mother india.. Flawless women… My grand salute to this mother..’

Many comments seem to see nothing more than glorious, flawless Indian motherhood in this news :(

In her 9th month, pregnant woman swam 90 mins to safety

She hadn’t undergone any strength-training programmes nor was she fed any special diet. She had never heard any motivational speeches either. But when the time came to take the plunge, this nine-month pregnant woman, who had never swam in her entire life, dived into the choppy waters of the Krishna river. For nearly 90 minutes, she battled the surging river till she reached the nearest village with a hospital.

One comment:

‘…a mothers heart , selfless , pure . She would do anything for her baby . Hats off to her courage.’

Not just any mother.

‘Mother india.. Flawless women… My grand salute to this mother..’

9 months pregnant 22 year old Yellavva, was ‘married’ to a married man, 30-year-old daily wage labourer who ‘detested’ her. She was the eldest of the seven children of her impoverished labourer parents.

… Yellavva’s pregnancy was marked more with the fear of rising river levels than the anxiety about childbirth itself.

The nearest hospital was four km away, and they had to cross a river to reach it. Yelluva said she wanted the river crossed before it rose, but her family kept postponing it.

… the poverty-stricken family probably had life’s more pressing matters to attend to until Wednesday when the Krishna swelled like never before after excess water from Basava Sagara reservoir, 10-km upstream, was let into the river.

By then, the situation had gone out of hand and it was inevitable that Yellavva and her family would have to enter the swirling waters for the sake of the baby.

IHM:  Would they not have done the same if it wasn’t a pregnant woman but another very sick woman (or man)?

Why is it not about poverty, lack of basic facilities, lack of awareness and lack of value for the rights, life and health of the poor, specially poor women? 

“I even yelled at my father and others for arguing it would never rain as there was drought all around.” I told them to look at the river now, but my father just asked me to jump in.

“… Even when I was about to plunge in, I protested. Praying to gods I jumped into the river only to fall back. It was so cold and suffocating, even at that hour; it was 10 am. The strong currents kept dragging me. But then my brothers tied dried pumpkins and bottle gourd on either side to maintain buoyancy,” she says.

The pumpkin and bottle gourds helped Yellavva stay afloat when she was totally exhausted.

Her brother swam ahead of her and father swam along with her. Two male relatives followed them.

…. all those swimming around me started to push me one after another while my brother swimming in the front began dragging me by holding on to the rope. About 45 minutes later, we managed to reach the … the other side of the bank,”

Some comments found the story inspiring.

… Yellavva has survived only on the bare minimum her family could provide for. … Except for bajra rotis, subsidised rice and some vegetables, I ate nothing else ever since I conceived. Even on that day, I just had a couple of bajra rotis with onion chutney.”

Would she be judged if she said she was worried for her own safety and health?


An email: “Please give me some tips on how to move on from my husband’s past.”

Sharing an email. 

‘About ex-es (probably inspired by the most recent story)’

Dear IHM,

I would appreciate if you can put it up on your blog.

My husband had a girl friend before we married. When we had met for the first time, she had just gotten married. (Within months of breaking up with him). They were still in contact and my husband still talked affectionately with her. Old habits die hard and he, out of habit, and because they were colleagues at work, shared all minute details of his day with her. On the other side, he had started liking me a lot and I had fallen in love with him. We got engaged within months of being friends.

He did introduce me to her and I also knew they were quite good friends. I had no problem with it, naturally, until I came to know that she was his ex-gf. How I came to know was very dramatic. I was snooping through his phone (I know it is wrong but somehow, my gut told me that something was cooking) I saw the messages and that he talked so affectionately with her, almost as if he was talking to me. (There were also some love you messages from him). I also found a lot of saved chat-scripts when they exchanged the love-yous and miss-yous in the past. And to add to the drama, this was the day when she was leaving the country to go where her husband works. (Her husband had already left, very soon after the marriage)
It also hit me very hard in the belly to know that she used to talk almost all day long with my husband. She never responded to his love-yous but never stopped him. The way she talked to him, it was almost everything that a couple would talk minus the love-you. And there were a few times when he told her that he wanted to stop talking to her and be fair to a relationship he had just committed to. But she would constantly tell him “whats wrong in being friends. I am concerned for you. I want to look out for you” etc.
When I confronted him, the first thing he did was to apologise profusely. I also know he repents that time too. He does regret getting emotional with someone other than his fiancee. He never said that to me though. He told me that he regretted his act and that he knows he committed a grave blunder. He asked for a chance to show that I could trust him again. I knew his regret was genuine and gave him that chance.
He did stop it. I have never found anything else and never any suspicious behaviour. Today, I know he has moved on from his past. And that he loves me way more than I love him. He is as committed to me as he can ever be, the perfect husband and the perfect father to our child.
On the other side, she still cajoled him until about some months back when she was feigning illness to get his attention. He has never RSVPed into her drama. She has sent several mails “please be friends” “can I call you when you are in office”. When he did not respond the way she wanted, she unfriended us on facebook. Good riddance. I went ahead and blocked her. I know its lame but I only wanted to pass it on to her that we are not interested in her and were only friends outwardly because there were a lot of common friends and such unfriending etc was a childish step. But when she did it, I did it too.
A month back, I was revamping my account and unblocked her thinking its all a very distant past now. The thing is now, I can see her comments on common friends wall or can see her replies on threads and it irritates me. I am itching to go and block her again. But I seriously want to move on from all this shit.
My husband knows I sometimes get very frustrated with the thoughts of that day when she is mentioned by some common friends or her reply to some friend shows up on my facebook feed or some assh*le colleague deliberately brings her up to remind husband of his past and mister gets very apologetic every time, assuring me that he is mine and never ever do I need to doubt that for even a part of a second. That he has moved on. He gets back to that guilty mode, which is what I don’t want him to feel. I know he’s felt bad for that enough. I don’t want to torture him with that thought again and again.
Please give me some tips on how to move on from my husbands past. And to assure him that it doesn’t affect me as much now and he can let that guilt pass.
I got this thought again while going through the latest post on your blog about platonic / emotional relationships, not involving sex. Probably it will even help that LW [“This is the worst emotional crisis of my life… My question is, why didn’t it hurt him so much?”] also.
An anonymous wife.