Thinking of Mewat on Earth Day.

I don’t know if they own the farms they work on, and I understand their life is tough – but it was Earth Day yesterday and I smiled when I thought of the women in Mewat working in the vast, green and golden fields.

Women in fields2

The blue sky… (not seen in my neighbourhood)

Road to Mewat

And the birds.

Nooh, Mewat, Haryana. Nikon D7000
Sparrow in Nooh, Mewat, Haryana

Green Bee Eater, Nooh, Mewat, Haryana

Green Bee Eater, Nooh, Mewat, Haryana

Pied Kingfisher.Pied Kingfisher, Nuh, Haryana

And it might all change disappear in future, in the name of development.

Clours Mewat

Mewat sunset by Brat Three. 

Sunset in Mewat, Photograph by Brat Three

And though I am was disheartened after reading about the rigging, violence, death and curfew in Punhana, Mewat.

And although there is no news of re-polling, yet.

And I still don’t know how without zero tolerance to any kind of foul play, do we expect to have free and fair elections?

How do we expect non-violent ordinary people (like us) to be involved then?

Do you think this involvement of common man and women can make a difference? I do. 

Sanjana talking about Right to Vote to equal citizens – some of who officially vote, but possibly have never seen a polling booth. 

AAP volunteer Sanjana in Anaaj Mandi, Punhana

It’s difficult sad to imagine violence in the peaceful, sometimes picturesque, villages we walked the lanes of.

Peaceful Mewat There were women at work everywhere.

Women in fields

A friend asked, “Are you more involved in these elections than in any earlier elections?”

It sounded like an accusation and I felt almost apologetic at first :(

But this is exactly what has changed. Many of us who were outraged by the system, and willing to contribute time and energy knew no way in which we could make a real difference.

I used to wonder then, when we read in our History text books about ordinary people stepping out of their homes to support Gandhi. It’s easier to believe and totally understand that now – specially when you can see it happening.

The commonest Indian crib was - “Is desh ka kuch naheen ho sakta” (Nothing can be done for this country)

And then something changed.

Alka talking to women in Taudu. I had taken only 300mm F/4 (zoom lens) so could not capture the actual scene – a small group in the fields at some distance. 

Alka in Taudu fields

So there we were, city people, some of who had never been to a village before, in and out of Mewat homes and lanes, drinking tea, talking, listening – warmly welcomed by strangers who did not expect to see us again.

And we were learning more than text books or media could ever teach.

I intend to go back and share this picture with this family :) And maybe be, be a part of their lives in more ways than just listening to them.

Mewat, Baby

And the most amazing part: I am not the only one.

So yes, I am more involved in #Elections2014, and for this opportunity I am grateful to the person who made it possible.

Related Posts:

Feeling safe, learning and unlearning nothing in Mewat.

The future and AAP –  SHIV VISVANATHAN

Three young women… what do they have in common?

My mom and AAP :D

“Why must everyone go to the booth when the whole family has to support one candidate?” – 45km from Gurgaon, rigging by ‘consensus’

But how do we go about accepting ourselves just the way we are?

Sharing an email and my random thoughts on the questions asked.

I think loving ourselves would include accepting ourselves just the way we are.
But how do we go about accepting ourselves just the way we are?

Maybe by acknowledging that there is no ‘Perfect’ and we are not (and need not be) in any competition to be the best at being the most loved, liked, needed, wanted or respected person around.

Unfortunately, traditional wisdom seems to stress on winning hearts and approval of random people (more so for women, youth and children).

Traditional wisdom also discourages seeking personal happiness. So maybe those who do not aim for personal happiness would benefit from striving to earn, learn, score, clean, cook, look, do, give – better than others they know are doing.

Peace of mind is difficult to achieve (maybe impossible) when we are striving to win approval. We are put at the mercy of prejudices, beliefs, rationale and maybe manipulations of random people. Also leaves too much scope for emotional blackmail.

But for those who seek happiness – or atleast peace of mind, it helps, I think, to stop trying to win approval (or earn respect).

I feel nobody should do anything to ‘earn respect’ or to ‘win hearts’ – unless one is convinced that the thing is the right thing to do. Respect for self is worth earning, but again it might help to accept that it’s okay to learn, grow, evolve and move on, while respecting our own limitations.

Acceptance is liberating, I think, (including self acceptance) because acceptance means letting someone be themselves (be the way they are) instead of assuming we always know better and are qualified to tell them how they should be and what is best for them. Also assuming it is possible for everybody to change.

I think it’s difficult to be at peace with ourselves, if we believe that we need to be a certain way, or we need to ‘improve ourselves’. Because that implies we shouldn’t be the way we are, or there is something wrong is with the way we are.

And how does it help to believe that we must see it as our duty to trust those who know better (including future-ladke-wale, family elders, parents, sometimes male family members, many others.) and are willing to help us come up to their expectations?

What do you think of – Healthy Criticism? Who should be encouraged to help us ‘improve ourselves’? How would you differentiate emotional abuse from unasked for advice, comments and criticism?

Many believe criticism is necessary for self-improvement. But who should decide what needs to be improved? What kind of unsought criticism/commenting do you think is healthy?

And now, the email.

* * *

Hello IHM,

I writing again following my request to you (and your blog readers) for help in January earlier this year (from UK) regarding my parents forcing me to go down arrange marriage route.

[This post: “I am betraying my parents, country and culture by not having an arranged marriage, people are talking, younger sisters not getting married.”]

At that time I received lots of encouraging and helpful replies and suggestions from the readers. Some of the readers of your blog ( and other people in my life) have suggested, “learn to be happy by yourself, learn to love yourself, learn to be at peace with yourself  etc” not just to me but to others who have posted pleas for help on your blog as well. 

I wanted to ask you and the  readers how do they recognise that they have achieved these things? What are the mental and physical signs? What techniques can you use to get there?

It might sound like a trivial question but it would be very useful for me and potentially for others who are looking to move on from traumatic experiences.

Many thanks ( and thank you for being there)

Related Posts:

Does loving someone mean we should ‘improve’ them?

“I think most problems in life are when we look for approval and validation outside of ourselves.”

“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.”

Who would you never ask for advice?

What are you criticised the most for?

Why Modi will become PM of India: Uzair Belgami

Originally posted on Kafila:

Guest post by  UZAIR BELGAMI

I have been reading around of late and was surprised to see that there are actually still some people who think there is still a chance that Narendra Modi will not become PM of this country in 2014. Hah! Must be those minorities, or those Secularists, or those Communists who are saying and thinking this – all are Pakistan-lovers, Leftists and anti-nationals. I felt it is necessary I deal with these people through this article, in order to deal the ‘final blow’ before the elections.

View original 1,823 more words

“I wish I was more sensible at the age of 22 before eloping and spoiling my life.”

Where would you begin understanding, questioning and challenging when,  

1. Not giving dowry needs to be explained,
2. Violence is not seen as non negotiable,
3. House arresting an adult is seen as an option,
4. Choice marriage is termed as ‘eloping’ (or ladkee ghar se bhaag gayee),
5. Choice marriages and divorce are both seen as bringing shame to the family,
6. Not wanting to live with in laws (only by women) is seen as selfish,
7. But when they live with the in laws, they are blamed for increasing expenses like electricity bills
8.They are expected to earn but not keep, invest, save or spend what they earn.
9.But parents of sons expect a share (or full control) in what the couple earns.

And most importantly, when
10. Caste is an issue for a daughter’s parents, not misogyny in the prospective groom’s family.

How common is this? 

Sharing an email. Bold emphasis mine.

* * *

Good afternoon IHM,

I am a 24 year old girl from India, currently living in the UK with my husband. Earlier last week I searched on Google about ‘Divorce in India’ and landed on your blog. From Last one week I have gone through each and every post written on state of Indian women in India, particularly the ones about daughter-in-laws.
When I was 18, I met my current husband. Like most other Indian parents my mom was very upset as my boyfriend was from different caste and discussed with my brother, maternal uncle and maternal grandfather. My phone was confiscated and was under house arrest for few weeks. I literally begged to let me marry my then boyfriend.
My boyfriends parents came to my house, but I was scared to take any stand. And then they (my current in-laws and husband) kept taunting me that I am incapable of taking any stand. And I must say I was totally blind in love or ignorant, I ignored most of the relationship No’s as recently mentioned by A Twenty Something on your blog.
After four months, I decided to elope and get married. My boyfriend’s father were fully involved in getting us married.  After wedding my husband was immediately sent back to the UK by his brother and father. Meanwhile my family proposed to get us married in the normal way to get society’s approval.
My family asked them about dowry demands and they kept saying no. Despite openly saying no my mother-in law had eye on getting loads of dowry, as she kept suggesting. But never said in front of my father-in-law. He also kept demanding a lohe- ka- tukda (car), but always in humor. As I felt guilty of eloping and getting married and was always against  dowry, I didn’t convey these to my mother. Also my husband seemed supportive of me.
My MIL expected me to do all the house chores, and kept taunting me, insulted my family on certain occasions. I decided to ignore, as everyone told me about her nature. During reception though my mother gave clothes to me and my husband, but nothing which can be termed dowry, as I married against their will. And my mother didn’t liked my in laws also, so she decided to keep that money for any future troubles in my life.
My husband came for two weeks for the receptions. He left and I lived with my in-laws for two more months. During which my MIL taunted me on everything from electricity bills to phone bills blaming me that everything increased since I came to live. I couldn’t watch TV as she watched her daily soaps from morning 9 to evening 5. I couldn’t use internet as that increased their bills. I couldn’t even fill Sudoku or crossword in the newspaper as it was my in laws right (or whatever). I couldn’t go out to meet my friends or invite them over. They were always grumpy. I wasn’t earning then and was busy sorting my passport and VISA.  My MIL taunted my SIL and me saying if she had married both her sons into her community she would have got loads of gold jewellery.
After coming to the UK I was unemployed for 6 months. My in laws have a rule of sons and DILs calling them everyday. Everyday they would ask him about my job (and never me) and kept telling him things like it might be difficult for him to manage alone etc. That never instigated my husband to fight with me. He was always supportive. I got a job. For six month he had complete control of my salary. My in laws always asked him about our financial details and taunted we are earning a lot. My FIL would convert that salary into INR but we were earning and spending it in GBP. My FIL also kept taunting my husband that he at that age has to work and sons are not able to take care, though no one asked him to do so.
Every time I went out and wanted to buy anything for myself my husband would say you spend too much. So after six months I decided I will keep my salary and transfer household expenses and part of joint savings to my husbands account. Though he initially denied and kept saying it will spoil the relationship, I was adamant because his parents have tortured me enough for money, I didn’t wanted to go through that again. He agreed though but may be he got bitter inside and divided savings as well.
When we went to India after a few months, when I was at my mother’s place and he bought land without informing me, on his mother’s name. He also told our financial arrangements to in laws who were upset and I was told that I should give all my salary to him and then he should give me pocket money to meet my expenses.
I was also given advice by my MIL that ‘aurat to dab k rehna chahiye‘ to which my FIL and husband agreed. When I asked my husband why he didn’t involve me in purchase of land he said, “You have divided our finances and made a dividing line in this relation. You shouldn’t be concerned where I spend this money and on whose name.”
I have always told him about my in laws humiliation towards me and my family. And my husband says he cannot say anything to them. After reading your blog I realised he is a Shravan Kumar, and scared to be termed JKG by his parents, who have that mentality.
There are numerous restrictions on the daughter-in laws like, no mehendi on any occasion, calling in-laws daily (otherwise they can go to the extent of insulting and abusing me and my family). Not wearing black and endless orthodox nonsense, not staying long with my mother, my family not doing enough to please in laws etc. My mother hates them so much that she doesn’t even want to talk to them despite living less than a mile away.
From last 3-4 months my relationship with my husband has only gone worse to the extent we both are thinking of Divorce. Despite of differences with my in-laws I never asked my husband to stay away from them or whatever.
I think my husband has got no stand on anything, can’t differentiate between right or wrong and will never take a stand for me even if his parents insult me. But will always be quick to ask me to stop talking to my family if they insult him. His reply on asking why his parents insult my family is when two families get in a relation thoda upar neeche hota hai (some highs and lows can happen). I asked what if yeh thoda neeche (the same lows)  was from my family’s end to which he obviously has no reply.
I am so over this relationship I regret my decision of getting married into this family and also thinking of divorce. My husband has been groomed to treat women like jutis and its deep seated. He sees his father as an ideal who is similar and has been controlling my MIL from many years. My MIL is a bitter and greedy woman and never had cordial relations with anybody except my husband.
I have shared everything with my mother and she supports me. She has always asked me to stay quiet where needed but stand by if something is wrong. I think I have brought shame to her and my family once by eloping. If I divorce than they will have to go through it again. I am also not sure if talking with husband will solve this as he is very rigid about understanding where his parents are wrong. Also he has been brought up with the same chauvinist mentality. I have started hating him for not being able to take a stand. He has never been violent towards me except for once where I made it quite clear if he beat me again I will leave him or call the police.
In your blog I have seen there are many other cases like me. I wish I was more sensible at the age of 22 before eloping and spoiling my life.

Another Confused Wife

Related Posts:

Feeling safe, learning and unlearning nothing in Mewat.

One of the days while campaigning for AAP, Suchita and I stopped in a village market to buy a cotton scarf. We were wearing AAP caps and a tall man in a white turban, standing outside the store, asked, “Have you come from Delhi?”

“From Gurgaon, although some others have come from Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Kerala, from Philippines.”

He said, “Our vote is with AAP. All of us, our entire village of xyz is with you people.”

“Not with us, with AAP (meaning ‘you’). We are not politicians, we are just like you, common people, … mothers, working women, students… just volunteers… ” Meaning every word.

“No other party comes here and talks to us.”

“We didn’t think we would ever do this, but we decided that if we didn’t step out now, this situation will never change… “

Lots of complaints. Absent and unavailable representatives, unfulfilled promises. More men joined with their grievances.

I asked, “Then what made you think AAP was better?”

They said (amongst other things) a lot of men in Mewat are truck drivers, and for the first time in sixty years, they did not have to pay to the police while entering Delhi (probably some kind of hafta) – for 49 days while Arvind Kejriwal was the CM of Delhi.

Some women knew of Kejriwal too. They had truck drivers in their families. Some women we met didn’t seem to have ever seen a polling booth, many seemed surprised that we were talking to them about voting. Many women said they would vote for whoever their family and community elders ask them to vote.

But some women (maybe the wealthier ones? ) seemed aware, disappointed and keen to talk about why they were angry with their representatives. They wanted us to take their messages to AAP, and they wanted jobs for their sons.

But here in that market that afternoon, the gathering crowd was all male.

We had to go further, but couldn’t resist the opportunity to talk to aware voters.

I said, “If they spend on winning elections, then they have to spend five years earning that money back…”

“Please sit. Have tea?” He insisted.

“No, thank you! We must move, we want to meet as many people as possible…”

We were on our way to a village further ahead, to talk to the women there, and I was wondering how safe we were here in the middle of this market. Two men were not in white, they were dressed in shirts and trousers, stopped to watch, grinning, and although they said or did nothing more…

I said, “We are visitors here, your guests in Mewat, neither our language nor our culture is the same. But we all belong to one nation, we all want the same things… we will all need to do our bit, no miracles are going to happen… ” Looking at the two men.

The old man in white turban stood taller and said, “I can guarantee you that you are welcome here in Mewat. You are our guests, please do sit in the shade, have tea.”

“No, please don’t bother … (but sitting down) How safe is Mewat? Gurgaon and Delhi have a lot of crime.”

“You don’t want to have tea with us… :(

So we agreed to have half a cup of hot, sweet, milky, and very refreshing tea.

We felt safe. There were women working everywhere – in the fields, filling water, carrying heavy loads on their heads, taking care of children, even cutting fodder, doing some tasks that I have never before seen women do. And women in public spaces, even silent women in public spaces, did give a sense of safety.

The man in white turban told us how proud the Meo (people of Mewat) are. In the past a woman could wear all her jewellery and walk alone on the road, in the middle of the night, now it wasn’t that safe, but it wasn’t that bad either, he said, ‘some odd bad elements are everywhere’.

So we had chai par charchaa :)

We reminded them that we were all equal and needed to work together. We had all been complaining, and hoping that this cycle of voting for the Evil and Lesser Evil ends, now we should do our share and participate in the change that can happen, but only if we do our bit…

Then I asked if they were offered cash or gifts for votes.

“No, nothing like that..”  There was no threat or fear either.

And then he made the same strange request many others had been making, “You should come here on the 10th of April. Be here on the polling day.”

“Campaigning is not allowed after the 8th …  You… We. We must all vote for ourselves, for schools for our children, for the road outside our houses, for water and electricity… If somebody pays us, then they have made an investment, and they would want it all back with interest, the money for our children’s schools will go in their pockets, and we can’t question because they have already paid us for our votes… but if you feel pressured, take the money but vote only for the candidate you think will work for you…”

“Be here on the 10th.” He repeated.

It was almost like an appeal, the same request.

Infact I felt, when they were moved by what we said, they asked us to be there on the 10th.

I didn’t understand this strange request until I read this post by Vidyut today, and I have no doubt this is exactly what they meant.

All the time we spent in Mewat, all the warmth, all the children who pestered us for caps and badges, and all women who held our hands – all those discussions, the looks that said, “We are with you in this fight for what we believe is right, and is our Right’ , frequently ending with, “Be here on the polling day’.

We were so naive. We were feeling so proud of having contributed, of having participated in the electoral process of the world’s largest Democracy. This battle is going to be tough and maybe long.

Do read - Gurgaon has reported 110 polling booth problems during polling ranging from outright booth capture to bogus voting.

Related Posts:

The future and AAP –  SHIV VISVANATHAN

Three young women… what do they have in common?

“I blamed myself for putting myself in that situation, for being so vulnerable and so incredibly stupid to believe any of his bullshit.”

I wish there was more awareness that threats of any kind, including suicide and any kind of emotional blackmail were ‘warning signs’ and not ‘love’. 

Sharing an email. 

Hello Indianhomemaker,

Your blog touches many of our lives with its stories and I really must appreciate the thoughts that are evoked in many mind upon reading these stories.

I thought I was a staunch feminist, a strong and independent woman. Well, I still am. But I faltered. I let someone take advantage of me while I pretended to be a ‘liberated’ girl.

I don’t pretend to be chaste, but that doesn’t mean any of us deserve any kind of abuse.

Here is my story, if you deem it fit, I would like it to be read.

I, an urban, liberated, free spirited girl, from Bombay moved to Bangalore after graduation to work with a small architectural studio. A lovely city, a great office but I didn’t know a single person, being a social girl I was it was a bit daunting. Then comes along the boy, village born, small town, worked hard to be where he was, breaking social and financial norms and practicing the profession we love so much at the same studio. He was my first friend.

Like every dramatic story, I moved to Bangalore with a heavy heart of having broken up with my amazing college boyfriend. It took literally 3 days to like this and feel endeared by his stories (albeit, in terrible English) to fall for him. And thus began, you can call it – a relationship. He was always skeptical about my white linen shirts (without a slip inside), my wild partying days back in Bombay, the copious amounts of alcohol I would drink with friends and family, my sexual experience, my liberated life on my high horse of coming from a comfortable financial background.

The intention of the relationship was never marriage, or at least didn’t start that way, it was mostly companionship and talking, socializing. I, in my head, knew this was wasn’t going to last and the fear of being alone and vulnerable made me continue it, and in all honesty he was gentle, loving and caring. He decided to move to Germany to do his masters, which I thought would be a great excuse to end the ‘relationship’.

But it didn’t.

There comes the first threat – if you leave me I’ll leave my studies and come back because I can’t handle the emotional distress of being without you.

He came from a very humble background, struggled to get a loan and get to go to study, I couldn’t bear to be the reason he would leave all of that because I was selfish enough to not continue a ‘Skype’ relationship and I was naïve enough to think he’d actually do it.
Meanwhile I decided to study further, he very graciously agreed to help me with the admission processes since he had just done it and I took that help, some were useful pointers which did help me to get through almost all schools I applied to. This in hindsight, wasn’t because of him only, but also because I am fairly bright.

While I would be on Skype with him, sometimes in compromising ways, I lived my life on my own terms here and did what I liked.

Then came the second threat after attempted break up 2 – I’ll kill myself.

I’d be the evil bitch responsible for his death and his family’s financial doom because he was the only earning member. And after everything he did for me, how could I let him die.

Threat 3 – I have recorded all those ‘compromising’ times and I will publish them not only on websites but email them to your parents.

Yes. That is correct. Of course, I shouldn’t have ever put myself in that position, but I trusted him enough and secondly, never thought he would take screen shots (naïve bordering on stupid). My family liberal enough would be terribly upset seeing those images if it does get to them.

With all the threats, this has been going on for 4 years.

4 years! I am able to write about this now, only because he has stopped having the effect of a cold cold hand gripping my heart. I don’t care.

This is not all, I am constantly called a whore, slut, things far worse, my parents and sister and her family are called tons of names, I am threatened to pay him money for gifts he gave me (that I never asked for accepted), money for phone calls he made to me, everything bordering on extortion and blackmail.

I blamed myself 3.5/4 years of the emotional abuse he put me through, because I blamed myself for putting myself in that situation, for being so vulnerable and so incredibly stupid to believe any of his bullshit. But now, I stopped. The only person to blame is him.

I am older now, I am not 23 and alone and stupid, I have met a wonderful who I will marry, who has been my wall when ‘Crazy’ (let’s call him that) strikes. I am over the fear of being flung in public. Because he can do what he likes, I will not live in his fear.

I would appreciate if you kept my identity anonymous.
Thank you

Regards

Related Posts:

“I have realized that at 20 when I started dating him I never thought much but today I have issues with all the above points.”

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

Boy friends are new parents

“I need suggestions – these girls are ruining their lives with their stupid ideas about love.”

An email: He did not want me to be “more” educated than he was.

An email: An Old fashioned boy friend and a Liberal girl friend.

 

Pretty brides who respect elders and identify themselves with their husband’s families.

What better deal can any girl look for!

A guest post by Mr GV.

IHM,

A couple of months ago, you were good enough to accept a guest posting on Lallies and Venkies from me, in which I had reproduced a community member’s posting on our community forum, without naming him.

I remember what a storm that post created. The original writer has read all the outraged responses but has not chosen to reply.

He was back on the scene recently with another provocative post on our forum, titled “Cow Run on the marriage bourse is over” and he has once again given vent to his feelings about Lallies in our community.

I have once again taken his permission to share it with you on your blog and also reminded him about the possible reactions.

Regards
GV
(To refresh your memory : Lalli and Venki are typical nick names of an unmarried girl and boy in our community)

COW RUN ON THE MARRIAGE BOURSE IS OVER !

Lalliies beware – the Shalakhas and Sonalis are replacing you !

The nineties of the last century saw a resurgent Lalli population. Thanks to the booming IT industry, and the mushrooming engineering colleges, a vast number of  qualified, empowered, assertive Lallies emerged. The resources hungry corporate sector employed them and provided the best of salaries and lofty “paper” designations leading to their hitherto unheard of economic clout and purchasing power.

The electronic media beamed day and night on so called “modern life style” casting a tremendous impact on the Lallies who got “modernized” in their lifestyles. Saris and salwar suits were discarded in favour of jeans and tops, visits to expensive beauty parlours became a sine qua non of their modernity and Lallies in general were riding on cloud nine.

This led to change on their attitudes towards marriage. Was the average, simple, shy and relatively inarticulate  Venky good enough for them? May be not. Their sights were set high. Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, et al  were their idea of the male personality. Poor Venkies were left out.

A lot of Lallis asserted their independence and broke tradition. Quite a number of them married outside the community even outside the religion. The poor Venkies were left twiddling their thumbs. And Lallis in general rejected Venki after Venki who came to woo them. And not all of them could find their ideal Venkie.

So today, a huge number of Lallies remain unmarried, Lallies who will never be thirty again, waiting for the right Venki to come along.

But nature abhors vacuum. How long can any situation exist?

Increased intercity mobility saw a lot of Venkies moving to and settling in various parts of the country. Always known for their brains, their honesty, diligence and discipline, Venkies make their presence felt at the work place. And it is not just Lallies who are present at these work places. There are the Shalakhas and Sonalis of the north who are only too used to the boorish, pseudo macho attitude of their males. Their society is male dominated and is a victim of undesirable social evils like dowry, the dominance of the mother in law, etc.,

Close interaction brought them face to face with the  gentle  soft-spoken Venkies, their culture and traditions and their quiet way of life. Above all, the Venkies impressed them with their quiet dignity, honesty and sincerity. And, all said and done, unlike what the Lallies think, our Venkies are not that  bad looking after all. Thus, Venkies for the Sonalis and Shalakhas were ideal husband material. Men who would respect them, men whose mothers would be kind and cultured, whose traditions and culture  were rich and dignified and whose people were generally gentle, educated and refined.

What better deal can any girl look for! Soon, the Sonalis and Shalakahs took to Venkies like fish taking to water. And more and more Venkies are sporting pretty brides, brides without attitude, brides with respect for traditions and culture, brides who respect elders and identify themselves with their husband’s families.

And poor Lallies are kept waiting, looking for the “ideal” husband. Lallies,  the cow run on the bourse is over. Move over. The Shalakhas and Sonalis are taking over.

Related Posts:

‘Daughters growing older, their egos becoming bigger, their attitudes and behavior becoming more boorish..’

A detailed check list of conditions from modern young women of marriageable age.

Early and arranged marriages within the community prevent social ills.

Eleven questions the family elders ask women in unhappy marriages.

“I want to take my own time, get a job, then think whether or not to get married. But, I can’t tell my parents all this.”

Even today, in most Indian families, self reliance for daughters is only an option – and Getting and Staying Married remains the goal. The challenge becomes tougher if a daughter is not an over achiever – has not found what she would like to do, or needs time (from her own life). 

Sharing an email.

I just cannot handle it anymore,,, i feel stuffed and it just so suffocating. I would like you to share this mail with you other readers so that i can get some honest suggestions from you and them.

I am 26 yrs old. but still unemployed. I wanted to achieve a hell lot in my life but see where i have landed that I dont even have a single financial support for myself, I have to beg my parents. I did a lot of blunders in my life topping them all was that when everybody was busy planning their careers I was way too busy maintaining my friendship.

I did b.com but from correspondence from Delhi later I did a Computer course and an Italian language course… none could help me find a “Decent job” as I wanted. So, I shifted my ways towards Government sector. I managed to clear certain levels of certain jobs but still couldn’t clear all the levels as a result I’m back to square once again.

My parents have always been supporting as I am the only girl they have. And I have a young brother… but he’s way to young. They have been encouraging all through… but its high time I know, now they also often tell me that you are our only daughter we had high dreams for you, but see where you are, you haven’t done well in anything in my life.

The issue now is, that my biggest mistake is that I am born In India as a GIRL… all my relatives are forcing my parents always as to why aren’t they getting me married till now?? What if i don’t have a job, why don’t they find a  business man… I feel like a trash. :(

This is not the life i wanted to live, all my friends are well settled in good jobs. But, I have nothing in my hand.

And now my biggest support even my parents have said they can’t take it anymore, they are really tensed because of me, they say society and relatives are not gonna leave us. And how long should we wait.

Honestly, trust me i am putting my 100% to my studies now to secure a position in Government job. But I just can’t concentrate anymore since they have discussed all this. I honestly want to prove myself to the world now, and not only that I also want to sit for I A S exams (it’s been my dad’s dream forever).

I don’t know what to do but I feel suffocated, somehow I am so so afraid of marriage that I don’t even want to hear about it. The moment someone says anything like this I get all tensed and my pulse rises. I really don’t want to end up like this. I have thought to suicide even but I don’t want to  die like a loser and prove my parents wrong that they supported me. But I really want to get out of here. If at all i want to get married, I want that feeling to come to me naturally when I find someone with whom I want to spend the rest of my life. I can’t share this with anybody else but you.

Please tell what shall I do?? Is it such a big crime to be born in India as Girl?? I dont’ feel happy like other girls when they are all excited to be married. I really feel like doing something. But I just need escape. Please tell me what to do. Please! I want to take my own time, to get into a job, get out of this rut, go out, explore and then on my own I want to think whether to get married or not. But, I can’t tell my parents all this. Yes, they are supportive (rather they were, now they are not) but they are not open enough to understand all this. Please tell me what to do.

- A Loser

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Response from the email writer accused of betraying her “parents, country and culture by not having an arranged marriage”

“I have reached 26 and my parents have started pressurizing me. My BF is the same age. But my BF is youngest in family!”

Indian Shaadi Logic – by Prateek Shah

At what point should educated, 21st century women who can think liberally for themselves, take responsibility for themselves…

A detailed check list of conditions from modern young women of marriageable age.

“Only thing I can can think of now is to take a spoon of boiling oil and put on my cheeks. I will see then who marries a girl with a burnt face”

18 questions for young women (and men) of ‘marriageable age’.

Early and arranged marriages within the community prevent social ills.

How important is it for an Indian girl to get married?

Boys can make mistakes.

If this is vote bank politics, then whose votes does Mulayam Singh Yadav hope to attract here?

It seems, since the actual percentage of sexual criminals (and those who want them to go unpunished) is not big enough for him to win an election, he decided to try some Misogyny combined with (tested and tried) fear-mongering.

This looks like an attempt to convince his voters that there are laws (made by his unworthy opponents) that have enabled Indian women to get ‘boys’ hanged. [Rape Myth: Only young boys rape, and they rape only young women]

It’s possible that he is genuinely disheartened  - life would be so much simpler for sexual criminals and misogynists if women could be legally shamed, silenced, blamed, honor killed or married off to rapists.

It’s possible that he means what he is saying.

‘…Girls and boys…  and later they have disagreements and when disagreement happens then the girl goes and alleges that she has been raped … now they are saying the rapists (in Shakti Mills case) have been sentenced to death. Should punishment for rape be death? They are boys, they can make mistakes. Can’t hang them for it. In fact we will try to amend the law that would punish those who make false accusations.’

Note: Patriarchy approves of Capital punishment for rape, because it sees rape as a crime against the victim’s male relatives, and a rape survivor is seen as a dishonoured zinda laash. If it wasn’t so, we would see demands for Capital Punishment for acid attack victims too.

On the contrary, punishment for rape should be graded with severity of the injury to the victim, the rapist should have enough fear and reason not to kill the victim. Also, capital punishment might lead to rapists killing the victim to eliminate the witness.

But this is not what Mulayam Singh Yadav is thinking.

Mulayam Singh promises that if his party is voted to power they will bring amendments in the rape law and whosoever files a false report, will also be brought to book.

Seeing how difficult most rape survivors find reporting rape,  and how easy it is to for a rape survivor to be silenced (often with death) – it’s not difficult to imagine how much such statements benefit sexual criminals.

#election2014 :(

Related Posts:

“I can’t believe you are saying this! You are saying rapists should not be hanged?”

Would you call a Rape Survivor a Zinda Laash?

Who are we hoping to hang with Capital Punishment for rape?

I conduct mini opinion polls :)

“I have realized that at 20 when I started dating him I never thought much but today I have issues with all the above points.”

Emotional Abuse would be easier to recognise and deal with, if lessons of Obedience and Adjustment were replaced with mutual respect and equal right to happiness, justice, self reliance and freedom for all. 

But how can we talk about abusive boyfriends when we (as a society) are so busy banning Choice Marriages and Valentine’s Day?
Sharing an email. 

Dear IHM,

I have been following your blog regularly and now I am at a crucial stage in life where I need or rather want to take a decision and thus have turned to you and your readers. I am 23 and currently in my final year MBA. I have been in a relationship with a guy who is now 29 for the last 3 years.

I belong to a fairly liberal family with both my parents working. When I say liberal I mean that I was always allowed my freedom, my mother and I would discuss my crushes, my family has never till date told me what I need to wear, whom I should not talk to, has never advised me how to behave and has never advised me to stay away from boys. I was always allowed to go on college trips with boys and girls and was never monitored during those trips. Very rarely have my parents stopped me from doing what I wanted in my life till date.

My parents knew this guy as my friend but from the time I told them about my relationship with him, they are against it. They have not resorted to emotional blackmail, or threats but my father and mother have sat down with me and have discussed with me as to why they think this will not work for me and have told me that they are not willing to support me in this.

The guy comes from a very traditional family background where girls are not sent to college and are married off as soon as they turn 18 years. His own sister was married off at 19 when she was in second year of college and was given a hefty dowry and to this date her family still demands money and gifts and the girl also thinks that its her brothers duty to fulfill her needs.She lives in the same city but spends more than 15 days at her parents place and is always cribbing that her parents and brother are not taking care of her and her husband. Her husband does not work, has taken loans from a lot of people and in order to escape paying suddenly vanished from the scene. My BF was expected to pay all the money and bring him back. This is a recurring phenomenon and nobody questions.

My parents are just not comfortable with this. Also in the past there have been many instances where I have myself had doubts regarding his and his family behaviour like:

1. The guy lied to me about his sister’s family situation. In fact he told me that his sister is married to a very nice guy and that they make the perfect couple.

2. He also lied to me about his name: He has a very long name and so uses initials for it. So when I asked him what all the initials meant he lied to me by replacing his actual name with some other name and I did not know of this till his friend actually told me about it.

3. He lied to him that his father was a successful businessman, on the contrary his father does not work and shut his business many years ago. When I asked him this, he said that his father had serious health complications because of which they had to shut down and then on another occasion he told me that actually his father is incapable of handling business and hence shut it.

4. Everyone in his family knows about me but he never volunteered to introduce me to them. Finally, after a lot of persuasion from my end he took me to meet his family not to their home but to another town where his family had gone for a pilgrimage. There I found out that they had booked 2 rooms for 8 of us which included his sister’s family and his parents and us. In the night everyone except his father slept in 1 room and me, the guy and his father slept in another room with me and the guy on the floor and his father on the bed. I was very uncomfortable with this arrangement but just kept quite. It was the first time I was meeting them and I was very uncomfortable.

5. The next time he took me to his hometown where his parents and sister lived. Though his extended family knew about me, from the moment I entered their house there were instructions given to me very subtly about how I must not step out the house as nobody should see me. I did not understand why they wanted to hide the fact that I was visiting.

6. He has severe temper issues i.e. even if I am late by 5 mins when we are going for a movie he will start shouting and then he will stop talking to me. It takes immense efforts to make him normal. but on the contrary, he can come late and I must understand and not make an issue. I find this very wrong.

7. I also don’t understand another thing: he is always available as in he just steps out of work at any random time and insists that I meet him. I am then expected to bunk classes and come to meet him and even if I have exams the next day he will insist on going out and if I refuse he will say that since I did not come to meet him, I should not even talk to my friends on the phone or even step out to have dinner.

8. He has very bad work ethics and I feel he is not professional because he always skips important meetings at work and tells his colleagues to cover up for him which I hate absolutely. He even takes a lot of unscheduled leaves and gives his ID card to his colleagues and asks them to swipe on his behalf and log on to his system and reply to his mails. He tells me that he is very smart and so can manage all this at work which I find very disturbing.When I question him, he says he can do anything to spend time with me.

9. He always expects me to be dressed impeccably i.e. not a strand of hair should be out of place, clothes preferably only cotton salwars neatly ironed with a duppatta in place and if I am not neatly dressed even on one occasion he starts sulking and does not even talk to me properly. Is it really so important to be dressed up always even if its just for a casual outing to a coffee shop?

10. He has very strong views about homosexuality – one of my friends is homosexual and so he wants me to stop talking to my friend because he believes that its not our culture.

11. For some strange reason he hates my dad, even as a friend when I would call him home, he would never make any attempts to talk to my dad or even strike a conversation. He tells me that I should not trust my dad, I do not know why but he insists that my dad is bad.

12. When we are out, he constantly comments about other women i.e. they are fat or thin or beautiful etc but if I look at a guy, then I am doomed.

13. These days he has also started telling me what dowry he would get if he would marry the arranged marriage way and asks me if my father will give anything at all to him. Also, whenever we are out and if his sister calls, he never tells her that he is with me, instead lies that he is with some other friend.

14. Also, I recently found out that he has two facebook profiles: one with his original name and details and his friends and another profile with the name he told me and a different date of birth and strangely only his and my common friends in the list. When I asked him he simply dodged the question and gave some vague random reply like he wants to keep me and our part of his life separate which I did not even understand. When I questioned about the name he said that since we first met with that as his name he wants to continue with that.. I am really surprised.

Now my mother and father do not know all the above details except about his family and sister issues and they are against our relationship for that reason, but ever since I have also started thinking about our relationship and after much thought I have realized that at 20 when I started dating him I never thought much but today I have issues with all the above points. I tried talking to him and from that day onwards he has started emotional blackmail – says that I am cheating him now and that he cannot live without me, his life has no meaning without me etc.Today he has even called my best friend and told her that I am behaving very rudely and that he will not be able to live if I continue behaving like this. I am really worried and stressed out and to top it all I have my final project submission next week. He just does not let me concentrate on my project and since I stopped answering his calls, he sends me messages saying he is sick, admitted to a hospital and has even told my friend the same and asked her to convince me to talk to him. I am really worried as I do not want to loose my degree and also I am unable to bear his emotional messages. I don’t know if I should ignore all the above issues or if I should just leave him. If I leave him, I am worried he might really do something and that my life will be ruined. Also, now that he knows my parents are against our relationship, he is pressurizing me to pack my bags and run away from home after my project submission and then lodge a complaint against my dad and seek protection. He says that if I love him I should leave my family and I am really not ready for it. Please help me..I have not told my parents all this as they will be worried and will really freak out and get tensed but at the same time I do not know how to handle it.

Thanks in advance for your help.

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An email: He did not want me to be “more” educated than he was.

An email: An Old fashioned boy friend and a Liberal girl friend.