The Men in Our Lives

A Guest Post by wordssetmefreee

Lately, we seem to be discussing a lot of situations regarding dil-mil issues.  In India, I’ve commonly heard this advice being given to dils: “C’mon, cut your mil some slack.  Wait until you become one.  Then you will feel the same way.  Understand her insecurities.  How would YOU feel when your son gets married and moves away?”

But these are not dil-mil issues.  At the root, these are husband-wife issues.  The mil is not a monster (am not referring to exceptions here).  Some mils are good people and some are not.  They are human, like everyone else, and come in many shades of goodness/badness. The average Indian mil is not inherently evil.  Rather, the husband is being an escapist and is reaping a double advantage here.

The previous generation mil is not evil, she is feeling insecure because

– she’s never been given an education (in many cases) or even if she’s educated, hasn’t been given an opportunity to pursue a career or interest, or even if she does have a career or an interest, doesn’t have true autonomy in her life (all financial and other major decisions were made by her husband)
–  in most cases, she’s never had hobbies, interests, or passions, these were seen as an inconvenience to the family who would rather be served hand and foot and adults in the household would rather be babies than do their own laundry
– she’s never had any friends or time to herself to go for a walk, read, see a movie, or just chill
she was never allowed the right to her own feelings, she MUST always feel a certain way (loving and giving to the family and completely selfless), she is not allowed to feel irritable, impulsive, angry, or disappointed at the way she gets treated by her own husband and in-laws.  (imagine how unhealthy this is for the mind and how it begins to distort someone’s thinking) She must always serve with a smile.  She couldn’t do anything on a whim. She couldn’t even visit her own parents without permission.
– she was not allowed opinions of her own.  If she disagreed on what should be done about a piece of property or how the money should be invested, she was seen as controlling.
– she did not receive much love or affection from her husband (this is downright cruel to any human being).  Whatever little warmth she received was very much conditional. If she did an outstanding job of cooking for 20+ guests, he would be nice to her in a pleased sort of way (without her realization, she got “trained” to “earn” love in a very specific way – through cooking and cleaning mostly, and giving up on her ‘self’).

(At this point, if you are a dil, you must be thinking, ‘So what?  Just because I was abused doesn’t mean I will go and abuse someone else.’  And yes, there are always exceptions.  Some mils who themselves suffered constrained lives could be happy for their dil’s opportunities, freedom, and happiness.  But, I’m not referring to exceptions here.  In many cases, the mils feel like they’ve finally been given a little bit of control – what they don’t understand is that to be genuinely happy, what we humans need is control over our OWN life, not SOMEONE ELSE’s).

– So, the previous gen mil began to look to her son as the “man” in her life.  At least the son is more openly affectionate – even if he is being a big baby and wants his shirts ironed and his meals cooked just so (nothing wrong with affection between mother and son, but in many Indian families, it takes on unhealthy nuances).
– Now when the son gets married she loses this little piece of warmth that sustained her and made all the trouble worth it.  Imagine giving up everything – your feelings, opinions, dreams, basic rights.  There’s only one last straw you are hanging on to – your children, or more precisely your son that society allows you (even approves of) to hang on to and get unhealthily attached to.
– The daughter-in-law comes into this complicated, messed up situation, rightly expects her husband to value her, but realizes she has to contend with someone else (mil) who is entirely unhappy about her happiness.
– Dil immediately starts seeing the mil as the ‘enemy’.

But there are 2 men lurking in the shadows that are responsible for this commonly unfortunate situation.
– One is the f-i-l who never treated his wife (the m-i-l) as an adult, as an equal, as a person with a right to her own feelings, opinions, desires, and dreams.  As someone who needed love and affection and emotional support from him.  As someone who needed him to share household and parenting duties.  As someone who could have achieved her full potential (as a writer/artist/teacher/banker/engineer/entrepreneur/blogger/chef/etc) if he had supported her education, her growth, and her talents. (Even in the older generation, I’ve seen a few exceptions of loving couples and in these cases, invariably, the mil is a better person, more reasonable, generous, loving to her dil)

– The second male lurking in the shadows that is responsible for all the drama is the husband (the m-i-l’s son).  He has never been an adult.  He doesn’t like picking up after himself.  His mom has done it for him all his life.  Now, he expects his wife to take over mom’s role.  If the wife complains she is working a full time job like him and can’t baby him, he pouts and conveniently let’s his mom take up this issue with dil.

– I’m not implying that all men are evil.  Some are genuinely good men, but deeply conditioned and trapped in guilt.   For many sons, it’s psychological – they are good men, genuinely trying to break out of this Oedipus complex type of situation and trying hard to have a healthy, guilt-free relationship with their wives.  But it’s hard and they’re struggling. Any attempt they make at bonding with their wives is accompanied by labels that imply that they are lesser men and tremendous guilt.  Move out of parental home? You are deserting parents! Guilt!  Buying a car for your wife and yourself?  You are splurging while parents are suffering!  Guilt!  Taking a vacation? Putting off having kids?  Visiting wife’s parents?  Guilt, guilt, guilt!

– And then there are sons for whom it’s convenient to not acknowledge that they have a role to play in this conflict.  It’s convenient to not take responsibility.  It’s convenient to dismiss the whole thing as a “women’s problem”.  They’re simply being selfish. They shift the blame on to the women (“women are women’s worst enemies”) and reap the benefits of being fought over for attention, and being served, while also being amused at the “silliness/pettiness” of women and allow themselves to feel superior.

– Regardless of whether the men are good (struggling to break out of conditioning) or selfish (and acting in ways that are convenient to them), ultimately they MUST hold themselves responsible and the wives MUST HOLD THEIR HUSBANDS RESPONSIBLE – for both husband and wife to be happy.

– What Indian women REALLY need to do is change the expectations they have for their husbands, rather than seeing their mils as enemies.

And now the answer to the question that is commonly asked of women of my generation: “What will YOU do when you become a mil?  When YOUR son gets married and moves away?  Will you not feel sad and insecure?”

The answer would be a ‘NO’ from most women who HAVE been given an education, and the opportunity to pursue a career, who were allowed to have control over their own lives and destinies.  The answer would be ‘no’ from any woman who’s been loved and treated as an equal by her husband.   Such women can love their sons but also be happy for their sons when they find love (and not feel insecure).  In fact, they would WANT that for their sons.  So, yes, it IS possible to both love your children AND set them free.

In fact I’m seeing this all around me – with my sister who is 10 years older to me and has married kids, with friends in their 50s who’s children are beginning to meet and date people. The mothers are no longer jealous or insecure.  They have a life.  They have interests.  They have friends.  They have a more fun, enriching relationship with their own husbands.  The cycle IS breaking.  We are the in-between generation.  We ARE breaking the cycle.

Yes, women need to be assertive   – but Indian men need to change as well.  That change won’t happen unless we expect it or demand it.  If we keep blaming the mils, there is no incentive for the husbands to change.  Secondary relationships can sometimes be draining on the primary relationship.  It is up to the 2 people in the primary relationship to prioritize their relationship.  For that to happen,  we Indian women need to start having higher expectations for the men in our lives.

I want to know how readers view this stance – that the responsibility for making a relationship work belongs to the 2 people involved and cannot be assigned to extraneous people or factors. Specifically I want to understand the challenges –

  • Do you and your husband consider your relationship the primary one (please know that this does not mean we stop loving our parents or our children, it just means that it begins with US – the biggest decisions will be made by US – our life and it’s direction will be defined by US)
  • Do you make all major decisions that concern each other by yourselves (and together) or do parents play a role?
  • Do you feel the need to constantly explain your choices?
  • Have you tried to assert yourself , and create your own space?
  • What is getting in the way of asserting yourself?
  • Do you live in your own space or with the husband’s parents? Do you think this arrangement is working? If not, why not? What would you like to do about it?
  • Have you tried to set boundaries, and if so, how?
  • What is the one thing you would like your husband to do? Are there more things? (here I’m talking about significant human needs like emotional support, a sense of belonging, avenues for fun. I’m not referring to how he loads the dishwasherJ)
  • Finally, and most importantly, was your husband able to overcome his Indian culture conditioning (guilt, unhealthy attachment, etc.) and does he now have a happy, guilt-free fulfilling life with you? If so, how did he get from A to B?
  • And readers who are not married, please feel free to express your views based on what you see in your own families – siblings/cousins/aunts/uncles or among friends.

 

“…it’s better if he is NOT a family guy. Extra points to the one who hates kids.”

n shared this link.

When her parents asked her to marry, this Bengaluru girl put up her own matrimonial ad 

When 23-year-old Indhuja Pillai’s parents put her profile on a popular matrimonial site, her initial reaction was that of anger and annoyance. She says she is not ‘marriage-material’, but what equally irked her was the way her parents chose to describe her on the site. “It was so unlike me”, says Indhuja, a Bengaluru-based professional.

 

The posting of the matrimonial ad for an adult child by the parents, the description that doesn’t match, the irritation felt by the adult child – many would view this as a normal part of Indian arranged marriages.

But this young woman responded with ‘a sarcastic statement’, she created a website – marry.indhuja.com.

She described herself as an atheist tomboy ‘married to self’, who earns ‘Salary – Overabundant for self. Saving a little to travel.’

An Indian woman of ‘marriageable age’ saving for travel and not for marriage is still not common.

So what kind of man would she consider spending her life with?

‘A man, preferably bearded, who is passionate about seeing the world. Someone who earns for himself and does NOT hate his job. Must be flexible with his parents, also means, it’s better if he is NOT a family guy. Extra points to the one who hates kids. Points for a great voice and an impressive personality. Should be able to hold a conversation for atleast 30 minutes’.

 

Doesn’t want a Provider and Protector. Knows what is important to her. Has interests and passions. The final and only goal in her life is not to Get Married Stay Married. Doesn’t want children. Plans for more than ghar sansaar. Even if the post is meant to be a sarcastic statement – it’s a positive.

Related Posts:

But if there is so much of hesitation in spending time to know a person… aren’t the marriage hopefuls playing with fire?

Only when raising ideal daughters in law is not their goal, would Indian parents be able enjoy having and bringing up girl children.

“A 28 year old, independent woman who dreams big does not really fit the definition of an ideal Indian DIL.”

An email: I want my parents to know the real me, why do I have to lie?

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

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

An email: “I said I would look for second marriage with following conditions.”

An email: Salary of the prospective groom must be 3-6 times more than the salary of the prospective bride.

“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.”

‘We grew up in a very liberal family. We knew what our limits were and our focus was our education. We never betrayed our parents.’

Are these advises and suggestions possible for an Average Indian Woman to even consider? Will she be able to think that way… educate me

Shadi ke baad ladki ki PRIORITY sasuraal ki taraf ho jaati hai?

“I thought it would indeed be wonderful to live with my in-laws.”

Sharing an email.

Hi IHM,

I really wanted to bring up an issue I have been facing since a few months as a topic/post on your so that I get some tips/perspectives on how to handle this messed up situation.

I had an intercaste love mariage 5 years ago and at that time agreed to stay with my in laws. It seemed like an ok thing to do as I had little interest in domestic chores and my FIL had just recovered from cancer. Me & my hubby are only children and hence both sets of parents depend on us for thier emotional fulfillment. My MIL is an educated woman who has been a science teacher all her life. She loves to wear western clothes and even enjoys an occassional glass of wine and beer. I thought that it will be a modern, liberal family. My husband too openly communicates with them. I thought it would indeed be wonderful to live with them. My parents stay in the same city and I see them every fortnight. We had proposed for them to move close to our place, but they have a good social circle where they live and may move closeby only when the need arises. Life seemed pretty sorted.

Then the reality struck. And hard.

My MIL began telling me how bad my dressing sense is and that I should wear brighter colours like her, doll up with jewellery like her and ensure I am the best dressed at every family get together. I laughed it off for a couple of years, sometimes playing along. Then it was about the cooking. ‘This is how it is done’. Then housekeeping ‘Not a speck of dust, not even a handkershcief out of place’. Then the way I interact with people ‘Touch feet, say namaste.’  It was still ok. I did most of it on most days, although it didnt come naturally to me. Then the issues got deeper and the complaints serious. Right from lifestyle choices, to me meeting my parents, to do keeping the house well, to not cooking reguarly,to not respecting them enough (displays of respect) to not spending time with them. If I tried to tell her that I have different views or that maybe her percpetion is misplaces, I was accused of being bad at taking feedback and being too stubborn. Everything we, especially I did was wrong, bad, immature and not perfect. I wish I could get into details and give situations but honestly it is exhausting to even think about it. Lets just say most of the MIL-DIL typical  issues discussed on this blog.And like most modern day DILs, I felt like a badly behaving unwanted guest,who was suffocating every single day.

But that is not the issue I wanted to discuss.

Around 4 months back, my husband and I took the decision to move out of thier house and live close by (precisely 3.5 kms away). This would give us our independence and space as also be close enough to meet them every week and take care of them. I had first discussed this with my husband around 2-3 years back but he wasnt ready emotionally then and we thought things will improve if we just let them be. But the point is, they werent letting us “be”. Moreso me. Because I was the bahu they wanted respect and seva from me, something which didnt appeal to my sensibilities and not sustainable for the long term. My husband and I thought the move will make my relationship with them better as the everyday nitty grittys go out of the way and we can actually spend quality time with them when we do, without a list of complaints. When we first discussed it, they let thier dejection be known, but also said that since you are turning dependent on us, so you should experience living alone.Exact words were’ Wait till you live alone with each other, you will know each other’s bad side. Because of us being around, there was a check.’

But the absolute very next day, the silent treatment began. No eye contact, no words being spoke by my MIL. A frown on face for days. She even gave up eating for a couple of days. FIL stayed glued to TV but at least spoke when spoken ti. This went on for a month. My hubby and I didnt budge and engaged them in conversations to open them up. There were accusations of how insensitively we are abandoning them at oldage (they are 62, active and healthy),how ungrateful we are, ‘humse parvarish mein kya galti ho gayi’ ‘ to all sorts of statements one often hears in TV serials. The most oft repeated one was ‘Log kya kahenge”soceity mein log kya sochenge’ ‘ I dont want to be seen as  a bad MIL’. There were times when we felt incredibly guilty, but then realised that it is only emotional blackmail as when we felt bad and remorseful, they felt better and came back to normalcy immediately. Anything that made us happy,brought back the behaviour. Anyhow, a couple of weekend vacations and many dinners and movies with them later, they seemed to be coming to terms with it. But none of the relatives knew yet that we had moved. My in laws were against telling anyone in the extended family as joint families are the norm in the community, and their izzat would be at risk.

Recently my husband grew tired of leading this dual life and told his parents to tell the relatives about the ground situation so that we dont have to pretend to be living in thier house anymore. We didnt expect support from the relatives, but the least they could do is make my in laws feel better. But my MILs own sister has actually ignited her further and aggravated the situation further. She spoke to us about how bad this decision is. She rubs it in with my MIL every second day as to how her son would never do something like this. How her DIL will never move away (in a seperate one to one discussion her DIL told me that if they had financial independence, they would have probably done it too!Of course this was told to me in confidence so cant disclose it during the family discussions). This has made my in laws feel like they have lost a battle, and moreso my MIL feels she has totally lost her son to me and has turned against us fully. Now every meeting is an emotional episode and a taunt and guilt spree. My MIL even spoke to my Mom and accused her of hatching the whole idea. She was upset with my parents for not ‘stopping us’. I dont know what to talk to them independently anymore and dont feel like it either. But I realise that will end the relationship, so i make some small talks. They only drive guilt in my hubby about being the disappointing son, whereas he is a very loving and kind person.Just that he also loves his wife and ‘gets’ the MIL-DIL conflicts and their implications. He is very supportive towards me and is patient in dealing with his parents, but I know it is hurting and stressing him to hear extremely hurtful and manipulative comments from his own parents everytime they speak. He wants us to make extra efforts to make them feel better about it but it only backfires.

Its gotten extremely messy with relatives calling us and doing the same in the name of love and concern. What could have been simple has gotten very complicated and messy.

So some questions/perspectives i need at this point to tide over this  are:
— Is there anything different my hubby and I need to do to assuage the situation?At the very core of it, is it even required?

— Has someone lived or know someone having in laws in the same city but living in different houses? How has the experience been? Did the relations improve?

— What does a son do when the parents are, to put it crudely, mean to him and use guilt as a weapon? Any tips on how to deal with it?

— Does the cycle of in laws appeasement for a DIL ever end? Can she ever make choices which are truly independent without the burden of guilt or the disapproval of people around her…

– AP

Related Posts:

“I had written an email about being a DIL in the joint family, I am happy to share my current state …”

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

An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…

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

Why do Nuclear Families face so much criticism?

It is easy to walk out and wish for a nucleated system, for petty squabbles like this.

An email. Aren’t the sons supposed to have their own family lives?

The Groom pleaded with the Bride, telling her that he would not be able to face friends and neighbours if he returned without her.

While we oppose anything that could make it possible for women and men to choose their own partners (since it is against Indian culture) we seem less intolerant to outright lies, withholding of information and demands for money, during matrimonial ‘negotiations’.

Some comments expressed suspicions that the bride in this case was looking for an opportunity to marry the other man, Rampal Singh. 

Groom unwell, bride weds guest in fit of rage

The young bride, angry that her family had been kept in the dark about Kishore’s medical condition, promptly changed her mind and announced that she would happily marry at the same ceremony a guest at the wedding, a man called Harpal Singh. The latter, incidentally, turned out to be her sister’s brother-in-law.

Kishore pleaded with Indira, telling her that he would not be able to face friends and neighbours if he returned without her. His relatives, too, tried to intervene on his behalf. Where persuasion failed, violence was used — spoons, plates and dishes became weapons as wedding guests tried to force the bride to change her mind. But all in vain. The young woman stood firm.

Most of the comments wanted to know what would have happened if it was the groom refusing to marry the bride.

What do you think would have happened? 

I think, it’s possible that the groom’s family would have demanded compensation (more cash or gifts), or they would have demanded that the bride’s younger sister/cousin/niece be married to the groom. (Desi Girl blogged about one such case). 

The girl’s family here probably would have found more support if they had requested for some relief in the cash/gifts to be given. 

It’s very telling that the groom’s biggest concern here was, ‘he would not be able to face friends and neighbours’.  

Related Posts:

Four kinds of marriages in modern India. Which ones would you ban?

Bride goes on horse to groom’s house.

Rapist groom should have waited a little to satiate his lusty desires without problems which he has got into.

Love Marriages spoil the Family System of our Nation.

5 Real Reasons Why The Right Wing Hates Valentine’s Day – Arushi Kapoor

“What is it in a ceremony of a few hours, that makes women fight tooth and nail to preserve the marriage, however unhappy they may be…?”

“…but before marriage it takes lot less for them to walk out of a relationship?”

Sharing an email.

Dear IHM,

I have a question here.

Reading through posts after posts, I see women fighting it out in bad marriages. Quitting doesn’t seem to be an option, at least not an immediate one. And every post from such a troubled woman invariably has an attempt to bring out the positives too – “….but my husband is otherwise very caring and loving” or “….there is no other problem but the in-laws” etc etc. Essentially, these women are consoling themselves and justifying to themselves why they shouldn’t leave such marriages. The attitude seems to be: “Marriages are sacrosanct. You can’t break them.”  Then why is it that pre-marriage relationships are not as sacrosanct?

Let me give some examples before I ask the question that has been bothering me.

Case 1:

7 years old relationship. It was well understood and discussed that the two will marry. Families were aware and were supportive. The guy was 3 years older to the girl and so he was settled in his career while the girl was still studying. It was agreed that they would wait till the girl’s education was over and would marry thereafter. 6 months before the education was over, her mind changed and she dumped him. Her reason – “She wasn’t happy with him”. She could never point a finger at what exactly was making her unhappy. She wasn’t willing to meet and talk and sort out the mess. She just wanted an out. She knew very well how much planning of a joint life had been done. She knew all the marriage proposals that would come to the guy’s parents who would politely turn them down saying our son had decided whom he wanted to marry. The guy had even bought a flat keeping her wishes in mind. She had suggested what kind of a house she would like to live in and the guy bought that, even though financially it was a stretch for him. Now of course, none of this should create an obligation for anyone to stay in the relationship but it only showed how deeply intertwined the two lives were for a long period of time. That there was total faith and trust and a patient waiting for commencement of a new joint life. But within a span of a month the trust of 7 years was shattered to pieces, she dumped him and got married to someone else within next 9 months. The guy is still unmarried today, grappling with the hurt and the inability to trust anyone. A 7 years old relationship destroyed by her based on reasons which even she couldn’t articulate. Not a thought spared on what a mess was being created of the guy’s life.

Case 2:

Girl and guy keen. Girl’s father not so keen. Caste, culture, financial background – everything similar. On paper, there couldn’t have been a better match. And in reality, the couple was as compatible as one could get. Every single person – the girl’s siblings, friends, extended family – all extremely supportive of the relationship. But the girl’s father had a problem with the predictions made by his astrologer. And so he kept on resisting the relationship for a year and made it a huge ego battle, during which several times the girl gave up and dumped the guy saying “I can’t hurt my parents”. The guy stayed patient every single time and supported the girl in her battles at home. After a break-up that lasted 3 months, she wanted one more chance, to which the guy agreed because he did love her and felt the relationship was beautiful enough to be fought one more time for. This time it worked. Engagement date was agreed. A month before the due date, the father threw a tantrum again and she withdrew saying “I can’t do this to my parents. I would rather suffer myself than make them suffer”. So, here was an adult needing daddy’s permission to fall in love and when that permission was denied, she dumped the guy unceremoniously even after the engagement was fixed. Is it that simple to walk in and walk out of a relationship as if it was a revolving door? Is your word / commitment of no value? The girl above, if she now gets as husband a “mama’s boy” who puts his mother before his wife, should she ever complain? After all, she did become a “daddy’s girl” and broke a relationship without sparing a thought on how it would shatter her partner.

I know a few more such instances. Someone wanted to walk out a month before the wedding date (6 years old beautiful committed relationship which involved a very rich guy and a middle class girl) saying “The guy’s family is too rich. I think I want a middle class life” (good sense prevailed and she came back in time. Happily married now, comfortably leading a lavish life, and does admit “what was I thinking then”). Someone else walked out of a 4 years old relationship (great relationship, guy deeply in love with the girl, was a constant pillar of strength and support when the girl’s father passed away abruptly) realizing suddenly that she wanted to be with a more dominating guy (more manly?) and is now in a marriage where she is completely dominated by the husband.

Therefore, IHM, my question is: What is it in a ceremony of a few hours, few perambulations round a fire, a legal certificate, that makes women fight tooth and nail to preserve the “marriage”, however bad it may be, but before marriage it takes lot less for them to walk out of a relationship? After all, no one is perfect and once you spend years with a person, and a rocky patch comes in a relationship (it invariably does), one must at least make sincere attempts to make things work again rather than running out of the door at the first hint of trouble. Shouldn’t commitment be a virtue even in relationships?

Now, of course, both men and women walk out of relationships. At times unfairly. But I am surrounded by so many instances where the woman dumped the guy and I do know both sides of the stories to be able to feel it wasn’t right on part of the woman to not give the relationship a chance.

To be completely fair, I do know of strongly committed women too – the ones who fought their families for years but never gave up the side of the guy. I am attending one such wedding next week – girl’s father resisted for 5 years just because the guy is a Christian and the girl a Hindu. The girl didn’t budge and eventually they are getting married. But so many broken relationships around me have the woman packing her bags and leaving. And I wonder, women are capable of caring only for what they want in their relationships, are capable of walking out unilaterally from a very long term relationship when something is not to their liking without acknowledging the good parts which made them be in the relationship for so long in the first place, then post marriage why do women try so hard to “see the positives as well”, why do they try so hard to “make it work”? What’s in a marriage ceremony that instills so much of commitment in these women? Is it all the fear of society that makes women so sticky in marriages? Of course, I understand those women who do it for the sake of kids or who do it because they are not financially independent. But others, I fail to understand. My own exes, sisters, cousins, friends have walked out of long term relationships for a fraction of what they are now tolerating in their marriages.

Yes this is a feminist blog and so I will perhaps be roasted here for this post of mine. But I really admire the maturity and intelligence of commentators here and so I guess even though I will face brickbats, there will be a decent debate on this matter. For I really need to understand – what is it with women and marriages? Won’t give up easily on marriages but will give up on relationships easily without giving a thought on the impact it would have on their partner?

Related Posts:

An email : I feel I should never get married to him because nobody is anyway going to accept him.

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

An email: “Is it safe to assume he loved his culture and tradition more than me?”

Closing that chapter – just as if nothing happened – Careless Chronicles

An email: “just for a few days of fights and torture in a month, how can I leave this life?”

‘In our families, we don’t take this kind of thing outside,’

“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.”

Irresponsible girls who throw away their lives while in throes of lust for the completely wrong person…

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.

Arvind Kejriwal and Shahrukh Khan – what do they have in common?

In a society where even film stars do not hug their wives in public (not even a Shahrukh Khan), and where socially and legally [link] permitted ways for an average Indian man to publicly show his love for his wife, include things like buying a Life Insurance Policy or (a little bolder?) – ‘taking her to London to bring back her smile’ [link] – Arvind Kejriwal tweeted a picture of his wife and him hugging, with the message – “Thank you Sunita for always being there.” 

Reminds me of how Shahrukh Khan was the first Indian star to proclaim ‘that one day doesn’t go without him thinking about his wife and he cannot imagine anytime without her.'[link]

Do you think we are witnessing a change? I think I agree with Shy, “it’s a small start, but a start nevertheless.”

Shy shared this much-shared picture with this email.

Dear IHM,

 

In the so called family oriented indian culture I hardly see an Indian politician or office bearer holding his wife like Arvind Kejriwal did with Sunita. He thanked her in his tweet. It reminded me of a picture of Barack and Michelle Obama on his 2nd term win night.

 

Seeing this pic, I immediately thought of you.

 

Hopefully, it’s time for change in India… a small start… but a start nevertheless…

 

– Shy

AK and Sunita

Related Links:

If our love for our people and our country needs being ‘proud of them’ then, here’s what we should be proud of.

Delhi elections restored my faith in the Indian electorate and the Indian Democracy. Indian voter, it seems, has not forgotten their power and their right to choose how most of them want to be governed. [link]

And it seems most of them (more than 50% of them) continue to choose to move forward and not backward. Maybe the entire humanity is the same, we all want to live and let live?

In a recent discussion on facebook, a proud Indian defended the “India’s science and technology minister, Harsh Vardhan, [who] made another startling claim at the conference, saying that ancient Indian mathematicians also discovered the Pythagorean theorem but that the Greeks got the credit.” [http://www.washingtonpost.com/…/indians-invented-planes-70…/]

This proud Indian said: “true we have nothing to be proud of our present…. i am a proud indian as any proud american french or british…..true my TODAY IS DISGRACEFUL but that is our in house problem that we need to deal with….this i say without any political bias…..in fact i dislike all religion based political parties too like you”

If we do need to compare and if our love for our people and our country needs being ‘proud of them’ then, here’s what he should be proud of. This Democracy that is still alive. The Indians I am proud of are the Indians who love their country and it’s people enough to continued to work for this Democracy. This Constitution that respects the rights of each one of us be our own bhaagya vidhataa.  Our founding fathers who foresaw it all.

And of the fact that a majority of us continue to choose freedom, democracy, equal rights for all.

I am still feeling overwhelmed. Did Delhi really come out in huge numbers to give 67 out of 70 seats to Democracy and equal rights and to Right to Information and to honest politics?

Congratulaitons India :)

Related Posts:

I am Proud of India Today. Not India of Yesteryears.

Arvind Kejriwal.

Why Don’t Indians Understand their Rights? – Bhagwad Jal Park

RTI, Criminals In Elections. Now They Want to Tear up The Consitution. – Bhagwad Jal Park

Hazare didn’t subvert democracy – he strengthened it! – Bhagwad Jal Park

I am Proud of India Today. Not India of Yesteryears.

Three young women… what do they have in common?

Where am I? My tryst with destiny makers  Ritu Lalit

Arvind Kejriwal – 12 years ago

When Kumar Vishwas quoted these lines from my sidebar :)

Tracking the first month of the Aam Aadmi Party 2015 government in Delhi – Vidyut

Keep up the momentum AAP! – Vidyut

Wrong, for the right reasons by Ritu Lalit

Have you read this very readable book about a young woman who couldn’t live with a cheating spouse and decided to go back to her parents’ home?

It’s real and begins with all that prevents Indian women from walking out of abusive marriages, and goes on, grippingly, to what might follow if they are left with no options.

Since it is real, how can it not include male child preference and all that it entails, and yet, what had to be a traumatic experience is dealt with delightful humour and amazing positivity. And it’s set in India – the characters felt familiar.

Wrong, for the right reasons by Ritu Lalit

I read it in one go, cancelling a meeting with friends.

I disagreed with the stereotyping…

‘I admire men; they come pre-installed with a Get-Set-Go machine in their mind unlike us women who have to first freak out, cry, vent and then get going.’

But Ritu Lalit kind of makes up for the stereotyping with an honest and frank look at the society. And with plenty of humour.

‘Give us a bad woman driver who rams into a divider that sat in the middle of a road, minding its own business and we will dine out on that story for years.  If, God forbid, we witness a wardrobe malfunction, we’ll declare a national holiday’

“Mama’s upbringing had been stern and it had ingrained in me the tendency of being bullied.”

“Strange how compliments can dictate our tastes, we are a needy species.”

Some reviews on goodreads.com

 

‘It’s true that every girl has to leave her own family and get along with a new family.’

Sharing a comment by Cultural Amalgamation in response to this post – An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law.

Cultural Amalgamation: All the above replies reflect the current Young Gen society where the rate of separation with better half is more than that of bonding with love and affection as earlier times.

IHM:  Did the women in the earlier times have the option of separating without being boycotted, stigmatised or honor killed? Only if both the partners had the option of separating and they still chose to stay together, can we comment on the earlier ‘rate of separation’.

Cultural Amalgamation: Being individually separate and gardening your identities isn’t all life is about. Its just a notion begun by some liberal women and followed as a trend by the rest like the fashion sale at stores!

 

IHM: And being denied education and self reliance and being married off to live with strangers is what life is about? 

The concept of marriage is not well identified with everyone. The Love marriages husbands have no choice for they already have landed in soup. So they leave their parents behaving like cowards. Arrange marriages also have girls who have radical views. Google-ing such articles and hoping to change minds with family-dismantling views is really a disappointing and a pathetic situation for the present youth to be in.

 

IHM: Why is the children (only male children) moving out of the house (only if are married, because moving out for work is acceptable) a dismantling of family?  

Someday the gals who talk about liberty are going to be in their mother-in-laws shoes and they would realize when their Son moves out of house with some girl who he likes and doesn’t even know if he loves for the duration a quarter of the entire love and affection showered by his parents who always have been looking after his well being.

IHM: We really need to recognise that parental love for sons (And for daughters, because we seem to forget that Indian daughters have parents too.) is not the same as the love that couples have for each other. The spouse is a partner, not a parent. The spouse’s job is not to ‘look after’ the partner. 

Parents raise their children to become independent adults and teaching him (or her) to look after their own well being is a parent’s biggest responsibility. 

Somehow we seem to think that male children are required to somehow repay the love that the parents have showered on them. The girl children are expected to repay it too – with life long obedience to patriarchal rules. 

Cultural Amalgamation: Its true that every girl has to leave her own family and get along with a new family.

IHM: This idea is the reason why Indian parents pray, fast and sex-select for male children. Patrilocality favours the parens of male children.

It also keeps women and girl children in dependence, without which ‘has to get along with a new family’ would be difficult to enforce. 

Cultural Amalgamation: It is difficult to absorb but then it is equally difficult for the other side (family) too.

IHM: When it is ‘equally difficult’ for both the sides, then why do we hear misogynists fighting for Patriarchy, and Patrilocality?

Is it surprising that many women today prefer less difficult choices? 

Cultural Amalgamation: In modern days not all families have mother in laws/father in laws as showcased (cruel/orthodox) in classical drama movies.

IHM: If they are not orthodox they probably understand that modern young women (and men) should have the right to choose who they marry, where they live, what they wear, how they spend or save their money etc.

Cultural Amalgamation: Its all about beginning a new life and being absorbed and getting absorbed.

IHM: How do women benefit from being ‘absorbed’ in a new family?

They don’t.

Infact it makes them ‘paraya dhan’ in their own parents’ homes. We know the system has not worked, but many of us still wish to preserve it.

Cultural Amalgamation: It is an opportunity for every woman to help prosper her husband’s family and its also equally a responsibility that every family (parents) takes care of the daughter in law as they would do if she were their daughter.

IHM: Because daughters are viewed as those who help the husband’s family prosper, they remain unwanted by the parents. Since (traditionally) the daughters have not been permitted to prosper themselves, they remain dependent. 

Are schools right in enforcing such strict boundaries between interactions between girl and boy students?

Sharing an email from Priya.

Dear IHM,

I was wondering if you would be interested in doing a post on this recent event:http://www.bangaloremirror.com/bangalore/cover-story/With-Baby-gone-our-lives-have-been-destroyed/articleshow/45972495.cms

This girl (and her mother) were shamed for befriending/giving a male student a hug and the girl committed suicide. My heart goes out to her and her family for suffering such a sudden and unforeseen tragedy!

Articles such as this describe the school’s apathy towards this tragedy:

http://www.bangaloremirror.com/bangalore/cover-story/The-day-after-Monalis-death-goes-unmourned-at-school/articleshow/45961373.cms

What are the thoughts of the IHM blog community on this?
Some questions in particular:

1. Are schools right in enforcing such strict boundaries between interactions between girl and boy students?

2. Is it even the school’s perogative to tell someone who to be friends with and who they shouldn’t be friends with? Should it be left to the student and the parents (in case of minors) to determine what level of ‘freedom’ and ‘openness’ they’re comfortable with.

3. Are teachers/principals in the Indian school system bullies? Unlike the West where bullying is a problem among students, I feel that in the Indian system the teachers themselves are emotionally detached disciplinarians who sometimes pick more on the weaker kids with complete disregard for their feelings and self-worth.

4. Has the notion of ‘counselling students’ in Indian schools progressed beyond yelling/hitting/humiliating and punishing kids?

5. Why is it that repeatedly in cases like this (and others of sexual abuse etc) that the school is more concerned about ‘being right’ than ‘being human’?

6. Just so we examine both sides of the coin, do parents actually expect schools to take strict disciplinary action if their kids are seen getting too friendly with the opposite sex? If this school didn’t report incidents like these and ‘nip them in the bud’, would parents (not of the girl in question, but in general) consider the school (staff) irresponsible? Are schools like this merely pandering to Indian parents with seriously backward ideas? If that is the case, can schools even realistically be expected to follow a different approach?

7. And lastly, an open-ended question – thoughts on how best to handle situations like these, both at school and at home?

Thanks,
Priya

Related Posts:

Inter sex mingling in coed schools – permitted or not?

“According to my mom, friendship with guys should always be limited to academics, nothing personal.”

“She was warned several times and was used to unethical practices like friendship with boys.”

By an Indian Teenager – “Sometimes it seems like every single thing I do has the potential to be something ‘provocative’.”

Sexual abuse victim thrown out of school for being a bad influence on other students.

‘The liberties that are guaranteed to our citizens, cannot be stretched beyond limits nor can such freedom be made weapons to destroy our fundamental values or social establishments like families’

Love Marriages spoil the Family System of our Nation.

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

Boys and girls holding hands.

Don’t fall in love NOW!

“Wonder how I survived for 4 years in this college!!”

No Education For The Fashion Conscious?

An email: I am 18 year old male from a traditional (read:backward) Indian family