Feminism has gone to women’s head. Divorce has become like selling onions.

Warning: Long post.

This is a Divorce Lawyer sharing his views (his views in blockquotes) on TBG’s blog.

Let me put it this way. We all know Feminism is a big word today. I do realize that in Indian society men have forever dominated women, and it is obvious that at one point of time the women would have struck back too, and they did.

IHM: It is not men v/s women. It was (and still is) a biased system that enabled some people to control and exploit some other people.

Men are victimised too. The victimization is direct when their mothers are widowed, abused, thrown out of their marital homes and then when they work, are paid less for the same work. But men are also controlled by being made to fit into stereotypes and with expectations that control their lives. In India most sons do not have the freedom to choose their life partners even today. They are generally expected to accept a care giver for their parents as their spouse.

But when they did strike back, and when they did ask for their rights, most of the over did it.

IHM: Feminism is not women ‘striking back’ at men, it is a slow social change towards a less biased society. It benefits everybody.

You know what I mean? In asking for their rights, they did not take care that they should have maintained a certain balance in their family life too. For wants to Feminism, they started to torture the husbands. I do realize and respect that women have some basic needs of space too, but after all these years of being oppressed when they started to take their life back, they overdid most things.

IHM: This is too vague. How did women ‘torture’ their husbands? By choosing to have careers? By wishing to live in their own homes (in nuclear families)? By continuing to have close relationships with their birth families, just like the rest of the population did?

How did they not balance their family? Did they have more children than the couple could care for? Did they stop the husbands from bonding with the children?

Did they refuse to accept other family member’s ‘basic need for space’? How?

What and how and when did women ‘overdo it’?

Men will always be men. They are all stupid. They can never adapt to anything. Have you ever noticed how different a man treats his girl when he’s alone and when he’s with friends? I don’t need to elaborate on that, do I?

IHM: Are men stupid?! I disagree. Some men who treat their partners ‘different’ when they are with friends (or with their parents) need counseling. Some others are victims of social conditioning that makes them feel it’s ‘unmanly’ for a man to show he cares for his partner.

And the women started to jump up and down in asking for their rights. Of course they over did it. My father was a great lawyer. A great family person. All his life he counselled couples and did his best to make them patch up.

IHM: What kind of rights did women ‘start jumping up and down for’? The right to economic self reliance? Equal pay for equal work? The right to vote? The right to refuse to marry a man they did not like? The right not to marry at all? The right to walk out of an unhappy relationship? The right to live without constant criticism and mental abuse (or cruelty)? The right to expect to be taken seriously and not treated like they understood less and knew less than those who never needed to ‘jump up and down‘ asking for their rights?

You cannot charge anything to make the warring couple patch up, can you now?

IHM: I am not sure if a divorce lawyer who thinks all men are stupid is qualified to counsel a ‘warring couple‘. The idea  of lawyers saving marriages probably comes from those cases where lawyers have used dishonest means/arguments to make divorce possible, where there were no grounds for divorce and where one of the partners was fighting against it. Also from cases where maintenance or child custody etc are got or prevented unethically.

But you can ask for anything if you are getting a divorce done.

Period.

IHM: “Ask for anything‘! Lawyers who think like this can create bitterness and trauma for a couple who probably would have separated/patched up amicably.

Feminism worked wonderfully for us lawyers. Today, being a divorce lawyer means more money than being a hot-shot criminal lawyer…

Feminism is here to stay. I’ve seen some couples who want to separate because the wife says he doesn’t help me with housework. Today’s woman wants to break free from their husbands at the slightest whim.

IHM: Is not helping with housework ‘a slightest whim’?

This was one of the commonest causes for cruelty women have faced for centuries. Plates of food being thrown away by a displeased husband was (still is) common. Little girls in India are deprived of education and childhood, even today – to avoid such fate. They learn to make perfectly round chappaties while their brothers play cricket. Housework is a big thing in India. The exact amount of salt and turmeric can ruin a marriage even today. A partner who refuses to do their share is being unfair – and it’s not just about hot, hot chappaties.

What will a poor man do? He does his best mostly to manage his household affairs and keep the wife happy too, but there’s a limit isn’t there?

IHM: In some cases maybe the problem lies somewhere else?

Years ago a wife who could not conceive a few years after being married was called names. Today if a couple cannot have a baby, the wife accuses the mother in law first, then the husband.

Someone explain to these fools how is a mother in law responsible for the wife not getting pregnant. These days divorce has become like selling onions. Everyone wants to get one at the slightest hint of a disagreement.

IHM: Even today, a woman who does not have children might face stigma. It’s okay if she feels the husband is equally responsible. What are the accusations against the mother in law? Has she caused conflicts in the couple’s relationship? Are such accusations common?

The more common kind of blaming: Mothers in law (wife’s mother) being held responsible for the births of unwanted, female grand children.

Anybody who believes that divorces are asked for ‘at the slightest hint of disagreement’ needs to look a little deeper. There’s generally more than what one sees on the surface.

They should realize that they get just one life, one chance. You ruin it, it’s gone for ever. Time stands still for no one. Minor glitches happen everywhere, with everyone. Couples these days should have patience, and they should realize that marriage should be for keeps. Most of them don’t.

IHM: I agree with not rushing into any major decisions. The idea is not to save an institution (of marriage) but to make responsible choices. One should also be prepared to move on if divorce is seen as the wiser option.

In my father’s time, divorce was taboo.

IHM: This is why it was a taboo – Why exactly are marriages in India disintegrating?

And this is what it often lead to, ‘Sixty, and nowhere to go‘.

Today, it’s the in thing, as you kids say it. It’s fashionable to have been married and have been divorced. Suckers don’t realize that they are wasting time fighting amongst themselves all the time they could have enjoyed life.

IHM: Being seen as ‘successful’ at everything is the eternal ‘Fashion’ in India. I agree with divorce or marriage should not be rushed into.

But divorce is still seen as a dirty word. It should be seen simply as a  means to legally walk out of a marriage that wasn’t working. No taboos. Nothing to be proud or ashamed of.

And today, the women are more guilty than men. Feminism has gone to their heads. A tool is a good tool as long as you use it right. Once a tool starts to use you, then who’s the tool really?

IHM: Nobody is more or less guilty, because divorce is not a crime. Now women have the choice to make fresh beginnings instead of living in unhappy marriages. How does the society benefit from unhappily married couples living together? The children in such marriages grow up confused depending on what the problems were – the sons and daughters might see it as ‘normal’ for couples to live in such circumstances. Most abusers (controlling, violence, verbal abuse etc) have been abused as kids.

A girl today knows from the time she’s a young adult that marriage is not a one way street. She also knows that most in-laws are complete idiots.

IHM: All adults should know that marriage is not a one way street. And it’s really sad if (IF) a girl has to begin her marriage believing her in laws are  what you say they are.  She would have to worry a little less if she knows this is not a case of a girl  ‘goes in a doli, comes out on a arthi‘ or if she lives in her own house, has a job and if her in laws/spouse are aware that she does have the option of walking out if she is unhappy (Men have had this option all along).

Abuse becomes easier when the abuser knows the victim is helpless. When divorce ceases to be a dirty word, it will become easier for a girl to free herself from an unbearable situation.

…but most importantly it will help prevent that unbearable situation. When the partner and the in laws know she has that option they are less likely be abusive.

You say the word mother-in-law, and the first thought that pops into a girl’s head is bitch! And that’s the truth. Ask any young adult, let’s say 18 plus, whose marriage has been the topic of discussion at any point of time in her house, she will accept this. The mindset of the youth is like that now. Which is the saddest part of all. Works wonderfully for us lawyers though.

IHM: If a son’s marriages and life partners are respected just like a daughter’s marriage and spouse are respected, such divorces will not happen. Unfortunately many divorces are a result of expectations of a boy’s man’s parents not just from their son but also from his spouse. Daughter’s are spared such unfair pressure. Daughters are encouraged expected  to make their marriages work (or to die trying).

Today even if the in-laws try their best to do something nice for their daughter in law, chances are the daughter in law will think something is fishy.

IHM: I am sure this can be solved with communication. If it’s done for her good – and she doesn’t see it as good, then it would only be fair to find out why. Her doubts/ any issues should not brushed aside as her not being a grateful DIL.

No girl wants to give their in-laws a chance these days.

IHM: Not sure what this means. How was this conclusion reached upon?

Reminds me of Ideal daughters in law training school in Bhopal.  The school is either demeaning to women or unfair to men who are never given a chance to be good sons in law and husbands.

The school seems to think that the responsibility of making a marriage work  lies solely with one partner. It also makes marriage seem like a tough, unavoidable test for women. Is that what marriage should mean to one of the partners?

What about the other partner?

Men are expected to stay away from problems related to (their own) marriages – their mothers solve such things for them. Maybe the ideal wives’ school, like this Divorce Lawyer, thinks all men are stupid.

No wife wants to do anything on her own these days. All wives need their husbands to be on their beck and call 24/7. And after a while, the husbands back off and try to make their own way.

IHM: Men have always had the option of divorce or remarriage.

Reasons for divorce were many. If the couple did not have any children or had only daughters, or if the wife wasn’t attractive or respectful enough, if she was sick, or if there was another offer with a better dowry – the man could remarry. This did not worry divorce lawyers – no legal divorces were necessary here, the wife could be just ‘left’. The ‘chori hui‘ or ‘left‘ wife bore the stigma.

Even today women do not like divorce because of the social stigma. They also fear living alone after divorce. If there are children involved they find it even more difficult to walk out of an unhappy marriage.  Being economically independent does not change attitudes.  Children suffer in abusive, unhappy marriages, but women often stay back in bitter marriages for their children.
Take a look at this woman who regrets it now at 60. Too late.

I feel anything we do in life should only help us live better lives, if a divorce can save unhappiness, then it should be seen as a positive step. An increase in divorce rate is not an indication of an unhappy population – it indicates that now finally women can see something other than ‘Getting and Staying Married as a goal in their lives.
So yes, Feminism is involved here. And it’s good for the society if all it’s members have the opportunity to live reasonably happy, peaceful lives, so feminism is good for the society.

What has changed is not that we have more divorces, but that now even women initiate divorces. Does it have something to do with feminism? Maybe.

I also fear we have a tendency to assume that a woman doesn’t know what is good for her – and she needs to be counseled by every neighbourhood sabziwali and raddi walla and a divorce lawyer about how much better it is for her to tolerate a little abuse at home than to be ‘out on the streets’ and be exposed to abuse from strangers. Generally abuse is not even acknowledged or recognised as abuse.

It is difficult for many to understand (or accept) that a woman who wants a divorce must have given it a lot of thought and that even though she has concluded that this is the most sensible thing to do, the step generally still frightens her. If he divorce lawyer preaches her to go back and ‘save her marriage’ there is a chance that she might take his advice and live an unhappy life… (she is likely to have heard the same advice from many other well wishers).

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80 thoughts on “Feminism has gone to women’s head. Divorce has become like selling onions.

  1. Before you shorten it, I’d suggest you leave it this way, and I’m going to print this out as it is and try to get the lawyer to see it! Wonderful IHM! Thanks for sharing this. Your text is very interesting!

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  2. Well said, IHM. All those who say women “go in to in-laws houses with a negative mindset”, well, ask yourself, how many men would go to live with strange people with a positive mindset? Show me 10 such men who will agree to go live with strangers, adopt new customs, consider themselves as belonging to a totally new family – and then I’ll agree with those who say women these days are too finicky.

    This divorce lawyer and others like him who blame feminism for going overboard, are basically saying the same thing as others before them have for time immemorial: Adjust. Adjustments are of course required in any relationship, but we prescribe it only for women.

    And please, all the divorces I have seen involve serious issues; this whole business of ‘divorce as common as selling onions’ is nonsense. Yes, there will be a few who divorce for (what seems to others) silly reasons, but in most cases, the pressure to stay married is so high that it is only for major reasons that people break up.

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  3. It is torture for men and women who enjoyed the privileges of patriarchy, to see their ‘power’ being lost. To see their former submissive ‘victims’ have a voice, earning power, decision-making freedom and independence of choice.

    What gets ‘patched up’? Bruises? Abuse? Control? If a marriage needs patching up, it’s not a marriage, it’s an unhealthy relationship. Maybe unhealthy in a dangerous way.

    Life is full of many chances, for everything. It’s not necessary to follow the prescribed protocols for ages and times to study, work, get married and retire. The idea that she has only one chance to live, by accepting and submitting to an abusive or unhealthy marriage, has killed many women, and is slowly strangling many more.

    Being comfortable with the idea of being a divorcee, is wrongly perceived as arrogance. If a woman or man, is happier without their ex-partner, other people need to accept that and stop sitting in judgment.

    The old ideas of in-laws doing something ‘nice’ for a d-i-l can and will be perceived as patronising in the modern context. If they ‘allow’ her to work, it’s not a favour. If they support her in her life, work, family planning and parenting choices, it’s something they owe her, not something she has to be grateful for. If they stay out of her relationship with her husband, they respect her as an adult, it’s the least they can do for her.

    I don’t think women want their husbands at their beck and call, they want a companion, not a lord and master. And I heartily agree with your last 2 paras.

    Great replies, IHM!!!

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  5. Dear IHM, this topic has had me thoughtful several times. I have also worried that the concept of feminism is used in the wrong places, sometimes. Not all women (also men) are the kind, who gives a thorough thought before taking a decision, any decision for that matter-there are the spur-of-the-moment decisions, too. On one end there are very patient girls subjected to never-ending, silent tortures by the husband, by the in-laws and whosoever in the in-laws family. On the other end, there are impatient, inconsiderate girls who do the reverse. I am not judging anyone here, but when I look at how their lives are in a mess later, it hurts. Especially when they have kids, bringing them up as a single parent is awful. It is a personal choice, alright, but, I wish people gave it a full thought before making a decision (any decision, for that matter). I also wish the society is less judgemental of divorced men and women, instead of being too nosy and inquisitive to know all the personal details of a broken family. It is their life, their choice, their problem.

    In my humble opinion, IHM, I think feminism or anything for that matter, should evolve, as every natural process is, instead of being a revolution. It might take a long time for the evolution to complete, but it WILL sustain for long. On the other hand, a revolution might bring in immediate results, but might not (as other revolutions have been) sustain for long….It might backfire at times. Correct me if I am wrong.

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    • RS, I think you have a good point in that feminism, like any other ‘phenomenon’ (an inadequate word) is evolving…and it’s way more complex and multilayered than a few statements can express.

      I also think, it would be better to say ‘women’ than ‘girls’ when refering to adults 🙂

      IHM, It also seems this guy is linking up many things under the blanket title of feminism. People have relationship issues than are human, some would resolve with counseling and a willingness to change from both partners/families. Some women may have behaviour disorders or attitude problems…that’s got nothing to do with feminism.

      The problem with people like this is, they expect a ‘new concept’ like feminism to be perfect and don’t realise its progressive nature and evolution.

      They think that women, if they demand their freedom and equal rights, should be perfect. We’re not. We all have our flaws and to sit and throw stones at feminism because women are humanly imperfect is wrong.

      Any change in such a long-existing system such as patriarchy, is not going to be instant, or without upheaval. Neither is it going to be easy or involve perfect happiness and a perfect new system for men or women. It takes a long time, and at least we’ve begun.

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    • The process of getting a divorce in India is such a messy, long-drawn out one that it can never be a “spur-of-the-moment” decision. Moreover, although there may be more divorces than before, it is still a step women in general hesitate to take because it is still not completely acceptable. While a minority of women in India might no longer be willing to put up with all the inequalities of marriage, the majority still do. So I think your fear of divorce being a hasty, rash decision is unfounded.

      Moreover, feminism is hardly a revolution in India. The idea that women should be given equal opportunities to men is taking an excrutiating century to even make itself felt.

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      • Thank you so much for your insightful comments, Starry and The Bride. First off, let me clarify, I am a woman myself. And I am NOT against feminism. I have myself argued and have stood up for women, whenever I have seen the need.

        And for the usage of the word ‘girls’, it was not intentional.

        //IHM, It also seems this guy is linking up many things under the blanket title of feminism.//
        Starry,pardon my ignorance, if there are any. There are women, like what you just mentioned(I know you were referring to me) who have messed up everything in the name of feminism. I have known of families that have been victimized in the name of this feminism. I only meant to bring it here. And I believe it makes sense to look at the other side of it,too…

        And The Bride,I completely agree your view that the complete process of being divorced is a spur-of-the-moment decision, I meant the decision to go to a family court as a ‘spur-of-the-moment’ decision….

        Imperfections do exist, everywhere, but I am only worried/concerned that these imperfections do not backfire at us.

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  6. What has changed is not that we have more divorces, but that now even women initiate divorces. Does it have something to do with feminism? Maybe.

    The only lines I disagree with IHM.

    Divorces are on the rise – because women are now able to see that they can live a far more dignified life as a divorcee than as a chattel and sex slave in an abusive marriage. Earlier, men threatened divorce so that their wives would tow their line. Now women actually do it.

    I was shocked when I read TBG’s blog yesterday. Divorce is not like buying onions. Its about your life and its pretty serious. Sad that the lawyer seems to think otherwise.

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  7. Great post. It could have been titled “When a Chauvinist tries to Argue for Feminism: How people who don’t get feminism should not talk about it”! 😀 The lawyer clearly needs help in thinking things out!

    Feminism is about acknowledging that women are people too. Not about putting a man down or elevating a woman. And definitely not about linking back every woman’s actions to it or blaming it for changing the ‘balance’. If there was balance, a feminist movement would not have been needed in the first place. And it is not like all problems have been solved just because the movement has existed. Or maybe this lawyer would think that ‘the movement has been ‘allowed’ to exist’!

    What scares me is that people like this could be lauded for their ‘open’ views and be made a Judge to pronounce retro judgments after he has been a lawyer for enough time. It is not like I love divorce. I don’t know anyone (man or woman) who does. But that does not give me a right to sit in judgment – if it does not work out for a couple, better divorce than slugging it out for years, no? Whatever the reason is – if sharing of chores is their problem and they want to go to a divorce court for that, their business. I may not do that but I should also not assume that they have not tried other ways to fix it first or that the problem is too trivial. You said it right – Divorce is not a dirty word.

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  8. This is great …… fodder for a great discussion.

    I agree there is a wrong idea of feminism with most of the people but that does not justify what this ”great lawyer” is up to.

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  9. Brilliant IHM! 🙂 glad to see you writing on these issues again…keep it coming!

    The guy there had a good point about how marriages and divorces should be rushed into. But he used all the wrong arguments for it….and u have countered each of his points solidly. Awesome stuff !

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  10. When one of my friends was getting married the ‘arranged way’ a ‘well-wisher’ reported back about the grrom’s family-“they have a strange up-bringing. Two divorced cousins who have come back and one of them stays alone in Australia!” My friends father felt that this was one family which supported it’s daughters!

    The taboo about divorce has caused so much abuse and trauma in our society. And with lawyers with a mindset like “All men are stupid/No girl gives her in-laws a chance/All women are asking for too much…” what can we expect?

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  11. Very well repliedIHM.

    What irritated me the most was the statement about women overdoing it and not maintaining balance in their lives. What does he mean by maintaining balance ?
    In most cases it means giving up your own choices and aspirations to `adjust to` what in laws or the husband wants.
    Another thing I disagree to is [Today’s woman wants to break free from their husbands at the slightest whim.]
    What is a slightest whim – not getting enough emotional support at home is a whim ?Family members not sharing any housework is a whim ? Not being able to choose if we want to work/not work/ study further/live in a joint family is a slight whim?
    [They should realize that they get just one life, one chance. You ruin it, it’s gone for ever. ] – Exactly ! this is why more women are opting for divorces now rather than continuing in a unhappy marriage. – because we know that we get just one life and we rather not spend it living in a stifled and unhappy state !

    p.s-IHM, my post for your blogscar is on very similar lines – http://nirjharani.blogspot.com/2010/10/yes-i-am-single-so.html

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  12. This type of backlash is typical. The 50% divorce rate in the West has often been blamed on feminism. But even before then, women didn’t have the option of divorce, partially due to the social stigma. Not to mention the fact that if a woman did get divorced she would be left homeless.

    I don’t think it’s fair to classify decisions to get divorced as an equivalent to selling onions. The person who said that seems to have issues with it, not that getting divorced is an option. It sounds like whining to me.

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  13. Hats off IHM for writing such a wonderful article..
    I don think feminism is a bad thing..It is a women’s voice heard in the society.When my friend suffered abuse,i remember the tension.(http://heyithinkthisway.wordpress.com/2010/07/27/i-hate-being-an-indian-woman/)
    At last when she filed a divorce,things changed all in a sudden.Now she started a small boutique,she leaves her kid at the day care and things are peaceful now.
    That guy is a graduate from IIMA.So even after the guy being very educated didn’t help the married life.It was the voice she made things happen in her life.

    Feminism should be considered as a good side of a women.Rather than making her as the decaying fish in the society,she should be appreciated to have to courage to raise her voice.

    While talking with my Mom about a cine star’s divorce,I was explaining her my views on it.
    That star was beaten up blue and black.So she initiated for a mutual consent divorce.So I was telling my mom that what she did was the right thing.In earlier days(even today),the girl will bear all the beating s and embarrassment to save the marriage.That was because the girl was financially dependent and her family will not accept her back.But today,the girl is having a job.She is at her blossomed age.Why to bear a guy and family who doesn’t love her or respect her feelings?So they walk out.That should be taken as a good sign.Like you said,why to spoil the life when we know that its difficult to get along?

    Great article IHM!!

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    • I dont think education/social status or anything matters esp. in Indian social circumstances. This happened when I was may be 12 years old. The bride’s dad is very reputed doctor in that area. The bride is a doctor and the groom and his family was equally educated. Obviously, they had very huge dowry agreement probably whats worth some of millions of dollars in today’s currency value. For some reason, dad was not ready to pay the amount before the murath. So, the groom’s family decided not to show up on the day of the wedding.

      Of course all the elders including a high court judge settled the matter and the wedding happened as planned. Even at that age, I remember thinking, why in the world she is getting married to this guy. All the answers I got from my own folks didn’t convince me that its the right thing to do. To this day(Some 20+ years later), I never understood, what convinced the bride to get married to the guy or how she was willing share her life with him.

      What is the need for her to compromise? But she did. Proclaims she is happy. I don’t understand how and I dont think I ever will.

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      • Nothing convinced the bride to marry that spineless groom. She was forced into it in the name of family honor. She was manipulated into marrying in the name of “who’ll marry you now. Your life is ruined.” She was emotionally tagged into marrying him, “he is a good guy only his folks are the trouble makers.”

        It was her father’s reputation, her natal family’s nose (honor), if not her economic dependence then definitely her low esteem about her self that she can make it on her own that forced her into marrying that spineless creature.

        Peace,
        Desi Girl

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  14. Kudos IHM. With all due respect, the lawyer seems too rigid in his outlook. And I agree, feminism is not about ‘torturing men and overdoing’ anything, that is crap. Feminism is about women standing up with their head held high, and asserting their independent views and needs.

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  15. “You know what I mean? In asking for their rights, they did not take care that they should have maintained a certain balance in their family life too. ”

    What the hell does this mean?

    If women want a family life, they should give up their rights? And why ONLY WOMAN? Our chauvanists are always equating rights/freedom (for women) = suffering family. Does it make any sense? In fact it is exactly the reverse. If every member of the family (including women) have their rights and freedom, it is only then that the family is truly happy.

    Yo women! Yes divorce is on rise and it is a good thing. Chuck that unhappy marriage and live your life. Marriage is a part of life, it is not THE LIFE.

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  16. Well, the title of this post seems bit outrageous. I agree to the fact that most of the women feel insecure in this male-chauvinistic world and cover themselves with feminism. But from inside, they are ones yearning for a secure atmosphere and a loving companion. If this fear in a woman goes beyond the limit, she starts to express it to her husband who never understands her. But one forgets the fact that she still loves him so much and that she doesn’t want to lose him at any point inspite of misunderstanding surrounding them. She opts for divorce only when she realizes that things can’t roll back in time.

    Nice post though! Keep writing…

    SSN

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  17. Like I always keep saying, marriage is about “understanding”. Whenever partners decide to “adjust”, a marriage starts going down the hill!

    I’m surprised someone with such a low mentality and understanding of “relationships” is a successful lawyer…and claims to counsel many couples to stay away from divorce!

    Rightly said, IHM. All through the article!

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  18. I read the post at TBG’s blog, and was shocked how this lawyer had trivialized the life of two people… and that too to whom his sole relationship is money!

    I think this guy needs a lecture on what is feminism and differentiate that from what are his views on feminism.

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  19. “Women started to jump up and down asking for their rights.”

    Dear Mister Lawyer Whoever You Are. You really don’t know the half of it. The poor women from time immemorial had silently and longingly been watching men jump up and down. They sighed, they cried. But the cruel society ruthlessly denied them the right to jump up and down. Imagine the unfairness of it. All around them the men were jumping up and down and all the women could do was watch from the sidelines. How sadder can it get?? Then one fine day, an angel in the form of Feminism came along and decided enough was enough and told the women they could also jump up and down. Since then the over-joyed women have been doing just that at every opportunity they get. Can you really blame them?? That’s the only reason you find them jumping up and down when asking for their rights as well. Please stop being such a spoil sport and let them indulge in this harmless sport.

    A supporter of the Up-and-Down-Jumping Women.

    Sorry IHM for that lighthearted reaction. I just couldn’t help that. 😆 But really, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry reading this. With the attitude he has, I pity the clients of this lawyer.

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  20. And why is all the onus of a happy family on the woman yet again? I don’t understand why this guy wrote so much about the girl, feminism getting into her head, thinking bad about inlaws etc, what about the husband? What about what he thinks about the girl, how much he contributes to the happy family?
    No, seriously, I fail to understand why this was all about the woman? And why will men be men? That is so insulting to men who are not like that. Shameful thoughts by this lawyer. It only takes one such person to undo years of effort to bring women into the mainstream.

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  21. Pingback: Men will be men? « Just Speaking My Mind

  22. Well, I dont know about “all men being stupid” but this lawyer seriously looks stupid, based on the article. His arguments are like a petulant child, who cries and rants when he does not get some toy he wants. Gotta rush now, will come back later with a longer comment!! 🙂

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  23. It is true that divorces are on the rise, but even now divorces are looked down upon. My parents separated after 25 years of marriage and I very well know the way people look at our family!! They think my mom is rash and ‘too’ independent because she initiated the divorce (after trying to mend the marriage for 25 years!!).
    No one likes getting divorced!! As simple as that. Divorces happening because of supposedly petty reasons can be prevented by intelligent counseling (by someone other than this lawyer). And if counseling does not help, then the reason is not petty at all!!
    Instead of guiding today’s youth and telling them the importance of equality and no-gender-bias, this fellow is gleefully rubbing his hands together because he is making more money because of the increased divorce cases.

    “No wife wants to do anything on her own these days. All wives need their husbands to be on their beck and call 24/7. And after a while, the husbands back off and try to make their own way.” This is the MOST un-true statement, according to me. Because women are earning and because the literacy rate has increased among women, they go out and do most of their (and even their husband’s work/errands) work on their own!! Does doing half the housework mean the husbands are on their wives’ beck and call? And most of the husbands dont even do that much!!

    I do not understand what “extra” privileges a woman is getting in a marriage that the lawyer is saying she ‘overdoes’ it?!! I mean all his arguments seem just pure un-intelligent rant based probably on one lone case where he might have felt that the couple was too quick to divorce or based on his own prejudices!!

    Like

  24. I have heard this from so many people! The way all the blame is heaped upon ‘feminism’ when anything that they are comfortable with is challenged. The statements that this lawyer makes are so ludicrous! As a lawyer, this person should have known that for most women, divorce is an option which is an absolute last option. So many women, suffer for years before taking this step, even more live unlivable lives without having an option to walk out of an unhappy marriage. If at all, we should be glad that people are able to walk out of marriages which are not working for them. Isn’t is better that people live happy lives than unhappy lives but keeping up appearances for society?

    IHM,You have answered everything perfectly! I do hope that people like this read articles like these and learn.

    And I pity anybody who is a client of a divorce lawyer like this.

    Like

  25. Very nice post. I totally agree that marriage is an understanding between two people. It is a part of life – a very big part. Many important life changing decisions are taken together and the partners grow old together. But, all this can happen only if they are happy with each other. Otherwise what’s the point?

    IMO, no woman/man would go for divorce until it is totally out of their hands. If they love and respect each other, they would only strive to work out their differences.

    “No wife wants to do anything on her own these days. All wives need their husbands to be on their beck and call 24/7. ” – I mean why is this bad??? After all, isn’t this what you promise to each other when you get married? To stay with one another and take care of each other until death. So, if a wife needs her husband 24/7, what is wrong with that? I just don’t understand? The only thing people like these lawyers don’t realize is that men also feel the same way but, are scared to express these feelings because of the gender stereotypes that are in place. When men say something like this, they are considered weak minded or Joru ka Gulam and when a woman says this, she is considered to be mean to her husband….. some society huh?

    Like

  26. I suggest a sensitivity class should be held for practising lawyers as the society changes in India, because there are relative interpretations of everything in India and the stake holders are just tooo many

    Like

  27. This guy clearly has some very fixed ideas about how things “should be” instead of accepting them for how they are.

    But feminism apart, there has been a tendency in the law in recent cases to go overboard with protecting women at the expense of men. The recent Dowry law is of course, one example.

    IMHO laws should be gender neutral. As a writer, I write some legal stuff for US law and the word man, woman, husband and wife have no mention in the divorce laws at all! It’s just “one of the parties” this and “participants in the proceeding” that.

    The Supreme Court has recently said that live in relationships should get a legal status! I can’t understand this mentality. If they have legal status, what choice do two people have who want to live with each other without legal implications? The observation is ostensibly to protect women from men and not the other way around.

    But things are improving. Recently the HC said that maintenance from husband to wife isn’t mandatory and depends on a lot of things. Thank god for that…

    Like

    • Bhagwad,
      You are missing the point. In the US the gender neutral voice in law came only after second wave of feminism that is violence against women movement of 1970s-80s and greater number of women were already working out of homes and state support for abused and homeless is available and child protective services (CPS) makes sure no child is hungry and on the street. The gender neutral terminology came into exixtence only in 1990s. Before that it was exactly what we have here in India. Please check the texts books on this. That is not the reality of support systems in India yet. Until the state provides enough support to homeless and economically downtrodden things will have to be in protective mode.

      In the US you can talk about gender neutral terms coz’ sex ratio is not as skewed as India.

      Legal status to live-in partners, SC means common law relationship benefits and priviledges. It is a shame that hair splitting on terminology misses out of the lived realities of people’s lives. If two people have lived together over a period of time and have marriage like arrangement it is live-in. Any violenceoccuring in that relationship is akin to Domestic violence (DV). Whereas, two people not living together but are intimate emotionally or physically and are understood to have some romantic relationship and if violence occurs in that relationship then it has to be classified as intimate partner violence (IPV) that will be similar to DV. Because if two strangers are violent to each other they don’t have a relationship, trust and advantage of mutal disclouser/vulnerability. Whare as intimate partners have that.

      Of course maintenance to support has to depend on numerous factors. It is not just because they were married. How in the world is a spouse even expected to pay Rs. 2500.00 in maintenance when he/she only make Rs. 2000 or even Rs. 3000.

      You need to read the whole case docket than just make up your mind based on the head lines.

      Peace,
      Desi Girl

      Like

    • Sorry dude, but laws are not entirely gender neutral even in the US. Read up about the violence against women act (VAWA) for an example.

      Making laws gender neutral is a desirable goal in some cases, but that’s hardly a universal rule.

      Like

  28. divorce rate is not rising, population is rising
    Hindu culture do not permit divorce, as females are understanding and now studying , they demand their rights.
    few cases female can also demand more or cross lines.
    no one is god here, everyone makes mistake.

    Basic principal of Indian divorce law is that whatever may happen judiciary tries to delay the divorce or do not grant the divorce.
    Getting speedy divorce is like winning a lottery.

    Like

  29. Some level of counseling is always helpful, but brainwashing and forcing lawyer’s personal viewpoints on clients is not. Feminism has worked wonders; whatever critiques say. It is high time women had their point of view and freedom, to lead a life, whether married or not is one’s choice. Like your post says, there are always two sides to a coin. Both men and women suffer in many marriages, lot of times continue to do so because of their inability or lack of courage to take that step towards freedom or independence.

    Like

  30. IHM, I will marry in coming years and then come back to learon such serious post. 😛

    Jokes apart, In the discussion, Lawyer must be a man. Bring both lawyers from both gender and then we will see new heights in discussion. When people are equal and independent, they sure can’t be forced to stay together under marriage without love.

    It is better to be seprate than to live under same roof with artifical legality for the sake of everyone.

    As pointed out by IHM :
    The children in such marriages grow up confused depending on what the problems were

    Children suffer in abusive, unhappy marriages, but women often stay back in bitter marriages for their children

    But, I am always bothered for the future of child under divorce because he does not custody but love and care from both parents.
    While in divorce, a bad image is created of one parent by other person/ his/hers family, that is quite sad part. Any opinion how this can be sorted out ?

    In discussing such serious issue, we have to look for voices from all camps. Like those who stayed bachelors through out their life, what is theirs opnion on this matter ?

    My opinion : All brothel and divorce are product of marriage only. Only love can keep two souls together, not any piece of legal paper.

    Like

    • Yayaver, the concept of a ‘normal’ family needs a relook. Children grow happy in any family where the environment is harmonious, encouraging and positive. Single parents and loving grandparents also raise well adjusted kids.

      Like

  31. Wonderful! Agreeing to everything written 🙂

    I just wonder if this post was really needed in first place 😛 🙂 I mean, I find almost all of the Lawyers arguments… well… baseless, not backed with logic or truth but with a lot of misconceptions and bias against women.

    Like

  32. Dear IHM – all your points are valid.

    But i have one humble submission (and this is from someone who has initiated her own divorce) girls i see around me are actually using the law to seek divorce or punish in-laws (whether guilty or not) for the flimsiest of reasons.

    Since we continue to live in a society where we have arranged marriages, have the entire neighbourhood attending our wedding and in short have a very ‘social’ marriage it should be only natural that our beahviour post marriage should also be such that is socially acceptable.

    I see girls getting married and from day one expecting to be given every right in the new household (nothing wrong with it) but backing out when the question of sharing responsibilities come up.

    Am sure every girl has huge dreams about life post marriage but then every guy and his folks also have some expectations…and those also need to be taken into account somewhere.

    Like

  33. Hi IHM,

    after a long time I am reading a blog and I am glad i read this …

    problem with such people is that they pretend to be modern thinkers but they rest their cases on old ideologies ..and not only that they also expect others to follow that … on the name of culture , tradition , family values , close knit bonds , we always make women adjust .

    I heard one of my relatives saying ,” I hate ill mannered arguing women ” ..what about ill mannered , abusing, arguing men … or as they are in abundance all around so they are norm and a women who has an opinion , a voice is ill mananered …its expected of them to be silent listeners and be tolerant to all crap .. and asking for divorce ..in INdia ?? a women ?? for what ..career / choices … is she out of her mind …

    my ex MIL said ” you should be happy ur husband is not abusive , what else you want in life ..why do yo want a divorce ” . we have all the reasons to justify a man’s behaviour in a marriage … he is abusive because she provocate him , he beats her because se cant serve HOT chapatis …he is sleepig wth other women because she is not responsive in bed ..he is away most evenings with friends because she nags him …. sooo she has no reason to ask for divorce .. not till people accept women are also humans .

    Ironically women in family/ friends . office will be the ones to gossip and make life miserable for the divorced one..
    Thats why many divorced women / men choose to keep their status as single instead of divorce ..its still a dirty litle secret that u cannot spell out .

    life is difficult for a divorcee in India specially if u are not the crying , feel pity on me kinds ..but its definietly much better than a relationship thats not meanigfull.

    Like

  34. All the points the lawyer makes are based on a wrong assumption. He says ‘…but after all these years of being oppressed when they started to take their life back, they overdid most things.’
    The women who were oppressed and those who have taken their life into their hands are NOT the same set of people. So how can he say that ‘they overdid things’?? The change has come gradually one at a time, sometimes in fits and spurts. Some women were oppressed, some others fought for their rights and still others down the line are enjoying its benefits. How can he say that ‘years of being oppressed’ led them to ‘overdo things’?? Is it like the French Revolution?? The oppressed people overthrowing the nobles and using methods of torture like guillotine?? In this case the really oppressed are not the ones doing the ‘overdoing’ WHATEVER that means!

    At best the arguments this man has presented seems laughable to me. More is the pity because he is a well known lawyer (it seems). Most of his statements can be refuted and disproved with ease by a school going kid.
    He says, “no wife wants to do anything on her own these days.” What utter crap is that?? More and more women are doing things on their own these days, So many women have a career these days; do the husbands go to their respective offices and do their work for them?? And the rest who are homemakers, are the husbands staying back and doing the cooking and laundry taking care of in-laws and such work for the women??
    “Husbands he says are at the beck and call of their wives 24×7” he says. Pray how do they do office work then?? Besides which mother of his would allow the son to be 24×7 with his biwi??
    “The mindset of the youth is like that now (m-i-l is a bitch)” he says. If young girls think that, WHO is responsible for it?? He surely does not mean that the girl child was born with the idea implanted in her brain?? Surely she must have grown up watching her mother/women of the family suffer at the hands of m-i-l to form such an opinion?! Or the society itself has through its literature and movies done the needful?? So what the hell does he mean by blaming ‘youth’ for thinking so, if at all they do??!!
    WHAT is wrong if the wife wants to divorce coz the husband does not help with the housework?? Isn’t it an individual’s right to seek what he/she wants in a relationship??
    All men are stupid, he says. HE says NOT ME let me hasten to add! 😉 But I ask, SO?? What is he implying?? That men are stupid so women should suffer them gladly??!!
    He also says that men cannot adapt to anything. (Oh wow wow wow!! Now we have something to offer science courtesy the brilliant mind of said lawyer) If men cannot adapt and women can, WHO the hell should take lessons in adapting?? He doesn’t know that and calls himself a lawyer?!
    He squarely puts the job of maintaining balance on women. But balance comes from both the partners’ involvement and can NEVER happen if just one of them one tried all by herself/himself. If anyone thinks so they have been seeing too many Bollywood movies, TV soaps and been reading too many regressive woman’s magazines.
    The poor man has to manage household affairs and keep his wife happy, he says. Ahem, managing house and keeping man and his family happy is also what women are doing. Why doesn’t he address women as ‘poor women’ then??! Tsk tsk… no logic applied at all.
    Yeah like he says, “there is only one life, if you ruin it its gone.” That doesn’t need an Einstein to understand. And THAT’S why people want a divorce rather than continue suffering in a relationship.
    I don’t even believe him when he says women blame their m-i-l’s for not having children. Reading what he has to say, I feel this man is highly delusional!
    Coming from a lawyer, all this seems to be the most illogical piece of crap I have come across. Lawyers are known for their incisive minds and logical thinking (something I have come to associate with Bhagwad Jal Park’s comments and blogs).

    Like

    • I know of a young woman in our extended relations who could not conceive and her MIL is to be blamed. The damned soul MIL will start with incantations in insence sticks exactly at midnight. She has to fumigate the bed room of son and DIL to save them from the evil souls lurking around.
      She would even start screaming in the middle of the night and insist either son sleep in her room or she come and sleep in their room cause she was too scared and her heart would stop if she slep alone. The marriage finally ended in divorce.

      Still in rural India, MIL control when the sons get to sleep with their wives. This overt control would have been good initially in saving women from unwanted sex and giving them rest. MILs maintained vigil on fasting periods and religious days when no sex was allowed and menstrual and postpartum taboos was one of them. But when that becomes regular part of every day life I guess women will have difficulty conceiving. I’ll definitely have difficulty if someone was counting my menstrual days.

      Peace,
      Desi Girl

      Anyone any good ones to share 🙂

      Peace,
      Desi Girl

      Like

      • @girlsguidetosurvival, this I can definitely believe because I know a lot of cases of the nature you speak. I think I took that sentence in a totally different sense, that the dil-s blamed MILs unjustly which I found difficult to believe.
        Of course the way some MILs behave its a wonder that the DILs conceive at all!
        A particular one I know of slept in her son and DIL’s room because her room was “too hot”. Of course her own husband slept in that room while she slept in the “cooler” environs of her son’s room. 😛
        Then there is the MIL who insisted that her DIL not sleep on the double cot with her son as her son “needed to sleep peacefully, without being cramped for space”!
        Then there is the MIL who kept the son in her room as only she “could wake him up for going to work on time”!

        Like

  35. I am not going to take any sides here but I do feel that law is a bit in favour of women, problems are aplenty and both men and women are equally responsible for this ,

    it will sound silly but the domestic abuse is so much against men tooo .. in uk here things are changing the law is getting fairer now towards men …

    thats all i go to say and the rest of the points i can carry on and on they will never stop but what i feel the reason for divorces is NO patience, and always looking at what others are doing … the one night stands etc are aplenty , we dont have that honour or the loyalty in us anymore that was there …
    its so easy to say oh well lets part

    i am from old school where my parents taught me to make a relation work, its so easy to break anything , we have become heartless thats wht it is ..

    Bikram’s Blog

    Like

    • Old schoolor new the key is to know when enough is enough effort.
      Hope this serenity prayer helps…

      God grant me the serenity
      to accept the things I cannot change;
      courage to change the things I can;
      and wisdom to know the difference.

      Peace,
      Desi Girl

      Like

  36. Pingback: Of mothers and mothers-in-law « Life and Times in Bangalore

  37. *sigh*
    Give me humanism anyday…you know, that quaint notion that all people – female and male – deserve care and respect and love, just because they exist…and we all have equity in this thing called life.
    And I think the lawyer’s analogy should be altered from “divorce is like buying onions” to “divorce is like eating onions – raw” – it’s bitter and makes you cry.

    Like

    • Feminism is humanism with another name cause it was initiated by women. Why so much fear of the word “feminism?”

      Feminism is not just about empowering women it is about empowerment of all oppressed be it men or poor social classes cuase women will always make 50% of any group.

      Nobody questions if a dalit woman asks for equal right to be able go to movie theater like her upper caste counter part but if the same woman asks for help from her spouse in the household she immdeiately becomes spoiled one copying the upper caste counter part.

      How do we think women can be empowered when the men living with them are oppressed too?

      Just little food for thought.
      Peace,

      Desi Girl

      Like

  38. Where did you find this gem of a lawyer?
    He is happy his ilk is making money out of feminism and then too he is complaining. 🙂 Just trying to act as if he is loyal to great Indian culture.

    Here are my 2 cents:

    No one says democracy has gone to the heads of poor and lower castes that they have started asking for better living conditions and equal opportunities for education, employment and living.

    Have anyone heard that democracy has gone into the heads of dalits as they have started to ask to wear slippers while crossing the streets and having same cups to drink tea in the restaurants like all others… If they do they are beaten and killed. That is what this lawyer and his kind are doing to women who demand change in terms of marriage.

    Also, only those divorces are counted that make it to the lawyers what about all those that are actuality but never reported to any census. In rural India women are just abandoned by men and their families over any petty reason- she has too many daughters, she is changed is quarellsome now, she is inefficient, she is lazy on and on…

    “…You say the word mother-in-law, and the first thought that pops into a girl’s head is bitch! And that’s the truth. Ask any young adult, let’s say 18 plus, whose marriage has been the topic of discussion at any point of time in her house, she will accept this. The mindset of the youth is like that now. Which is the saddest part of all. Works wonderfully for us lawyers though…”

    This is no recent phenomenon, gender socialization of girls is anticipatory socialization with the image of facing a fearsome MIL once they marry. Folk songs are full of songs that sing of terrors of MIL

    एक सुख देखा मैंन मैया के राज में, I saw peace in my mother’s reign,
    सखियों के संग अपने, गुडिओं का मेरा खेलना Playing with my friends and dolls
    एक सुख देखा मैने भाभी के राज में, I saw peace in my SIL’s (brother’s wife)reign,
    goद में भतीजा रे, गलिओं में मेरा घूमना Nephew in the lap, my strolling in the streets
    एक दुख देखा मैने सासू के राज में, I saw pain in my MIL’s reign,
    आधी आधी रतियाँ रे चक्की का मेरा पीसना I grinding mill until midnight
    एक दुख देखा मैंने जीतहाणी के राज में, I saw a pain in my elder co-sister’s reign
    आधी आधी रतियाँ रे चूहले का मेरा फूँकना I blowing smoke of the earthen stove

    So were they all influenced by feminism 🙂 even before the word feminism was coined.

    http://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/2010/03/24/401/

    DG would not differ with him if he conceds men are stupid. But she would not accept it as good enough reason to put up with nonsense just because the other party is imbelice.

    If they are stupid it should mean they are not comepetent to have a relationship especially marriage coz’ it is lots of work and marriage is like a vehical that needs two wheels that are equal not a flat and inflated tire. 🙂

    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like

  39. Good post. More divorces are there because feudalism declined and Capitalism became the prevalent economic system,a system where there is no in built discrimination against women. The change in economic system occured because of Industrial revolution. In the new economic system women also were required to work along with men in all areas of production.This gave women enough income to express themselves and get out of unhappy relationships

    Like

    • @Chrakan,
      Capitalism did bring women out of homes to labor in the urban industries but it did not change the sexism rather it startegically employed to pay them less than men for the same amount of work. That is how industrial revolution and first wave of feminism started- right to equal wages and regulated work hours, a day off and safe working conditions. Rise in divorce rates is recent phenomenon (50 years is recent in social sciences) read it as baby boomers had divorces but their parents had reservations against the word- they believed in till death do us apart or till I kill you or otherwise.

      Peace,
      Desi Girl

      Like

  40. Pingback: Imperfect lives. « The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  41. I am not very surprised the guy is a lawyer. I have attended a few court hearings and I have seen how despite the so-called women centric laws that some men like to complain about, the onus of innocence is still on the women in simple cases like divorce. A woman is not allowed to be a confused person, who made an error in judgement and then wishes to change, if that sort of a thing is seen, immediately the case is supposed to be weak. I remember attending the very public trial of Adnan Sami and his ex wife Sabah and though both parties were equally batty, many were more inclined to believe that Sabah was a more vicious person.

    I also have a colleague who wrote something on his status about marriages and everyone seemed to lament how breaking of families has made the society so much worse. Other ‘happily’ married men and women were weighing in on how they agree that people have no patience anymore blah blah. My point is most of these people think that if something worked for them, it should and has to work for others and that if they have compromised or done whatever others should too. It is this mentality that keeps us all repressed and victimised.

    Like

  42. totally totally agree with you…
    I read TBG’s post and wondered, how do I respond without getting too angry?!
    So, I refrained till I read your post before commenting there…
    But, I still need a bit more clarity in my thoughts and words before I publish the post!

    Great post as always IHM 🙂
    {{{hugs}}}

    Like

  43. Nodding all along… and I am not the least surprise by this lawyer’s views. I mean, there are so many women I know who think the same way, some even younger than me. And women seeking divorce, don’t even think of it, chances are the girl’s own parents would disown her. Very nice post, I hope it imparts some sense to the lawyer!

    Like

  44. This gentleman sounds at the most mild, a misanthrope, a disliker of all human kind, who wants to live in some good old days, which probably never even existed. You know the days when the grass was green, people had all the time, women cooked food and were content. Good old days which possibly exist only in a calendar or Bollywood movie.

    Like

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  52. OMG what a troll this lawyer is. I applaud you for your patience to give him the time of the day and reply to him line by line. If it were me, I’d have mailed a bag of excrement to his office. And then flipped him the bird, after “jumping up and down” on his balls.

    ~deviousDiv

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  58. Pingback: “He became more distant and sometime would verbally abuse me, call me names and then slapping and wrist twisting started happening.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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