Can a woman marry and change an uninterested (in marrying her) man into a responsible, loving husband?

Starry and Giribala shared this link to the saddest story of 26-yr-old Asti Shekhar whose husband married her as a ‘sacrifice’ to ‘keep his parents happy’. There was dowry demand, made and fulfilled, but what killed Asti was her husband, Smartu’s cruelty.

Whatever excuses this man, Smartu, made, he seemed willing enough to marry Asti, who wrote in her diary,

“Jan 10th,

Today, he told me that another girl had stolen his heart before we met, but there was nothing between them except that he had a soft corner for that girl. I don’t have a problem with this, but I will tease him about it.

They were married on Feb 27th. Once married, Smartu started showing his true colours, starting with the declaration that he was going to continue his relationship with a woman he claimed to love (Ramya).

Asti wrote,

“March 20
His soul and body belongs to someone else. There is no place for me in his heart and life.

Mummyji warned me that if I could not keep her son happy, he would leave me and go away. Imagine! She is warning a girl who is just married. How can I deal with this behaviour? I feel sad and lonely. After all this, I wiped my tears and prepared lunch (rosagulla, mutton, dahi vada).

Smartu seemed to understand that Sweety would be expected to make this marriage work.

This paramparik system works very conveniently for people like Smartu. Like a typical abuser, he made everybody else feel responsible for his cruelty/abuse.

The elders in the family (again typically) used traditional wisdom (instead of common sense) and concluded that it was the 26 year old Sweety’s responsibility (and within her power) to ensure her husband was happy.

(The same mindset created Malaysian Obedient Wife Club).

Many Indian elders seem to see sex as a means to control married men.

“March 21

This has been a bad day. I do not even know why. I don’t know what Mikkuji told his mother this morning. She called me and scolded me a lot. She asked me if I was a woman. I said ‘yes’ and she asked me why her son felt I was always distant and aloof. Imagine! Doesn’t she know why her son feels like that? Mikku only stays with me, but his heart and soul is with his honey. He does not hear my voice and he does not even look at me. I have tried to make him love me and feel my presence, but it hasn’t worked. Perhaps it’s my mistake. When he told me that he once had a girlfriend, I should have said no to this marriage. I don’t know why I agreed. I should have told my Papa all this at that time. I have destroyed both Mikku’s life and mine. Now I don’t know what will happen and what turn my life will take. How long should I tolerate this? Mummiji abuses me about many things now. I have decided that I will not ask anyone for anything anymore.

All the red highlighted words show how she was held responsible for the abuse (sometimes even by herself).

If Sweety had managed to get pregnant, she would have got busy with the baby and there would have been no death, separation or divorce, and this would have been seen as another ‘successful Indian marriage’.

The mother in law does not seem to notice that she has spoiled Sweety’s life through this marriage.

“March 30

The tension is killing me. Mummiji says she is punishing herself as she has spoilt her son’s life through this marriage. She says Mikku sacrificed his love life just for her happinessno one is bothered about how I feel. What wrong have I done?”

Nobody seems to be blaming Mikkuji.

“April 2

Smartu is totally drunk and it is 1.00 am in the night and he is out of home. I think my entire life will be like this only.

Have you seen ‘Dulhan wahi jo piya man bhaye‘? Wives are encouraged to see men as easily manipulated people who can be made to ‘fall in love’.

In such marriages often the woman is forever trying to keep the man happy. She sees his happiness (i.e. approval) as a reward for all her sacrifices/efforts/manipulations/prayers etc. Her self esteem depends on this husband’s approval.

Who is being manipulated here?

“April 12

I am unable to make him happy and it is a shameful thing for any wife. Sometimes I think I should end my life, but this is not a solution to my problems. I don’t know what to do and how to gain a place my husband’s heart.

There’s no charm for Smartu in this marriage and he just wants to be free from jail.

This marriage is a punishment for him. No one — not my Papa, mother, Mikku nor his parents – none of them realise that they are punishing only me. Do you know dairy, Mummiji wanted Mikku to marry me because they wanted a cook – Sweety, the cook. Did he not understand my love for him? Did he not see it in my eyes? He only wants my body. Does he not understand my feelings towards him? Will I ever get him to love me? If he doesn’t value our relationship will he leave me forever in June?

And now the dangling sword of failure. She couldn’t win him over.

“Mikku now thinks he is already married to Ramya. He married me only because he wanted to keep his parents happy. Mikku loses nothing from this marriage. I’m the only one who is losing my life… Mikku does not even speak to me now. He just answers ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to my questions. Even physically I’m useless to him.

What made Mikku think he was married to Ramya? Why doesn’t his parent’s happiness matter now?

What if Sweety had threatened the family with legal action? Or sued them for cheating her and demanded huge compensation? I wish her parents do that and start an NGO for thousands of women trapped in such situations.

“Every moment I think about doing the things Mikku likes. Why does he not feel anything towards me? Why? Why? I think I am a burden to everyone. No one sees the sorrow I’m feeling. What should I do? Where should I go once Mikku leaves me in June forever?

Sweety was aware that Mikku lost nothing from this marraige.

What are the chances that now that Sweety is out of the way,  Mikku would get married to Ramya? Do you think Ramya might feel he would make a responsible, loving partner? Maybe like Sweety, Ramya too is raised to have no expectations expect a occasional approving pat on the back.  😦

Maybe the Indian patriarchal society been such a failure because it gives too much responsibility and almost no rights/powers to it’s young female members?

“April 13

I want to run away from this unsuccessful life. I feel guilty about my parents and brother. They had expected many more from this marriage. They thought they fulfilled their responsibility.

Today, I feel I am the poorest and unluckiest girl in this world. I lost my husband completely today. I hoped it would not happen, but it has happened. Today he slept alone in another room and left me alone. Why did this have to happen to me?  Is it my mistake to have consented to a marriage which papa fixed?

April 29

Today Mikku told me to go out of his life forever. He told me that I didn’t deserve him. Marrying me was one big mistake he made in his life.

May 2

I am that unlucky and unfortunate wife who saw tears in her husband’s eyes.

Mikku not only cheated Sweety, but seemed to demand her sympathy, connivance and support in continuing her abuse. He knew Sweety was expected to make this marriage work. (Indian Family Value for women : Get Married, Stay Married)

“May 28

Mikku told me that he did not have anything to give to his honey, Ramya not even his name. But Ramya has everything to give him. I am reaching the height of depression.

Today, he stopped eating with me. Tomorrow is Ramya’s birthday, but he is tense because he can’t celebrate with her as I’m around. What should I do for this? I will end my life.

Sweety had tried to get a job.

She did not think she could really hold her parents, in laws and husband responsible for the decisions each of them took.

“June 2

Mammiji and Papaji say they will be with me and I am like a daughter to them, but kabtak? At any time, they can also get fed up with me. I can’t go to my parents. I have nothing left, nothing to look forward to. Mummy, your daughter is going away with all respect and dignity. I have in my mind all the culture you taught me and even now your daughter is very pure. I haven’t even thought about another man than Mikku. I don’t know what mistake I committed. Mikku, I am not that bad a girl. I am going away from you and your life, to that place from where one cannot come back even if one wanted to. Now you are a free bird.

This time marry the girl whom you love because every girl will not be Sweety.”

There’s self pity and helplessness and very subtle accusation.

Do you think Sweety should have been expected to win over a man who was not interested in marrying her?

Have you seen such marriages where newly wed Indian women are asked to make the husband ‘come to the right path’? And often there is no looking back, she must either succeed or live in a lifetime of hell. Or die.

What do such relationships do to a woman’s self esteem? What if she had found a job or got pregnant?

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148 thoughts on “Can a woman marry and change an uninterested (in marrying her) man into a responsible, loving husband?

  1. As “per your request” I am repeating my tweet:
    No I dont think just by marrying and being a good daughter-in-law you can “change” the husband into a responsible, caring man
    1)You have to have the boy child first…so what if he is not sleeping with you. If Mother Mary and Kunti can why not you
    2)You have to fast. And fast. And fast some more
    3)You have to dance tandav in the temple courtyard, girl. As in tandav, diya in hand, killer eyes, invoking Ma Durga, liberal sindoor, striking forehead on altar
    4)for everything else there is nazar suraksha kavach.
    (P.S I just read your post now…the tweet was in response to your query on twitter, I hope my comments dont read as too macabre in reference to Sweety’s story)

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    • Well it was fairly obvious from the very start that this guy was extremely meek and without a strong will. Despite being in love with a woman, he allowed his mother to get him to agree to a marriage with another woman. So the lady in this story made a very big mistake in marrying him. Whatever followed was to be fully expected.

      I don’t know what happened eventually. I hope they got divorced because that is one marriage which has only one happy ending – a divorce!

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  2. I am just appalled. This is so sad and yet, not hard to believe. Anything for honor’s sake.. =/
    It’s so ridiculous that people like that mother-in-law or husband can really exist in today’s world..

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  3. Every single truth you often bring out in your posts and the ensuing discussions is there in this unfortunate young woman’s story. I know at least one such woman, who also did try to commit suicide, but did not try again because of her baby son. Now she has two sons and is a good, obedient wife. 😦 So that answers your question about the getting pregnant. If she had gotten a job, I’m still not sure that she would’ve walked out…it’s not only financial independence, but the belief and value and support systems that enable the guts to do so.

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  4. My God! This makes me so so angry. And you know who the real culprits are? The parents. Just marry the daughter off. End of responsibility. When is this bullshit going to end!

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    • No, MoRS. At some point you have to hold adults responsible for their own actions and decisions, don’t you? Sure, the parents are partly to blame, because they pressured their son to get married to the girl of their choice. But in the end, the decision was his.

      HE gave in to their unreasonable demands, knowing he could not truly follow through.

      HE agreed to marry Sweety, without a single thought to what it would do to her life.

      HE lied to Sweety (saying Ramya was an ex, that there was nothing between them, that he only had a “soft corner” for her) to get Sweety to marry him just so that his parents would leave him alone: the ultimate act of selfishness.

      HE chose to abuse Sweety, rape Sweety (do you think sex between these people can be considered consensual??), make her life hell and treat her like so much dust on his shoes, reserving for her the kind of cruelty one does not even show street dogs, let alone wives.

      He didn’t have to do any of this.

      What is the worst that would happen to him if he continued to resist his parents’ demands to get married? Would he have been killed? Beaten? Raped? Burned? Tortured? Not even close… At the absolute worst, he would have been thrown out of his family home. BIG DEAL! He is a financially independent adult – he would be more than capable of surviving on his own with his precious Ramya to boot.

      But no. Like all cowards, he wanted the best of both worlds… he wanted to have his cake and eat it too.

      The blame for this tragedy lies squarely at his door.

      Me – I agree with you SamosaOfDoom.

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      • @Samosasofdoom,

        I partly agree with you, and adults ARE responsible for their actions. But I feel the man is also partly a victim of his upbringing. He cannot have been happy under the situation either. The only thing is that he was not caught in a web, unlike his wife, and was free (both mentally and physically) to do as he pleased. This is a fault of our society, not purely of the man or woman. We ALL need to start thinking more responsibly. And pushing a girl into a marriage like this is NOT responsibility. It is slavery.

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  5. The story is worse than I expected and I feel too sad to comment on it. Only thing I would say based on the argument in the title is that is expecting too much from a woman. And if someone is disinterested then it is their responsibility to generate interest because they chose it.

    I am utterly disgusted with how spineless the man acted. Do you see how she feels responsible for his tears? Just because an abuser cries doesn’t mean he or she has feelings.

    Also IHM another article I want you to read, today’s Mumbai Mirror has the story of a prof who sent lewd SMSes to a student saying he was just testing her character. Since she didn’t respond to his overtures she is a good girl and he will tell his colleagues she deserves better scores! Horrific.

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  6. 😐 On one hand, I feel like giving girls like this two tight slaps for how spineless they come across. Then I remind myself that not everybody has had the advantages that I’ve had in my life- to think and be my own person and not consider marriage to be the center of my existence. I was fortunate enough to have had an education that really freed my mind and made me ignore the one million voices that go on and on about this.

    This pressure to get married and stay married is toxic. It’s unbelievable how much a girl has to plan her life around this event even before meeting this bhagwan pati-sahib. Can I take up a demanding career like medicine and still have a happy marriage? Can I do a PhD and still not be too old for the marriage market? etc etc.

    I really wish Indian parents would treat their children as adults and not interfere in their lives so much. And this son-appeasing is just so ridiculous. I see it all the time! Mothers acting like their sons are some wingless angels who need to be given the best all the time. It’s so annoying.
    me – She also expected her daughter Nupur to be given gifts…, so it’s an ill-mannered, “Please my kids.”
    Added later: Though ofcourse the son is way higher in the hierarchy.

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    • Oh this pleasing the ‘daughter-of-the-house’ onus falls on the bahu of the house. It’s another form of in-law harassment. My aunt used to arrive at our place every weekend bags and kids and husband in tow and lord over my mum who was supposed to cook for all of them (my grandmum would coochie-coo with her daughter and darling son–in-law). My mum had to manage two small children plus this. Thankfully, she refused to do this after a while and the practice stopped- though she was blamed for spoiling family relations etc. I’m so glad they got spoilt though 😀

      The fawning over sons is quite different…the indulgence levels are almost Oedipal!

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  7. I shudder to think what would have happened if she got pregnant!! Imagine the torture the wife and child would have to go through everytime the husband made them feel unwanted or responsible for “all that’s gone wrong” in his life!

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  8. I really feel a seething anger . This is a collective abuse imparted on a young and vulnerable girl…. girls are married young by parents thinking it as their supreme duty …and see how the dutiful parents spoil a life .

    The psychology of many people that marrying a ‘straying’ son is the solution to bring him back to a happy life…. i don’t understand why people can’t understand the dynamics of relationship …

    What i have seen is that many parents who have been in such situation ( mangled sense of relationships) push their children again to such circumstances …why don’t learn from their own experiences?

    And the ever so dutiful sons …they don’t have a tongue to speak when the parents are looking for a dutiful wife ….many of the sons look forward to the convenience of a dutiful wife at home and an exotic lover outside…and sometimes it seems to work for a while… Lives being spoiled on the name of culture and parampara …. ”purity of character” …

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    • Agree with your comment about parents keen to repeat their own sordid history with their children. There’s a girl in my building whose parents had a really bad marriage – it was arranged, her mum was married off young and her dad turned out to be a complete loser who the mum stuck with for the sake of the child as per the norm. Weirdly this woman is now desperately trying to find a husband for her daughter who has no interest in getting married, because “who will take care of her when I die?” Never mind that the woman’s own husband proved to be no use in taking care of anyone. My mum keeps trying to make her see sense and even directly told her that you know how you suffered, why are you risking the same thing with your daughter, but to no avail.

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      • This is the saddest part. We know so many things and know how things can go wrong but still accept them in the name of parampara…or this how things are…aisa to hota hi hai…
        Can we learn in our life time and prevent such things from happening again?

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    • A fat dowry, a cook cum maid, a scapegoat, an exotic lover outside. It suits the man. He would have made a similar husband to Ramya too.

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  9. For your question IHM,

    even if I had the awesome capability of making someone “come to the right path”, why would I ruin the good and fun years of marriage by deliberately taking on such a challenge? If marriage is all work and no play, it will indeed be very dull!

    Realistically, I don’t think people can be made to change. Change always has to come from within. So unless someone has the internal motivation for any kind of change, be it giving up smoking, or weightloss or a change in morality, it won’t stick if it is pressurized from outside.

    I feel sorry for Sweety. Despite her awful marriage, there was so much potential to her life. I hope all mothers who want to forcibly get their sons to ditch their girl friends read this. And I hope all men / women who do not have the balls to stand up to their parents for their love read this. Because not only were lives ruined, someone killed herself.

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  10. i am so sad that sweety ended her life and the abusers are still alive. just cant stop feeling sad for the girl who was so alone and hopeless, she thought it better to die….

    why cant we encourage our girls to follow lives of their own which dont begin and end with taking care of a man… there is a sentence in her diary where she says “mummyji married me to him because she wanted a cook” horrific as it sounds, this is true. i have overheard several conversations where cooking / food/ taking care of his needs are the main reason for marriage! rip sweety

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  11. This is appalling, i wonder at such times, when you feel so helpless where are your friends?? I understand for women to get caught in situations where you cannot discuss with parents, but where are friends then ??
    Why do women always fail to build a support system around them, as if their entire life they want to wage it as a lone bearer of everything post their marriage …..

    We have support centers and phone help lines for kids giving exams who may develop suicidal and depressive tendencies … but are there such services for women too ?? If yes, why aren’t they advertised as much and what are the inhibitions of women to access these …..

    As much as i would want to crib here about how insensitive parents would be and how unfair Sweety’s in laws and LowBlow husband are, for women who are caught up in such situations what can be done? Aren’t self respect, independence as values penetrated into our social system?

    Is it the support or the ignorance of society to a complete disrespect of husband towards his wife which gives him the courage to go ahead and commit such acts, there has to be something –

    the dichotomy of the situation is pathetic – 2 people at one time in the same situation but on opposite sides …. A Man who does not fear what people will say, who has no cause to concern of what will happen to his married wife, her family or his family because of his acts … and the other side a Woman, who fears everything, who fears what adverse effects her actions will have on her parents, her in laws etc ….. there is something fundamentally wrong here …..

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    • Blawghh these are the kinds of people who discourage their daughters in law from staying in touch with their friends and family. Support requires frequent interactions and updates, for a friend (or anyone) to even understand what is going on. Sweety really felt that she was being seen as a failure (though she did seem to see the hypocrisy in it).

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      • Absolutely IHM, in such families, gradually the DIL’s past connections (friends and relatives) are cut out of her life to have greater control over her. After a point the DIL herself will feel embarrassed to invite her people over and would avoid anyone visiting her and seeing her miserable condition. It’s very sad but true.

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    • Where are her friends? Good question would be did she have any friends? Women’s friendship is a complex can of worms kept shut by families in the name of family honor and shame; ghar ki baat. Thank God, she had diary as a friend many women are even prevented from journaling by their parents (they fear she is indulging in a romantic relationship or is actually developing a mind of her own) and then in marriage it is believed a woman has no right to personal thoughts so everyone can read her journal.

      http://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/633/

      Peace,
      Desi Girl

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      • That hit a nerve.

        I’m one of those girls who was not allowed to have any friends except for the ones my parents approved of… and then too I was only allowed to conduct my friendships in the ways they approved of (no going out with friends even for ice cream at 5 PM, no talking on the phone for more than 15 minutes a day, etc) so I grew up completely friendless.

        I had a diary… But my parents found it when I was sixteen. They read it, and they made me pay for every single word I had written in there. My father even had the f-ing audacity to EDIT it: where he found opinions and thoughts he did not agree with, he struck them out and wrote his own, where he found confessions too vulgar for his sensitive eyes (I was crushing on some boy at the time) he crossed out entire sections.

        It felt like a kind of rape. I do not use that word lightly. The anger (and weirdly, shame) that I carry from that time of my life consumes me if I let myself think about it too much.

        So I’m going to stop right here.

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      • Ouch, Samosaofdoom, I didn’t have it that bad, but close. I still am not comfortable making friends because I was insulated during my childhood. The fact that we lived in a slightly suburban part of the city and all my classmates lived far off, added to the problem. I used to guard my diary. It was never read while I was still home. But once I went to college, I left an old diary there because there wasn’t enough space for books in the luggage. When I returned for my semester break, I was asked something I had written there. I remember when I opened a second email account, I was initially asked in a very guilt tripping tone why I wanted to keep the password only with me (the first one was made during school days, so my parents had access to it).

        But I hope you are much better now. It took me a while to become my own person. My sister on the other hand was smarter. I used to wait for an indirect approval to do something, she just figured out that she had to whatever was right according to her.

        While parents may worry about their young kids its not right to smother them with it. Much peace and love to you.

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  12. Sad story. To an extent such happenings can be prevented/reduced if marriages happen without parental/family interference. Such a stage we will reach only after all remnants of feudal culture is removed from our system. But Patriarchy may remain for some more time like the present situation in Western Countries.

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    • Charakan, I feel if not only marriages, but also divorces happened without parental interferences, she would have seen this as an unfortunate turn her life took, tough, sad, heart breaking, but not something that couldn’t be overcome.

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      • It is common to find ‘love-cum arranged marriages’ these days. What this term means is that all other variables remain the same except the choice of partner. Everyone seems to be happy with this arrangement. But mind you the religion, caste, creed, status, career has passed the test and hence gets approval by the parents and elders. If any one of the parameters is a mismatch, then see how the elders will react.

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  13. This is the saddest post I have read on your blog. Not sure what I am feeling other than seething anger for the girl’s parents. All these parents want is to get their daughters married off at the first opportunity to feel good about doing their duty and roam around proudly in the society. The daughter’s happiness is of course secondary and expendable. Being a (single) mother myself of a lovely 6 yrs old daughter I can’t begin to imagine how can anyone care more for the society than their own loving daughters. There is something seriously wrong with us (as a society). And why is the change taking so long to happen?

    On the positive side, I know of one girl who will never face such pressures and expectations- my daughter. This thought makes me feel I am in some way contributing in changing the way society thinks- however small or negligible my contribution might be. I am thankful for all those people I ‘meet’ regularly on your blog…may the tribe grow 

    Me – Hugs to you and to that one girl who you know will never face such pressures!!

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    • Though I believe that adult children should take their own decisions and marriages should not be seen as irreversible, yet I can’t say the same with my husband. He faces a lot of pressure from his folks, and transfers that pressure on to the children, pissing them off.

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  14. Apart from the obvious – that this is a very sad and tragic story – I thought it was weird that the father of the girl filed a case of dowry harassment. First, isn’t it against the law to give dowry, and he seems have willingly done so. Second, although there appears to be dowry harassment, this does not seem to be the major cause for the girl’s suicide. Rather, it seemed to be:
    1. The infidelity and betrayal of the husband Smartu (or as someone in the comments of the orginal story said Worstu): while his behaviour was mean and unfair, is it illegal?
    2. Her upbringing which made her see the failure of her marriage as the end of her life and self-respect. I think it is actually the latter that caused her death more than anything else. Her conviction that this is the worst that could have ever happened to her, that she had no escape. Why did she believe she couldn’t go back to her parents? They seemed concerned enough. If it is her upbringing, then who is to be blamed for it? Her parents.

    If we can see this woman as a victim of her upbringing – and not as a stupid girl, which was my initial reaction – then can we also say the same of her husband. He is also a victim of a society that insists that young people inevitably bow to the demands of their parents and “settle down” and that by tying the knot this settling down will inevitably happen. Just as she is a victim of a society that tells women the onus is on them to please, he is a victim of a society that tells men they are entitled to being pleased. So can he be blamed?

    By that logic, everyone in this saga is acting in a stagey predefined way… the in laws behaving how in laws are expected to behave, the parents of the girl too in their readiness to get her married and their wedding expenses, and then the young couple.

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    • I think it is illegal to cause mental torture, which is what Smartu did. He married her, told her he loved her and then changed colours once he was married. What he did is a nightmare for a newly wed wife. She must have felt completely lost and alone.
      Smartu’s parents made Sweety feel even more like a failure.

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      • He can also claim that his parents mentally tortured him and therefore he acted the way he did. And there would be some truth to it too. He was only slightly less a prisoner of Indian culture than she was, though being a man it may have been easier for him to break free. I understand that it must have been terrible for her, but part of this was due to her own mindset… she had constructed this fairytale for herself where she pleases everyone and couldn’t deal with it when it came crashing down.

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    • @The Bride–I definitely agree. Now if he had forcefully kept her confined in their flat, then it would be illegal. She seems to have had the opportunity to leave any time she wanted but chose not to based on her own values. She also chose to marry him in spite of knowing he had a girlfriend– in fact, she seems to be thankful to her in laws for forcing their son to marry her.

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      • @kay,

        Jan 10, …he told me that another girl had stolen his heart before we met, but there was nothing between them except that he had a soft corner for that girl. I don’t have a problem with this, but I will tease him about it…

        Once a man says it was just a soft corner what does that mean?

        Poor woman had no clue that man was marrying out of compulsion because he was talking sweet nothings to her. Even if she had an iota of doubt that was watered down by great desi culture, he is just shy, she is just shy we both are bit shy to talk…

        In other entries she has mentioned why she can’t leave- parent’s honor, parents have invested Rs. 1800, 000. They expect her to remain married- happy or otherwise. Please follow the link on Bangalore Mirror and read it. Desi marriage and desi relationships are more complex than the AS IS facade.

        Peace,
        Desi Girl

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      • @DG–
        “Jan 5
        I prepared a three-page shopping list for Smartu … Today Smartu told me about his girlfriends. I thought if I am getting a guy like him, I should adjust with these things. But I have faith in him and I don’t think he will cheat me. I have tied him with my love.

        Jan 6
        I love my sasural because I’m getting Smartu just because of them. For the first time I told him ‘I love you’.”

        This indicates to me that she knows he’s getting coerced at a certain level and is okay with it.

        Also, if anyone should be blamed for mental torture, it’s her own family. They were the ones who raised her to believe her whole purpose in life was to please this guy. When they knew about her problems, they simply sent a weeping younger brother who clearly wasn’t of any help to her. For them to turn this thing around and try to sue the guy for dowry harrassment sets a bad example.

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        • Young girls and boys were not allowed to interact during our time. This segregation of sexes at school, at home and everywhere is the reason why a girl sees the first man as ‘the one and only prince charming’ who has been created just for her, they get married and live happily ever after. How simple!

          What children (boys and girls) need is exposure. This exposure will teach them to think rationally and form their own opinion about things. It will also give them a yardstick to make a comparison between people. The young urban girls are more smart and know better how to take care of themselves and do not hold dear values like their parents. But when it comes to marriage, it is the parents who call the shots. So what if the boy is young and holds new values, he has to contend with parents with old values.

          It is not that we do not find families that are liberal but they are few and far between. It all bottles down to not restricting and confining children to a limited set of boundaries but letting them free to mix, think, reason and ask questions. Let us hope the next generation will find more evolved parents!

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      • @kay,
        It is not that simple. Desi Girl’s are raised with a goal “getting married and staying married.” They are a product that is prepared to suit the needs of the prospective in-laws and spouse to be delivered at an earliest times post puberty.
        Efficient in house keeping; ignorant in sexual matters, chaste poise yet well versed in maintaining family honor etc.
        It is not just Asti but every other woman’s story, she died so it came out. Take a look at this link and check the comments how women have gone extra lengths to deal with this cultural nonsense.
        http://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/all-about-relationships/dealing-with-in-laws/

        http://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/desi-parenting-raising-confused-daughters/

        Peace,
        Desi Girl

        Like

    • Upbringing plays a role…but always character tells, no matter what the upbringing. Unfortunately, that Smartu was a weakling, and like most weaklings, lacked basic kindness. There are also many girls who grow up in traditional families, and still manage to navigate and succeed through life. Unfortunately, this girl lacked the patience and courage to bear through the tough times.

      I am speaking of my personal experience with a dear friend of mine from a rural Gujju familly. He is gay and was pressurized (like hell, insane pressure) to marry a girl. With great kindness and yet firmess, he refused to spoil the life of the girl. He admitted the truth, got blacklisted by his family and community, and suffered for it.

      Now, after many years, his father has finally accepted him, and he leads his life semi-openly and happily.

      Character tells.

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    • Basically India has a culture of bullying. Parents bullying their kids in toeing the line, in laws bullying the DIL. This bullying is passed on from generation to generation. Fear of society (relatives and friend circle) is the cause of this. Everyone is a victim. It is high time a spoke is put on this wheel of bullying by one party on another.

      Often when a girl commits suicide and the parents suspect the husband or in laws of torture, they prefer to file a dowry harassment case because immediate action is taken and the husband is thrown behind bars. Dowry Harassment Case is the most potent weapon in the hands of women.

      This was a very unfortunate incident. May the poor soul rest in peace!

      Like

  15. So sad. This girl has not got ANY help from anyone. All of them need to be accountable – parents, husband and in-laws. You say she tried to get a job – what happened there? Was she educated? Any idea why she didn’t get a job?

    More reason for all of us to talk about these things with people around who do not have access to the same things we did/do. I can (and will) blame her parents for not being there for her or making her feel like they would not be with her but that is also after the fact. My maid was going to commit suicide for some reasons and thankfully she spoke to us. And we were able to help her and support her in ways that she needed.

    The conditioning is not going to be broken by the system….that is up to people like you and me to do.

    Like

    • @Sangitha,

      Lets be realistic, one interview in 3 months is great but first interview will beget a job is little too much to expect. And also when a person is experiencing constant berating (from in-laws) and neglect from lawfully wedded spouse self esteem goes down the drain.

      If she sought help? Who could she talk to? She was new in the town, the women she talked with were wives of her husband’s friends who posed a happy rosy picture of their marriages. It is so humiliating and defeating to see all but you are the most miserable. Been there so can tell with conviction.

      May 21, …I still feel pain when Mikku’s friends’ wives tell me about their after marriage experiences. They are all happy.

      http://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/633/

      Parents would have been there for her only if she had told them clearly. DG did not report anything to her parents because she wanted to protect them and she thought she deserved it because she chose the man not them.

      It is futile exercise to find out what she could have done and not done. It will be a good idea to focus on how we can teach young women to look for signs of trouble/red flags in a relationship, talk parents that a living single daughter is better than unhappy married or dead daughter; how young men can learn to to grow spines and how parents of adult children should treat them as adults not thumb sucking babies.

      Peace,
      Desi Girl

      Like

    • Sangita, in India if a girl is seen in her parental home after her marriage, she is expected to go back to her marital home after a period of time. But if she continues staying with them, people start asking questions and make parents uncomfortable. When the girl can’t take the taunts anymore, she decides to go back to her marital home, whatever be the situation there. It’s a pity that the condition of women in India is like that of cattle. A lone woman is seen as a threat by other women. People even refuse to give them houses on rent.

      Like

  16. ‘Talavani manthiram’ aka pillow talk will change an unmarried wayward son for good. The same ‘Talavani manthiram’ is used as a weapon (this time used badly) by a girl to pull her husband to her side away from his mother.

    That much power a woman has…all by using sex. That’s why mothers of sons take things into their own hands by having control mechanisms in place (bullying, passive agressiveness, picking on DIL/her parents/dowry etc etc) to prevent misuse of the weapon (sex) in a marriage.

    Like

    • Sex is never a weapon. If a woman does not give it, the husband seeks outsiders. If a mother feels the need to control her son and take him away from his wife, she needs her head examined. Gosh, this is making me so angry, I can’t even type!

      Like

      • ‘If a mother feels the need to control her son and take him away from his wife, she needs her head examined’…
        The recent contents in IHM’s blog & many personal accounts related by some ladies (me included) here is a living testimony that there are many MILs/Ils ARE in need of mental examinination.

        Like

  17. it’s heart-breaking, it’s horrifying, it’s nausea-inducing, it’s a big fat slap across the face of so called Indian Values. I hate, hate, hate that term. Indian System of making women perpetually miserable, helpless, god-forsaken slaves is more apt. my first tendency was to think why didn’t she leave him. but years and years of conditioning, the set in stone idea in her head that it was her sole aim and responsibility in life to make her marriage work because if it didn’t then she was a total failure who would bring unhappiness to her parents and everyone else, there is no way she could have fought against it all. millions of baby girls in india are doomed the minute they are born because the families they are born in don’t have an iota of value of for them. there must be so many sweety’s out there – only difference is that they didn’t commit suicide so no one is talking about them.

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    • 2 points that I wish all of us drill in our head and all this misery would lessen considerably-

      1. Divorce is not the end of life. It is a process we need to follow to end something that didn’t work out. It’s some thing like a document you would prepare to end a business partnership that didnt work out the way you had expected it to.

      2. You are NOT alone. There IS psychological help available for you- NGOs (free), help lines (free counselling), psychiatrists in all good hospitals (expensive but available). All you have to do is to force yourself to reach out. There is NO stigma attached to it.

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  18. I read this yesterday on Starry’s blog and was appalled…it seems pretty unreal honestly..but like GB says..it made me realise that not everyone is lucky enough to have the kind of upbringing and education that I got….

    Its very sad, but like I had written earlier on womensweb, marriage is a very very over rated institution…its supposed to be a journey in life..not the ultimate goal of life..the earlier we teach our daughters this, the better it is for the society.

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    • R’s Mom, very well said! We, as parents should always be there as support system for our girls. I know of a family where the neighbor was complaining to the girl’s dad that she came home late etc. The furious man asked the neighbor to get out of his house for daring to talk like that about his daughter. When children know that their parents will stand up for them, they will have the moral courage to walk out of a bad marriage. But on the other hand if parents play into the hands of neighbors and friends, the girl will feel all alone. We should care for the well being of our children and not let outsiders intimidate us with their rubbish talk.

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  19. What a spineless guy! What terrible in-laws! And what horrible parents for raising a child to feel that she has nothing left to live for cos she has “failed” in making the guy happy.

    Unfortunately, this is just one of many such cases isn’t it?

    Btw, I’ve heard of the reverse too, where the girl is in love with someone else but is forced by her parents to marry someone she doesn’t care for.

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    • @Sanjana,

      It not just about making the guy happy there is more to it. When dreams shatter they don’t make a noise but when one drops dead it makes a slight dent.

      She is in web where her parents have invested their lives’ savings on this marriage and now come June 17, and it is over. It is more complex than what seems on the surface.

      Btw what reverse you have heard is favorite and super duper hit bollywood plot, be it paro of Devdas; or Maya of Woh Saat Din or Nandini of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam

      Peace,
      Desi Girl

      Like

      • @IHM,
        I watch Swami this gone weekend. I watched it for the first time when I was in grade 7th and I was at a neighbor’s home (parents were away). I didn’t recall anything from the movie all I remember the neighbor’s daughter and her friend (they were in grade 11 or 12) discussing how good her husband was that he accepted her even when she ran away with the other man.
        I do not recall anything from the movie but this discussion. It remained entrenched in my heart that a woman should not step out on a marriage. Then there were other nonsense movies spewing similar nonsense and women from parents’ generation and otherwise discussing what is unjust but what women ought not to do. It does screw you up in the head because you never have role models of healthy relationships and how to solve everyday problems. Most of us know how to deal with fussy colleagues and irritable bosses but none knew how to handle a snooty MIL and spoiled SIL or the spineless spouse.

        I did like many scenes in the movie Swami, wish had remembered it at the time I was married. Like where MIL asks the new DIL to give her jewelery to her for safe keeping.

        Mini says: (to MIL) you want me to take care of the whole household and you think I can’t take care of few jewels I have.

        Mini says- yeah my parents did not give me anything worth but what ever little jewels they have given me I can take care of them.

        On the same note a good movie would be Anubhav (1986) Shekhar Suman and Padmini Kohlapure. A young woman should remain ignorant of sex but once married should use it to keep her husband.

        Peace,
        Desi Girl

        Like

      • Paro of Devdas was an idiot. So was Devdas himself. The immaturity of legal adults amazes me sometimes! Wonder if people like that ever grow up!

        And wow! that line – “A young woman should remain ignorant of sex but once married should use it to keep her husband.” SO true! Indian society really is all about double stds isn’t it?

        Like

  20. @IHM- would’nt it help if we compile a list of helplines/ NGOs available for help in different cities and you put it up on your blog? It can be like a ready reckoner for us to use or pass on when we come across other Sweetys and their ‘respectable, responsible’ parents.

    Like

    • Yes, it would be very helpful. I did once find a few numbers but unfortunately the numbers seemed to have changed, there was no response. I would love it if you or anybody could share links and contact and any other useful information, I will put them in a separate page.

      Like

      • Appended is the list I came up with when I googled. the one I have visited is Sanjivini- 011-24318883.

        THE RICHMOND FELLOWSHIP SOCIETY INDIA (DELHI) BRANCH
        Vishwas, 30/3, Knowledge Park III, Greater Noida – 201308
        Gautam Budh Nagar, U.P. Telephone: (0120 3223331)
        E-mail: rfsdelhi@gmail.com

        SHUBHODAYA CENTER FOR REHABILITATION OF TORTURE AND VIOLENCE (SCRVTV)
        Basti Vikas Kendra, Private colony, near Hanuman Mandir, Srinivaspuri,
        New Delhi-110065 E-mail sorac@bolnet.com,
        Ph: 27268868

        CARING FOUNDATION
        Delhi Psychiatric Center, 35, Defence Enclave, Vikas Marg, Delhi-110092
        Ph: 2214726/27, 2459714/16

        AHSAAS (Focus on socially, economically or mentally underprivileged children and adults)
        F-312, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi-110044
        Ph: 6956774
        E-mail: ahsaas@mailmetoday.com

        SAARTHAK (campaigns for the rights of mentally ill.)
        A-1/266, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi-110029.
        Ph: 6183518,6180731
        E-mail: visitors@indiahopes.org, sarthakmembers@yahoo.com

        TURNING POINT INDIA
        B-375, Nirman Vihar, Vikas Marg, Delhi-110092.
        Ph: 2244358,2450544.

        SANJIVINI SOCIETY FOR MENTAL HEALTH,
        H -Block North, under Defense Colony Flyover, Jungpura side, New Delhi.
        Ph. 4311918/ 6862222

        SANGINI (Dealing on emotional and social issues of Lesbian, Bisexuals and Transgenders)
        Nizamuddin, New Delhi

        Best matches for sanjivini society for mental health
        SANJIVINI SOCIETY FOR MENTAL HEALTH, H -Block North, under Defense Colony Flyover, Jungpura side, New Delhi . Ph. 4311918/ 6862222… Jump to text »

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    • Instead of having those ridiculous organizations like Obedient Wives club, we should be having organizations called Daughters Marital Rights Awareness clubs, where every daughter who is getting married should be sent to. The club should drill into the heads of the daughters and their parents that it is okay to walk out of a bad marriage and seek help. Both parents and daughters should be given a list of NGO’s that they can turn to for help.

      Instead of issuing those ridiculous dictates that married women should not spend time speaking on cell-phones, those otherwise useless State Women’s Commissions should go around women’s colleges and make young women aware of the bad side of marriage.

      I often think that women who come to the US after marriage should be given a list of South Asian women’s self help groups. Because I am aware that some of these women are educated but they silently bear abuse, because they fear communicating in English.

      As of now, only a teeny tiny percentage of Indian women are aware that there is life after a broken abusive marriage.

      Already we have low birth rates for girls. On top of it, the ones who get married and end their lives because of bad marriages, makes the gender ratio very tilted.

      At the end of the day, no matter what these self-help groups can do, there is a large role that upbringing has on a woman.

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  21. This is really tragic. I am so damn angry, I agree with THE BRIDE here, apart from the emotional abuse by the husband and In-laws and the alienation by the parents, it is her upbringing to be blamed.

    Girls in traditional families are brought up to believe that ‘marriage and motherhood are the two only important events of her life (this is evident from the fact that Asti was too eager to get married to this guy and also to bear him children, she talks about it even before she was married) It is also embedded in her mind that the onus of making the relationship work lies on her and she has to keep her husband and the marital family happy in any circumstance and not talk ill about them (probably that is the reason why she refrains from talking about the issue even to her own family for a long time) A girl is also disillusioned into believing that her husband is her ‘be all end all’ and this makes them romanticise the idea of marriage

    and a perfect life and acceptance of the husband, however he is, as the best partner (this is clear as Asti, all encompassed by love, ignored the initial signs of problem when Smartu spoke of his previous relationship and also, despite the continuous abuse she never blames the husband and infact could not stand the idea of him in tears) Also, for her this marriage was so important that she felt her dignity lies in ending her own life before the marriage fails.

    Parents in India must learn from sucha cases, instead of keeping your daughters sheltered in the name od innocence, they must talk to them about the harsh realities of life and alho help them learn how to deal with such issues, if at all they arise. This girl, thought herself to be so helpless that she could not reach out to her own family for support.

    Also, I think once the parents came to know of the abuse being meted out to their daughter, they should have thought of a better solution for the issue than sending the young brother. They should have been there to support her, spoken clearly with the in-laws about the situation and sought professional counsel for the couple. It is sad that how after marrying off daughters parents tend to wash their hands off their responsibilities in times of crisis. Hoping for things to sort out on their own, making excuses like its an internal family matter and their interference will not be seen as good. Hello!! its your daughter’s life and hell its as much your concern as any other person.

    And just imagine most of the people who get into arranged marriages say that ‘atleast they would have the family support in times of crisis’. I think this support system has been created only for the MEN, ofcourse we still line in times of patriarchy. Another life full of promises ends because of this spineless system.

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  22. I feel a sad, a deep sadness. Poor girl!
    I am from Bihar and I can imagine the conversations around this – she was mad, she was too fussy, this is no reason to kill yourself over it… The husband and in-laws will be held responsible just a ‘little’. You know these things happen….

    Its depressing!

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  23. I clicked on the link and I’m appalled with everyone involved. The police should duly arrest Asti’s family as well. All of them were involved in putting her in such a position.

    As for Asti herself–hard to believe she’s 26. You would have thought she was a 14 year old who was excited about going to the Homecoming dance with a football quaterback.

    To answer the question: no–you can’t change anyone who does not want to change.

    Hopefully these stories will make young women and their families more aware of the implications of marrying a complete stranger [make that paying a large sum of money to marry a complete stranger] and the practice of arranged marriages will decline.

    Like

    • @Kay….that was my thought too… She was sounding like a 14 year old on her first crush…. I thought she must be 21/22 but 26………………she was too naive/immature/not ready for a marriage. A lot of parents try to shield their kids from unpleasantness of life as an “Act of love” and then these kids as adults do not know how to handle adversities of any sort

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      • Definitely agree Indu. When my mom married my dad at 24, she couldn’t even walk on the road alone. Luckily, this generation is very different.

        I feel like the girl’s parents deserve most of the blame. They brainwashed their daughter to believe that she had no other choice than to kill herself.

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    • I think it’s unfair to point the spotlight at Ramya here. She wasn’t the one in the marriage, therefore it wasn’t her responsibility. And I don’t blame the man [Smartu] too much either. If he was truly a ‘villain,’ he would have played his wife and his girlfriend and screwed around with both. I think he’s very much a victim here as well.

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      • Kay – Why is the guy a victim? If he knew that he was only interested in his girlfriend, he should have said NO to marriage with anyone else. If the relationship with his parents got screwed up in the process, well, he should have thought that out before he decided to have an eternal relationship with a girl not sealed and approved by his parents.

        He had no right to ruin, especially, knowingly ruin someone else’s life. Even if Sweety had decided to not end her life and had decided to get a divorce instead, she still would have wasted at least a year of her life, along with all the attendant mental trauma, on this jerk. All because the jerk Smartu did not have the guts to stand up for himself. And he is not even consistent in being a coward – he could ask for a separation post-marriage so that he could be with his dream-girl but could not insist that his marriage would only be to his dream-girl in the first place?

        He could have been pressurized, was being a dutiful son yada yada yada. The fact still remains that he chose to deliberately hurt a total stranger when he could have chosen not to. That is not the definition of a victim in my book.

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      • @Archana:

        //If the relationship with his parents got screwed up in the process, well, he should have thought that out before he decided to have an eternal relationship with a girl not sealed and approved by his parents.//

        If your mother is having a hysterical fit and popping sleeping pills in front of your eyes, it is enough to turn the most determined person into a lump of dough, easily moulded. Just because someone is a man automatically does not make him a scapegoat. Going by that argument, we can also argue that Sweety could have walked out and she was being silly and stupid. But we know she has been brainwashed since childhood. The same also applies to the man who seems to be emotionally controlled by his mother. Indian mothers REALLY need to get interests outside the home, society, children and mandir.

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      • @Archana–pretty much what Fem says here. He could have been a better individual and tried to help her find a job and be self reliant before terminating their relationship, but I’d be willing to wager that she wouldn’t have accepted that. He could have easily fooled Sweety and kept Ramya on the side without facing any consequences. It would have been a ‘have your cake and eat it too’ situation for him. But he couldn’t bring himself to do that.
        Extending our sympathies for the man involved in this doesn’t mean that we’re unsympathetic to the woman. Obviously, society is structured in such a way that he doesn’t have to face the same dire consequences that she does [in the case of a broken marriage]. But then the blame should lie with society as a whole and not the individual.

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    • I don’t see what Ramya has to do with any of this other than she being the sought after love-interest of the husband.
      Ramya is not the one married, it is the the guy who is. HE is the one who should back away as HE is the one who took the vows to be failthful to his wife.

      Ramya, as far as we can tell from the story, is unattached (other than the slimeball Smartu.)

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  24. IHM,

    I somehow feel that both the husband and the wife are victims in this whole sad affair. The guy lacked the spine to standup for his love. For all you know his “well meaning” parents must have pulled out stunts like ill-health ,suicide attempts etc to make the guy enter this marriage. The lady is still a “girl” at heart and must have held romanticized notions of ever after.

    If the guy realized a little late ( post marriage) that he is in deep shit and is fooling no one but himself and wants to walk out of the marriage then does it make any sense to stop him. I have heard similar stories about ladies as well who realized that they did a mistake in marrying and want a way out leaving their husbands disraught. In such cases it is better that such marriages are anulled rather than drag it along.The lady “Sweety” would definitely have been happy if the guy cut contacts with the girl friend and devoted himself to her but would this “Smartu” ever be happy? Bottom line both husband and wife feel trapped in a marriage where one person is forced. In India, there are a lot of marriages arranged/forced in a hurry by parents of girls when they realize that their daughters are in love to a third party but the plight of those husbands never come out or are laughged at by everyone for being a wimp.

    The real culprit is the system which teaches “marriages arranged by parents” as the ultimate goals of both parents and kids life. Parents should stop seeing the “arranged marriage ” of kids as their progress report in parenting and the kids to learn to use their judgement once they are adults. Guys/girls are always taught from childhood on maa ka pyar/dil/sacrifice have to be repayed with blind obedience irrespective of age. This should change. Also that a bad marriage is not the end of the world. walk out hold your head high and pursue your life.

    on a side note, most such cases happen to the same type of people: the “susheel, traditional gharelu, obedient” bahus with sanskaar/ the obedient maa ka ladla , khandaan ka chiraag betas. No one in their right minds will try to mess with the other kind of spouses , spouses who have their individuality and can stand up to their own challenges.

    No one can change another person or make him/her love the spouse if they do not love them in the first place. Zilch, Nada, it works just in movies. the story of sublime sacrifice and such crap is just that … crap.

    Like

    • Indu, maybe you are right. From the guys perspective probably ending the marriage was the best option after he realised the mess he had created by marrying an innocent girl and deceiving his girlfriend. But what stopped him from handling the situation more sensibly and sensitively.

      He had married this girl,acted out the role of a good son,SIL & husband through the ceremony and the first thing he says to the wife on reaching their house is for her to not sleep in the bed he bought for his GF. How insensitive was that, infact I think with his sadistic approach and self obessed behaviour he drove her to depression and subsequent suicide.

      He surely is a spineless idiot, all such men are.

      Like

  25. This is such a sad story, such an unneccesary waste of her life. All because of the way her elders think, and how they brought her up – to sacrifice, to take the blame of everything on herself, and telling her that all that mattered was ‘culture and dignity’. What about happiness? What about all what she might have wanted for herself?

    She was literally the sacrificial goat, upon the alter of the so called ‘great indian values’.

    You asked, ‘What if she had found a job or got pregnant?’. If she had found a job, she might have been able to walk out of this whole nightmare, if not immediately, may be sometime in the future? She might not have felt so helpless? She might have not thought of being a burden on her brother?
    If she had got pregnant, then I’m afraid, it might have become a bigger trap… Made me feel so helpless, when I read her diary..

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  26. Ughh.. I read this in the noon today, and I am so damn amazed.. It was just about 3 months of married life, and she felt so helpless and suicide was the only option she could think of ?!! I would blame the upbringing of the girl, her mentality, we can see clearly in the diary where she has mentioned many times how she had failed to make him bloody happy, thus failed to be a good wife ?!! :S

    Just when would this ‘Get married, Stay married’ thing stop.. Like someone earlier commented she had even felt it bad to talk ill of her in-laws, she mentions on some dates how her MIL has abused her, and how she loves her yet on other dates.. There would have been many options open had her upbringing been proper.

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    • I know one similar marriage. Do not question the upbringing of the women. Everything is lost when depression kicks in. Once you get depressed you cannot think properly. Moreover the medicines that cure depression effect your thinking process. I know one such person. My sister who is in the state of depression. living with my parents.

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  27. “Many Indian elders seem to see sex as a means to control married men.”, with that you nailed the problem on the head IHM. The percentage seems to be closer to the 90-95% mark! The question, in my mind, is not whether a woman can or cannot woo a man who has been “forcibly” married to her, it is whether the onus of this should lie on her! And it is a rhetorical question.

    I read this diary article in Shail’s blog first and the following things struck me about it:

    1. The girl (she literally is that) seems to be pretty much experiencing the first ever case of infatuation. To me this means that either by enough indoctrination or by enough sequestering she has been trained not to feel anything or openly admit to any such feelings for any other guy in her 26 years of life. Is this wise?

    2. She is trying really hard to believe that things will be ok, her MIL is actually a nice person. Everyone who is being abused goes through this stage of first justifying the action of the abusers. But she never had a chance to get out of that phase. Why is this?

    3. She says that she cannot go to her parents, like its not even an option — why does she feel like this? Again, in my opinion indoctrination into believing that once you (a girl who has been vehemently discouraged to look at the big bad world even once before marriage) has to suddenly sprout the wisdom of a life-war veteran and solve all your problems yourself. Is this even reasonable? Is this even sane on the part of the society to expect this?

    4. And the biggest clincher: if the guy who married you does not love you, you are not fit to live any more! What the hell? It is one person in the whole wide world ! She is 26 for crying out loud. At 26 you have already committed a sin that has negated the whole entire purpose of your life?!

    5. The guy and his parents! I am not even going there with the things they messed up. What was he doing with the three lives: his, Ramya’s and his new wife’s? The most generous interpretations I can give to his actions are that he is one sorry ass of an excuse for an adult!

    The only conclusion I can reach from reading most of these cases is: everyone needs an internship in life before they decide to marry. Preferably get out of the place where you grew up for a while, mingle with people who are not necessarily from your community, experience the shock of seeing people who don’t agree with you on everything (oh! My! God!) learn to deal with these things, then get married. In fact, if everyone in the country did this as a regular thing — a sabbatical to some other place living amidst some other community for a while, I think we will have reduced so many of our problems — communal tensions, linguistic tensions, caste tensions, everything! Since that is not likely to happen for everyone in the country, the schools must be responsible for this. Don’t read out textbooks that mechanically quote: “Christians celebrate Christmas and Diwali is the Hindu’s festival….” and such drivel. Get video recordings of interviews of people that live in different cultures. Play it out to the kids, get them to debate. Gently guide them into non-judgemental attitudes towards those that think and live differently than themselves. Surely the rich private schools that charge an arm and a leg and then some can indulge in this? Surely some NGOs can be formed that will do this for students in poorer government run schools? Surely this needs to be treated as an emergency? May be if the common people kept up the pressure on their own local spheres of influence, the chameleon politicians will finally stop peddling hatred to get elected and instead start talking about things that do matter in real life.

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    • Gasp! What are you on about? Corrupt our great Indian culture of obedience, conformity and ignorance with all these new-fangled ideas of relationships made out of choice, mingling with people from different backgrounds and worst of all, teaching kids how to think for themselves?!!!

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      • Yeah, you’re right, I am so toxic 😉 but it’s ok for the two year old kid to imbibe misogynistic attitudes from the TV all day! And oh, ask anyone who has had a good education and like a recorded machine they’ll tell you, “the first ever university in the civilized world was built in India. Our Upanishads shows us that we are a culture of scientific curiosity. We were the ones that invented zero, dammit!” Yes, we did. And then we seem to have retired.

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    • Do you think she was in the state of mind to make clear reasoning. You would not understand this. I dont blame you. I would not have understood this untill I faced this first hand. And I am experiencing this.

      Like

  28. Even I have heard of instances where the parents say the guy has so-n-so problem, but marriage will make him better and responsible. You are giving a stranger the onus of changing your kid when you yourself could do nothing.

    Such people are just sick, and in this girl’s case, I find everyone at fault, she herself for not standing up, her family for simply marrying her off and not supporting her well, the guy and his parents for obvious reasons.

    Like

    • It’s not limited to her upbringing…her social conditioning is as such. She should have walked out…And that idiot was simply threatening her to end the marriage (IMHO) so that the girl does something ‘silly’ like ‘complaining’ to her parents. He will then rope in his mom and say, ‘this girl is not the right one for me.’ He is such a wimp & (ultimately a murderer) for pushing the girl to her limits.

      She should have walked out…

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  29. It took me a whole day to recover after reading this news. Especially her suicide note(last diary entry) tore me into pieces. If you read it carefully, you will know exactly what is the reason that she chose to end her life apart from the obvious reason of blaming herself for what happened.

    1) Disillusioned perception of ‘respect’, ‘dignity’ and ‘purity’ which she deems important to point out to her mother, that she held on to them, before dying. The values taught by the mother too were upheld. 
    Isn’t it very sad that the teachings of one woman contributed to taking the life of another woman, and that too a daughter? Isn’t it also possible that women belonging to that genre of thought might declare Sweety a martyr and idolise her? How do we change such toxic values in women?

    2) Not wanting to be a burden on the husband or brother
    Why should women always depend on a male in their family and burden them?
    Why can’t women be encouraged to pursue jobs and careers? If she was rejected at job interviews in Banglore, so what? She could have tried elsewhere. How can we instil this confidence in women? And mind you, it has got nothing to do with education.

    3) Concept of undying ‘love’ marketed by movies and sitcoms. She kept saying she loved her husband despite seeing that he does not reciprocate the feeling. Feeling extreme remorse when she failed to get it, so much that she did not wish to live without it.

    4) Solitary confinement being encouraged for women and the privilege of a social life being limited to only family. 
    Having nobody to share all this with, not even friends
    , let alone a counsellor, she found herself cornered.

    Had she been a head-strong woman, her husband would not have decided to leave her, they would have decided to part ways. Had she been a confident woman, given the circumstances, she would have only had a bad marriage, not death. Had this been a blog instead of a diary, well you know how it would changed her life. 

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  30. It is so easy to blame everyone but one’s own vision and perception.
    If a 26 yr old educated woman in the year 2011 prefers death over choosing to make sensible decisions – blame it on my perception but I don’t consider anyone responsible for her decision to take her life just like she wrote in her diary.
    Yes, a lot of factors (all that have been mentioned, discussed in this blog over and over again) may have led to a mindset like hers. Her low-confidence, insecurities and fear stem from these very factors but…

    Aren’t these two grown up individuals? Why blame the parents?Why do we ask our girls to be educated if it does nothing to their self-esteem, if it doesn’t make them sensible enough to stand up, stand against injustice and/or speak for themselves until they are heard? Who do we expect to come and help us, if we don’t help ourselves? Seriously what do we mean when we say someone is ‘educated’?

    I cannot singularly blame the boy for marrying this girl…she knew about him before she married…what did she expect to happen after marriage? How could she take such a big risk? She wasn’t 18. She was 26.

    When we fail in a marriage or a relationship or life, its our failure. Why blame everyone else for it?
    If knowing that our parents are wrong in deciding for us, manipulating us….we still let them decide and manipulate….its totally our fault!!
    These parents are victims of the same society….they know nothing better!!
    The young generation claims to know so much better than them…then what makes them not ACT accordingly?

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    • @Damn my brain it got a mind of its own,

      What difference does it make if she was 18 or 26, DG and friends were in late 20s yet confused. What has education got to do with it? May be help you get a job that will make it easy to walk out alive. Desi parenting practices and academic system all are collectively committed to brainwashing and creating subservient zombies either for families or for the corporates. Reasons and logic are the bane of great desi culture and tradition.

      http://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/desi-parenting-raising-confused-daughters/

      Peace,
      Desi Girl

      Like

    • Hi DMB….

      I dont think she was clued into the seriousness of the situation. If you read her post before the engagement, she writes :
      Jan 10, …he told me that another girl had stolen his heart before we met, but there was nothing between them except that he had a soft corner for that girl. I don’t have a problem with this, but I will tease him about it…

      He just mentioned that he had a soft corner for this girl, what was Asti to believe?People do not call off weddings because ‘the groom to be has a crush on someone’, anyone would have taken it in a lighter vein.

      The biggest problem was that the lady was too naive, especially for her age. She never had any say in any of the decisions of her life, she blindly trusted her family to make all the right decisions for her and when they went wrong, she knew no better than blaming herself. Honestly, I sincerely believe that despite the social conditioning and emotional abuse meted by the husband, Asti would have been able to fight it out had she found an ally, a support system in her family or friends. But in her situation she felt abandoned by all she had trusted. The brother and in-laws visited and might even have voiced some vocal support, but no action followed. This would have broken her spirits all the more.

      Had the spineless husband been more sensitive towards her, counselled her as a friend rather than acting cold, making her feel like a burden or an ostracle, helped her start a career, made her understand why he needs to take this decision of separation (as this relationship in the long run would have been toxic for both due to the lack of love) Asti might have been able to rough it out.

      As for the failure of relationship is concerned, there was no relationship at all which was to fail, this marriage was a sham right from the word go. So how was she expected to save something which never existed. You know what this victim blaming and unreasonable expectations from the woman (by family & in-laws) were another drivers of her suicidal tendencies.

      Like

      • Hmmm…I hear you all. And I agree.
        Just that long ago I had decided NOT to blame anyone but myself for anything that happened to me in life and NOT to see myself as a victim…what worked for me may not for everyone and I still do hold onto some of the resentment against my MIL and even my parents, but most of it has turned to pity. These people are so helplessly chained to their own limitations. I realized their true plight and felt sorry for them. Behind my MIL’s tough, rude and mean exterior there was a scared, terrified, insecured child hidden safely inside…it was the same with my mother…only difference was my mother appeared just as terrified outside as she was from inside. The men, my former husband n my father both are alike in so many ways…their shackles of ego are more fearful and constricting than anything else I have experienced. N there is again this innocent child inside, afraid to come out…afraid to lose the pride and pretension!

        Once I could see ‘them’ for who they really are…I was determined to find my freedom for I didn’t want to turn like them. Each one of them is afraid of losing something…its this fear that makes everyone stick to tradition…they are afraid to venture out of the safe, comfort zone.

        IHM knows how much I value her blog and the discussions here. If I had access to a blog like this before, I know my years of endurance would’ve been much shorter. One has to reach out for help and take action. If women who have been to school, college and been given a decent exposure to the world, live a fairly modern life still aren’t aware of OR do not make use of the resources available to them…they will simply suffer longer. We cannot make choices for them. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

        Thank you everyone for your input…they are invaluable.

        Like

    • 1. The guy said his affair was in the past. If he were an honest person, he would have deserved a second chance. She did not know what she was getting into.
      2. I keep hearing this phrase “educated person”. Is our education system even in the least bit concerned about the actual civic situation in the country? Our education system is an Engineering/Medical/Law/fill-your-favourite-subject literacy program. Even within these narrow fields most of the colleges/university tell you to “just learn it up”. Our system does not encourage us to think. Besides an uneducated woman who worked in our home had the courage to stand up to her drunk husband and street-side molesters. Let’s not berate these women by implying that educated people have somehow better common sense.
      3. The toxic effect of this system can be neutralized by good parenting. If the parents had a democratic set up in their home, where the kids were able to actually voice their opinion on the matters of the home and their opinions were actually taken seriously, there is good chance she could have grown up with a lot more confidence. So both her parents and his parents are to blame.
      4. The in-laws have been telling her to perform in bed. Who gave them the right to talk to her about the most personal matter in the first place? They are to blame for that.
      5. Presumably both parties knew that taking dowry is illegal not just immoral, but they did it anyway.
      6. The parents of the girl spent much more money than they could afford on a wedding which indirectly placed more burden on the woman, they are to blame for that too. The message they are sending is that it is so important for her to get married that they would even willingly jeopardize their future for this status symbol.
      7. Age has nothing to do with being manipulated,anyone is susceptible to it.

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      • I was in that girl’s position some years ago and I know what I am talking about. All your points are valid dear Agneeja, yet I have reasons to believe in what I said in my earlier comment.

        Thanks for pointing out….what does education do for us? When are we taught to build self-confidence? When are we treated as individuals? Is this all what education is supposed to do for us – Earn a degree, make our parents proud, bring home a fat packet, help in building a status?? What about some self esteem?

        Uneducated women have better sense and show more courage than some of these educated, spoon fed, thumb-sucking men and women. And yes, they prove age has nothing to do with growing up.

        For how long can we live without taking the blame for our own actions? Yes, the society moulds, shapes, influences us…but only as long as we let it. Its a choice we have to make…to break away from norms. It should be our decision to marry, or divorce, or have babies…!

        Why blame the parents? They have lived 50 or 60 + years with the same mentality, mindset. They have been meted out the same treatment when they were growing up. This is ALL they know. They don’t know any better. Why and how can we expect them to change? Why don’t we change our attitude first instead of waiting for something impossible to happen? Why don’t we lead the way FOR our parents and show them a better way to live….!!???

        I will not try to prove myself right…I am far from being able to do anything for anyone other than myself. What worked for me may not work for everyone. Yet I know the change we are expecting to see in others….is what we should be making for ourselves starting from NOW.

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      • If I came off as imputing things to your nature that I have no way of knowing, I apologize. I don’t know you and I don’t presume to know you. I was only deconstructing the thesis that there was no point in blaming anyone. I see that the main point you are making is that self pity does not work. I agree with you. I too have been in situations where I wallowed in self pity until I decided enough is enough. I agree also that blaming and waiting for something to change forever will not work. But you see, it is when we are in that self pitying phase that we are the most vulnerable. Also, if her diary is to be believed, this woman actually blamed herself to the point that she took her own life. She actually did it. May be it was a twisted sense of martyrdom, may be not. We don’t know. But, if we argue that every situation has to be solved by the person who is in that situation without any systemic support, we are likely to lose more people, are we not? It is not only the individual that needs to learn from the mistake. Society has to as well. Otherwise, we will never evolve! So my “blame game”, if you want to call it that, was only meant to analyze the situation and see what we can learn from it and hopefully try to collectively arrive at ways to solve this problem.

        Like

    • A person tortured so much for no reason loses the wisdom to reason. Moreover if you see happy couples around you start to find fault in yourself. I want to know what options did this women have? I am facing a similar situation. My sister does not want to go to police. She wants to salvage her marriage. Why? She cannot explain that to me but she but she doesnt want to break her marriage. She is currently staying with my parents. If you have any suggestions please feel free to call me/email me. My email address is matrix1221@gmail.com.

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  31. This is terrible. Terrible. This isn’t even a coherent response, I’m too gutted for that. Sometimes, I just feel the pessimism overpowering me and any hope of change fading away into nothingness. This is one of those times.

    Are things ever going to change? This “relationship” (if I may take the liberty of calling it that) is hardly unique. At this very moment, there are probably thousands of such women out there in this country, alone and helpless, thanks to parents who would choose social acceptance over their kin, thanks to a culture where women are worth less than dry rot, thanks to a society that is well and truly screwed up, thanks to people whose brains are too overloaded with idiotic patriarchal notions to have an iota of space for basic humanity and common respect toward any wretched woman unfortunate enough to be associated with them.

    It’s a shameful thing that she can’t keep her “husband” (sic) happy? Why? Since when did it become your spouse’s job to keep you happy? Maybe I missed that memo.

    What are women, anyway? Aren’t they human too? Why is it always the woman’s fault if the marriage isn’t working and/or the man isn’t interested? Why are so many Indian parents more interested in teaching things like “purity” and “honor” than things which might actually give their kids a spine?

    It’s truly mind-boggling. Twenty Six isn’t the age for you to be running around, trying to make some spineless idiot and his parents happy. At 26, you should be out there, making a life for yourself, doing things for yourself, maybe trying to get some traction into your career, whatever. How sad is it that this young person’s primary object in life was to keep a cheater happy? How sad is it that this was the criterion for judging her worth as a PERSON! Utterly, horribly shameful!

    To answer the original question, I think it’s theoretically possible but highly improbable. No one should waste their time trying a stunt like that. Much better to just stay away from such people. Really.

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  32. From past couple of post, I have this uneasy feeling about us blaming Indian parental technics for the problems today’s generation is facing. I think may be we need to take a look at the change in the parenting technics from couple of generations. I am sure, next generation will see the loop holes in our parenting styles and they will make their own.That is how the things improve/evolve .

    I am sure our parents did/doing things which they felt is correct. If it is not, we need to change it than accept it. Even in the above case, why mother in law needs to be blamed? If the son had the courage he would have stood up to his parents to marry Ramya. Now how could Ramya know that he is married and know about sweety and yet continue the relationship? Isn’t one woman torturing the other(from the same generation?)

    For Sweety, how can a woman feel sorry for her husband when she knows he is with someone else even after marriage? Why do women(I don’t think it is only Indian women) allow men to get away with their cowardliness? If your parents have taught you that staying married is the goal of life, ask yourself if that really is your goal or being happy is?

    Don’t blame your parents for your action, take responsibility for what is happening in your life and do something about it!

    Like

    • Prathima the basic rule of blind obedience to the parents is what is wrong, parents of adult children need to let go.

      Sweety has mentioned culture and purity that her mother taught her. It’s very difficult to understand that parents can be wrong if one has been raised to believe otherwise. Before they start defying the parents, children (adult children) need to understand that parents can make mistakes. For that to happen, it’s ok to blame the parents if they are wrong.

      Like

      • IHM, I am sure the same parents would have taught the guy, it is wrong to have a gf before/after marriage, but he went against it. That indicates he did not believe everything his parents said was right.Then why could not he go against them when they asked him to marry a girl of their choice?
        Me – It looked like they all felt he had done his duty (and sacrifice) by marrying a girl of their choice and ‘proved his obedience’ to them. Now he could suffer to prove that his feelings for Ramya were ‘true’ too. The mother seemed to understand this language, and started feeling guilty only after she saw that Sweety couldn’t make her son forget Ramya. This was why she blamed Sweety. Why do you feel the parents have no/lesser responsibility here? I feel the son and the parents arranged a marriage with 18 lakh dowry knowing the son wasn’t even interested in marrying Sweety, that was a crime.

        If sweety was raised believing in Purity, how did she agree to marry the guy when he said he had feelings for someone else and was ready to joke about it?

        Me – Purity, in Indian culture is only for women. And do you think Sweety really had the option of refusing to marry this guy who ‘once had a girl friend’? There is a chance that her parents would have assured her that ‘everything would be fine’ once they get married.

        I feel Indian Sons/daughters can fight against their parents and we do but when it comes to so called serious decision like marriage ,divorce , we start blaming the society/parents.

        Me – Most Indian parents allow freedom within limits and marriage is outside that limit, love, relationship, often even career, and marriage are expected to be in parental control.

        I really feel bad for sweety and for the things she went through. She needed a support system which was lacking. And it was a desperate decision to end the life for a guy who did not even consider her as his wife.
        Job would have helped tremendously

        Me- Yes. Also having someone to confide in, some close friends, a cell phone, a helpline, even having an anonymous blog would have helped…

        Like

    • Prathima, if parents never allow their kids to think for themselves, how will they ever do it? Maybe the bright sparks will, but many will just remain trapped in their parents’ world view. Here, one could argue that the parents/in laws were trapped in the world view of their own parents so it’s really a vicious cycle. That’s why in this case, I feel noone or everyone can be blamed. So, instead of blaming anyone, maybe we should just look at solutions, how to make our society better.

      Like

      • @Bride : Totally agree with what you said. Maybe many will just remain trapped in their parent’s world view. But what kind of trap is this? How hard it is to break away?

        If its so hard for youngsters to break free from this vicious cycle…how do we suppose our parents can break free from age old traditions they have lived all their lives? After all many parents still have their parents and older relatives alive who they feel accountable to.

        When you say “kids” can’t think for themselves because they are not allowed to think by their parents, do you mean this 26 yr old girl and her husband who must have been older than her??? Are they really kids??

        Or when they were kids they weren’t allowed? If they aren’t allowed to think for themselves, how do we suppose their parents are thinking right? They too must have never been allowed to think by their parents who probably are still alive and still controlling them!

        If these 26 yr old kid and her husband had found the courage to live their dreams instead of following their parents orders…things might have been different. When after marriage their dreams crashed, if they had been sensible and sought divorce…things might have been different.

        me – Bride but also keep in mind, honor killings, many in form of abetted suicides, even in educated families.

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      • +1! Exactly! We need solutions and we need to attack this problem from every angle. I liked the idea of getting a list of NGOs that help people in this sort of situations and publicizing it widely. Another solution is for parents of this generations would talk to their children’s school to introduce a more meaningful education system like I suggested in some of my earlier comments. How can they refuse if a bunch of people are insistent that their children get an education not just literacy. Sensitivity training must be given to teachers so that they can handle children like mature adults. It’s not enough if they know only the subjects. NGOs could take up public awareness campaign on such issues. Anyone who has connections to whoever would be responsible in the government could lobby for government sponsored public announcements on TVs — like the Mera Bharat Mahan campagin. Anyone with a blog can post awareness messages. We can change this situation. If anyone has any ideas I am all ears and I willing to do whatever I am capable of to help this cause along.

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      • Damn my brain… I am saying exactly what you propose… that all of them are just following the wheel of tradition, acting exactly as society has condoned for centuries. That’s why I say if we can sympathise with the girl – who really came across as too naive for a 26 year old – then why not the parents, Smartu and the in laws? Sweety really came across as a kid, all her ideas were out of a Bollywood saga. Smartu (notice how all of them have really infantile nicknames) also followed a filmi pattern – where the hero might have some vampish gilfriend but ultimately “settles down”, except he found he couldn’t. The only hope may be for people like us to shake people like them out of their coccoons by pointing out how retarded and dangerous their actions are.

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  33. Thanks for the mention, IHM! It is such a sad story, and seems to have touched everyone. I wonder what those parents, who force marriage upon their children, think of this.
    The whole society is responsible for Asti’s death. Which enforces this dictum–“she must either succeed or live in a lifetime of hell. Or die.” What a farce!

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  34. IHM,
    This sounds just like my SIL’s story, poor thing, she got roped in to marry this SOB so that he would become “alright”, my SIL suffered a lot as resulf of this. Her husband had an affair with a girl who was from a different caste, so in order to make him “forget” her, they tied my SIL to him. Thankfully, we stood by her and supported her decision to leave him. I love my SIL to bits, she is a friend and a sister, I just couldn’t see her suffer. She is now a hot shot HR VP in a leading company and doing so well for herself.

    Deepa

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  35. She sounds like such a little girl. I wonder if she was ever given a chance to see life and deal with it before she was married off? I also wonder how she “loved” her husband when she did not know him before marriage at all and the moment she married him, he showed her his true colours. If they never had time to bind, what love is she talking about? Was she brainwashed into believing she loved her husband, when she barely knew him!

    Also IHM, would you mind if I shared your post on one of my pages called “No arranged marriage for Kavita”, a not so subtle reminder to my friends and family on FB not to interfere in my life. 😉

    Me – Yes Fem, I think all the parents of unmarried Indian adults should read this story!

    Like

  36. Felt so terrible after reading sweety’s diary.Gosh her husband just killed her self respect and will to live ..
    Even though dowry was a big part of her story, she lost her will to live because she did not get the love of the man she married, who wouldn’t give up his affair even after he got married.. I can’t imagine what her parents must be going through.The amount of guilt along with such a loss is just unimaginable. The pain and suffering Sweety must have gone through to take her own life….RIP sweety.. Now that the guy is arrested, I hope he doesn’t get away. I am glad atleast her parents pressed charges.

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  37. Parents do their job of raising kids until a kid is a kid. What a kid turns out as an adult depends on her/his own individuality, beliefs, ideas…influences etc. What we as individuals let ourselves get influenced by is totally up to us. It is very unfortunate when someone considers death as an option and refuses to look at life differently. It is unfortunate that she found the strength to hang herself but didn’t have the courage to face her perpetrators. It is unfortunate that she poured her thoughts into a diary that eventually failed to save her life.
    At the end it was ‘her’ decision…to not see/think/believe for herself but be led by other’s beliefs. I tend to believe that our attitude towards life is something only we can change…no one can do that for us.

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  38. This story is so sad! This guy wanted to have his cake and eat it too 😦 If he didnt have the guts to stand up to his parents before marriage he should have compromised and try to make his marriage work. BUt no…not only did he get married,took the dowry but even gave the poor new wife in a strange city, away from her family and loved ones a deadline for the end of the marriage.
    And typically the boys side blames the wife! I really hope the girls parents sues these bunch of sadists and makes them pay for the hell their daughter went through.

    Me – Yes, I hope that too homecooked.

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  39. This is heart breaking. I have no words for ‘Smartu’ and his family. I think such bruts lurk in every corner of our society. What truly breaks my heart is the behaviour shown by the girls parents. In my opinion, all of this could have been averted had they dealt with it differently.

    1) They brought up their daughter making her believe marriage was the ultimate goal. And once you are into it, there is no backing out.
    2) They were faced with dowry demands even before the marriage, instead of calling off such a match, they only felt helpless for not being able to provide enough, and knowingly let their daughter get into such a family.
    3) She expressed the going ons in her life and told her parents how distraught she was at one point, but instead of taking strong action and making her feel welcome to her own home that she lived in earlier, they quietly sat over the entire issue
    4) They let her feel all alone. She didn’t know where she could go to once her husband called off the marriage. Clearly, returning to her parents home was an alternative given to her by them.

    I don’t know how her parents have filled a complaint citing dowry demands against Smartu’s parents now. The very same people were willing to comply to the very same demands at an earlier point. I think they are equally guilty.

    Had the girl been brought up differently, she would not only saved herself from so much sorrow, but also taken her husband to task for putting her through this. That in turn would make other men think twice before behaving this way.

    Regarding the questions you raised, I don’t know IHM. Perhaps she wouldn’t have killed herself had she had a child or a job, perhaps she would have. We can only speculate now. What I do know is that other women who tolerate a lower extent of abuse from their husbands will only look at this case and feel ‘thankful’ for the fact that their husbands are nice enough to not drive them to such extreme measures. I don’t know when this will end.

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  40. Feb 14
    Today is Valentine’s Day. I was bored, as Smartu was busy. Rahul (friend) called me and proposed to me but I scolded him a lot. And I told him if he does it again, I will stop talking to him. He apologised. He was serious, but what the hell yaar. I love my Smartu a lot and cannot even listen to this kind of crap from others. These are sacred words and I only want to hear them from my Smartu. Rahul spoilt my mood today.

    How twisted is fate When her “friend” says I love you it sounded like crap to her. And the one Smartu Who is full of shit as one can be, the same words were suppose to be “scared” coming out of his mouth. I know I might sound Bad when I say this, Asti (RIP) a smart girl who knew that her Mummyji is a bitch,Smartu is at time not so caring or interested, She chose to close her eyes and blindly tried to develop love for smartu when love came searching for her. May be its my wish had she given some consideration for a friend instead of Smartu who took eighteen lakhs dowry she might still be alive and happily married.

    Me – She must have been taught to see love marriages as a bad thing Krishna, and an abusive marriage (with dowry, parental consent and blessings) worth saving 😦

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  41. Very sad!! another young woman takes her life for the sake of a useless man!!! I fail to understand what makes these men like Smartu love one woman and marry another!! spineless people. While Sweety’s story is very unfortunate, I was wondering why educated girls like her consider it their ‘fate’ to shed tears for abusive and cheating husbands and be called ‘patrivrata naari’. Damn all this ‘parmapara’ which make young women like Sweety think they have to abide by their abusive husbands, come what may!! If Sweety could think of a job, why did she not think of meeting women organizations for help or walk out of the meaningless marriage?

    Equally responsible are her parents who thought that marrying off her to a boy who had a girl friend; her in-laws who seem to think they are special for they have a son who needs to be kept happy at all costs (sick people!!); Ramya , who knew that his useless fellow was married and yet had no problem marrying him..utterly disgusting characters!!

    This sad incident makes me scream aloud “leave the girls alone, they don’t need to be told about paramapara, traditions, marriage and kids from the day they are born (literally because I have heard of incidents where some parents fix marriages for newborns “aaj se yeh meri bahu or damaad. Ab hum samdhi bane. Even if this is meant to be a joke, it should not be the case, nope) . Let them be strong, let them be independent, let them decide how to live their lives…”

    I have resolved to make my daughter a strong and independent girl. She need not bow to the pressures of the society.

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    • I loved the resolution part that you wrote about ur daughter.

      Let me also make that resolution for my now 2 yr old ..I will try my best to make my daughter a strong and independent girl..i want her to meet different people,experience different cultures,be bold, take decisions at different points in life. she should be given chances to be sad..and she should learn to overcome those situations…then only will she be able to face difficult situations at later points of life..above all, if at any point she feels that everything is going beyond her control, i want her to be reminded that we, her parents and her family are there for her..she can come and discuss anything to us….she not alone in her life..

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  42. I havent commented on this post .. first because the diary made me cry. Its like a Greek tragedy, with no one surviving the entire scene. The poor girl – her life snuffed out at such a young age! I can imagine the parents weeping for their daughter and blaming the in laws. I can imagine the in laws blaming the girl. She was “not sensible” and “over emotional”. And the husband? What a burden to carry for the rest of his life. However much he may try to suppress it, its a huge baggage you know – your love story cost someone you married her life.

    Second – the question – who is to blame? Every one I guess, all of us included, for being a huge part of the system that insists on getting people even clueless people like Smartu and Asti.

    And – let me not kid myself, it could have been me – the girl committing suicide. It could have been anyone who was trying to hang on to the carcass of a dead marriage. We don’t make opting out of marriage easy, do we. Suicide is considered by many girls as a serious and viable option.

    But then, every day there is some fresh clueless couple being escorted by over eager parents to the mandap. For some, a lucky few, it is a part of growing up. For most, it is yet another tragedy being enacted.

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  43. This is sad. very very sad. It’s been two days since I read Sweety’s diary excerpts and I’m still deeply affected by it. She could have been alive. She could have been amongst us. Hell, she could have been cheering for the Indian cricket team when they got their next world cup!
    While reading the initial entries of her diary, I wished I could reach out to her, grab her and shake her up, tell her ‘Woman!!! That’s a Red Flag! you understand? An effing Red Flag!! Turn around and run!!’. But she couldn’t have known that. To understand that, you need to have interacted with different people, it is then that you develop the ability to see people for what they are. Her culture forbade her from gaining that experience. It just told her ‘good things happen to good people. bad things happen to bad people.’
    Yeah right, so by that definition, she must be bad, and bad people deserve to die, right? It’s just so appalling… I was trying to see things from her viewpoint, and I’m not surprised she was forced to make this choice. She did not know that she has the ability to better her life after getting out of this marriage.

    Her culture hand book does not mention a workaround for her situation. Yes, it tells her to try harder to win him over by bending over her back to please him. But it doesn’t tell her what to do next if that does not work. It tekks her to keep doing that over and over again till she succeeds. But then, he was going to leave her soon. Now what? The book doesn’t help either. Her parents themselves are ‘shocked’ but don’t know what next to do. Because, they follow the same culture handbook, and as per that book, their duty is already over. They should not interfere any more. She does not know the difference between unconditionally loving someone and being a doormat. Because, there is no distinction between these two roles in her culture handbook.
    The problem, you see, is with this bleddy little handbook. It’s high time it got updated.

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  44. This is just so sad and appalling… :-(…I can’t help thinking whether social and financial independence have made a difference here…atleast she would have had an option to divorce this asshole of a guy who could not even see how he was hurting the lady he was living with, and moved away with her own social circle to morally support and encourage her, when needed. It’s all so unfortunate and appalling 😦

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  46. The sad story of many Indian girls. What is even worse is that most of these girls are well educated and come from good families. We need to grow as a country to get over such orthodox and disgusting ideas.

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  49. Hmm. We always end up blaming arranged marriages when something like this happens. There are success stories too.
    1. However, perhaps there is a gap somewhere in the expectations from arranged marriages that has developed over the generations. Earlier men and women equally did not have as much exposure to the opposite sex. Today, one party — in this case Smartu — seemed to have had more interaction with other women — i’m being polite though basically saying he had an affair — than Sweety, who seems to have lead a “sheltered” life. The kind of sheltered life any middle class Indian parent wants to provide their daughter — education, good upbringing and a chance of having a good life. And somewhere the Rajshri Pictures dream of Ram ne milayee jodi. Yet Sweety did not have the chance or experience of meeting other people/men to be able to judge for herself.
    2. She trusted her parents’ judgment. Her parents perhaps “judged” this man suitable for their daughter on the same criteria that most other arranged marriages are based on, some rather successfully. He came from a good family, had a good education, a good job in a respected company therefore he should be good.
    3. Would it help arranged marraiges — I dont think they are going away in a hurry — if there was a longer courtship period? To give young people a chance to actually get to know each other? Or will folks be scared than if the reality was found out, marriages would not happen? (!)
    4. Would it also help if parents alongside providing their daughters with a good education also insisted on their daughters getting employment for a bit? So the girl *knows* she can stand on her own feet. Being a gold medalist and finding a job are completely differnet things.
    Or am I a talking out of my hat…because somewhere is the fear many Indian parents have that if they let their very educated daughters get a job, they might fall in love with a boy from a different caste.community/country. Bahar ki hawa lag jayegi syndrome? Also, ‘education’ is often what is crammed from a book and reproduced in exams; does not give experience.
    Well written post IHM and pertitent questions.

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    • Jhumoor I feel, the only thing that would help any marriage is the knowledge that this is an option not the only goal in one’s life. (This specially applies to women). So those who get married do so because they wish to share their life with someone, not to acquire a cook, security, grand child provider, elder care giver etc.
      (edited after publishing)

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  50. My anger is towards the parents.
    First, they gave dowry and spent on the marriage more than they could afford.
    Second, they did not provide the girl with a message that they are there for her. That alienation alone killed her.
    Third, did they do any pre marital checks on the boy to make sure that all was well with him?
    Fourth, they put a case of DOWRY after her death. DOWRY!!!

    And some ppl have wondered if Smartu did anything illegal. Yes, he did. The Supreme Court itself has ruled that mental cruelty and not speaking to your spouse, is sufficient grounds for divorce. In this case, based on this diary, its a criminal case of abetment to suicide. At least.

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  51. It’s unfair to blame the parents for her death, she chose to do that on own accord. Yes the parents are to blamed for the upbringing but they should not be held liable. She could have asked for annulment, hell even asked the husband to do that, why kill yourself over it? surely asking for annulment would have been easier to kill herself? The husband appears to be a complete wuss, can’t imagine why his girlfriend wants to be with him …

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  53. Asti ki kahani mujhse kafi milti zulti hai.aur mujhe bhohat dukh hua ki usne suicide ka rasta chuna jo ki bilkul galat tha.meri sadi bhi bilkul asti ki tareh hui thi.mere hubby ko v pressure de ker sadi karwaya tha unke parents ne.yeh jante hue ki unke life me pehle se koi hai.sadi hui aur mere husband ne aur unke parents ne bhi aise he mujhe mentally torture krna suru
    kiya.aur depression me aa ker maine bhi suicide attempt kiya per bach gayi.mere case me sirf etna tha ki mere husband ne mujhe na toh mentally accept kiya na physically.
    sari koshish ki taki unhe mujhse pyar ho jaye per aisa nahi hua.aur mai entazar krti chali gayi aur aaz 6saal ho chuke hain mere intazar k.aab jaa ker maine divorce lene ka decide kiya.aur apni life naye sire se suru krne ka .

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  54. Pingback: “If one of the parties wants a divorce, it should be granted irrespective of who’s “fault” it is.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  55. Pingback: Parents should choose the boy for a girl aged below 21, as it is they who bear the brunt of an unsuccessful marriage – Karnataka HC | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  56. I really had tears in my eyes…the desperation in the writings are so evident! At the same time I feel bad abt Sweety…why didn’t she leave him? Why did she choose to suffer this way….only if her parents had backed her…she wouldn’t have felt so alone in this world!

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  59. This is exactly what my MIL tells me, that I need to ‘win them (in-law family) over’ with my behavior, regardless of their unreasonable, unfair behavior with me. She did that with her with her in-laws, , now I am supposed to follow similar dishonest,manipulative ways, play with their minds to win over their hearts. Worse she thinks it is ‘good’ advise…

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  60. Pingback: Cheating on a Good woman is like choosing Trash over Treasure? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  61. Read all the comments. But is there a way to help that girl. What are her options. I am in a similar situation. My sister does not want to end the marriage. Is there a way to threaten smartu? We tried to convince my sister to go to police but failed. She went to the mahila samiti but the did not do anything. Any suggestions would be really appreciated. my email is matrix1221@gmail.com.

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  62. Pingback: “He wants divorce. She wants to know what wrong she did to be treated this way, why he chose her, but repents his decision immediately after marriage.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  63. Pingback: And what would have happened if this man had declared that he was gay and hence would not marry a woman? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  64. Pingback: Please watch Dum Laga Ke Haisha – where a man is asked to Please adjust and save his marriage. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  65. Pingback: ‘Both families arrived at a compromise and she decided to continue to live with her gay husband.’ | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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