How many widows do you know of who dress in colorful clothes and attend family/religious functions – As Equals?
I met an elderly widow who wears lipstick (but not red or pink lipstick) and sarees in pretty colors (but no shades of auspicious red). She lost her husband at the age of 58. She says times were changing but she knew her limits. So, although she attends (and is invited to) weddings and functions, she does not attempt to perform certain rituals because she didn’t want someone to check her, she said many rituals are performed only by suhaagan women (i.e. married Indian women whose husbands are alive).
Sharing an email and wondering at the limitless power of Tradition and Custom, which seem to have the same hold over many of us that manipulative abusers have over their victims.
The victims are so busy trying to prove they did not wash their hair on a Thursday/Friday/Anyday that they never question how their hair-wash-day could have caused another person’s pickle to spoil/child to be ill/husband to die.
Often, the ones who can ‘see’ the abuse, and those who can bring changes, are the young. But young adults in India are held firmly ‘in control’ in the name of family values and respect for elders.
What kind of culture and ‘family values’ allow this? If it is painful for someone to watch it happen, how does it affect the person going through it?
Hi IHM,A few months back, my brother in law (sister’s husband) expired in a car accident when he was coming from Mumbai. He was just 28 and didi (older sister) 24. Then his funeral function was held at his hometown which is a very remote village. It was very cruel function whatever they did with my didi (elder sister). So horrible and her age was just 24. Newly married just 8 months ago. She cried a lot.And interestingly, both BIL & sis are very much educated.They washed his body and prepared it for funeral with a white cloth on his body. While this was going on, all the ladies (including her sister in law, my brother’s wife, jiju’s brother’s wife who were nearly at the same age as my didi) made my didi dress in bridal wear, just as she was on her wedding day. And then after preparing jiju‘s body, they brought didi near his body and ‘made her a widow’ by removing mangalsutra, smashing her bangles & wiping her sindoor. She was also given a white saree by our maternal uncle to wear immediately. After coming in a white saree, she had hardly cried on her husband’s body for ten minutes, they picked him for funeral. They, even, didn’t allow her to attend the function.At last I want to say when this will stop. Even my mother was with those ladies to make her widow. Some jiju’s side ladies were abusing her for killing jiju at such a young age.Regards,Shalini
she still using faint colored plain saree… but the funeral function of jiju was horrible. Even ladies were abusing her.