Shravan Kumar takes his wife to London to bring back her smile…

Nitya shared the video above with this message:

Dear IHM,

I came across this British Airways ad on my Facebook newsfeed. I believe it is widely circulated.

It is about a couple who get married the arranged married way, but don’t have the opportunity to spend time with each other because they live in a joint family. The wife says – “after marriage, everything changed. I had to wake up at 6 AM, do household work… anytime we went out there was always someone from the family with us…  I could not even sit next to him in the car.”

To bring them closer, (IHM: After three years.) the husband arranges for a surprise trip to London with his wife, thanks to British Airways. And they are shown to spend time, fall in love again and get closer over the trip.

But throughout the ad I was wondering – wouldn’t a much better way of showing support be to just stand up for their right to spend time together as a couple here in India? Wouldn’t that have been healthier for their marriage (and their individual lives) overall?

Why is it that this typical Indian couple needs to “go further to get closer”?

What troubles me is how this state of affairs is portrayed as de rigueur, a matter of course in Indian society, and how accepting the woman is of the fact that she cannot spend time with her husband in her own house, and how ‘sweet’ it is that the husband takes her to London to spend time. I don’t find it sweet at all in this context. It would be far sweeter to be able to share my life with my husband, not just a week-long vacation.

What do you think?

Nitya

Do try to watch the video, (and if possible read the comments ‘saluting’ the ‘cute, special’ video) but if you simply can’t, here are some quotes. My comments in italics:

Shravan Kumar’s wife:

“I don’t have any of the holidays, not even my birthday, anniversary… 365, 24 by 7, I am on work.”

“It hurts a lot, to love my husband, to be with my husband, yet not know him… ” (Didn’t know him but loved him? Is that love or the Dharma of a dutiful and  Pativrataa Aadarsh Bhartiya Naari?)

“I wanted to know him better to love him more…” (Didn’t want happiness and freedom for herself)

“We have experienced happiness… we have lived our life during that moment…” (Expects no more)

Shravan Kumar:

“It’s very frustrating, whenever we want to spend time with each other, there is somebody or the else with us… we are never alone.” (Didn’t think he should do something about it?)

“All I wanted to do was to bring the smile back on her face….” (And this was the only way to do this?)

“I had made a promise to mom that I would never bring tear to your eyes…” (What about his wedding vows? Keeping promises made to his parents/elders is what makes Shravan Kumar Shravan Kumar)

“I just feel that this trip has given me a chance to reciprocate…” (If he doesn’t reciprocate, she must continue to live without a smile on her face)

“I was myself, and she was herself and we were not pretending… no… nobody looking over us…” (Sees that as wrong, but probably sees it as disrespectful to do something about it.)

“I really feel that sometimes you have to go really far to get close.” (Doesn’t see living somewhere close, but in their own house as an option)

Related Posts:

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My husband gives me the usual ‘you have not just married me, you have married my family..’ sermon

“Now I just think of marriage as contract to go serve some stranger family. He made it clear that I could have ended in a much worse situation.”

‘His family seems a bit traditional type.I googled “how to behave with in laws after marriage in India.’

“Leaving US is a tough decision and, going back to live with in-laws has scared and shaken me.”

No Gajar Ka Halwa for an Indian Daughter in law?

The interference of parents in the married life of their daughters…

From an Anonymous DIL, Wife and Daughter.

149 thoughts on “Shravan Kumar takes his wife to London to bring back her smile…

  1. 1. The man uses an iphone. She wears all that gold jewelry in her wedding and she’s never sat in a plane? There’s inconsistency in the socio-economic background portrayed here. In any case, I find it hard to believe the wife’s never sat in a plane considering my former driver used to fly at least once a year from Delhi to Assam and back. If you’re trying to make a weird infomercial type ad and try to portray it as real then at least do a good job with accuracy.

    2. Clearly, the ad is aimed at middle class Indians who live in a joint family setting (is that the majority of middle class Indians?) and want to get away. BA thinks they’re being clever by adding the whole cultural background here but I don’t see why England is such a great destination to ‘get to know each other better.’ Wouldn’t that be better off in a much closer destination that’s warm with plenty of rum + sunlight + ocean breeze? Indigo can make the same ad and feature Goa instead. What was BA’s message anyway? ‘We at BA know your miserable lives are crap and want to encourage you to visit England?’

    3. What a depressing life. I can’t believe people are born and die into these situations and that they never break out. Even the husband in this story has a depressing life (granted it’s not as depressing as the wife’s life, but still). Even the husband’s parents have a depressing life. It’s like these people are forced together into a tiny space and they’re just in each other’s faces all the time. I suppose BA was going for the whole ‘heart warming’ story line, but all I get from this is OMG run, lady, RUN!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t agree about the socio-economic status. I know some very well-to-do people who have never sat on a plane until they were well into their late 30s. It’s got nothing to do with money but more to do with the fact that they don’t GO anywhere at all.

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      • That’s true. But Kay does have a point. The income bracket this is targeting are not people who have never traveled. These are people who have probably traveled frequently, and will continue to do so. So why is it that this advertisement chose to sell their product to such by using THIS story? Why is it that even middle-class to upper middle-class people are able to identify and be moved by such stories to the point where they’ll seriously considering using British Airways? And that’s definitely something to consider.

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        • That’s besides the point, really. BA has a bad marketing strategy. Fine. I can agree with that. And yes, I agree with the other points expressed. But it’s simply not true that only a certain demographic (English speaking, i-phone using, jewellery wearing, educated) travels by plane. All kinds of people travel by plane. And all kinds of people DON’T too including English speaking, i-phone using, jewellery wearing, educated people.

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        • Again, being in the high income group does not automatically imply that the person should necessarily have travelled abroad.

          As for the ad, I am not sure whether we are discussing the ad or the cultural characteristic of Indian society. I suspect it is the latter.

          Personally I am moved by the story, because I can identify with the woman who lives a life of drudgery. She need not necessarily be a housewife or live in a joint family. She could be a working woman with a husband who is too busy or is too unsocial to have any kind of a “life” with her and ends up leading a monotonous existence. She could be living separately but still have her desires killed because of family commitments on his side or her side.

          It does not matter whether she travels by BA to London or by some ghoda gadi to Timbuktu. At the end of the day the essence of the ad (at least to my mind) is the ability to have some life of one’s own.

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        • Because her story is the story of countless middle-class Indian women.

          How many times have women written to IHM complaining about intrusive, controlling in-laws?

          If I were the MIL/FIL featured in this ad, I would be ashamed because I would realise that my son and DIL need some space and privacy.

          I would take the hint and loosen the apron-strings.

          Do you think the in-laws in this ad realise this? In all probability, then must be congratulating themselves about how “generous” and “broadminded” they are.
          They actually allowed the son and DIL to go on vacation without throwing a tantrum and having a hissy fit about being “neglected”

          Most women I know would empathise with the wife in the commercial.

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      • I agree that not everyone (regardless of income bracket) has and will traveled abroad, but what about within India? It would have been far more realistic if a domestic airlines had made this ad about a location within India.

        Of course, I agree that lots of people who aren’t educated/don’t speak english/ don’t have a lot of money also travel by plane–my former driver used to do so (and still does) once a year to visit his family and that’s the most convenient way to get back home for him. Not to mention all those people who work in the Middle East.

        What irks me about the ad is that they’re trying to portray some kind of ‘reality’ here very inaccurately. I’m also annoyed because I think it’s sort of borderline cultural exploitation. Very, very inappropriate for BA to make this ad, IMO.

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        • I was talking about within India, actually. Well-to-do (even rich) people I know have not travelled by flights at all. I have someone in my family who almost never travels AT ALL by choice and only got on a flight a couple of years ago. I have friends (again, reasonably well-to-do) and they have never been on a flight either. In fact, they don’t travel. One of my friends had never seen an airport before in her life before she took a holiday with me. She too earns well and comes from an upper middle class family. I know of husbands who are always travelling while their wives have never stepped on a plane before. This IS an ACCURATE portrayal, as far as the woman saying she has never been on a plane before goes. It is entirely possible and believable in spite of her i-phone, jewellery, English or whatever because I know people personally like that.

          Liked by 1 person

        • My Indian in laws are ‘well off’ middle class & university educated.
          Yet the idea to travel for ‘fun’, ‘romance’ or to just to be a tourist & have a look around, experience a new culture is ‘odd’ to them.
          They see no reason to travel somewhere unless it is a) to visit relatives or b) to visit some religious site.
          I guess they are like that only?

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        • This ad. is very realistic – I do believe that she may not have travelled in an airplane etc. – there are scores of people I know who live like this. But I do agree with you Kay, on the cultural exploitation part – i’s like the Fair and Lovely ads. which use “cultural” expectations to encourage use of their creams.

          It looks like, to me, as though BA ran some sort of contest (“tell us your why you need an expense paid trip” etc.), and made an ad. around the winners.

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        • Like Fem mentioned I have tons of examples of upper middle class people who have never been on a plane or traveled on a plate later in their life …
          Keralites wear loads and loads of gold ( 1 to 2 kgs ) for weddings … So that’s not an indication of whether they have been on a plane or not !
          They never had a need to is one of the main reasons …. My sis in law is a gazetted officer with the indian government , handling an important powerful portfolio , her just and is a PM in an IT firm, she lives with her in laws …. They drive a 15 lAkh car… But she has never been on a plane … They have never been on a couple only trip … Have probably been on 2-3 weekend trips with in laws in the 8 years they have been married … Otherwise it is all religious places they go to visit ….
          This ad could have been very much about them … I know a few other such examples …
          What I have seen around – people who don’t live with in laws seem to be more happier as at least they get to do things “alone” with no interference …
          People living in hi rent places provably makes financial sense to live together …they should at least try to do something as ” couple only time “

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      • While most of time the comments are very informative and eye-opening, sometimes its unbelievable that the same set of commenters get carried away by the most insignificant of details and debate for hours while the core message is sidelined.

        Pray – how is it relevant whether the man sports an iPhone and the woman wears gold jewellry and still never flew in an aeroplane. Is that the core message of the ad? Why should something so inane be flogged to death like this?

        And I dont see why destination matters – I could go to Mahableshwar or Madagascar – how is that relevant again? It isn’t a bad thing to go to any destination. London is as good as any other.

        Socia economic strata notwithstanding – I am sure most couples living in Joint family – however their socio economic conditions are – will surely identify with this ad. It is a sad reality of our country and culture today.

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    • It is certainly conceivable that some people might have gold jewellery and iPhones and the like and not have sat in a plane. I have numerous aunts and uncles who are certainly well off – have lots of money and stuff, but have never been on a plane – They’re used to thinking of planes as the mode of travel of the insanely rich and prefer to travel in non AC 2nd class trusty old railways.

      I think BA thinks that people think that England is by default a better destination than desi locations like Goa. And being BA, they’re obviously going to tell you to go to England, no? And I’m pretty sure ‘plenty of rum’ would go down well with the target audience of this ad😉

      Yeah. Depressing life indeed. But the couple have no one to blame than themselves. Almost all the relatives that I know who live in joint families manage to get some alone time together everyday. Maybe they thought like one of my friends (whose ambition is to get an arranged marriage because life would become boring otherwise and ‘settle off’) when they got married and since then it settled into this kinda existence. In families like this, I think they don’t even know they’re leading a depressing existence. They’re brought up to think this is how life is and live like that only.

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      • lol, I don’t know. I’d much rather prefer a week in Goa with some Old Monk based cocktails then a week in rainy/foggy/depressing London, but I get what you’re saying.

        It’s scary (for me) to think that these people that you describe don’t even know they’re living a depressing existence–but I think that has more to do with my own projections (as in, seeing myself in their position) than anything else. What got me about this ad is that the couple are clearly unhappy and that they do seem to want to spend time together. It really shouldn’t have to be this difficult!

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        • Kay, there are two categories of people. One might not even realize that they’re living a depressing existence. Which is not bad all together, because they might just be happily accepting of what we consider depressing. There are many people for whom that is a way of life and they are perfectly happy living that way, because that is all they know.

          The other category might be fully aware of how depressing their life is, but are not able to do anything about it. I agree with you whole heartedly – it shouldn’t have to be difficult. Unfortunately, the gap between “shouldn’t be” and “isn’t” is just too large in this society and that gap (based on what I am seeing around me) is going to take decades to change.

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        • Kay-
          I think you are coming across as someone with a much more ‘privileged’ background & a bit ‘snooty’ (not sure if you realize this).
          I think to most Indians a week in London would seem much more glamorous, romantic, prestigious, & exotic than Goa.
          The ‘Western’ food in the UK, western dress, ‘upscale’ shopping, western culture etc. seem rather ‘exotic’ opposed to the more familiar ‘Indian’ Goa. (Besides, Goa is somewhat of a ‘sin city’ to most Indians- all those ‘hippy’ types & drugs & alcohol & feckless abandon & sleaze & who knows what other disgraceful horrors!)
          Let’s not forget the ‘prestige’ aspect of a European vacation – that’s certainly true in both India & the US! Take lots of photos so you can brag to all your friends!
          Personally I’d take the vacation in London over Goa right now, I need a decent haircut (Vidal Sasson’s London rocks!) & to shop for new underwear & shoes that don’t fall apart in a week for my ‘tribe’ here. HAH!
          As far as a depressing existence goes, well that’s just part of the human condition for most folks I’m afraid.
          I’ve often wondered about Indian couples who live like the couple in the ad.
          I’d die without my privacy & ‘alone time’ by myself & with my husband (but I’m a spoiled American).
          I have met Indian couples who upon finding themselves ‘alone’ together for the first time discover a) they really don’t care for each other’s company and or b) they don’t know what to do with themselves when unaccompanied by family members (leading to some rather awkward moments.)

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        • I’d earlier commented as Pura. I usually comment here as Sundar. My bad. As someone who grew up in hot and humid Chennai I’d jump at the chance to go to rainy/foggy England. I’ve loved it whenever I visited Seattle – always cloudy, almost always raining, much to the consternation of my friends there. Well, to each their own I guess🙂

          But hey, keep me supplied with copious amounts of said Old Monk and i’ll visit anywhere I suppose.

          My mom tells me when she n my dad got married back in the day, they lived in a joint family for a while. My dad, well, being my dad pretty much kept to himself. His family members coaxed him into taking my mom out and that’s how they really got to know each other. So although I earlier said the couple only have themselves to blame, I think the guys parents are also to blame a little for not even being aware that they weren’t giving space to the couple in question.

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        • @Swati–Gotcha! I feel that the couple portrayed in this ad falls into the latter category. I’m annoyed by BA’s romantic portrayal of it.

          @Anondiva and Sundar–Old Monk forever!

          @Samsara–I sort of do realize it, especially now. But we were discussing our reactions to this particular ad and those *were* my gut reactions, particularly #3. I’d never thought about the prestige aspect of travelling abroad–that definitely makes sense.

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    • Kay,

      I have read your comments on this site previously, and I have often felt that your understanding of India and Indians requires a little more nuance. Now granted you did not grow up here. In that case, it might be wise if you were less caustic with your judgement. In this case, a typical middle class Indian family sees an iphone as a luxury product, air travel as a luxury product, but gold jewellery as necessity for women, a form of saving even. The conservative Indian mentality is to spend on things with a return on investment, like gold, but be tightfisted with luxuries. If you can travel by train, why book a flight? If your old phone works, why get a new one? If your shoes get damaged, get them repaired rather than buy new ones. Air travel really became affordable to the middle class only in the last 10 years thanks to the private airlines. For people with this fiscal attitude, air travel can be a luxury, and often a first time event.

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      • Also lots of Indians don’t think of sun and sand as ‘great’. Many would prefer to experience cool climates for a holiday. I’ve never heard of any of my Indian friends (unlike Western friends) going on a holiday for ‘the sun’. If anything, they go away to get away from the sun. England with its rain and snow would be perfect for a holiday, in this case. I personally always try to ensure that I take my holidays during winter or monsoons.

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        • Count. Us out of that list of Indians. Currently Vacationing in Costa Rica and loving every minute of it. Yuck who’d go to miserable London . But to each his own. I have issues with the no space line but everyone has diff vacationing needs, so that’s fine.

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      • @N–fair enough. I’ve been here for about three years now and I haven’t really interacted too much with middle class Indians so a lot of these sort of this are confounding (like the gold thing which you explained quite well).

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  2. So many people commented on this ad as touching, so sweet while others commented as to what joy can a couple get by “going away from family”.

    Like Kay pointed out, i found it difficult to envision that woman never having stepped on a plane. They seemed well off.

    Also, wth happened to visa/passport et al? How did they get it if she never stepped onto a plane?

    Mainly, it felt sad that they portray a life with no privacy for even watching movie or sitting in the car together as normal but still a loving couple. I can’t wrap my head around that. I cannot imagine living like that.

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    • I too thought of the visa / passport stuff, haha! It’s one of the major headaches of foreign travel. Maybe BA has special permission and is waiving off these formalities. If so, I’ll fly BA.😛

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        • Yes, but you would normally pack along things, right? You’d spend a bomb buying clothes in London – all for 6 days – and then come back here and if you really belong to a traditional family, fat chance you’ll get to wear those clothes here!

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        • @Swatiayer – mr shravan kumar damn well pay for my designer wear, not walking around London in salwar kameez looking “modest”. He has got years of free labor 365/24/7 in cooked food and ironed shirts, hell yeah I deserve a new wardrobe for a week. Enough of self sacrificing bhartiya naari crap.

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        • @ Swati – Fair enough. Maybe that was a part of once in a lifetime experience😉 I can get over that coz I feel the most critical things are visa, passport and money. Anything other basics can be got at the destination.

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        • @ Annon – The point is she is a sacrificing Bharatiya nari. i doubt she thinks enough of free 365X24X7. Instead she is grateful for that 1 week holiday for another 10-20 years.

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  3. Agree with Kay. The ad is utter crap. The wife speaks pretty reasonable English. It’s rather surprising she never sat in a plane before. And er – doesn’t even the most housewifey of wives have to pack for a trip?

    IHM questions are bang on. Why does this couple have to wait for BA to step in and give them a chance to “get to know each other better”?

    What makes me sick to the core is that most folks are going to take this ad at face value and say oh so sweet. And accept is as “normal”. Very few, if at all, will see the rather sad signals it’s conveying!

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    • This is a brilliantly offensive ad, subconsciously attacking our callous culture and how we treat people in general. I don’t think there’s any more to it than that.

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    • > The wife speaks pretty reasonable English. It’s rather surprising she never sat in a plane before.

      You sound like a rich, out-of-touch urbanite making ignorant and classist assumptions about the rest of India. In what universe does speaking reasonable english make plane travel mandatory?

      > doesn’t even the most housewifey of wives have to pack for a trip

      Aaaand thanks for the condescension and othering towards housewives.

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      • Speaking reasonable english doesn’t make plane travel ‘mandatory.’

        However, like richajn, even I was skeptical about the fact that this woman has never sat on a plane before because of everything else as well–they seem well off, they use luxuries like iphones, that flat in bombay is worth a hefty sum. So it seems *unlikely* (not impossible but unlikely) that this woman hasn’t sat on a plane. Now, as everyone else has explained, it may not be as unlikely as I (and perhaps, richajn) had thought. There’s no need to jump in and call people names such as ‘out-of-touch urbanite making ignorant and classist assumptions.’

        As for the housewife comment–I’m a housewife at the moment, and that comment didn’t reek of condescension and ‘othering’ to me. Housewives do have more opportunities to pack for a trip by extension of being at home. Next to their closet. And suit cases. Just like someone who, perhaps, works from home.

        There are many times where people are condescending towards housewives, this isn’t it.

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        • Adding to that – it is very much possible that the house in Mumbai does not belong to the guy, but his father. The iphone could have been a gift from an uncle abroad. The only reason the family can afford such luxuries (flat in south bombay, iphone) is because they live as a single unit, saving on rent and food. The woman in the house would not be necessarily ill-treated or exempt from luxuries – she would get her share of perfumes, make-up products and electronics from her relatives abroad; her in-laws may present her with a new saree and jewellery for an auspicious event. However, this style of living comes with assumptions and conditions – the woman needs to cook and clean for the family unseen behind the screen for the family to run smoothly. She would not have a lot of space to spend with her husband, because it is taken as a matter of course in such families that the family unit comes first, before the couple’s own space. The family might not realize (hell, the woman herself might not realize) what they are holding back from her. They think they are treating her well by giving her good clothes and other luxuries they think a woman wants. It does not enter their consciousness that a woman sometimes wants some space with herself, and with her loved ones. I’m explaining this to try and show what a complex issue this is. The family system in India and the in-laws are not really bad or evil. They are ignorant. The reason I shared this ad with IHM was because the ad normalizes that ignorance, and makes it seem like nothing wrong, nothing against which a counter argument exists. And that is disturbing. While personally I think the Indian family system is a great idea (and I know this is controversial), I believe that it must evolve to give people their space, in whatever way they need.

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        • Replying to Nitya here :

          “The family system in India and the in-laws are not really bad or evil. They are ignorant.”

          I know what you are saying but I don’t agree. How is it that people benefited by patriarchy don’t see the people it tramples upon? Don’t they really see it or they CHOOSE not to see it? What do you call people who realize that injustice is being done but CHOOSE to ignore it because it would not benefit them? We’re letting people off the hook when we term them just “ignorant”.

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    • You what a sabziwali and presswali/a speaks good English in Bangalore….and has a smart phone…but never flown, and leaves their kids anywhere to play on road….any relation…infact ad situation is so common. .

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  4. Ads masquerading as ‘reality’ piss me off to begin with.. this one was just extra obnoxious, ‘Fetch my credit cards, fetch my stuff, sit in the car’. Not even polite. And instead of going all the way to (the annoyingly cold) climes of London, why the hell not grow a spine and just go out with his wife here? I’m sure standing up for yourself even costs less than flying two people to the UK and paying for their accommodation/expenses. How about not being welded to his parents and having his own life with his wife?

    Also arranged marriage terrifies me entirely, to think that people who literally do not know each other are forced to spend the rest of their lives together because ‘families’ deem it appropriate. I think that is another problem we need to address – the old Indian adage that says marriage is ‘between two families’. No, no it’s not. It’s between the people who are getting married.

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    • “I think that is another problem we need to address – the old Indian adage that says marriage is ‘between two families’. No, no it’s not. It’s between the people who are getting married.”

      This.

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    • I was stupefied by the wife’s comment about loving her husband but not knowing him well.

      How do you love somebody if you don’t know them well? I can understand infatuation and obsession, but love? Love requires a certain degree of understanding and “getting to know what makes him/her” tick.

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    • That “fetch me my credit cards – come now” annoyed me too, the presumption being that she won’t be doing anything important anyway, so she can come when I beckon. The whole ad. seems like such a cop-out – let’s take the wife out for a week because growing a spine is so much harder.

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  5. Ads like these enable and green light a lot of disturbing behaviour. My primary issue with this ad isn’t even the fact that it’s a joint family. My issue is with the seemingly innocuous ways in which her husband’s family continue to control, and in a way, sabotage the relationship that she has with her husband. I’m sure that there are many joint families who respect, and even encourage couples to love one another and spend time with one another. But to me, the way the situation is set up almost romanticizes the fact that their family continues to keep them apart, because if they hadn’t, they ultimately would never have been a getaway to start with in order to learn and love one another.

    And this romanticizing of something so toxic is what scares me. The individuals who watch this ad aren’t ever going to question the motives of the family, but only look at the outcome that occurred as a result. They’ll only view the ways in which these two people were deprived of a relationship as a “noble sacrifice” for the “greater good”, for which they were ultimately rewarded. And in the end, the only thing this ad reinforces is that if you shut up and bear with the circumstances (no matter how traumatizing or depriving they are), you will ultimately be rewarded. The actual reality, on the other hand, is that you will wind up with two individuals who have been married for decades who have no idea how to be a family with one another.

    Of course, a lot of this has to do with the fact that British Airways has a product to sell, and they need to sell it. But the fact that this was the route they chose to take with their advertising clearly means that strikes a chord in our community. And that is something that’s very telling.

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    • Creepy. But it sits in well with the concept of bahu coming home to take care of the house and its occupants (and to bear children), not to romance the son whom she married!

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      • LOL. I know of one relative who was widely criticized (back in the 70s) for crossing the railway tracks holding his new wife’s hand in public. The problem was holding the wife’s hand. Not crossing railway tracks at random places.

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        • Lol, Sundar, I can well imagine. My in-laws found it offensive that my husband asked me whether I needed something while at the dining table. They looked at each other and made faces and snigger-ed over this simple thing.

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        • My dad was criticised / commented upon all because he bought a rs. 300 saree for my mom within 1 year of marriage – in the 1970!

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    • Yes, it’s creepy. Just one of the thousand ways in which control is kept in the “right” hands. All displays of affection/love/romance between the couple were strongly discouraged to keep the husband-wife unit weak and the power of the elders strong. Today, this is seen in various forms in different families, even when diluted. Among some of my relatives, I’ve seen my aunts refuse to sit in the seat next to their husbands, and offer it to someone else, or sit there only as a last resort. I’ve even seen some elders frown when they see a couple laughing together.

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  6. I am charitable with the British Airways’ idea of a vacation in London , no packing required(I infact welcome this) and Visa and stuff done hassel free but , why are they selling the entire trip packaged as a dream come true favour granted by a husband to an average housewife.
    Damn it! she has to go back again to that life of unending work 24X7 X365days and the constant sacrifices of having no ‘exclusively together time’ with her husband.
    So ,all that she does without complaining or with complaints, gets a compensation of 7 days vacation by her super reasonable husband .
    They love each other , yearn for each other’s company but sacrifice their small pleasures for the sake of others . I can not imagine the sacrifice thing going for long .I know atleast some women who have had life like that of the woman in the ad but , they all when look back at their lives either feel bitter about having made to lead such life , frustrated ,taken for granted and very often unhappy with husband who could not stand up for their wife’s better life.

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  7. Have yet to read all the other comments, but have a few points to make. I have seen the ad and feel it does depict the real state of affairs in our society, whether we like it or not. Only positive difference is the husband actually being dissatisfied with things and wanting to change the way they are.

    Why can’t they go and live on their own, maybe close enough to help the old people? Sure, they can, but it is still no guarantee that things would be very different, especially if the “elders” were living close by. They would still be expected to mark attendance every other day if not every day, job, housework, talk on phone (on days of absence) with the “elders”. True, they might be able to squeeze in some time for a film or to do some shopping and things might be a trifle better than living in a joint family, but not significantly so.

    Yes, they could rebel and claim time for each other even while living in a joint family but only at the risk of losing out on other relationships. Our society is very intolerant of “no”. There is little understanding for individual wishes, individual needs, individual constraints etc. So the choice is really a choice between the devil and the deep sea. One can’t live solely with each other. Sometime or the other we do need others too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Sometime or the other we do need others too.” – operative word being “sometimes”. When someone truly needs you, it’s human to want to be there for them. But when physically capable people are taking advantage of you just because of your place in the family hierarchy, that’s not so much of a “need” as taking care of a grievously ill mom would be. Nobody needs to live like an island but deliberately being kept away from your spouse is nothing short of cruelty. One should not have to travel far away to get some private moments(outside of the bedroom) with his/her spouse.

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      • Krith, I agree with you there – totally. However, I am not talking only of not so old ILs taking advantage of son and dil. I am talking of any kind of rebellion against social demands. Fight for your rights and the social consequences are very harsh. Yes, it would certainly be desirable to avoid such conditional acceptance. It’s easy to say “we don’t need such people”, but at the end of the day it is sad too.

        I am not saying it is right to succumb to such social pressure. I am only talking of the realities of our society as they stand today as against what is desirable.

        As such, it is not surprising when some people do not stand up for what they perceive as injustices and even less so when there are people who do not even perceive some of these practices as unjust – they have never known otherwise.

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        • Yes, but our society also created iconic rebels like Rituparno Ghosh, Ambedkar, Gandhi, Munshi Premchand, Amrita Shergill, SC Bose and Tagore (to name a few).

          Each of the names above did things that were unconventional and challenged the status quo, but in time, society made space for them.

          Can you imagine a typical Bengali matron watching Rituparno Ghosh’s ‘Chitrangada’? Heck, I was uncomfortable with the gay lovemaking in the movie.

          But Rituparno Ghosh wasn’t exactly ostracised and stigmatised, was he?

          My point is that Indian society is also accepting of rebellion in it’s own quiet way.

          You can’t live life without ever sticking your neck out! Mr Shravan Kumar, that was for you.

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        • Change is uncomfortable, even when you’re the one benefiting – I guess we both agree upon that🙂 I hope some of us can be brave enough to ask the world to go take a hike when it places unreasonable demands on us and try and make this journey a little easier for our children.

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    • I don’t know why you are getting downvoted here, Swati, because you hit the nail on the head.

      No man or woman is an island. We are all part of the whole. Absolutely none of us could possibly survive becoming true social outcastes: even rishis living in mountains will someday need society if they get cancer or just get a hankering for a martini.

      The people on this blog who tell others to fight elders, stand up to social expectations, rebel, blah blah blah, and damn the consequences, are all talking from a highly privileged perspective.

      They never have had to face ACTUAL social ostracization of the sort that faces most women in our country if they follow this advice. They are invariably people who have the means (education, independence, usually childless, and middle-class finances) to pick up and leave to a place where they are accepted by society if they are shunned by their current communities. They can afford to talk big.

      I know because I’m just like them, I had the same privilege. I suffered social ostracism – but the easily dealt-with, non-deadly kind. My parents cut me off financially in the middle of college because I had a boyfriend, so I got a job, paid my own way through school, and moved to the US on my own with the funds from working during college to be with my boyfriend. The very worst my parents could do to me was easily surviveable. I was lucky! You’ll never catch me bragging about how amazingly rebellious I was and how everybody should be following my example, because not everybody has this kind of luck.

      I also find that growing older makes a huge difference. When I was a teenager, I would often say I don’t care if I never see my parents’ face again. When I was newly married, I would often proclaim I wouldn’t give a damn if my in-laws never spoke to me ever again. I fought to get my own way in every single thing, refused to compromise in small things and big, because I did not care about the consequences.

      But things have changed. The older I get, the more responsibility I feel towards parents and inlaws – responsibility, not fear. They are old. They will need us to look out for them when they are ill and senile. I cannot afford to antagonise them so much that there is no way for me to offer them help when they need it. And I also have my children to think of, who love and adore both sets of grandparents: do I really have the right to deprive my kids of contact with grandparents just because I have fought with my inlaws or parents over some stupid thing?

      And that’s just me with my huge privileges. Most other women have much more at stake. Their very survival and their ability to be with their kids hinges on whether they can keep their inlaws happy. Or, their kids’ future depends on it. They have life and death reasons not to rebel. I don’t know how we can be blind to that.

      So yeah, I think you bring up a very good point. We are part of our communities, for better or for worse. If we are women, it’s usually for the worse. Blame the goddamn patriarchy and work to end it… it’s the only way we solve the problem. Blaming women for not being rebellious enough is pure victim blaming.

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      • ” They are old. They will need us to look out for them when they are ill and senile. I cannot afford to antagonise them so much that there is no way for me to offer them help when they need it”

        How about the other way around? Why would Indian in-laws mistreat, abuse and control the woman so much and make her life hell if they expect any help in old age? Respect is a two way street, if in-laws act like this they should expect zero reciprocation. Why suffer all your life and then suck it up and take care of those people? Why are these in-laws so damn entitled to old age care if they never bothered to cultivate and develop a mutually loving relationship earlier on?

        As someone who does have a lot of priviliges I admit, I would raise a stink, rebel and make sure I am well treated with dignity and respect for my choices. If you have the means, there is no shame is using it to make your life better, you live only once. Better life very well includes non-interfering respectful in-laws, romantic time with your own husband and ability to pursue your dreams and aspirations. Why is it so difficult for Indian society/culture to accept that?

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        • > As someone who does have a lot of priviliges I admit, I would raise a stink, rebel and make sure I am well treated with dignity and respect for my choices.

          ABSOLUTELY agree. No point not using what we have to make our lives better.

          I was speaking out against some victim blaming I sometimes read on this blog. You know, the comments like “why doesn’t she rebel/run away/leave? why does she live with the abuse? she must like being abused! it’s her own fault!”

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      • That’s all very well. Things have only changed because presumably your ageing parents have stopped interfering in your life. It is your responsibility to look after your parents, sure. But at the same time, they too need to fulfil some responsibilities towards you as an independent human being and ensure you would be around when they need you. I am in the same boat as you are, and while I worry about what would happen to my parents in their old age, I have also made it abundantly clear that they do not interfere in my life choices or lifestyle if they expect me to look after them. The ball is in their court.

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        • > Things have only changed because presumably your ageing parents have stopped interfering in your life.

          Very true. And arguably this is a consequence of how little I compromised before that they are afraid of taking panga with me now.

          But my situation is exceptional still, for all the privileges I have and also my temperament which is naturally rebellious. My main point is, other women should not be blamed, or faulted as cowards, or told they “deserve” a suffocating life just because they are temperamentally incapable of being assertive, or because they have too much to lose if they try.

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        • @Nandini,

          I agree with you that women must not be blamed for not being assertive or even not having knowledge of their rights. At the same time, I do belong to the school of thought which says that for someone’s life to improve, they need to make some efforts. This is not to say that the oppressors are to be condoned, but historically, nothing has changed without people fighting for it.

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      • Not true. I’m divorced, living in India and virtually a social outcaste for my extended family.

        I avoid weddings, family gatherings and often have “elders” pretending I don’t exist because they don’t approve of my divorced status. I get pitying “hai bechari” glances from most people my age.

        I want to smack them on the head and say “Hello, I’m divorced, not dying of cancer, so spare me the faux pity”

        Despite the social censure, getting divorced was a liberating, positive experience. I treasure my freedom and the ability to live authentically.

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        • Neha, I am sorry if my comment came across as erasing your experience. But when I meant “true social outcaste” I meant people who are left with NO community after, as often happens in villages or to people living on the fringes of society in other ways (widows, lesbians, unwed mothers, etc), who end up completely leaving the world they are from and falling into a worse one. You and I are privileged in being able to maintain our lifestyles and live better after ostracism. Most people aren’t like us.

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    • On a lighter note, I am looking forward to growing old in India. Once I am on the wrong side of 50, I’ll get official permission to behave like a spoilt 5-year old.

      I’ll also have societal permission to be rude, obnoxious, intolerant, close-minded and generally act like a martyr. I’ll also be able to indulge in emotional blackmail, sigh deeply when my needs are not met and pass off weird behaviour in the guise of tradition and “respect for elders”.

      No, really, I’m joking.🙂

      Like

  8. I think I should make some things clear. Air travel has nothing to do with:

    – speaking English
    – having money
    – using an i-phone
    – wearing gold
    – getting visas and passports

    People fly by air for various reasons. I have come across people in planes who don’t speak English. I don’t use an i-phone but travel by air at least once a year. Almost every Indian woman who gets to eat to her fill owns gold jewellery – has nothing to do with travelling. Anyone can get visas and passports by providing the required documentation. You’ll get them even if you have never seen a plane before in your life.

    Some of the comments are actually dripping with entitlement. Not everyone travels, wants to travel or is allowed to travel. It’s got very little to do with socio-economic status or possessions or for that matter, what language you speak!

    Liked by 1 person

    • ” It’s got very little to do with socio-economic status or possessions or for that matter”

      You’re right that air travel has nothing to do with any of the things you listed. But the fact remains that within the group that this ad is targeting, a good majority of them have in fact traveled by air, and have done so frequently. Otherwise, why would British Airways even target them? Whether or not those with other incomes have or haven’t traveled isn’t the point here. The point is that it is rather strange for a woman who comes from this income bracket, an income bracket that viewers are supposed to identify with, to have never traveled by air, especially abroad. This doesn’t automatically imply that it’s strange that other people of varying incomes don’t travel, or shouldn’t travel at all. It’s just that when compared against the statistics of those who are like her, it’s rather strange that she hasn’t done it at all, and the fact that it is her story that’s used to “hook” people in as it were is even stranger and warrants questioning.

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      • How do you know this ad is targeting people who travel by air frequently? It’s supposed to be an all-expenses paid trip, which means any poor person can avail of it. You are analysing the advertisement in detail and discussing it’s target demography and its marketing effectiveness but that’s not what people in this thread are talking about at all. Their comments basically added up to being astonished that this woman who speaks English and has money has never travelled by air. I have repeated several times that I know people from this income bracket at whom you claim this ad is being targeted, and they have never travelled by flight before or have only done so once or twice. Whether or not it is effective as an advertisement to its target audience is rather irrelevant.

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        • I agree with Fem. This is one of the rare occasions where I am seeing that comments on this blog are so off-mark and also irrelevant to the topic being discussed.

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        • @Fem- I would be very surprised if the couple turned out to be actors. I completely agree with you.
          Re the ad itself, I think i found the husband’s admission of his ‘debt’.. touching. Maybe because of the woman’s reaction to it.

          The ad IMHO accurately portrays an arranged marriage in a joint family. People DO live lives like that, even when we feel that they ought to know better. The ideal thing (in the world of this ad) is that the couple move out and spend all the time that they yearn for with each other, and the husband magically morphs into a man who does his share of work at home- I suppose we can imagine that that’s what will happen once they return from the trip ?🙂

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        • I agree with Desidaaru. This family system might look like crap. But this exists. There are different types of people. One who read IHM and like to believe in and practice equality and freedom to live like they want to. And there is the other half. Who live, maybe they dont realize or some realize, in suffocating conditions. I would like to go out on a limb here and say that Shravan Kumar taking his wife for a break and realizing what is going on, is a first step. These are baby steps, where he sees his wife as a human being. After centuries of ‘man is superior’ this feels like ‘small step for man, but giant leap for mankind’ sort of. I would like to be positive and think he is going to be more vocal and supportive here onwards.

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        • “How do you know this ad is targeting people who travel by air frequently?”

          Because that’s what advertisements do? All advertisements are crafted with a certain target demographic in mind, and there’s a lot of thought put into the whole process. People buy the things they think they can relate to. I’m not going to talk about income here, because you’re right in saying that it’s irrelevant. Anyone of any income could travel by BA. However, if people cannot relate to the advertisement then they’re not going to get the product, period.

          And I don’t think anyone is disputing the fact that there are people within in this income bracket who haven’t traveled by air. This is obviously true. You’re right that anyone of any income can travel, or not travel, by air. It is up to the person and whatever it is that they choose to do.

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    • Absolutely. I myself know a girl who has v.wealthy parents and is married to one of the top business men in the city. But has never even seen a place outside her place. Shes rich enough to have 10 world tours. And yet!!!!!

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    • Totally agree. I once lived in a small Indian city where, thanks to the flourishing local textile trade, the well-to-do women dripped diamonds and well-to-do men flaunted the latest cars and gadgets. While most of the rich men had traveled extensively, many of these rich women and children had never sat on a train, let alone a plane. When I joined the local school, I had quite a few rich kids ask me how it was to travel by train and by plane since they had never had that experience.

      This is a reality which I am sure is echoed across many places in India. Don’t understand why some commentators seem to find that so astonishing.

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  9. What I want to know is how did the couple manage to evade their sticking-plaster family that never gave them time alone up till then (not even allowing them to sit together in a car!), and leave for this holiday? Did BA arrange that too?! Like arranging a diversion for the family to look the other way while the couple made The Great Escape to a week of happiness? And think of it, what when they return? “You both spent A WHOLE WEEK together!!! No need to go out with him for the next 10 years (or even a lifetime)!!” I can almost hear the Indian Joint family screaming that.
    Jokes apart, what’s being said in the ad makes me cringe. To think everyone thinks it is normal for the wife to long to know her husband even after years of marriage, the cheerful martyr-like acceptance of the frustration in not being able to be together (Good Lord, they are a couple!), having to go on a holiday to stop pretending (so ‘pretending’ is the accepted default setting for marriage?).
    What the ad shows is the sad reality. They don’t expect together time in marriage (the sacrifice) and they are given none by the family (the control). BA capitalized on that truth.

    Like

    • You know what else I don’t get? How do these couples who do not know each other at all manage to make baby after baby?! Something doesn’t add up.

      Like

    • I was exactly thinking the same as to how could this couple get away from their extended family for a week when they cannot venture out to the neighborhood cinema house to catch a movie?? Also, what next after coming back?
      And to all those people who are surprised that the lady in the ad converses in English and wears gold but has never traveled by air; well that is the reality for most Indian couples. Sad but true and the reason so many people felt it was cute is because in most marriages be it love or arranged the husbands are not even as sensitive as the husband in this ad, at least he acknowledges the problem which many Indian men don’t.
      For example, my neighbors in India belong to the upper middle class society with both of them (MIL and FIL) in senior positions in the Government. Their son who is an MBA himself and works for a top bank fell in “love” and got married to a girl who is a CA (Chartered Accountant) and works for a top consulting firm. Both earn very well, but in the entire 2 years after marriage they never went out alone, ate alone or even went on a holiday as the MIL and FIL were retired and so always accompanied them. The girl used to crib and share her concerns with me but her so called husband did not even do what the man in this ad did; his reasoning was that his mother will feel bad….
      But the girl also just cribbed about it to me, and over a period of time accepted her fate and today has borne 2 children too and according to her family she is very happy..
      So this is the sad reality of India, that very few Indians have the luxury to travel and see the world and holiday etc…
      It is the Indian mindset that has to change and that will happen only when both the man and woman get into a marriage understanding what it means and then build the courage to just stand up for their rights.. What surprises is that even educated girls think it is just so natural to follow the husbands and listen to them.
      BA tried to cash in on the present situation and came out with this ad and since it is BA they had to show London…

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  10. I just made it half way through the ad and feel so blessed, happy and thrilled to be single and carefree than stuck in such a crappy suffocating marriage depicted here working 365/24/7, ugh. What is sad is most of these women don’t even realize their life is akin to 19th century slavery, they are conditioned to accept it in name of culture/family/tradition and other bullshit reasoning.

    Time to book a vacation to someplace warm and sunny (definitely NOT England), with beaches and unlimited alcohol included in the package. Chill by the beach, read a book with copious amount of tiki drinks, get a hot stone massage, check out the hot guys, dance the night away or a short fling with someone with six pack abs or cute nerdy glasses. Anything is better than slaving away for these pot bellied Shravan Kumars and their families, reminder for self next time someone pities my single status.

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  11. Travel has nothing to do with Socio economic status. it’s true and its also true that a single foreign trip doesnt get your spouse closer.
    Instead of travelling far they should have think how to solve their primaray issues.
    Rather than flying out they should think how to diminish their distance when they are with each other everyday.
    If she doesn’t like sitting at the back, why can’t she or her husband speak up . If her husband is able to plan a foreign trip not telling his parents then i think he is capable of telling his parents that he needs time to spend with his wife.
    Finding a way to run away from issue is not correct. Now the good wife is adjusting to everything but if it continues like this, one fine day she will revolt against the in-laws. Then Niether BA or any other airline can help..

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  12. Those who forced this damsel into this miserable arrangement of joint family should be booked immediately. Oh wait..was she a consenting adult into entering this arrangement? In that case, she herself has to be blamed for wrong life choices she made. In all fairness, she doesn’t actually seem to blame anyone else for her miseries, but here there are lot of third-party who wish to solve her issues for her.

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    • You know, I find myself in agreement with you. It’s not so much about man vs woman as much as how marriages are entered into and how couples live in Indian families. And yes, people do need to grow a spine and draw boundaries around themselves. Your happiness is your own responsibility, after all.

      One thing I do wish to point out to you is regarding this, “but here there are lot of third-party who wish to solve her issues for her.” – nobody is solving or even trying to solve her issues. If there are others who are stuck in a similar “status quo”, they may find the courage to step up and make their lives better if they find validation in forums like this one. I guess that is what most of us are trying to accomplish here.

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  13. Well, the poor woman was crying almost the whole time. It is plain to see how unhappy she’s been and even when she smiles it is not a full hearted smile. It is a smile akin to lovers’ last meeting…. ( lag ja gale ki fir ye hasin raat ho na ho, shayad fir is janam me mulakat ho na ho )

    Sorry state of affairs.

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  14. IHM,
    I know I am risking a hundred down thumbs for this comment!
    Guess what!
    I actually liked this video!
    it was so touching and it tugged at my heartstrings to see so much love between a husband and wife.
    May that couple prosper. I feel like showering all my blessings on them.

    And..
    Next time, I travel between Bangalore and California, I am flying not Emirates, nor Cathay Pacific, but British Airways!
    Regards
    GV
    (“Nitesh”, are you happy with this comment?)

    Like

    • I hadn’t read the comments before I posted my previous comment.
      I have read the comments now.

      While many comments are not on the subject, (The British Airways ad) I liked Shail’s concluding sentences in her comment.

      Quote:
      What the ad shows is the sad reality. They don’t expect together time in marriage (the sacrifice) and they are given none by the family (the control). BA capitalized on that truth.
      Unquote:

      I liked this ad. To me, the ad did not appear to endorse the state of affairs in most Indian marriages.Like Shail says, it has used it to advertise it’s airline.

      Nitya asks:

      Quote
      But throughout the ad I was wondering – wouldn’t a much better way of showing support be to just stand up for their right to spend time together as a couple here in India? Wouldn’t that have been healthier for their marriage (and their individual lives) overall?
      Unquote

      Any discussion on joint families, and the related problems of privacy for Indian couples is no concern to British Airways. That is a social problem of ours and can be the subject of a separate discussion. This ad had a limited purpose, viz to sell British Airways tickets to Indians. I think they have hit bull’s eye with this ad.

      Regards
      GV

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      • //Any discussion on joint families, and the related problems of privacy for Indian couples is no concern to British Airways.//

        But GV-ji – they capitalize on the same joint family and lack of privacy to push their product. An ad still exists in public space, and draws from and influences public culture. My problem is not whether BA sells their product or not, but with how ‘normal’ they make the situation of joint family denying privacy to the couple to be, and what their ‘solution’ to the problem is. (A short vacation patches up everything!) I’m just highlighting that (a) it is not okay to normalize this issue and we should make that clear and (b) the solution is for families to introspect about space.

        Objectively though, please avoid BA. They have lost my baggage twice😛

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        • @Nitya,
          Does the ad really ‘normalise’ this couple’s relationship? Or does it just depict a relationship that very commonly exists in Indian families?

          My feeling is that People Like Us are cringing at the ad because we recognise that this is not a relationship we would ever want to have- but for Other People, who live ‘stifled’ lives (from our POV,) this exact same situation- husband booking foreign trip to have alone time with wife- is HUGELY aspirational.

          From a feminist perspective, we can analyse the relationship, and the actions of the in laws and the family, but I disagree that depicting something automatically normalises it- in fact I would argue that by focussing on the woman, and her marital experience, the ad is subtly REBUKING our society- and rightly so.

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        • They are most welcome to lose my baggage!
          My baggage contains the old clothes of a middle aged retired Indian and a few knick -knacks and eatables that don’t fit into my wife’s suitcase.
          The compensation, per rules, will be much more than that I lose.
          I always carry the really important stuff with me, (documents, laptop, medicines and a set of clothes) and never check it in.
          Regards
          GV

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    • @ Mr. Vishvanath

      I don’t think so I am happy because just like many here feel that the man is welded to his parents, I feel that he doesn’t need to blow up his earnings on a luxury trip for his wife to ‘please’ her.
      Flowers would be enough but it seems that they might not be enough to please her.
      He doesn’t need to be ‘too-eager-to-please’ husband. He needs to have his own life too and that doesn’t always include the wife.

      Obviously, if the money is also pooled in by the wife for the luxury trip, then it’s a different matter altogether.

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    • Loved it Vishwanaathjee. I am not endorsing the social structure, nor am I going to travel BA just because they did this ad, but what they have shown in the ad (of course barring real issues such as passport, visa, packing clothes etc.) is certainly not far removed from reality. Yes, it touched me very much too – probably because it portrayed the woman’s feelings so starkly – the uncomprehending look of disbelief when the husband says they are going on a holiday.

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  15. I also thank god a million times since I never had to deal with lack of privacy. From day one, I have lived in US and my husband and I have traveled all over the world without any issues from family (read in-laws). When we were newly married and we had visited India, my hubby arranged a date for us at a snazzy restaurant to celebrate my birthday. My SIL was very adamant on joining us, she was snippy and rude. My husband didn’t budge an inch. He said “this is my alone time with my wife and we two are going out”. She even said that, there was no need to act nauseatingly lovey dovey. She was purely jealous. We just didn’t care and took off. Having that alone time with each other is very important.

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  16. I was this wife some time back for almost 6 years. In addition to house work I was also working and earning for myself, my daughter and ex-husband. I don’t want to even think of the pain and unhappiness I was in 365/24/7. to be surround with at least 6-7 people at all time and not be able to connect with even one of them…cut of from my own family and friends and leading a thoroughly miserable existence…like a puppet and a slave (though I was considered lucky by most). I know what it takes to wake out and handle what follows later.

    But when I looked at the ad I felt it was all worth it. I feel privileged, blessed and value my independence and life of dignity like I would never have.

    I strongly feel a lot of such things in our society can be ‘corrected’ if we stop worshipping self-sacrifice.

    May God bless me and my child and may more and more women realize the urgent need to stand up for themselves…the rest will follow even if very very slowly and painfully🙂

    Like

    • Better late, I empathise with you. In my case, every time my ex-MIL would urge my ex-husband to take me out for dinner, my ex-husband would look unhappily at her, sigh deeply and generally make it evident that he had no need for “private” time.

      DILs in such families are basically glorified slaves. Somebody (husband or MIL) decides every last detail of your life, starting with what time you sleep, for how long, and when you wake up.

      Even something as innocuous as curling up in a corner with a book or your laptop is seen to be “selfish” and “ill-mannered”.

      Such DILs lead lives of quiet desperation; and slowly wilt away into an empty shell of a person; their sadness hidden behind an extra-bright smile.

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  17. I just felt really bad, for both the husband and the wife.
    I don’t understand a situation where the couple don’t have “we” time!!!
    Or where the wife doesn’t have “me” time.
    Very very frustrating!
    And instead of blaming the airline– i would blame our society for encouraging such a set-up.

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  18. this is such a sad state of being that the couple realize they are unhappy, but think that’s just the way it’s supposed to be. That a vacation is needed to get to know your own spouse!!

    And this is what Indian society believes!!

    Depressing.

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  19. Wow. I would never have spent so much time thinking about an ad like this if not for so many people drawing conclusions from it.
    # 1. It’s an ad. If it moves you in any way – positive or negative, the makers have achieved their objective. This is not a documentary. It is a story. The point here is to fly BA. If in some way they can wrangle an emotion from you – great. How many of you who fly will remember to check BA thanks to this ad?
    # 2. I find it amazing that Shravan Kumar, given that he stills lives with his parents, and appears to be a dutiful son, realized that he wanted to get away with his wife, alone. How many times in this blog do we encounter husbands who don’t have the balls to challenge the status quo for their wife? And here’s someone who does. He’s acknowledged that he wants to know her better, and he makes a move. That the move happens to be flying BA to London is the advert part. May be this ad will inspire men who are these type of husbands to consider going on holiday with their wife alone, or give parents in joint families the jolt, that this too can happen? The nice thing about ads and visual media is that they allow you to soak in a concept slowly and individually. No pressure to accept or refute it immediately.
    # 3. Yes, yes I read the angst about how Chetana should not be slaving away 365*24*7. I too feel this is not OK. There are women out there who find fulfillment in serving out a role, that to me seem awfully regressive. That doesn’t give me the right however, to conclude, based on my prejudices and personality, to reject that they might not find happiness that way. There are wives in our country who live this way and their life is a cultural expectation. Can an ad change this? I think this ad already does – by putting the onus on the husband.

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  20. I just watched the ad and I actually liked it. BA is just reflecting what usually happens in these joint-family setups. Can’t blame BA for capitalizing (quite well, I must say) on something that exists. Their aim to persuade people to fly BA, not try to give a commentary on soceity’s ills and wrongs.

    Let’s hope in the real world husbands and wives realize just how much they are missing out on their marriage and their lives by blindly adhering to useless traditions at least after they take such trips! I can dream on while the mummy-jis/MILs of the world laugh….

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    • Actually you can blame BA for capitalizing on a toxic social structure. You should not reinforce bad practices, and if you do, you can be blamed. In this case it is especially heinous because they are using it for monetary gain. Of course, they are not alone in wanting to capitalize on a “cultural” practice, many other ad. makers do also.

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  21. Quoting Nitya as I couldn’t comment below her comment.
    “The family system in India and the in-laws are not really bad or evil. They are ignorant. The reason I shared this ad with IHM was because the ad normalizes that ignorance, and makes it seem like nothing wrong, nothing against which a counter argument exists. And that is disturbing”

    Bingo! The number of people who are doing exactly that on the net is EXTREMELY disturbing.

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