“Blogging and reading provocative blogs by others has made the good girl in you go corrupt.”

Sharing an email from My Era. 

This post (“Can I really marry and live with a guy who is so uncomfortable with the fact that I am open and expressive?”)  finally, helped me make up my mind to write all I wanted to tell you, in hope that perhaps, my experience might be helpful to someone, somewhere.

I have been blogging from over 8 years. My earlier blog was more of a professional one that no longer exists and my current blog is around 4 years old. During my journey as a blogger I came across your (IHM’s) blog around the time when difficulties in my married life were slowly creeping in (around 2009). Slowly but surely, the open-minded discussions on your blog, inspired me to question life and the people in it more often than before. I learnt the importance of paying heed to my heart and not giving up unless my questions met a satisfactory reply.

This phase was very important in my life because it was when, my ex-husband started complaining that I was a changed person altogether. These mild complains in no time turned frequent and on one occasion when I was adamant to know what exactly he meant by me changing, I received a startling reply.

“Blogging and reading provocative blogs by others has made the good girl in you go corrupt.”

I have to admit that it took me a long time to realize what he was truly hinting at. While my ex-husband was aware of the existence of my blog, he was never inclined to reading it, owing to the fact, he was least interested in any of the topics that interested me.

However, at the time when I had discovered your blog I was so excited that I used to discuss at length all the points of view I read here with him. His usual ‘hmmm’ held a deeper meaning that I learnt at a point when my life started to fall apart. Without my ever doubting so, he had gradually started checking my browsing history and actually spent time to read the blogs I had slowly begun frequenting when I was not at home.

Much later, when our marriage was on the rocks and our divorce case was in the court, in one of the hearings he told the Magistrate, that ‘I had lost my mind, forgotten the duties of being a ‘good’ wife because I was being brain-washed by the anti-social blogs that I read.’ These were his exact words, which not only left me flabbergasted, but made the Magistrate give me a ‘look’. After a brief pause, my ex-husband took the privilege to actually blame our divorce on my habit of blogging.

Needless to say, I never gave up blogging despite these insane allegations and ended up with a divorce.

Today, looking back at those events after reading the letter shared on your blog, I was tempted to tell the letter writer, that if someone is ‘disturbed’ after reading your blog, that holds account of the real you; it is definitely a red flag.

I say so, because the person is actually expressing his dislike for the person he has encountered in the pages of your blog. He seems to not only find your being openly expressive as objectionable but is also trying to re-frame your approach to life, attempting to remould you.

In my limited life experiences, I have learnt that though people may learn to adjust, seldom do they change from their core beliefs. Trying to mould our lives, thought process, and everything else just to suit someone’s liking ( whom you know for hardly 10 days, are not in love or in a relationship with, is a big ask or rather too much an ask to even consider obliging for) is not worth it.

What has started on the note of expressing ‘dislike’ towards your freedom of expression at this stage, is a sure sign that you are heading on a road where ‘freedom of expression’ or making choices you like, will not be considered acceptable.

Moreover, I feel your best friend is quite right in saying that this man will never be at peace with your past about which he has read at length on your blog. For someone, what his sister thinks about you holds such paramount importance at this stage, ‘Log kya kahenge’ will be a weapon that he’ll blatantly use against you at every point in life from here on.

If for a minute, we assume, that you make your blog private and are happy to accommodate his request to not write a public blog in future, what is the guarantee that this is not just the tip of the iceberg of requests asking you to change as per his perception of a ‘good wife’?

Mind you, we are yet to give due thought to your happiness, peace of mind and integrity staying alive and healthy now and in future (if we consider you marry him).

I have learnt in life that there can never be enough sacrifices a girl can make to please her husband and in-laws in an arranged marriage setup. No-matter what you’ll do (killing the real you) it will be seen as expected from you as a ‘sanskari’ DIL.

Before you take a plunge into the endless pit of ‘adjustments’ please reflect on where your happiness truly lies. The usual norm of believing ‘Shaadi ke baad sab theek ho jayega’ is a blindfold our families tie on our rational minds, to let them decide everything for us, that opens at a time when major damages have been done.

Wishing you the best in your life and hoping you’ll pay heed to your inner voice that has already set the alarm off.

Warm Regards,

My Era

( https://theerailivedin.wordpress.com/ )

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To an Anonymous DIL

An email: He says what am I expecting out of this marriage if I cant even make him happy.

I could not sing after my marriage and I am really sad about it, but women have to ‘adjust’ to see their family happy…

“Can I really marry and live with a guy who is so uncomfortable with the fact that I am open and expressive?”

Changing Someone (or oneself)

“I think most problems in life are when we look for approval and validation outside of ourselves.”

“10 years ago, the girl would have been counselled on how to change her dress sense for the boy, how to do as he says.”

Who would you never ask for advice?

What are you criticised the most for?

Does loving someone mean we should improve them?

 

 

A Woman Who Doesn’t Have to Fit In

A Guest Post by wordssetmefreee

Khoobsoorat – Movie Review

(Warning – Spoilers, lots of them)

When my niece recommended I watch this film, I was skeptical. It sounded like a predictable Bollywood romance, replete with beautiful sets, fine costumes and jewelry, one dimensional characters with very little subtlety, and situations that are too easily resolved, usually through the use of lectures and bit of melodrama.

It turned out to be some of the above. But despite these predictable traits, the movie surprised me.

The Protagonist

What I liked about the film is of course the protagonist Mili (Sonam Kapoor). Or rather, I came to like her. Cautiously. Gradually.

Mili is silly, irritating, and clumsy. She puts up her feet on the dashboard, drinks from the wine bottle, and eats messy food with her hands. She takes selfies of herself everywhere. I thought, “And THIS is what they call ‘spontaneous/bubbly’?” I rolled my eyes.

But over the course of the film, Mili emerges as a woman who likes herself and is not excessively concerned whether others approve of her or not.

She is very good at what she does (physiotherapy) and she does it unconventionally and with lots of heart thrown in.

Mili has had 3 breakups so far (shown funnily in a little flashback) and even though she’s just had it with men for a while, she hasn’t had it with life. In fact, she’s enjoying life more than usual, with the complications of a relationship removed.

Mili dares to dream. She isn’t overly awed by Prince Vikram’s wealth or class. At first she’s attracted to him, and then she begins to like him when she sees his human side. As she finds herself becoming closer to him, her only worry is that he is engaged. Never once does she feel he is “unreachable”. It’s as if she’s always seen him as an equal, as another human being. She conveys an easy, natural sense of self-worth here.

Supporting Characters

Another pleasant surprise – there are two other strong female characters in the film – the Maharani, Vikram’s mother, played by Rathna Pathak, and Manju (played by Kirron Kher), Mili’s kick-ass, Punjabi mom. Both characters were portrayed reasonably well. Power does not make the Maharani evil and being middle class does not make Mili’s mom servile.

The Maharani, although strict and rule bound, never raises her voice or gets abusive as befitting her classy background. Her bossiness is restrained, her dismissals aloof, her rebuttals are often polite, and her language is impeccably clean. And there are layers to her. You can understand that she needs to be authoritarian in order to run such a large estate, several businesses, and keep an army of staff running smoothly. You also sense she is protective of the wheelchair-bound Maharaja. She will not let anyone cross the wall he has built around himself. She fears that it could be devastating to him. Gradually, their previous relationship is revealed. How they played polo and tennis together. How the Maharani had love and friendship and playfulness from her husband before one tragic incident brought their lives to a screeching halt. Theirs was (and is) an equal marriage, a rarity among older (or even younger?) Bollywood characters.

As a foil to the Maharani’s character is Manju, Mili’s mom – loud, bull dozer like, and calls a spade a spade. You can tell where Mili gets her guts and a bit of craziness from. Manju often advises her daughter to “go get “em” if she needs to and to “not take any crap from the guy’s family”. That really made me laugh with happiness!:)

And now, coming to the male lead – Prince Vikram played by Fawad Khan. The actor is smoky handsome and sexy (I can see why my niece was so hooked on this movie now:). When I say sexy, I don’t just mean his physical attributes. I think people who are good looking in an empty sort of way are seldom sexy. He has what attractive men and women have – an air of mystery, a certain aloofness, quiet confidence that doesn’t require loudness or aggression, a reluctance to easily reveal himself and yet he does so in vulnerable moments. And when he does reveal himself here and there unintentionally, you like what you see.

When Mili accuses him of not joining the party with the servants because he has to maintain his distance/status, he replies, “Yeah …. something like that.” He doesn’t deny that the class gap exists and he doesn’t have all the answers. And then adds, “or perhaps, they (servants) would prefer it that way (him not joining their fun).”

He is puzzled by Mili’s craziness. He is befuddled by her impulsiveness. He is wary of her inclination to say things without a filter. He is jolted by her tendency to act on whim, without the slightest though to consequences.

But when he watches his mother’s reaction to Mili’s wackiness, he is secretly amused. All of his emotions were subtly conveyed – a raised eyebrow, a shrug, a warning look, a little hesitation, a tensing of the shoulders, a bit of subtle sarcasm, or some delicate rephrasing of an otherwise crass situation.

There is great chemistry between the two characters. In both the kissing/hugging scenes, they are BOTH drawn to each other, the feeling is mutual, and Mili as the woman is a willing partner, and once she is also the initiator.

Vikram finds himself reluctantly but helplessly drawn to Mili, despite his rational understanding of the volcano he’s walking into. Mili, on the other hand, true to her character, courts fire, and gives no thought to the consequences.

Humor

There are several funny moments – some everyday situations, some contrived. When Mili asks people from the royal family to join her skype call with mom, her mother puts on a sweet smile, but once they leave, blasts Mili for doing this to her when “she’s cutting onions and sweating in the kitchen”.

When the kidnappers tell Mili they’re just getting started with their ransom “business” and she’s their first victim, Mili who is now high on something, says, “I get it. I remember being excited too – when I got my first client.”

Mili’s breakups are funny – one is with a clueless guy who has found his soul mate in another clueless girl. Another guy is just someone who couldn’t handle Mili’s feet on his dashboard anymore.

And Vikram’s use of “hum” (we) to refer to himself are greeted by irreverent Mili (and her mom) with a “Who the heck is We?? Hello?? I see only one person here!”

I chuckled when the Maharani (upon being confronted in the middle of the night by Manju) says with lovely poise, “I’m sorry but I need my 8 hours of sleep. Can we discuss these “interesting” theories of yours in the morning?”

Room for Improvement

I thought they could’ve balanced out Mili’s character a bit – she doesn’t ALWAYS have to be smiling or ALWAYS have to drop things – we get it – she’s a fun gal and a tad clumsy. But when Vikram tells her they cannot share a future because they are so different, Mili hardens and softens at the same time. She looks at him both angrily and sadly and says, “I agree.” This is where her character looks more complete, more multi-dimensional. I wish there were a few more of these contemplative moments for Mili.

The confrontation between the moms was unnecessary and Manju’s pettiness and arguing to the bitter end dragged down the last part of the movie a bit.

I also thought the Maharaja’s situation was resolved a bit too simplistically. While I appreciate Mili’s determination to do her job as a therapist and her efforts to bring fun back into his life because she believes it will help him recover, I wish she never explicitly TOLD him he is stuck at the time of the accident, and needs to start living again. I wish she had trusted his capacity for self-direction. And I wish he had taken that first step forward himself, with her support.

The Ending

Loved the ending though! It is the royal family that learns to relax and adapt to Mili’s crazy ways rather than Mili changing herself to fit into the clan’s honored traditions. This is not shown explicitly but implied through the Maharani’s humorous acceptance of Mili and the last credits song.

The movie is based on an older film of the same name starring Rekha. And it does have shades of the Sound of Music. I’m not sure if it passes the Bechdel test but overall, I confess I enjoyed this movie. Charming characters, three strong women, one dashing prince, a hauntingly beautiful palace, and lots of heart make this a warm, pleasant ride. Did you like it? Let me know what you think!