‘Unbelievable? Believe it. This isn’t your usual Ekta Kapoor serial.’

Don’t patriarchal gender roles get doubly reinforced for children who have grown up watching their fathers beat and emotionally abuse their mothers? When do they start grasping how much of what they have lived with is not ‘normal’ or right?

When do they begin to see and  then wipe away almost everything they have learnt about relationships? Please note the abuser could be a very involved, controlling and a very ‘demanding’, perfectionist  parent.

It can’t be easy to totally wash away the conditioning and to start rebuilding the part of their brain/thought process that helps them understand relationships, rights, personal space, equality, happiness, gender roles, family values? It would be like a mindset overhaul.

And then imagine doing this when almost everybody, most media, most family elders (generally trusted for knowing better), the legal system, friends from the same generation, colleagues, siblings and worst of all, even the victim – can’t see any need for ‘these trivial issues’ to be taken too seriously.

Sharing some answers to comments from the courageous young woman who wrote: “My in-laws don’t hate me at all. But ‘love’ isn’t about all this. ‘Love’ is about letting your loved one ‘live’.” –


* * *

Thanks for giving my story a chance to go up. There are some comments from the viewers, and I realized I haven’t been clear about this issue.

1. Why did I not do my research before marriage?

 I did. I knew my husband. I knew his family. I knew all the fine print. But, could I simply break up with the one man I loved just because his father drunk? Was it his personal flaw that his father was like this? Did it dampen our love? The answer to all this is ‘no’.

I know this is controversial. I will go ahead.

2. How can you love someone who is sexist?


My husband isn’t sexist. He is a perfectly ‘normal’ person as every other feminist out there.

3. How can you claim this when he clearly didn’t support you in your trouble?

I reflected upon this and I asked my husband about this yesterday- “If you are really the nice person that you are now, why didn’t you support me then?”

Here is the feedback.

Every time I was away, my husband used to fight with his family for my rights. He fought through all the emotional drama, alone. He was branded a “gooja thookaravan”, the Tamil equivalent of JKG. He took it in his stride and still fought on. Nobody relented.

But, he never told me what was really going on, thinking he was protecting me. Sadly, he was also not very mature to deal with this situation very effectively and couldn’t bear this all alone- me complaining, his parents complaining. So, he’d get frustrated.

As to telling me to “adjust”, since his family clearly wasn’t giving up, he tried to persuade me to keep low until we figured out a solution. I must admit, it was my mistake too that I just panicked and freaked out instead of dealing with this situation as a mature adult should. I don’t mean a mature adult “adjusts”. A mature adult tries to find out workable solutions. I wasn’t mature. I just cried and like I said, tried suicide. I should have fought back in a decent but firm manner. I didn’t do that, even though my husband encouraged me to speak it out openly and politely to my in-laws if I couldn’t obey all their wishes. I was so scared of their censure that I didn’t do it, and I came back to complain to my husband.

4. How can a husband be supportive if he doesn’t help around with the chores?

How can a husband help around with the chores if he doesn’t actually know how to manage a household? You have to teach him. What if he is constantly discouraged from learning housework? He is hesitant and slow in learning even if he doesn’t believe in pelting all the housework on the wife. What if the wife herself is too young to teach him things? The couple has to learn things together.

And, that is precisely what we are doing now.

We both were absolute rookies. Like I said, MIL was a slave. He wasn’t used to being actively involved in the house. He had eventually become addicted to TV and then, lazy enough to procrastinate. He had his own frustrations (coming to that subsequently). But, he believed in helping around the chores and had promised me that before we married.

Million dollar question: Why didn’t he actually come round helping me then? Because I never really asked. I was too scared to ask him to help, what with his grandma staring at me with hawk-like eyes and passing an odd comment that “this was a woman’s job”. You see, there was social pressure too. It is an object of ridicule in my community if a woman isn’t good at all this. All the women I knew were absolute pros at single-handed household management. I didn’t want to be ridiculed.

When I finally overcame this and did ask him for help, I discovered that although he wasn’t unwilling to help me, he was actually a very bad procrastinator. He was quite lazy. To get anything done, I had to remind him over and over and over again. Result: he’d be cleaning up the hall at 3 a.m. in the morning after watching movies all night. Sexist society + husband’s general procrastination/laziness led to him being perceived by everyone as a sexist.

To be fair I wasn’t very different when I was single. I would simply nod to every chore my mom assigned me and ended up doing it very late or never doing it at all. Why is it so different if it is a man this time?

5. How are your first write-up and the remaining story so contradictory?


Because that is exactly how reality works in most educated middle-class families. People are conscious that they don’t want to be called villainous in-laws. The result: Internal politics.

To this date, I have never had a fight with my in-laws. They have never scolded me directly. They have praised me to heaven of course, before my parents and everyone else. The “daughters” in this family are treated the same way I am.

Unbelievable? Believe it. This isn’t your usual Ekta Kapoor serial.

In fact, every time we meet, and the moment I turn on my charm (which, I must admit, I have a lot) people are too jovial and cordial with me to think about my flaws. My FIL openly declares to the world that I am his daughter not DIL. Though grandma does some “internal politics”, I’ll be the devil’s advocate- she’s 70 plus; you can’t expect her to simply snap out of her old-generation views. Grandma has affection for me, but she also wants to survive in this not-so-conducive environment. She is dependent on her alcoholic-wife-beating son even if she hates his behavior. But, she is helpless. She was also a victim in her days. Talk about vicious cycle. Anyway, I digress.

Whenever my ILs interact with me, it is so sweetly put, you would hardly figure out that they are actually encroaching on your space/being sexist/controlling you and most often, they end up convincing the listener. Eventually, you realize you are unhappy only when you have actually started doing what they said. My husband had warned me, but I took it lightly. I had no clue “politics” could be this bad.

For example, when my FIL told me to stop wearing jeans, he didn’t openly forbid me. He said, “Please wear salwar kurta/saree whenever you are going out with me. You can wear what you like when you and your husband go out alone. The society doesn’t approve of women dressing in modern clothes.” So, sweet and polite right?

Clincher: He was ALWAYS with us. Almost ALL our outings consisted of family trips. Finally we all moved in together. Result: I would get a cold stare every time I wore jeans, as I couldn’t “fulfill this very simple and reasonable request”.

If I cooked a bad meal, my FIL would sweetly instruct me to learn the right technique from MIL. Then he would call MIL and abuse her for “letting it pass her scrutiny”. I would feel guilty for having become the reason for my MIL being abused.

So what you all call “abuse” was so sweetly and nicely put and the folks were so openly affectionate otherwise, there was no evidence that their acts were making me unhappy. This is why my parents, who lived miles away and knew only secondhand information, persuaded me to “adjust”. I was also somewhat a spoilt kid, so my parents had no clue as to the “veracity” of my claims, as being very sensitive and emotional, I used to show more emotional responses than the cool reasoning of an adult.

In fact, it took me a very long time to discover the real reason why I was unhappy. There was hardly any evidence so I couldn’t pinpoint anyone. For the same reason, I couldn’t openly rebel or fight as I didn’t know how to subtly and firmly decline requests, without leaving evidence in my wake. I was either angry or happy. I didn’t have the tact.

One of my MIL’s SILs (my FIL’s brother’s wife) had openly rebelled and had got branded a “vamp”. My husband didn’t want that for me. Nor did I. (Now, we don’t care.)

6. How is your husband a worse victim of patriarchy?


My “abuse” was what you’d call an undercurrent and one had to really read between the lines to discover “abuse” in it, so the problems were more psychological than physical. With my husband, the “abuse” was full-on.

Since he had a work-from-home job, he was constantly bothered. He had to do the usual pick-up drop-at-even-odd timings routine even if people could simply take an auto to get somewhere. He was supposed to drive his parents around everywhere, including pilgrimage trips. They sent him out to get grocery, sometimes as many times as one grocery per trip, instead of giving a complete list. They spent exorbitantly, bending him with emotional drama. They made him run so many errands he was almost given a pink slip. Eventually, the company forced him to resign. He got another job, but it was recession and he couldn’t negotiate the salary as much for his experience. Then MIL says, “You dare not blame us for this. I saw your performance slip. You performed badly so they sacked you. It’s your fault.”

Much earlier back, they didn’t let him choose his own course, or a career. He was told to give up his job and move to another city to take care of his younger brother who had come to study there. He was told to send home his paltry salary of 6000, and as a consequence, he had to go hungry for a week. Despite all this, his younger brother was hailed as the best son and my husband was called “a misfortune to be born with my (FIL’s) blood”.

There is a lot more.

My abuse has stopped now. His hasn’t. Yesterday, he was down with fever. FIL called him and told him to pick him up and drop him somewhere. This would have meant a commute of 16 kms to pick up FIL, then 40 kms to the destination, then another 30 kms back home. My husband picked up his courage and refused. Result: My MIL was abused last night.

But, we have decided “not to interfere in their personal life”.

I know my husband has seen so much and he has a deep psychological trauma. The only thing that can heal this is true happiness- loads of happiness and freedom. Our primary aim now is to make each other as happy as possible.

BTW, I told him about this site and sent him a few articles to read. He enjoyed reading the “invisible person” blog.

Thank you IHM.

Related Posts:

‘An email from a daughter whose mother endured everything because she did not want to ruin her daughters’ lives’

“Ask your father if he has never beaten your mother!” Please adjust.

What makes some of us resent abuse victims instead of supporting them.

The invisible family member in the saas-bahu post.

“I put my blood and raised my sons. Now the daughters in law are enjoying the fruit…”

An email. Aren’t the sons supposed to have their own family lives?

More than half of young Indians believe it’s okay for a husband to beat his wife.

An email: “But my parents, fearing the society and their reputation begged him to take me back.”

An email from a Divorcee’s Daughter.

“A message is required to be sent, loud and clear that wife bashing has no place in a civilised society and violent husbands deserve no mercy,”


Of how men’s masculinities are connected to their wives taking their names.

Men (and women) in patriarchal societies are raised to believe it is natural, required, honorable, empowering, manly and but-expected for men to want to compete with other men and women, in a continuous effort to prove their ‘manliness’ (Just like women in patriarchal societies are expected to compete with each other for their attractiveness to men and their capacity to sacrifice for men) Almost everything they do is under scrutiny.

Not fitting into these molds can have repercussions. For men, taunts of being girly or being a Joru Ka Gulaam are used to ensure compliance.

One of the things required of the ‘real man’ is to expect and to ensure that the woman he marries takes his name (first name, last name, caste name, family name, village name).

Here’s how one man dealt with this.

Why I Changed My Last Name When I Got Married–Even Though I Have A Penis

It was common for Europeans to have one name 1,000 years ago. I’m Jonathan. Full stop. But last names grew to symbolize relationships with society over time. They stemmed from clans and class and titles and towns. If you met someone called Goldsmith, that person probably smithed gold.

But a problem appeared: Servants, slaves, children, and women were a white man’s property, so they fell under his family name. Now, generations later, a black woman somewhere in Alabama goes by the last name Chadwick after her great-great-grandfather’s slave-owner’s grandfather’s hometown in England.

Chadwick, by the way, means “Chad’s dairy farm” in Old English.

My parents hyphenated their names in the 1970s, for example. My mom was Camery, and my dad was Hoggatt, and I was born a Camery-Hoggatt.

Upside: Both families are represented equally.

Downside: This only works for one generation.

I married Rebecca Jones. If we hyphenated, we would have become the Jones-Camery-Hoggatts, and if our kids and grandkids hyphenate, they’ll have last names like Tutu-Smithersby-Rodrigues-Jones-Camery-Hoggatt, and that just seems irresponsible.

So we picked a new last name.

We wanted one that’s easy to pronounce and that fits well with our first names. Simple. That’s why, on our wedding day, we both took the last name Jackson.


One woman tried to insult me by saying that I must have a small penis. This struck me as odd for three reasons: First, I hadn’t considered correlating penis size with resistance to social norms. Second, each body is unique. I will never be insulted by comparisons to anyone’s body type. Third, my penis is probably bigger than hers. Sadly, sexism comes in all shapes and sizes. But her reaction wasn’t surprising.

Our society needs an overhaul, and this last name choice won’t make a huge difference by itself. We know that. It’s quiet. It’s subtle. But it still undermines small power asymmetries. In that sense, our last name has the potential to stand for something much, much bigger:

It symbolizes our relationship with society itself.

Please watch this Havells fans ad- Hawa Badlegi – Registrar’s Office. [Link shared by Anita Rao]

Hawa badlegi roughly translates to the winds (or the times) are changing.

And here’s one of the prize winning entries in the Joru Ka Gulaam Badges contest.

Created by Vikas Gupta, this badge was chosen by JKG Kislay for JUDGES’ SPECIAL MENTION AWARD

Related Posts:

Man’s Man? No thanks. – Cynically Engineered

Honor and Masculinity: How Patriarchy Warps Your Thinking – Cynically Engineered

Men do not compate with men the way women do?

Of girly men who fail to convert irresponsible women from liabilities to assets.

First name, Unwanted. Second name, Dad’s or Husband’s name.

Keeping her maiden name can save an Indian woman’s life.

So what could make even the average, selfish, money-minded Indian family welcome baby girls?

Why I can’t take gender stereotypes seriously.

Eleven questions the family elders ask women in unhappy marriages.

And answers by Anonymous Confused Wife.

1) So what’s new here? It’s an age old issue.

Once upon a time that’s exactly what people said about child-marriage or widow burning.

This is important to me because it’s an issue to ME. NOW.

It’s an age-old issue and yet the only solutions anyone can come up with are “slog it out” or “leave, he’ll never change” or “Please adjust”. Doesn’t that say something about how great a job we’ve done by pushing all such issues under the rug?

2) The husband seems to be a nice chap in every other respect. Only his being a “mama’s boy” seems to be the irritant.

That’s not the same as saying he doesn’t drink tea instead of coffee. “Every other respect” gets affected by his being a mama’s boy.

[IHM: A ‘mama’s boy‘ may be defined as a husband who expects his wife to see him and his family as her world, but who does not think she should expect to be his first priority. He might also expects her to be an obedient and dutiful ‘elder-caregiver’ to his parents but again he may not feel the need to reciprocate.]

3) He risks being called “Joru ka ghulaam” or ‘Mama’s boy’. Neither is pleasant to hear.

I’d like to believe it IS possible for a grown adult to just be HIMSELF without being either a Joru ka Ghulam or a mama’s boy.

[Indian women continue to be seen as Paraya dhan‘ (property of their in laws) and Indian sons as providers of elder care through their wives. The system has resulted in a male child’s parents expecting special privileges.]

4) We have heard only the wife’s version. We have not had an opportunity to hear the husband’s version and that of the mother-in-law.

If this were a court of law, you would have.

It saddens me that a woman is not taken seriously when she says she’s miserable enough in a relationship that she’s willing to be single again, willing to go through a breakup and a divorce, willing to face social stigma and whatever other consequences, because she does not see herself being happy with him.

It saddens me that unless I choose to sacrifice my happiness, my commitment to my marriage is questioned.

My expression of my experience in this marriage are taken as an attack against which my husband and In-Laws need to present their defense. And what then, will someone rule that I can’t leave? That I have to stay here and remain unhappy?

[And yet it is not uncommon for the in-laws to complain to her parents about a daughter in law’s incompetence, disobedience or lack of respect. One doesn’t generally hear demands for her version. This could be because in the past the wives were much younger than the husbands and were treated like their wards.]

5)  If the husband or mother-in-law reads this, we would hear a version of the entire story as viewed from the other side.

Of course they’ll have their own take on the situation. Of course they have every right to be vocal about it. And of course it won’t be identical to mine. That doesn’t discount the fact that my experience so far makes me unhappy and hopeless enough to make me want to leave.

Is my happiness not necessary for their happiness? Is it fair to expect me to ensure their good at the cost of my own happiness?

6) I am sure a joint counseling session moderated by a respected family elder, or a professional counselor in which the mother-in-law, son and wife thrash out all issues, would ease tensions.

IHM: Family elders tend to ask all the same FAQs that have been asked here. Age does not automatically mean better ability to be unbiased.

The Counselors, the Lawyers, the parents,  and the Police are the products of the same society. Bias is a way of life in a Patriarchal society. Hearing different points of views is fine but an individual must trust her own judgment in the end.

6-b) Did you notice that the father-in-law never figures in issues like this? What is it about women ? (Aurat hee aurat ki dushman? A woman is a woman’s worst enemy?)

To an extent it’s BECAUSE the F-I-L wasn’t a prominent figure in his wife’s or his child’s life that the onus of fulfilling his wife’s emotional needs falls on his son.

7) You do not have enough valid reasons to walk out of this marriage. You have been more fortunate than most Indian women whose problems are far worse than yours.

Yes, a lot of Indian women have it worse. To me this doesn’t justify any of their behavior either.
Also, a lot of PEOPLE – including Indian men – do have it better. I know *I* had it much better before I got married. So regardless of whether or not others think I have “enough valid reasons” I do believe I have a right to my happiness.

8 ) Your ONLY grievance seems to be that your husband is a “Mama’s boy”. But this term is frequently abused and misused. It’s sometimes relative. What is “mama’s boy” to some might be seen as “filial respect and regard from an ideal son” to others.

At no point have I mentioned that his respect or regard for his parents bothers me. His OBEDIENCE to them and their wishes, however unreasonable, however unfair to me, definitely does.

We don’t see parents of married daughters having similar expectations of ‘filial respect’ from them because daughters in India are expected to put their spouse and their marriage before their own parents. How can a marriage be truly happy if one partner is being reminded that the other must not be his priority (but she must still see him as her priority)?

9) Cheerfully put up with 10 days of possible tension and live the other 355 days happily. Remember that these 10 days cause tension to the Mother-in-law too! Married life is not always a bed of roses. You have been married for only two years. More serious problems are yet to come. Children, their upbringing, health problems as one grows old, career ups downs etc are all yet to be experienced.

If only! In those 10 days, I am constantly insulted and deprived of basic rights. My family is insulted and called names. It’s not like I can turn off a switch on the 11th day and be happy for the next 355. And what about the days I lose because of the weekly phone calls?

I’m CERTAIN I didn’t have that many unhappy days a year when I was single. And if more serious problems are on their way, I’d rather not stick around until then.

10) Walking out of this marriage is no guarantee that you will find happiness in some other marriage or in remaining single. Instead of “Mama’s boy” you may end up with something far worse.

Yes, there’s that risk. I might choose it over guaranteed unhappiness.

11)  I am not convinced that you have a winnable case.

So I lose and my “punishment” is staying in a marriage that makes me unhappy? Out of curiosity, why do you not consider being a divorcee a “worthy” punishment for me?

What do men need liberation from?

1. Men need liberation from being family breadwinners or ATM cards. All responsibilities should be shared by all adult family members.

If there is a family business, the son must (and the pressure increases if he is the first male child) join it, no matter how unsuited or how unwilling.

2. Men should be able to pursue their dreams.

I know of one talented man who wanted to be a theater artist, and still hopes to – some day when his family is settled. Men need liberation from a system that expects them to  – marry, ensure their spouse is dutiful,and have sons to carry on the family name …and the same responsibilities.

3. Men need liberation from being ‘protectors’ of women. Boys as little as four are taught to take care of all the women in the family. We might think it’s no big deal, it prepares them for taking over future responsibilities – but it is a burden, and I think every child has a right to stay a child while he is a child.

Girls who do not have brothers manage perfectly fine, women who do not have sons or husbands learn to ‘protect’ themselves. I think families should make an effort to encourage girls to take care of themselves, so their brothers – sometimes years younger – are not forced to be their ‘protectors’.

4. Another responsibility a lot of Indian boys have is of escorting the women in the family. Thousands of women travel to work and at all hours on their own, but many thousand more from all backgrounds are always accompanied by some male relative. It is a waste of time for the male relative. I think our society should realise that they have more to do in life than following (or leading) female relatives who can easily learn to move on their own.

I know of this woman who had an opportunity to sing at a Radio Station (in 1970s) but since her brother couldn’t accompany her there everyday, she had to miss her dream opportunity. The woman was 25 then. Why couldn’t she be shown how she could commute on her own, instead of forcing an unwilling and bored sibling to accompany her?

5. In many families men are also the family chauffeurs. Women – same generation, age and educational qualifications wait for male members to drive them wherever they have to go. This when thousands of women all over the world drive their own cars.

Shouldn’t a man know that if he needs to be driven somewhere, he can rely on a female member with the same ease she finds him reliable. Driving and cooking are important skills for all men and women.

6. In conservative families men are expected to know whether their adult spouse and siblings  are appropriately (modestly) dressed.  They also must guide them about where they can or can’t go (apart from driving them till there). This is seen as a part of ‘protect the women in the family’ responsibility. Once again, why not make every adult member take responsibility for themselves?

Even if the dependent female members initially dislike it, eventually everybody benefits from this.

7. And then unlike girls who are encouraged to get married and move on with their own family life (sometimes against their wishes, but that’s a different topic) – men are under immense pressure that their spouse, probably chosen by the family elders,  is taught to be  dutiful and respectful to their family.

Most parents are less selfish when looking for a life partner for their daughter. Dowry  and social standing worries apart, they try to make sure they find someone who would care for the girl. The rules often change when it comes to sons.  The family elders rarely look for a partner for the son, they generally look for a daughter in law for themselves.

Here the men often have little say in who they marry. Their life partner is chosen for her dowry, her height, her skin colour, her marks in Class X, her sister’s character and the number of male children in her family. And even after all this, if he falls in love with the wife, he is made to feel like he is abandoning the family. Daughters face no such problems, they can rave about how wonderful they think their husband is, the entire family looks indulgently, even proudly that a daughter from their family is so well settled. If she misses him, she is teased affectionately.

(This often makes a married daughter lie about any problems she might be facing, but that’s another blog post.) The happily married daughter is seen as an asset to the family name and honor,  but not a happily married son. A married son’s opinion – if he disagrees is seen with suspicion because it might be tinged with his wife’s opinion, but a happily-married-daughter’s opinion is valued. Her spouse – unlike a son’s spouse, is an important family member. (Maybe the most important family member).

And the son dare not object to this bias because that is seen as the worst betrayal a son can ever show.

Now with equal property rights and equal responsibilities – this does seem unfair.

8. Being able to do jobs that are ‘reserved for women’ – like cooking or cleaning. The first ones to protest are women, mothers who have seen nothing better, and then wives who have been taught this is not a man’s job.

Remember ‘Salaam Namaste’?

9. Being able to enjoy looking good without being labeled.

Something as simple as being able  to grow their hair. Why is it that most offices have no problem with women in long hair but feel men with long hair mean lack of discipline?

Men also have restriction on the colours they can wear, although most Indian men don’t care for colour stereotypes.

10. Freedom to show they are sensitive. Feelings like jealousy, frustration, fear, nervousness or insecurity are not be reserved for women, but men are expected to never show these feelings.

11. Paternity leave. And the freedom to show they are more than sperm donors. I know of men who made great parents, and their children would have benefited from some more time with them. Men should have the freedom and facilities to choose to be full time parents.

I am sure there are more. And just like equal rights for women are good for the entire society, equality for men is also good for the entire society.

Related post: International Men’s Day.

The invisible family member in the saas-bahu post.

An excerpt from an unpublished comment in response to, ‘From an Anonymous  DIL, Wife and Daughter‘ :

The biggest and most funniest thing is that it is a tussle between TWO WOMEN RPT TWO WOMEN. No feminists mentions this. This reminds me of an old saying in Hindi — Woman is the biggest enemy of another woman. Mother-in-law and newly DIL fighting over a bone. Pity the poor husband.


Why do I feel there would have been no saas-bahu post if it wasn’t for an invisible member?

Because no bahu would need to worry about what the saas thinks she should wear, eat, cook, drink etc … if there wasn’t a man who quietly conveys that he would not like it if she did not.

He has the society, custom and tradition by his side. He and the society forget that he is the reason why the daughter in law is in this relationship.

And it’s supposed to be a partnership.

Who should be held responsible if she feels, “...petty things seem impossible to handle and everything looks like its going to collapse…“? [More here]

Here was a girl working, studying, meeting friends, living a normal life.. and then suddenly everything changes. It doesn’t have to.

Times are changing. Whether we like it or not, women are beginning to have choices. They are realising that there’s more to life than getting married to a man who doesn’t think they are an equal partner. Soon, it’s not going to be possible to force a young girl to live an unhappy life.

If we want families to get along, or even stay together, we better make it worth while for the one member without whom it would be impossible to have this family system.

If we do not acknowledge that the system is biased, and if we do not change it fast, husbands will increasingly find themselves having to choose between a divorce or moving out with their spouse to make their own homes. (And nothing wrong with that either).

Maybe then Live-in relationships will find favour because they might free women from one-way-relationship responsibilities?

Traditionally husbands could live in reasonable comfort while remaining  invisible.  Infact they were discouraged from ‘interfering‘, which basically meant they must not support the wife. This generally made a new family member feel isolated. Today it should not be difficult for a middle class husband to imagine the wife’s discomfort – more so if they have had a similar upbringing, studied in similar schools, read similar books – how would he like to live with her family in similar circumstances?

I know of this man who stopped his wife from objecting to being bullied by his mother. He even convinced her to apologise to his mother sometimes. He  claimed to be stressed and fed-up with the situation at home, but continued to subject the equally (or more) fed up and stressed wife to it. His younger brother joined in finding faults with everything his brother’s wife (bhabhi) did.  The siblings said everyone is their house must obey their mom. Then the younger brother got married. He moved to first floor, made it clear that his wife was ‘modern‘ so she could wear whatever she liked and they went out whenever they pleased. I wonder how the older brother felt when he saw this? The family accepted the situation, they knew this son always had a mind of his own, while the elder one was the dutiful, obedient one.

I think the younger brother learnt from the example of the older one. He realised it was not possible to have a happy family unless his wife was happy. He refused to stay invisible.


*Bahu – Daughter in law

Saas- Mother in law

Bhabhi – Brother’s wife

JKG Badges! :)

Along with a new definition for Joru Ka Gulam [click] we had also requested for contributions for  the JKG Badge Contest [click]. We received nine entries. JKG Kislay, our Honor’ble Judge had no hope for mutton biryani (or any bribe in any other form) because we went out of our way to hide all the names from him (except one).

So please treat him now!!

And please don’t forget to mention which one is your favorite and most suitable for Reader’s Choice Award.


By Aritra Chatterjee 🙂


This badge created by Aritra Chatterjee has been chosen by our honor’ble judge, HRE JKG Kislay Chandra, as the ‘Official JKG Badge’.


By Freya.


JKG Kislay also loved this badge and declared it the second official JKG Badge.


This badge by Solilo Don is his third choice 🙂

Hot Rotisjkg

When a man says “I make hot rotis for my wife.”, he might find himself being called a Joru Ka Gulam.


By Freya again 🙂

Iheartbeingajkg1This is the coolest looking badge for a sidebar!!


By Homecooked.


Homecooked created this cute looking badge. Traditionally any man who shows affection to his wife is labelled a Joru Ka Gulam.


By Vikas Gupta.

Is chosen by JKG Kislay for


JKG Vikas Gupta II Vikas’s Entry Number 3 touches upon the expectation that a woman must change her surname to her husband’s when she is married A man is not expected to make any changes to his name though. Any man who does not insist upon this surname changing (sometimes even the first name is changed) risks being labelled a Joru Ka Gulam.


This one is by Freya, thank you for calling him JKG-IN-CHIEF Freya 🙂

SRK JKG in chief

He’s extremely popular amongst women, not just because he is considered hot but because he has changed the way Bollywood husbands spoke of their wives i.e. NEVER!

SRK is not a super star for nothing. He is a feminist and  he is not apologetic about it. I have blogged about this here and here.


This badge by Freya emphasises the belief we have that some chores are too lowly for men (so women should do them).

doingdishesfavthingjkgIt’s often the mothers and even wives who object to men doing these chores. So if a man says he doesn’t mind doing the dishes, there’s horror and embarrassment for the wife, “Did she actually let him do the dishes!!!”

When he says he loves doing the dishes?

… scandal.


This badge is also created by Freya … thank you for your contributions Freya!


It’s expected of women to be devoted and ‘obedient’ to their husbands, if a man as much as shows affection he is declared henpecked. The best answer to any such labelling is to wear it with pride.

Which one did you like the best?! Please choose which badge deserves the Reader’s Choice Award!

Finally Joru Ka Gulam Redefined.

In India it takes a lot of guts for a man to take a stand against customs that oppress women. It’s worst if he is fighting in support of his wife (Joru)! All such acts of courage are rewarded by taunting and labelling them ‘JKGs = Joru Ka Gulam’. Literal meaning: ‘Slave of Wife’.

In JORU KA GULAM Contest we asked for a new definition for a Joru Ka Gulam, (who in reality is a man who dares to fight against gender injustice).

There were14 entries [Read them here] and the winners have been chosen by voting.

And the winners are…


Entry Number 5 by Tearsndreams got an overwhelming support from women. 11 votes for first place came entirely from women voters. 7 votes for second place came both from men and women.

I think this is the kind of man women admire. Guys please take note 😆


Today an unmarried man be a JKG too.

Entry Number 1 by Sakshi got 8 votes – the 26 JKGs in this post made many young voters proud and emotional. The courage of each one of them is an inspiration for the young Indian male today.


Entry Number 3 by Vikas Gupta, I disagree when he suggests,

“In the slavery of his woman lies his freedom, emancipation and salvation.”

“..is often tied to his wife’s apron strings and not to his mother’s.”

“He loves what she loves and dislikes what she hates.”

But it seems many young men agree with him! This entry got 7 votes, and many of these came from young, unmarried men, including one that chose only one entry.

And finally Hitchwriter (Entry Number 4), Indy‘s husband (Entry Number 11) and Sakshi’s 26 cousins (Entry Number 1) are being declared JKGs!  😆

Their gorgeous, prize winning badges follow in the next post!

Here are some other opinions, guys be brave there’s some criticism too.

“Two contenders for 1st position- 10th and 9th entries.
Definition given by 10th is precise, to the point and bang on. 9th comes very close to this one. They talk of being fair, logical and rational. Having guts to stand up for, encourage and appreciate the wife besides helping and taking care of her. So these two are winning entries according to me.


2nd best is 4th entry.
… this definition is great because it talks about equality, accepting and apologizing for mistakes.”


Please permit a non Indian to take part in this contest.
Years ago, in London, I visited an exhibition named  “You ‘ ve come a long way, baby”. It was dedicated to the emancipation of women in the U.K, to their efforts for suffrage etc.I think that your blog deserves this title.
Indian women-as all women- deserve recognition, respect, right to higher education, right to self determination, to independence. I suppose Indian society is ready accept this kind of woman, who can live with dignity either with her loving JKG or without him…


2nd: Entry no. 3
talks about the JKG being not only a tough guy but also the friend every woman needs. (Do they exist?)


Elaborations for JKG given by 13 are great…”


“1st : Entry no. 5.
For this entry talks about equality even when the woman has lost hopes. Kudos .”


“Entry no.8 because it sounds so genuine! So much said in so few a words..”


“III – Entry no.13- A true JKG is one who believes in challenging social conditions, believes in equality not just after marriage but who lives by them even before his marriage.”


Entry 14 makes a very valid point when she/he says – “So, I feel a JKG should be anyone who challenges the social conditioning he is brought up with.

That and the fact that the man stands up and supports his wife because he knows and acknowledges his wife is right and his parents are wrong.


“I just love entry no 5….beautiful words and thoughts. Isn’t this all we want in the man we love? I am not one of those who think if my husband does all the household chores he can be the best JKG. I would rather like JKG’s who can encourage their wives at every phase of life to do things they want and brim up their confidence.”


“My first choice is entry number 11 for the simple reason that its about a real person.”


“2 – Entry No. 11 (Totally epitomises my husband :)


1. Entry Number 3 “I strongly believe there is no match to this JKG :)


1. Entry Number 1. (i just loved it)


“My ranking would be entry 5, then 9 and then 11. And I may not be JKG today but I will be back one day to claim the gold,silver and the bronze.”


Position 1 – Entry 4 – ‘A JKG would be some one who would treat himself and his wife EQUALLY.’


“I would go for Entry – 10 for first place, because it is very general definition I agree with. The other entries were making rules for a man to be a JKG, which in my opinion is not right.”


I would go for Entry No 11 and 12 for the second place, because I like both of them equally. I don’t really consider anything for the third place.


“I had a hard time after reading all the entries, but I loved #3 the best. I think it covered a lot of relevant points I can relate to.”


“Entry No 2 is not in english….so i think you should translate…”


“I like almost all entries…still, competition is competition, one has to lose for the other to win (watching too many reality shows, esp. saregamapa!) 5, 12 and 4!”


12th entry is my choice for the second one :)
Loved the way it is written :) Very practical approach!


2, 6, 13 in that order(1, 2, and 3)”


“2nd – Entry No. 11. ( I kinda can relate to it..)

3rd – Entry No. 10 ( short and sweet )”


Position 1 – Entry 4 – ‘A JKG would be some one who would treat himself and his wife EQUALLY.’

Position 2 – Entry 1 – ‘So to me a JKG is one who is not scared to stand up and willing to break all religious customs – just to hear a bubbling joy bursting out through the phone, to see a smile on their beloved sister’s face and bear all the anger and brunt from a society who is conditioned to keep a woman away from choosing her own life’

Position 2 – Entry 14. I think it makes a lot of sense to me. Some one who can question the social conditioning that he is brought up with, is more likely to be a true liberal and a real respecter of women.

It was tough deciding, IHM. I really liked Entry No. 7 too.. If I had a 4th option – it would be 7..


My vote for Entry no. 3 . And who wrote it , please ?


I liked the Hindi lines. :) (Entry number 2)


Hmm… all the above entries were a little too unrealistic, in my opinion. You talk of women being “conditioned” since birth and the husband must make her overcome that conditioning. How about the guy? Even he has been “conditioned” since childhood. He also needs help to overcome that conditioning. Isn’t it?

I feel what is important is a man should understand a woman’s wants and needs. He should respect her decisions, even if he doesn’t always understand them.
(Like not wanting to change her surname). He may not like it(because of social conditioning) but, he accepts it.

It is a long processes of unlearning and relearning. A man can be a JKG when a woman stands up for herself. We can’t put the whole pressure on the man alone.


JKG Badges in the next post!!!


Please vote for 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice 🙂 The question we asked was


All the entries received have been published. Some definitions were received via email, and I had requested they be submitted as a comment – in case your entry is missing, please email me.

# Entry Number 1.

I am not gonna nominate my JKG husband for this contest as I knew he would be the best JKG as I had the choice of choosing him for that :razz: The JKG’s I am gonna mention here is not one but a whole set of 26 males whom I call brothers. They made sure my life as a kid was hell in every way. They teased me, pulled my hair, set traps, stole my gifts and what not. Yet they loved me to pieces. When I broke the news to my very large joint family about the man I wish to marry and that he was not only a north Indian but from a different religion, the elders took a unanimous decision to almost keep me under house arrest and get me married off to their choice of groom. It was these brave brothers who stood by me even though none of them ever got a chance to live life as they wished in a brutally orthodox muslim family. With their support and blessings I am leading a happy married life with the cutest JKG I could ever hunt down :mrgreen: I owe all my happiness to the JKG brothers in my life who constantly seeks assurance of my well being and still bears the brunt and rage of the elders in our family for my happiness :sad: Did I ever say how much I love my cousin brothers for giving me a life worth living?

So to me a JKG is one who is not scared to stand up and willing to break all religious customs – just to hear a bubbling joy bursting out through the phone, to see a smile on their beloved sister’s face and bear all the anger and brunt from a society who is conditioned to keep a woman away from choosing her own life.

I love my JKG brothers to death and know for a fact that all my bhabi’s are the luckiest ones. 🙂

# Entry Number 2.

जिसका जीवन हो सिर्फ बीवी के नाम
बिवीके चरणों में हो जिसके चारधाम…
बीवी के कहने पर हो सुबह और शाम
कहते हैं उस्से हम जोरू का गुलाम…


[A rough translation – on request from a reader:

One whose life belongs to his wife/At wife’s feet he finds his pligrimage/It’s day or night for him on his wife’s command/he is called a JKG.]

# Entry Number 3.

The ideal type of the Joru Ka Ghulam:

‘Joru ka Ghulam’ is the folklorish version of the ideal man. Some of the characteristics of a JKG are as follows. The list is only indicative and not exhaustive. The following mostly relates to conjugal role but a JKG can be anybody from a boy in his first childhood to the grandpa in his second childhood.

JKG is the ‘new man’ who laments that women in the country got a raw deal over the centuries thanks to religion, customs, tradition, role stereotyping, orthodoxy and fundamentalism. He does his best to introduce the reforms and begins with his own life and family. He is the socially sensitive, ethical man and his heart bleeds for the society. He has a feminine side to his personality; he is androgynous in many ways.
He hates dowry and can boycott his family and friends and revolt against the society that demands/promotes dowry. He prefers a simple marriage ceremony and does not want to torture the bride’s family by bringing a huge baraat and following other decadent customs of marriage.
He touches his wife’s feet in return when/if she touches his feet on the wedding night. He talks to her all night and is not dying to deflower her like the traditional Indian male.
He wants a baby after marriage and not a son.
He nurses her when she is expecting and prays while she is getting a c-section in the hospital.
He loves kids and spends a lot of time with them. He himself is a kid in more ways than one.
He loves his wife and is often tied to his wife’s apron strings and not to his mother’s. This however should not mean that he ignores his parents.
He loves his parents-in-law and can live with them in the same home.
He can quit his job for her wife and can become a domestic husband. He is never jealous of her progress and loves the fact that she has a higher status. Also, he does not have any problem marrying a woman taller than him.
He loves doing household chores, cooking food, mopping the floor and the like. A JKG is a husband, father, driver, cook, gardener, milkman, her man Friday.
He loves the label ‘Joru Ka Ghulam’. In the slavery of his woman lies his freedom, emancipation and salvation.
Other women are jealous of his wife and suggest their men to emulate her man.
He often shouts from the rooftops, ‘My Wife My Life!’ JKGs are the men for whom it is said, “Behind every great man there lies a woman!”
He loves combing her hair and pillow fighting with her. He is the best friend of his wife.
He writes poems on her and wants to immortalise her.
He is not the typical ‘mard’ and often cries on her bosom. He is her first child in a manner of speaking.
He changes his life, lifestyle for her, quits cigarettes and other vices. Also, he does not snatch the TV remote from her but watches whatever she likes. He loves what she loves and dislikes what she hates.
He often confesses to her that it is she who makes him do what he can.
A JKG despite his enormous love for his woman is not blind to her wrongdoings. He corrects his woman as and when the need arises.
A JKG makes an ideal son, brother, husband, lover, father, employer, neighbour, friend and whatnot. JKG is a real humdinger.

# Entry Number 4.

1.) For contest no 2 I can give you my photo to use as a badge for JKG. !!!!

lol :lol:

2.) What is a JKG !!

I really dont know… but well… lets give it a try… A JKG is not a joru ka ghulam literally…

A JKG would be some one who would treat himself and his wife EQUALLY.

He may make mistakes but he must be alive to situations and be ready to acknowledge his mistakes when he does make them and not hesitate if he has to apologise to his wife or make up.

Over the years many things have just become a tradition… we dont even realise how and where the female is being given a raw deal… many times even the female doesnt know….

But when this point is raised the JKG should be able to reaffirm the equality part everywhere…

Let me cite an example :

When we guys have a night out… and we all stay out till the cows go home… but there are all kinds here…. some have to go early… maybe their parents dont like… maybe their wives dont like… or something else….

But to stop them from going home we normally always say… Baap Gharme Ghusne nahi dega… (tats fine) The guys ego doesnt get hurt when this is said…. so to take some more leverage another cliche is used Biwi ghar me ghusne nahi degi… (suddenly the male ego becomes a lil dodgy.) Some just stay a lil longer to prove that he isnt a JKG

the real JKG as we have learnt actually come and tell us… ghar ka problem nahi hai yaar…. par bahar biwi sofe pe sulayengi… lol !!!! 😀 😀 😀

Please edit the last part if you dont want to publish… but I have heard it… from some one… who doesnt mind being called scared of his wife… coz he isnt… and he doesnt need to prove to us… !!!!

Joru Ka Ghulam is just a taunt… nothing else… but amazing effects it has on the male ego !!!

# Entry Number 5.

JKG defined strictly for married men:
A JKG is someone who believes in a woman even when she doesn’t believe in herself. He is the person who undoes the damage caused by years of social conditioning that makes her doubt herself. He is the one who makes sure that the woman in his life reaches her full potential..someone who instead of just letting her be ,makes sure that she reaches where she could be (again assuming inequalities took away some opportunities)Someone who rather than insisting on providing for her makes sure that she can provide for herself if there is a need. Someone who instead of driving her around teaches her how to drive (assuming society didnt give her that chance), someone who instead of giving her cash to spend tells her to go and withdraw from the bank, someone who refuses to even answer stuff such as ‘what should I wear at the party’ because she is grown up enough to decide for herself but always answers ‘How do I look’ with ‘ as good as ever’ :-) .

You talked about how a JKG fights inequality and thats what shaped my answer. A husband has the greatest chance to undo the damage caused by social conditioning, to wipe out traces of inequality and doubts from social conditioning without really fighting with anyone, just constantly pushing his wife to do better. Husbands can either reinforce the inequalities or do all of the above to shatter the ceiling that requires the joint force of men and women.

# Entry Number 6.

My definition :
JKG is a man who is madly in love with his wife and thinks of her as his best friend.
& Whose favorite sentence is : Duniya gai tail lene!!

# Entry Number 7.

Earlier a JKG was the one who used to say, “TUM DIN KO AGAR RAAT RAAT “>KAHOGE, RAAT KAHENGE” ” baith ja– baith gaya, khada ho jaa khada ho gaya”

even now a JKG is still the same
a man who fights against the injustice meted out to women ( wife), who stands for his wife may be called as JKG by his family members. but in my eyes he is a person who is aware of his duties and responsibilities as a husband and who takes his marriage vows seriously

# Entry Number 8.

For this contest, you will have to visit us at our Dahisar residence!

# Entry Number 9.

JKG: A man who has a fair, logical, rational brain of his own (i.e. not influenced by ma, pa, daadi, duniya etc etc), one for whom gender is never the deciding factor in any decision, one who wants to marry an ‘independent’ woman instead of a ‘homely’ one, one who voluntarily shares domestic chores, (and in a lighter vein) one who might hate chick flicks but watches them with her coz she likes them, one who ‘tolerates’ shopping trips with a smile ;-) and hey I forgot the all important chivalry bit ;-)

# Entry Number 10.

According to me in Indian society any man who has the guts to stand up for his wife, take her side, show little bit of concern towards her,appreciate her in front of in-laws, encourage her to find her identity, helps her in household work, takes care of her is definitely a contestant for the award.

# Entry Number 11.

IHM, I’m writing this about my hubby with some trepidation as he is one of those men that , on the face would never admit to being a JKG…but actions speak louder than words! So at the risk of him vehemently and completely denying he is one, I’d say:

A loving JKG may very well be a tough man on the exterior, may mouth slogans against ever becoming a slave to his wife, but his love is so strong that it shines through in his actions!

He instantly held up and offered his palm for me to puke into,when I had a sudden attack of food poisoning on our honeymoon (and we were in the lobby of a hotel)!
When he willing woke up to feed/change the babies for you , in the middle of the night! Willingly donned the role of “mom” when you felt down and out, needed some extra sleep and so helped cook the meals for the day before heading to work! !Rushes to clean the kitchen and wash the dishes if he sees you alone and sighing heavily at the kitchen sink! A habit that comes from helping his own mom when little!
Will fight tooth and nail with anyone that hurts you!
Wants you by his side whenever he is at home, and calls you just to unload and hear how your day is going!
Consults you constantly although he claims his independence loudly!

Dear sir in my life, admit it or not, I can see it and,…Thank you!Masha Allah…!

# Entry Number 12

This was not an entry but a comment on another post,  I think this is the sort a thing a JKG would say.

“Well lets see, to start of with I have never in my life agreed that women are the weaker sex, they are more tolerant, compassionate & definitely more resilient.

Then, comes the stereo type of women being emotionally weak or just simply being emotional which is more to do to empathy as a factor in women psychology plays a major role than in men, so being emotional has nothing to do with mental or physical stability in a woman.

And, also when you get married you are looking for a companion, someone who is intelligent, some one you can relate to, talk to, discuss your kids, you aint looking for a nanny or a nurse to take care of your kids & do the household. And, lastly of the Indian stereotype of men are the financial support and women the household slave is utterly stupid because sub consciously a lot of men know that their wives can earn more than what they can & thus are never allowed to work.”

# Entry Number 13 [ADDED LATER]

I am late…i hope u at least consider publishing this entry for JKG contest

A JKG is…

Someone who is willing to give the same “luxuries” which the Indian society happily gives to men/sons. Someone who treats the joru equal and understands that she had a life and family of her own before marriage and will continue to do so after marriage. Elaborations below-

Case1: Both joru and pati’s in-laws stay in other town/country –
Someone who is willing to share the trip into three equal parts – one where wife stays with him at his parent’s place, second where he stays with wife at her parent’s place and third where they stay separate at their respective places reliving the days when they were single :D

Case2: Hubby and Wife both earn, or one of them earns
Same as above, someone who is willing to financially bear responsibility of three distinct families – one his parents and his side of family, second her parents and her side of family and third their own family

Case3: Same Respect
Someone who does not believe that wife needs to “touch” his feet to please him or IL’s or the society, someone who does not believe in “kanyaadan” or dowry and vehemently opposes such acts

Case4: Household ghulam
Someone who “willingly” loves to help or own household chores, if wife is busy at work, is ready to cook up a meal just as the wife does when he is busy

Case5: Surname does (not) matter!
Someone who understands that his wife might not prefer to change her name or last name and lovingly agrees to this. Someone who wants their kids to bear a mixed last names and middle names which involves both mother’s and father’s identity someway

Case6: No Joint family
Someone who does not bully wife or condition his fiancee to live with only his parents after marriage. This JKG understands that the wife needs time with her family, her parents need to be taken care of as nicely as he wants his to be taken care of, her parents wants to spend time with grandkids as much as his parents want. Someone who stands against society and convinces his parents to stay separately, maybe a location which is equally accessible by both of their parents.

# Entry Number 14 [ADDED LATER]

Ok. A guy may grow up under different circumstances. He may grow up with a father who beats up his mother, his father may believe his word should be law…. so many things. Growing up with a father like that, he may think that is normal behaviour. So, I feel a JKG should be anyone who challenges the social conditioning he is brought up with.
This man may not be the kind who’ll give his wife breakfast in bed or even be ok with her wanting to keep her surname after marriage. But, he would still be one, simply for having the courage to question the social conditioning he was brought up with.

I feel there is this other side of India where boys want to get a higher education only to get a better dowry, those who think girls who wear jeans are sluts. When you are surrounded by such an atmosphere, any guy who has the courage to question or argue with such a mentality deserves to be called a JKG.

Please choose the best entry.

Feel free to add comments and best three entries (or all in order of preference).

Comments will not be published.

Results will be published only after polling is over 🙂

IMPORTANT: PLEASE VOTE BY COMMENTING, LEAVE YOUR FIRST, SECOND AND THIRD CHOICES IN THE COMMENT BOX. This is required because a reader commented very wisely, that “Voting by comments only could have been the best option. You know one can clear cookies and vote again and again [or just open the page in different browsers and vote more than once].”

So I removed the Polldaddy.com option. Sorry for the inconvenience caused guys, please do vote in a comment again!!!

What is a JKG !!

I really dont know… but well… lets give it a try… A JKG is not a joru
ka ghulam literally…

A JKG would be some one who would treat himself and his wife EQUALLY.

He may make mistakes but he must be alive to situations and be ready
to acknowledge his mistakes when he does make them and not hesitate if
he has to apologise to his wife or make up.

Over the years many things have just become a tradition… we dont even
realise how and where the female is being given a raw deal… many times
even the female doesnt know….

But when this point is raised the JKG should be able to reaffirm the
equality part everywhere…

Let me cite an example :

When we guys have a night out… and we all stay out till the cows go
home… but there are all kinds here…. some have to go early… maybe
their parents dont like… maybe their wives dont like… or something

But to stop them from going home we normally always say… Baap Gharme
Ghusne nahi dega… (tats fine) The guys ego doesnt get hurt when this
is said…. so to take some more leverage another cliche is used

Biwi ghar me ghusne nahi degi… (suddenly the male ego becomes a lil
dodgy.) Some just stay a lil longer to prove that he isnt a JKG

the real JKG as we have learnt actually come and tell us… ghar ka
problem nahi hai yaar…. par bahar biwi sofe pe sulayengi… lol !!!! 😀
😀 😀

Please edit the last part if you dont want to publish… but I have
heard it… from some one… who doesnt mind being called scared of his
wife… coz he isnt… and he doesnt need to prove to us… !!!!

Joru Ka Ghulam is just a tease… nothing else… but amazing effects it
has on the male ego !!!

Not Perfect Enough for Mr Perfect?

He told her parents (arranged marriage) that he was a Chartered Accountant, when he was just an accountant. He complains that she, ” used to insult him and also point out at every given opportunity that he was not a CA.”

She is not watching enough Television! She must win his heart, her pativrata dharam can make a Chartered Accountant out of him.

His mother filed an affidavit that she works 8 am to 8 30 pm, but does ‘no additional work’ at home.

This is what happens when we have such serials. (Perfect Bride)

He is upset that she does not wait for him for dinner.

He obviously watched those serials with his mother.

He wanted divorce and such is our system that she didn’t.

Still I am glad the court told him to ‘please adjust‘.

She, of course, doesn’t need to be told to do that. The fact that it wasn’t she who asked for divorce says it all.

[Read about another imperfect working wife, here.]

The night I was not an easy prey.

We were traveling by train (second class) to Punjab on a hot May night in 1998. It was a last minute booking and we were separated, the kids and I got lower berths in one compartment, and Husband had to sleep in another compartment.

I had settled the kids and was almost asleep when I realized a hefty looking man had sat down on my berth near my legs. I asked him to get up, he said he was going to go away in a while, but I insisted he goes right then. He left unwillingly.

He appeared again, took a look at the people sleeping there, and left. I noticed there were the kids and I on the lower berths, and one woman diagonally opposite me, she had her son with her on the same berth. There was no one on the berth above mine. I continued trying to sleep.

I was worried but finally must have dosed off to wake up again to find this fellow spreading a sheet in the space between my berth and my kids berth. If he slept there, I would not have been able to get up without stepping on him! I stood up and told him he couldn’t spread his sheet there. He said his friend had the berth above mine, it was fine, and he was going to sleep there. I said he couldn’t but he continued. I told him I would be getting up many times to check my kids and he couldn’t sleep there. By now I was standing up and arguing very loudly. He reluctantly left again.

I couldn’t sleep because I was worried he might come back. The thought that the man above was his friend also troubled me.

I woke up again to find four pairs of legs on the berth above. Two were dangling, and two were rested on the berth where the woman was sleeping with her son. They were pinching her back with their toes. She squirmed and turned away, and then again turned back.

There was silence except for train noises, everybody else was asleep. This was a terrifying nightmare. They couldn’t see me right below them, I pretended to be asleep. I was hoping she would pick her son and put him between herself and them. She didn’t. She simply pushed herself away from them, but how far could she move?  Her son was asleep behind her anyway, so there wasn’t even that much room. Then she turned her back towards them. One of the feet reached closer and plucked at her kurta with toes. Why doesn’t she make some noise? Everybody was asleep. And these were four tall and strong looking men. I realised that that woman could have been me. Maybe that was why he first tried to sit on my berth, and then tried to sleep right next to my berth. They had noticed there were two women and three children in this compartment. This was bad. They could throw the kids out of the moving train. I decided to pretend to be asleep. And then she made a little uncomfortable noise, one of the toes, I saw, had plucked at her bra strap under her kurta.

Next moment I was standing and yelling. “You think nobody is watching you? I am not asleep, I have been watching your acts all evening, first you tried to sit here then you tried to sleep here!! Is there any space to sleep here? And now four of you sitting there imagining everybody is asleep! You are harassing her, but I have been watching you and I was thinking you will stop on your own but this is simply too much, I had realized you were up to no good when you were walking past here all evening, I suspected you…

I have no idea how this would have ended but Husband in another compartment,  along with perhaps half the train, heard me yelling. Husband asked them their CO’s (Commanding Officer) name and told them (a lie) that he was Colonel so and so. They were army or BSF jawans, they apologized and were sent away to some other compartment.

What made me blog about this now after all these years?

The fact that I was wearing jeans and the woman was wearing a peach salwar kurta with dupatta.

All criminals look for easy target. No matter how hard we try, no matter what we wear, we cannot become invisible, although I am still horrified at my yelling, because they really could have turned violent, they could have been armed or they could have pushed my husband out of the train, but I do realize that the reason why I was spared the harassment was that I was not an easy target. Nobody wants trouble, specially criminals.