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Please adjust.

This post got me thinking. Why is asking for divorce such a big deal that women are asked to stay in unhappy marriages than have a happy divorce?

A good friend was working in an MNC, a very smart girl, very independent and her family loved in a cosmopolitan city, not in the city where most of the people of her community live. When it came time for marriage, since she was ok with it, the parents started to look for a suitable partner from the community. Since she was well-educated and working, it was hard to find a match, and this is where she made her first mistake. In order to appease her parents, she agreed to marry this guy who she barely interacted with.

The wedding happened amidst all fanfare (and dowry/gifts) and the married couple moved to Bangalore where she had a job(he was apparently working too) and that is when her troubles began. Seemingly there was no problem. Like people reminded her time and again, he did not beat her, or verbally abuse her, well, he just did not talk. About anything at all. His mom would show up every few months and shout commands at the DIL while the son sat on his fat ass, watching TV, or sometimes just staring into space. She was frustrated, and did not know what he thought about her, whether he liked her, or did not like her, cared about her or not. Because there was NO TALKING AT ALL. Needless to say, their marriage was not consummated even after 6 months after the wedding. She talked to her mom. Her mom asked her to ‘have patience’ because according to her most arranged marriages are like that. She waited, for another 6 months, until the point that she could not take it anymore. She had dreams of a happy marriage, of a loving partner. She talked to her parents, this time about separation. They were livid. They thought they had given their daughter ‘too much freedom’ and that she was finding it hard to adjust to married life because she had too many expectations. Does he abuse you? Does he have a mistress? Does he drink or do drugs? The answers to all these questions was a NO. She could not tell them that she was still a virgin, after a year of being married, that her husband never looked at her with love or even so much as smiled at her. There was something wrong with him, is what she believed, and so, against her parents’ wishes she started the separation proceedings. The first lawyer she went to(a woman) asked her to ‘adjust’. She dumped her and went to another, who heard her story, this time she also told him that the marriage wasn’t consummated as yet, and those were the grounds for a separation. Today she is single, happy and much more relaxed. The demons of her past still haunt her when she visits her parents and they cry about her being divorced, but she does not care. She says she has been happier in the last few months of her being separated, than she had even been married. Whenever someone asks her why her husband left her, she says I left him. And lives with her head high. She does not know what would have happened had she adjusted, but the one year that she did she was not happy. And that is what matters.

The reason for narrating this story is that a lot of people say if there are no red flags in a marriage you should always try to make it work, and in my friend’s story there were NO RED FLAGS, the kind that most people care about, anyway, and still she was unhappy and miserable.

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I was reading this post by IHM and then this original post by Desi Ghee and Coffee that prompted IHM’s. The original article was about how divorces have become so common because feminism has been taken too far by women. As expected, there are a lot of provoking and thought-provoking things said in both posts, and have been covered really well by both bloggers, but one that stood out to me was this:

Men will always be men. They are all stupid. They can never adapt to anything.

In one statement, this person has effectively painted all the men on earth with this generic brush that shows men as weak, stubborn and stupid individuals who will not lift a finger to do anything to make their relationship better.

I want to know what “Men will always be men” means.

Does it mean they will never change to include another person in their life and that they need their wives to be like their mothers, always providing, and never expecting anything in return?

Does it mean they will never show any empathy for this person they married, never treat her like an equal?

Does it mean they need to be mothered all the time, and there cannot be any expectations of them?

Does it mean they will beat the shit out of the wife if she so much as tries to ask for what is her right? Does it mean they will be nothing more than a wall flower at home while the wife breaks her back with all the chores?

Why is men adapting such a big deal anyway? Don’t men adapt when they change jobs, or if the boss changes and has different ways of working? Don’t they adapt when the company policy changes? Why, then, are they unable to adapt when there is another person to share their life with?

What does it say about the thousands of men/husbands who wake up everyday, make the morning coffee, take a shower before the wife does and give her the time she needs in the morning to get herself up and ready for the day ahead? What does it say about those husbands who change diapers, load the dishwashers, clean the bathroom and vacuum the floors?

It is such regressive ideas about men that are doing most men a disservice. Most men I know, especially of my generation, are equally, if not more, invested as their wives are in the household. Are they not ‘men’ because they have adapted to a life of give AND take?

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Food for thought

We were talking about a few social, political issues and a lot of interesting points came to light. I am writing them as bullet points for now, but in the coming days I want to research each topic and expound upon it.

Politics:

-A lot of educated Indians like the idea of Modi being the PM in case the BJP wins in the general elections. Some arguments for Modi are:
# At least he has done something for the state
# Gujarat is one of the most well to do states in India in terms of revenue, infrastructure, standard of living etc
#Muslims should suck it up, Godhra was just one of the many inter-religious clashes that occurred
#a known devil is better than an unknown angel
#”who else is there?”

-There is a stark paucity of good politicians, leave alone young ones. people are still not very enthusiastic about voting.

-Voting for a person in the general election(like in the US, for example) seems like a better deal for the voters. You get what you see, and no buyers remorse.

-Deve Gowda was the worst leader ever. We were all still shocked as to how he could end up at 10 Janpath!

-In the passion and excitement of creating a new government and new laws, Nehru might have done more disservice than service to the nation. Socialism might sound good on paper, but is a bit too high an ideal to achieve, especially for a fledgling country. Too many ideals and too less practicality made us lose those precious few decades which could have been put to better use by a judicious mix of capitalism and communism/socialism. In fact, it seems like Nehru actually came out of nowhere to become the PM. He didn’t participate in any well-known protests, never took a lathi, always seemed like Gandhiji’s chamcha, was a pseudo-Indian with a foriegnish accent. To top it all, his progeny took Gandhiji’s name and are milking the vote bank to this day!

Society:

-The need to have a male baby would vanish if there was no social incentive associated with having a male child(dowry). Remove dowry from the equation and no woman would want or forced to try for a male progeny. No female fetus would be killed. No female infant would be murdered. A resolution one big social ill would solve a few more ills of the society.

-Things have changed a lot in India for the local entrepreneur. the age old ‘kirana’ and general stores are fast vanishing in big cities(I observed that too during my recent visit)

-Living on credit has not deeply permeated in the Indian society as I had believed. Only the really young people working in call centers and single IT workers have been bit by the bug(I don’t know how true this is, but it does make me feel better), also, monthly expenses increase dramatically if you eat out often vs if you eat out sparingly

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