I had done the Being a Man post long ago. And had thought about doing this post soon after. But somehow, it didn’t happen. Majorly for the reason that women are too versatile to be taken up completely under a single post. And so I never got around to it. But off late, there have been so many things happening around, things that I have gone through myself, things that my friends are going through and it doesn’t make any sense. Or is it only me? And opposed to the funny Man, this Woman is pretty serious.
There are a couple of female friends who have apparently turned a “marriageable age” according to the parents. The girls believe otherwise. They are pretty happy with their single status and no-responsibilities-for-a-while life. Quite visibly, the parents and daughter have a difference of opinion here. But what completely evades my sane mind is why the parents choose to convince the daughter of their own opinion in an almost abhorring way. And no, I am not talking about some remote village in Haryana or Rajasthan, but about parents who always instilled confidence in their daughters that they were no less than a boy, had every right to good education and were brought up to be smart, confident and financially independent girls. And suddenly, these parents wonder about the fate of their girls if they weren’t married at a ripe age. What would the society say? They purposefully make her believe that she is indeed a burden on their shoulders until she goes off to her marital home. WHY????? I am not even trying to take any sides here, because 18+ years is a valid age in our country to get married and who am I to question it. But why are the girls always shoved onto someone else as a responsibility when they can clearly be on their own very comfortably? Isn’t there a better way to make them understand the point of getting married at an age their parents deem fit? Or do the girls have no choice at all? She can do everything like a boy, and still be a responsibility? I wonder how a stranger is ever going to treat your daughter as an equal when you so visibly don’t.
Another couple of friends have that someone special in their lives, but are finding it difficult to convince their parents of the same. Now again, I wouldn’t want to start the Arranged marriage v/s Love marriage debate, as different things work for different people. But what I clearly find distasteful is the way parents want to stick to the conventional way of Arranged marriages, wherein they are made to act like the ladkiwaala whose sole job is to appease the ladkewaale’s demands. The girls of our generation have been brought up with a mindset of boy-girl equality and no dowry policy. How do the parents even think that these girls can go on and live peacefully with such guys and their parents? Even if the girl doesn’t want to get married to such a moron to defend her parents’ honor, she is not allowed to do so. After all, appeasing the groom’s family is the norm…isn’t it? We are confused. If the norm of killing the girl child at birth wasn’t followed, then surely this doesn’t need to be followed too..isn’t it? What’s the point of making her aware of her choices and then denying them? Wasn’t she better off not knowing them? Isn’t ignorance really a bliss? Are you really that desperate to get your girl off your back that you are ready to pay any amount of money and goodies to a complete stranger to make way for her into their homes and lives?
I feel sorry for women who have been relegated to such behavior, spanning generations and across centuries. But I feel worst when I see parents doing it to their love-you-till-death “ghar ki izzat” daughters, who themselves are well read and in tune with the times. I know we have come far from those days when the girls were not allowed to study nor do anything of their own free will. But at that time, at least the people had some logic behind their behavior. They didn’t let the girls out of the house, the girls obviously didn’t know the kind of opportunities that existed for them outside the four walls of the house and were content with the house work. But it’s really worrying to see parents who have let their daughters let go so far and suddenly want to go all traditional when it comes to marriage and even expect the daughters to do a complete U-turn from their beliefs hitherto, and conform to the whims and fancies of a stranger and his family.
It would be an understatement if I said a woman’s life was tough. It was perhaps my naivety that I thought that girls were meted out an equal treatment in today’s world. Have you ever imagined what a girl would feel like when she is made to believe that she is only a responsibility on her parents? And when she does get married, she is always the outsider in the husband’s family. Is there nobody she can actually call her own? Somebody who will lover her for her person and not just doll her up so that it would be easy to get rid of her, the burden that she is? Will this regressive behavior meted out to girls ever go away? For no reason do they say, “Charity begins at home”. Perhaps some “new-age” parents do need to learn from the age old adage.
More than anger, I feel extremely frustrated and saddened. And lonely.
Quoting a few lines from one of my favorite books “Gone with the Wind” that aptly sum up what I feel about a woman’s life:
“Her life was not easy, nor was it happy, but she did not expect life to be easy, and, if it was not happy, that was a woman’s lot. It was a man’s world, and she accepted it as such. The man owned the property, and the woman managed it. The man took the credit for the management, and the woman praised his cleverness. The man roared like a bull when a splinter was in his finger, and the woman muffled the moans of childbirth, lest she disturb him. Men were rough of speech and often drunk. Women ignored the lapses of speech and put the drunkards to bed without bitter words. Men were rude and outspoken, women were always kind, gracious and forgiving.”
The other day H and I were discussing about how a man woman relationship evolves from lovers to spouses to parents. Now this kind of conversation is often triggered whenever we visit my home or his. You know, seeing our respective set of parents married for over 30 years now, and still bickering over the same issues as 30 years ago makes me see red. The last thing I have on my mind is to spend the next 25 years of my life bickering and fighting and tearing my/his hair out for stupid things.
A few days back we had a small fight about something inconsequential and I jokingly remarked that if we were to ever have a son, I would scold and even beat him (if required) so that he should never turn out to be like H (the wicked wife that I am!). So H got all worked up about this and said that whatever fights/issues we have each other should always remain between the both of us and that we should never involve the kids. Talk about future planning! :-D:-D
Now when did the tables turn, you would never know? The last time you remember you did this, he was sufficiently happy and even told you that you reminded him of his mom. Maybe you should go see a doctor for a suspected case of STML (Short Term Memory Loss). And so, I did the same and went about happily following the doctor’s advice – shout at him like a wife, but don’t (read NEVER) care like his mother. No more picking on him, after all he is a grown up man and can take care of himself. That is, until H happened to fall ill. I took care of him and cooked for him, gave his meds on time and blah blah. But he was acting cranky and impatient, to the extent of being PMS-ey. Now this was more than I could take. After all, I had married a man capable of living on his own and having his own family and so on and so forth and I didn’t really expect him to throw tantrums like a 5 year old. The wife in me was irritated. But the mother in me saw through his actions. His actions were not really to harass me or irk me, but he was really having a bad time coping up with the illness.
I was in a dilemma. Should I switch roles? I couldn’t be sure if the tables would turn yet again. So I decided to talk to H about it. I told him that I couldn’t take his nagging another minute and that he should behave like a grown up man. Which 27 year old have you heard of, who lies on the bed and stomps his foot because he was denied a chocolate after the medicine? He said what I had guessed, that he was cranky because of the meds and that he really hated the house-arrest part, the restless kid that he is. But then, I told him that he shouldn ’t expect me to have any sympathy, or that if he did, he shouldn’t crib about it later. He laughed his guts out. Did it sound funny to you? Atleast I had berated myself in my mind a thousand times for acting so cold. After all we girls have always been raised with notions of pati parmeshwar and other shit!:-
And with that laugh, I realized that we too had evolved and transitioned from lovers to spouses. Here I was wondering what role to take up, but we both think I am best when I am the wife because I can make him laugh. Or more importantly, I can still make him laugh AND I get to be myself (Read: can shout at him at my discretion). So ladies, while you make a note of the doctor’s advice above, the men can enjoy this quote by George Burns that I have so thoroughly begun to understand now:
What is it about being a man that fascinates you the most?
If you had asked me that question until about a few months ago, I, like any other self-proclaimed female chauvinist, would have thrust my chin in the air and replied vehemently, “NOTHING!”.
But as I grow older, (and probably wiser, that’s how I like to think about it!), I believe that there are certain things that God clearly has forgotten to bless us Women with.
(I am sure some die-hard feminists are going to disagree with me here, but WTH!)
And I am not even trying to mention some inconsequential stuff like how the men can treat the world as their urinal, or how easy it is for them to dress in the (almost) same pair of clothes everyday and nobody noticing the faux pas, or how their color palette only consists of whites, blacks, reds and yellows or how, no hormonal changes ever take place in their bodies post marriage, kid, blah, blah… <Contempt>
Men, I have observed, are blessed with oodles and oodles of optimism, and more so where a lady is involved. If they have set their heart on something (or someone), no matter how many kicks in the gut they receive, they never give up. Women, I feel, are big fools when it comes to love, while the guys’ mantra is “ladki ki naa mein haan h, aur haan to fir, haan h” (A girl’s No has a Yes hidden in it, and Yes is a Yes is a Yes)!
There has been many an instance when I have tried to placate some guy friends that the lady in question is clearly not interested and sometimes even rude enough to tell them that they were out of her league. But I have had the pleasure of attending this guy’s wedding with her lady and prayed hard for a short bout of amnesia to make him forget whatever s**t I tried telling him.;-))
And there is this thing about a guy’s perseverance. Girls will more often than not, fall for a guy with perseverance, money, looks, talent and in that order! Girls always feel some kind of a responsibility towards a man who’s been trying to woo her for a long time and sooner or later will be found to have given in. I guess it’s all due to our stupid mother hen instincts which make us feel us feel guilty about not being able to reciprocate their feelings. And most of the times, we confuse this affection with L-O-V-E.
The other thing that I really (Really!!!!!) envy in guys is how clearly their life is divided into black and white, while we girls struggle with almost 673 shades of grey!
Guys will always have chalked out things that they want to do and what not to do. While we girls will nervously keep shuffling feet and wringing our hands about the pros and cons of a decision we are going to make. Or how it will affect our near and dear ones. While the guys will go ahead, make the decision and either be successful at it or gain experience and move on.
And therefore, women are often left confused when their ardent-fans-cum-boyfriends turned husbands suddenly lose interest in them. It’s none of their fault. It’s just that the guys are wired that way. They wanted something. They got it and have now set their next target. I really think that this is something that has been handed down over from our ancestors where the men had to take quick decisions while hunting in the jungles. They did not have the luxury of mulling over. While the women were the nurturer of the family, taking care of everyone and 1000 years later, the situation is still the same!
In hindsight, it does feel like a blessing to be a woman.
But when I am getting late for the office, and still undecided about what to wear, or what gifts to buy for family and friends, the never ending confusions whether they would like it or not, the never ending guilt of spending more time in office than at home, or when I see my new jeans getting wasted because it no longer fits me because I-have-no-time-to-exercise, I really wish I could be a Man.
And I am not even trying to mention some inconsequential stuff like how the men can treat the world as their urinal, or how easy it is for them to dress in the (almost) same pair of clothes everyday and nobody noticing the faux pas, or how their color palette only consists of whites, blacks, reds and yellows or how, no hormonal changes ever take place in their bodies post marriage, kid, blah, blah… <Contempt><Contempt><Contempt><sigh>
for his perseverance and tolerance for me over the years….And also because I know he would love to read about his plight shared on a global platform and being publicly acknowledged. LOL.