Again IHM set me off. Her very insightful post is the catalyst –
The stages in a woman’s life
Mubarak Ho Jee, Laxmi padhari hai (Translation : Congratulations, the Goddess of Wealth has taken birth). Every one smiles and laddoos are distributed. But the grins are muted, since most parents know that this Goddess of Wealth has come to not shower wealth on them but to wipe out their bank balances. They have to feed her, clothe her, educate her, and then dower her and pack her off to her in-laws. It is a thankless labor. Now if a son had been born, they would have had a dhol wala beating the dhol outside the nursing home, the laddoos would have been of desi ghee. They would have looked forward to his chola (the day the infant is clothed in new clothes) when all relatives would feast. The baby boy’s mundan ceremony would have been lavish, just like a mini-wedding feast. And the expense for all this would not pinch them ever …. After all, the son has been born!
The fond parents dress up the girl in nice lacy frocks. She is discouraged from shinnying up trees or playing boisterous games. Scarred knees and competitive sports with other kids will make her assertive. Assertive girls don’t make docile brides. Instead subtle programming of the girl commences. She is gifted dolls. (Wish they gifted dolls that peed and pooped so that the girl would have a good idea as to what she is in for!). She is encouraged to love them. If she makes tea, lavish praise is bestowed on her. Of course she is encouraged to excel in school. After all, she will have to help her kids with home work. Besides these days grooms like the additional salary the wife brings home. Oh if she has excess energy, she will be enrolled into Bharat Natyam or Kathak classes. It makes the girl graceful. Boys on the other hand, can run around the colony, play cricket and hockey. They can raid the guava tree for fruit and play marbles and fly kites. If they get into fights and come home with a blackened eye, mothers will defend them. They normally are too tired to study by the end of the day. Never mind, boys will be boys.
The day the girl gets her first period, the mother goes into depression. Swear she does. She is terrified. The father is tense. All the boys in the neighborhood scare the poor parents. They start clipping her wings. Curfew is imposed; the girl needs to be home during day light. She is encouraged to stay at home, learn how to cook, sew. At the very least, she needs to know how to make one dhal, one sabzi and boil rice. She is taught how to stitch on a button on a shirt. Now they start verbally programming her, “Beta these skills will come in handy when you get married.” And the other favorite of parents “Who will marry a girl who does not know how to ……” No one thinks of teaching a boy any skill to get married. He is a boy, after all. All he needs to know is how to pee standing up. And of course how to earn. For that he is being sent to school and college.
4. Higher Studies and Career
If a girl wants to take up a career oriented course that is non-traditional, she is discouraged. Hell, she is even discouraged from pursuing a super-expensive course for her higher studies. The argument is, “We will have to spend so much money on getting her married, so why?” Her brother can, after all, he is a son. The same road block is put up when she wants to pursue a demanding career, especially one that entails late hours and traveling. “It is not suitable for girls” is the argument. Why? Because it is hard to find husbands for such girls.
All through this scam, perpetuated by the family on the hapless girl, she has been programmed to see marriage as the ultimate goal in life. She is also programmed to see her parents as the ultimate sacrificing gods who are providing for her, feeding her, clothing her and even giving her an adequate dowry for her marriage.
Never does it occur to the poor sacrificial lamb to stop and consider:
i. Her brother got more liberties than her.
ii. He got to go to a more expensive college
iii. He got a car/scooter/motorcycle and she had to make do.
iv. She had to cook, learn how to help her mother alongside her studies. Of course it came under the guise of learning how to run a home. Wasn’t that manipulation? Wasn’t that unpaid service?
v. They, (the parents) have spent equal if not more on the son of the house. So what is she supposed to be obligated about?
Most girls are extremely happy when they are getting married. Why not? This is what they have been programmed for since birth! The dolls, the tiny kitchen sets, the darling little ovens and pretty frilly aprons etc etc., were all not so subtle hints to what their lives hence forth was going to comprise of – being kitchen slaves – oh okay, lets be politically correct and call them home-makers. And they are just in their twenties. Poor innocent darlings, these sacrificial lambs!
Now comes the very modern twist. They are supposed to cook and clean. But then they are also supposed to bring salaries to the home coffers, by working. Now the back breaking slavery starts – they get up in the morning, cook, clean, rush to office, compete with men and women, get back home. On the way, they shop for vegetables, the groceries etc. Get home and get back to house duties.
And then they have kids ….. They could not opt out of marriage, how can they opt out of having kids? It is what they have been programmed to do – you know have homes, husband and kids!
Even if the husband does not participate actively ….
It never occurs to him to do so.
He has been programmed not to!
That is why I call Marriage the Great Indian Scam perpetuated by parents and society to keep the youth of this country completely unhappy and on edge.
Desi Girl says
Marriages are sold to women in a glossy cover, remember once a woman got married she got to wear good clothes and jewelry that was forbidden for single women.
It gave her a free license to talk about sex and sleep with a man who everyone assumed would love her.
For all these benefits all she had to do was cook, clean, make babies and keep every one happy.
Yes in lieu of her services she is provided a roof over her head, food and protection from other predatory men.
I agree up to a point …
I have seen non-desi men happy single and solvent. I have seen non-desi women happy single and solvent too. Folk who want to get married get married. Others don’t. And the folk who get married because they want to – are happy with their choices too. If they are not, they get divorced … with no stigma attached.
We seem to have a crab mentality. Crab mentality is defined by Wikipedia as
Crab mentality, sometimes referred to as crabs in the bucket, describes a way of thinking best described by the phrase “if I can’t have it, neither should you.” The metaphor refers to a pot of crabs. Individually, the crabs could easily escape from the pot, but instead, they grab at each other in a useless “king of the hill” competition (or sabotage) which prevents any from escaping and ensures their collective demise. The analogy in human behavior is that of a group that will attempt to “pull down” (negate or diminish the importance of) any member who achieves success beyond the others, out of jealousy, conspiracy or competitive feelings.
This term is broadly associated with short-sighted, non-constructive thinking rather than a unified, long-term, constructive mentality. It is also often used colloquially in reference to individuals or communities attempting to “escape” a so-called “underprivileged life”, but kept from doing so by others attempting to ride upon their coat-tails or those who simply resent their success.
I feel that Indian parents, who have been pushed into such a situation by their parents – perform the same disservice to their off springs. Which is why they want to get their kids married young – so that they cant see through the scam and put an end to it.