Apr 10, 2009

thought for the week.

titled thus, coz i can't think of a title for this piece... will change it if and when i do.

every girl dreams of getting married. at some point of time in our lives, we have all fantasized about our very own knight in shining armor/tux... on horseback or in convertibles... who'll whisk us away to the happy land of forever. those disney fairy tales, bollywood and chick-flicks only add to it as u're growing up.
but life is not a fairy tale. and it doesn't end at marriage. it begins there.

and it is something that nothing conditions us for. we are not in the least prepared for what happens after. of all the expectations from us. of all the so-called responsibilities.
and yes, it is more difficult for the woman. she is "expected" to embrace an entire new family. overnight, everything is supposed to change. and i agree, it changes for both... but it's the woman who has left her "home"... she's the one who can't expect tea in bed anymore. if the couple lives out of the country, when they go back to the country, they're supposed to stay at his place - visiting her parents. not fair? well, heck no! but that's the way it is, isn't it? i know, for a fact, that when i have gone back to india... and stayed with my parents... i've raised eyebrows.

things like "a woman should go to her in-laws house first" or "she must change her name when she marries" or "she now 'belongs' to her husband" or "her parents shouldn't be living with her permanently" are things that sound EXTREMELY regressive to me. but apparently, they're not.
most parents of ppl i know "believe" that their daughter's house is not their house once she's married. they wouldn't stay there unless it's a visit or they have no other option. and i've heard this from so many relatives and family friends *wrt their daughters/sons* that it really stopped being funny.

why does this seem so normal to us.. that we either don't think about it much or totally dismiss it as a part of life? i know that i'm the wrong person to be doing this piece or asking these questions... i have accepted most of this... willingly, even... and i am quite happy. but that doesn't change anything, does it?
i never had issues about it. in fact, i never thought about it. it was the way i was conditioned since i was a kid, i guess. everything in my upbringing conditioned me for the fact that someday i would leave my parents' home. not for a career, but by virtue of marriage. *i don't think "love" would be the appropriate word here* i still do not have issues. but that is because i've ended up being really lucky about my decisions. not smart, as i say i am... but merely lucky.

i did leave behind my parents, my friends, my career and everything that i called "life" till that point... to be with vin. and i was scared. the first 2 days in vin's home were terrifying for me. i've never said this before... but i wanted to run away to the security of my own house. my own room. everybody was really nice... but it was all so new for me. and i was SO unprepared. even the sharing a closet. yes, silly tiny detail... but i had NEVER shared my closet with anyone! and it was a big deal for me. i need some space when i wake up in the morng... and i didn't know whether i could still get it. whether i was wrong in expecting it. and i had NO idea how to deal with it. but, as always... i digress.

what i don't u'stand is this:
why is it that we are "okay" with moving out of our own homes... leaving our parents behind, so to speak... why don't we expect a guy to do all of this for us? and if we do... is that so wrong? if it's not wrong, why is it frowned upon?
or are we taught from a young age that we have to someday, move out of our homes, "adjust" to living with someone else's family...? it's the 0-point-something women living in metropolitan india who would understand *if, at all* that adjusting is not compromising. what about the rest?
and we... the so-called educated, urban, smart... liberated and mostly, intelligent women. would we raise our children without such stereotypes? or is there some logic to all of this 'this isn't your home once u're married' crap, that maybe, i'm missing?

suruchi did
this post on bidaai... and we got into a discussion. on marriage. and now i'm rather confused. and she's abandoned me and gone off! so i'm posting this here... as an open discussion. let me know what you think.

25 comments:

La vida Loca said...

Nothing about the way the N and I met, got married can be considered "typical" (for our families anyway). We had a love marriage. Yet I will never forget the strange/ out of place/not belonging feeling I had the day after I got married.(in all fairness we got married in a place that is home to neither of us). If my bro had not been there....I hate to think of that.

Galadriel said...

i was thinking of this exact same thing, when my mom said (and we were talking about how little time i will be spending in pune) that the next time i come, i will not be "their" daughter anymore, i will be someone's wife, someone's DIL, and that she felt like she was losing me. i did not know what to say to her except a defiant "i'm not going anywhere else!" but we both knew that no matter how adamant i was, i would ultimately succumb to going to mumbai first and then to pune. it's terribly sad.

rayshma said...

galadriel: EXACTLY!

loca: it's nothing to do with love/arranged marriage re.. it's just the way things are... that u "belong" to some other family because u're now married. it's weird, really.

Pavi!!!! said...

I drafted a comment on this post in a word doc [‘coz im at work] n realized that the comment was over a page long!..so had to hold back most of the thoughts…
In summary: Whatever any stupid custom or any person says..no one can take away from me or any gurl wat/who truly belongs to us or wat/who we truly belong to ! They can assume what they want but reality remains wat it is.
Logic to it..ya rite! I’d like to hear sum1 prove that!
Also please check my comment on Suruchi’s post…

Prashanti :) said...

How did I not see this post before ??? neways, very valid questions !! I do not subscribe to the whole this is not you house anymore after you are married crap. If I were go to visit India now or even after I get socially married, I would certainly stay with my mom. In fact, I often argue with som who says he wants to go stay with his parents and I ask him are you not going to stay with us(me and mom)? how can you do that ? my mom loves you too!! and he has to think of ways to tell me politely that inspite of all the love he wants to go stay with his own parents !!!
so we have a totally reverse chemistry going on here and nowhere is the topic even mentioned that I am supposed to go stay at his place :) :) and yes I am the only child at my place and so It is a well understood fact that eventually my mom would live with me and som !!!!

K3 said...

I think 'bidaai' is a brutal concept. But customs are not written in stone. When I go to India, we make sure we each spend the same amount of time with each of our parents. Plus, even with having great in-laws the first person I call (after Hd) for anything is my mom, Hd calls his mom, thts the way it is.

The first part of your post, I agree, we do need to teach our daughters and sons to be better prepared for life after the marriage day - be it love marriage or arranged, its definitely an adjustment and a change.

Keshi said...

A very honest and a brave post. I applaud u for talking abt those 'prohibited' topics in the open.

I come from a traditional yet liberal Sri Lankan family. Thankfully my parents did not bring me up with the notion of being a 'woman' who one day should go to her husband's house and make that her home. BUT, there r alot of Sri Lankna families who bring up their daughters that way.


I do feel sad for most Indian/SL woman who r 'conditioned' to believe in all of this and hv to live lives that they dun even had 2mins to THINK abt.

If ur happy abt it, thats a different story. But if ur confused, terrified or dun feel that it's the right thing to do, then those women should definitely stand up for themselves.


Keshi.

~nm said...

whatever questions are running in your mind have been debated upon since long. But we all know that if both the parties want to stay over at their parents place or want to do things they like, they will never get together :)

I'm not saying one has to bend down but I would love to have a situation where both are willing to go this way or the other. There should not be a rigidness that 'this is how its to be done'.

I don't know if I'm making any sense...

DewdropDream said...

Since you said I could leave random comments anytime I wished :D This is not exactly unrelated but something to lighten up the mood a little.

This girl is trying on her mother's wedding dress to wear for her own wedding and as she walks down the stairs the mother's eyes mist over looking at her. Her other daughter puts an arm around her and gently reminds her that she's not giving away a daughter but gaining a son. At which the woman retorts, "Oh forget that! I used to be able to fit into that damn dress!"

:D

PURN!MA said...

No comments! Too scare-struck to speak! :'( :|

Silvara said...

Hahahah....ohhh had to come after Dewdrop left a comment on my recent post. Which by the way was lamenting the fact that whenever I go home to my parent's place I'm treated EXACTLY the same as I was before I got married!!! Which in some cases in point is not fun lol.

But for me there was never an awkwardness about going home, enver this sense of you 'belong' to another family - more just that I had another family as well. I live literally a 10 min walk from my parent's palce (and my childhood home) and I walk in unannounced any time I like. My parents do the same.

It's funny, it's almost like my husband has joined MY family rather than the other way around :D He gained a mad, insane, family lol

But anytime they do try and bring up this crap about me not being their daughter anymore - I just tell them that no matter what happens in my lie I will always be that.

rayshma said...

silvara: welcome! will chk out ur post soon.. :)
u know, it's really nice to hear of such instances... in my case, vin and my mom haven't had much time to bond, so to speak.. it's mostly been over the phone.. but he hasn't really been to india at all. and i do know that once that happens, it'll all be fine, and my mom won't be worried abt all these things. in fact, even now, it's him trying to convince her to come over :)

purnima: don't be scared re... it takes time. it feels horrible initially... once u're on the same page, it's a different story. :)

dewey: THAT is why i wore a saree. i'll fit into it even at my daughter's wedding ;)

~nm: yeah... but then why is it "expected" for a woman to do it. why can it not be an individual choice... and be left upto the guy and the girl...?

keshi: thanks :)
we're the lucky few who have adequate support from our families to do as we please.
it's not that easy for the others... when u have no support from your family, it becomes very difficult to "stand up". i doubt the women who "tolerate" a lot of nonsense are even aware that they can stand up and say that they deserve better. i know a few like that.. and they don't think they deserve better... it's sad, really.

k3: yeah... but i don't know "how" one can be prepared for it. maybe somethings i shall leave to time :)
u know, it IS nice to have good in-laws... i feel relieved to know that my MIL u'stands me.

prashanti: that's nice... really! :) my mom needs to bond a bit more with vin, i guess... and poor guy keeps trying to win brownie points with her all the time! :D
esp since his mom and mine get along real well.. and his mom and i get along real well too.. he feels alienated! :D

pavi: it's not abt ppl assuming so much as US. we go through the motions, do we not? the day i got married, i didn't go back to my parents' place.. i went to vin's. that is what i'm saying. this symbolism is what makes it a silly tradition for me. and still i went along with it.
don't know if i'm making sense...

DewdropDream said...

You're supposed to laugh and say 'dewey-child you're sooo funny!' and then proceed to gimme a muah and a huggy. NOT tell me your plans for 30 years from now :P

Laugh now. please? :|

rayshma said...

dewey: u're a bully, u know that?! :D
i think mera training phal de raha hai! :D ur natural instincts have been brought out, eh? ;)
MUAH!

DewdropDream said...

Hee hee!!! Yay!!

DewdropDream said...

Wait. If I'm showing signs of having learned from you I deserve a certificate or something. GIMME!!!!! :D

Suma said...

what would you say if i told you that i go to my parents place always...when g joins, we then spend a few days at my inlaws place...in fact they are so understanding that sometimes they offer to come down to blore to visit me...but i want the kids to know both gparents equally so we divide time between the two places...(a little inequally if i'm alone,) :)

actually i get what u are trying to say...but then i can't write long comments, only posts :P

Lena said...

you know i do realize it is something common in India, tradition, unwritten law.. but i believe that when 2 people build a new family, thats THEIR family first and the best way is that they live separately... and yaa before you say anything, i do understand thats not how things work out in India.

Anish said...

It takes a few to start a change.It takes two to make it different for themselves, atleast. But let it be complete.Let it ensure that a woman finds herself as much under pressure to run the house as much as a man.Un-condition everything.I wondered once why its ok for a woman to dream of being a teacher and how man will not look good doing it, for it does not pay well enough.And now i wonder why women find it much easier to take sabbaticals.Are these newer/modern extensions to the same problem you brought up,in an obviously different light? This may seem off the topic.....just questioning what seems assumed.

Anish said...

It takes a few to start a change.It takes two to make it different for themselves, atleast. But let it be complete.Let it ensure that a woman finds herself as much under pressure to run the house as much as a man.Un-condition everything.I wondered once why its ok for a woman to dream of being a teacher and how man will not look good doing it, for it does not pay well enough.And now i wonder why women find it much easier to take sabbaticals.Are these newer/modern extensions to the same problem you brought up,in an obviously different light? This may seem off the topic.....just questioning what seems assumed.

rayshma said...

anish: i don't think it's unrelated. it is, as you said... the same issues but in a diff light.
not very surprised, but u & G seem to have got what i was trying to say there... :)
it was the general concept that i was questioning... the state of mind.
the unconditioning... the unlearning & re-learning has to be be on-going. for all individuals. sadly, it's easier said than done.
and this comment is getting longer than the post. so i shall stop!
btw... am VERY surprised by this comment :)

lena: a lot of couples in urban india do u'stand that... and they do live apart. and i agree with you, that it IS best. it's just that the way we're conditioned since we're kids... we don't see it as a 'big deal' that a girl would leave her parents house for a groom's sometime in her life. was that 'conditioning' that we were wondering about... :)
p.s.: i can't access ur blog! :(

suma: :D

dewey: sharrup. my photoshop's expired. no certificate for u unless u send me a version!

Pixie said...

I know.. i agree with what you've said here...
I ask the same questions...

But, somethings, I am glad to say, haven't changed.
Mysore - my parents - is still home and my parents come here in Blore - to their house... their's daughter's new home! :)

But, certain things (you know what I'm talking about here, I think!)were difficult to get used to and adjust to...

Pinku said...

Rayshma,

this is a grave post ....

what are the right answers...i cant say i really have them.

i am married, i feel and am also told by mom that her home is always home for me. I try and integrate in the lives of my in-laws to the best of my abilities. and I think till now I have been able to strike a decent balance.

all i would like to say is secretly all of us girls would like our guys to accept our family as theirs too...so isnt it only fair that we take theirs for our own without prejudice and rancour?

I know u will probably say that we have always been doing that but that has been more a compulsion than willing.

rayshma said...

pinku: personally speaking, i knew vin's family even before i knew vin.. in fact one of the reasons i married vin was coz i liked his mom! :) so, for me... all was well.
but i get what u're saying. and i also think, that that "acceptance" has to be mutual.
u cannot be expected to respect/accept someone without getting that respect and/or acceptance in return.

pix: yeah, i know... :) and asking questions, i guess, is the first step... :)

Savy said...

Every case is unique, as it is obvious from the comments. It all depends on how the 2 individuals stand up to face the situation & the expectations. Forget trying to change the elder generation which demands certain behaviour from us. So rather than fighting it out, at times it is more sensible to make them feel good by following their wishes. But mutually as long as the two ppl get along and respect the fact that they share between them two sets of families, things become much easier...
Well, after about 11 years in friendship and 15 months in mrg with my wifey, I can probably say so for my case :-)
--Came on your blog while checking my ol' comments... You write really well :-)
-=Savy=-