A few days ago I asked my wife, “Why are you such a woman hater?”
“I don’t hate women,” she replied, with rage in her eyes. “I hate their double standard, their mentality.”
A couple of months ago our neighbors moved to a new house but some of their correspondence still comes here and we receive it for them. The wife often drops in to pick her stuff after her office. That day, during a casual conversation she told my wife that these days she’s driving her brother-in-law’s car as their own car has some problem.
“Oh, your young brother-in-law already has a car?” my wife asked with surprise?
“He got it in dowry,” she replied matter-of-factly. “A car is a must,” she continued with a tinge of pride in her eyes. “In our families the groom always gets a car from the bride’s side.”
“This is what pisses me off,” my wife said today in the morning while telling me about this conversation. “They still live with a 200-year-old mentality while club-hopping and sleeping around. In the name of being modern they wear the most trendy clothes, have multiple boyfriends, talk with an anglicized accent, go to zaniest of parties, flaunt their independence and individuality, but at the time of marriage they turn into a docile Sati-Savitri expecting mummyji and daddyji to do everything. They want all the privileges of a son, but don’t want the responsibilities that the sons have towards their parents. It’s like, you guys marry me, I screw you big time and then you all can go to hell because for me it’s just my own family now. And then they complain about female foeticide.”
Sati-Savitry is a mythological, pure and devoted lady.
I love and appreciate women, but I can clearly see my wife’s point and I can very well understand why she generally looks down upon women as a gender, especially the “educated” ones. She married me against her family’s wishes, breaking almost all parental ties (because I’m cerebral palsied and her parents wanted to avoid the embarrassment of having a physically disabled son-in-law in their society). Even my own parents couldn’t come to grip with the new development and ended up – intentionally or unintentionally – misbehaving so much with my wife that we had to move out. Considering I had just started earning then, we had to build our lives from scratch – whatever little we have, it’s our own. Marrying a cerebral palsied guy with practically nil financial backing and then moving out with him and with a 3-month-old baby takes guts. So my wife is as independent as they come, both in body and in spirit.
Sons, by tradition, at least in India, are supposed to take care of their parents when the parents get old. Daughters, on the other hand, traditionally, have no such obligation. Once they get married, their sole focus are their husbands and their husbands’ family.
If uneducated and poor women think that way it’s understandable, but it’s inexcusable for “independent” and “educated” women.
“The parents of the girls have to bear the double impact,” my wife often says. “These days, educate your girls just like your sons, and then marry them off just like traditional girls. And the abhorrent thing is that very few girls protest, they all very conveniently lap up all the opportunistic combos of modernism and tradition. They make things difficult for all those self-respecting females that don’t want dowry and even want to get married with their own money. The tragedy in India is that we want all the freedom of the west without the struggle people in the west have to go through to live that freedom. If you are so free, if you are so independent, then why rely on your parents during important events like marriage? Why accept dowry so coyly? Why not be there for your parents the way your parents have been there for you?”
I again tend to agree.