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Feb 17, 2013

Gender Discrimination with an Education - Why I make a horrible Indian Wife

     Brilliant music, Brilliant drive and a Brilliant friend to have an engaging chat with. Just a few minutes before this drive home with my friend, he had happened to introduce me to this crush. A very sweet and homely girl, who would obviously make a wonderful Indian wife. We were discussing about his future with this very sweet and homely girl, if they were to start a relationship together.What could possibly be flawed in this setting of two friends having a normal chat?
     A friend of mine always tells me I think in "two layers". I see what most people don't see(maybe choose not to see) or rather I read between the lines. I assume this is not so acceptable by most, but it is this "two layered" thinking that helps me write my blog.
     I could already see her making his family happy with her cooking, and her treatment of the in-laws. She would make a good Indian Wife and a good Indian Bride (The idea of the role of wife that my country holds may not be in agreement with what idea I hold). I could see why my friend likes her, and he seconded that idea too. A perfect match about to happen... Wait! My "two layered" thinking has yet to come to play here.
     In spite of her perfect representation of the bharatiya naari (Indian Woman), that our 'tradition', 'culture' and our 'history' teaches us day-in and day-out, we both noticed and agreed that they had nothing in common at all. Two months of talking and they would run out of engaging conversations for the rest of their happily married life(My friend might be looking for a gun to shoot me right now for writing this blog post. But I'm a risk taker ;P )
     So I inconspicuously asked, "Se might make your family happy, but it is still you who has to spend the rest of your life with her. So shouldn't you marry a girl you would really want to spend that life with?"
     I got an explanation as to why that would be close to impossible from my friend, that I wasn't really surprised at hearing. He went on to say if he were to ever introduce a girl like me, with whom he more in common to his mother and say he wants to marry me, his family would be devastated and in ruins, and his mother would eventually make him choose between me and her (There is a slight level of exaggeration, but you should get the idea that I would not be accepted as an Indian Bride in his Indian Family).
     That was obvious. Let me take the effort of explaining to you why marrying me is such a taboo.
  • I do not know how to cook, and I will not put in the extra effort to learn cooking just because all my aunties and mother's friends tell me I need it to please my husband and in-laws with my cooking. They are grown people, they should either feed themselves or hire a cook. I am not going to be their servant.
  • I will not give up my education or my career or my dreams according to the family that I marry into, because they believe a woman has to take care of the family while the man and the elders make the big decisions in the house. I have always been and will always be an independent woman who makes her own decisions. 
  • I am spiritual, which means I am not religious. So a typical Indian wedding with rituals whose meanings literally nobody knows, is not something I will be a part of.
  • I will not change my second name to my husband's second name, or any such changes that will show that I am only a wife and nothing else.
  • I will not... I repeat I will not jump into a fire like Sita did to prove how good a wife she was to Lord Rama(A reference to the Indian holy book called the bhagavadgita). If my husband can't trust me, he has some issues!
     Now that I started listing out the reasons, I realise there are so many more that make me a horrible Indian Bride! But, I think I will run the risk of never finding an Indian Husband, if it means I get to be independent, make my own decisions, live my dreams and most of all BE TREATED EQUALLY in spite of my gender.  
     Our gender bias and our concept of roles of the genders is so deeply rooted in our culture and society, that this kind of gender discrimination goes entirely unnoticed. Most people do not even see how wrong and discriminative this practice of defining a perfect Indian Bride is! Good cook, Good looking, Fair, Doesn't have male-friends, Chaste, Good at taking orders, Doesn't drink or smoke, possibly gives a good massage, etc etc etc etc etc... I feel like we Indian women are up for sale. If you do not fit that description, or fight against the existence on such descriptions then you are flawed, you are unmarry-able.
     Education hasn't helped this scenario either. The only difference it has made is that now the Indian Wife is expected to cook, clean, please her husband and her in-laws, and in addition also earn a part of the income. How has the society really changed if independent women will find it so hard to be accepted into an Indian Family as a Bride?
     Being a sweet and homely wife is not something I am undermining. I know how hard and wonderful a job it is to be a wife and a mother. But shouldn't this choice be entirely upto the woman herself, and not anybody else. If a woman like me chooses a different life that our 'tradition' and 'culture' doesn't preach, then do I make a horrible wife?
     If an Indian Family rejects me as a Good Indian Bride only because I wish to be treated equally and with respect, and want to exercise my rights and freedom, then I am happy! In fact I am proud of standing up for this half of humanity. I in turn reject them, reject them all from our society! 
     My friendship with my friend is something I will always cherish. Our shared interests and our brilliant chats. I respect him with all my heart and believe truly in his talent and worth. Hence I wish none of my opinions are taken as personal. But I am an Indian woman fighting for a society that treats women equally and gives us a status and respect we deserve. Long way to go, but the fight has to start somewhere right?

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Feb 14, 2013

If Your Man is Abusing You, SEEK HELP!

     It is with great pain that I am writing today's post. Especially since I know the thing that is causing me so much pain, is occurring even as I type this post out. It is WOMEN ABUSE!
     I recently learnt that a friend of mine who we thought was in a happy relationship with her cute boyfriend(I remember finding him really cute and sweet), has been facing physical abuse at his hands. She has been feeling the pain and wounds from a man who misuses his arms and legs, to cause wounds on her body! No man...NO MAN has the right to even think of harming a woman. No matter how cute, how loving or how rich.
    The worst part was when I narrated this story to a few more women, hoping they would see how wrong this incident was and how this man DESERVED TO BE IN JAIL, I was astonished to hear a few women tell me their own experiences! The frequency of women(or young girls in relationships) abuse is far more severe and common than I had ever imagined.
    These women continue to either face the abuse or a few brave ones who get out, continue to feel mental agony, whereas these criminals walk around free and relentlessly abusing more and more and more of our world's women. Why do more and more of our generation's men treat women like we do not matter at all? Why is this attitude still prevailing in the 21st century? Let me tel you why.... Because we are doing NOTHING about it. NOTHING!!!
    WOMEN! Please listen... we are STRONG! We have the ability to lead the life we dream of, and we DO NOT NEED A MAN to make any of our dreams come true. Please Please Please believe in yourself! If any man, no matter how much "love" you think there is, if he hits you, LEAVE! Leave immediately! You HAVE the strength to stand and stop this pain that is being caused to you.
    Remember it is NOT YOUR FAULT. There is NO REASON for any man to beat you. If he even slaps you, it means YOU HAVE TO LEAVE! Do not try to see any mistakes on your side. If there are problems, then the only solution is to sit down and talk about it. Physically beating IS NOT A SOLUTION. So do not ever think he is allowed to hit you.
    Most importantly, not all men are such criminals. I promise to you, that when you use your courage to      get out of such an abusive relationship, you WILL find men who treat us women with respect. I promise to you that there are real men who know our value and treat us as equals, because WE ARE EQUALS. There are real men who will understand you and let you live your dreams. The man who beats you today is NOT the only man on the planet. He is the man who deserves to be away from our society.
    You deserve respect! You deserve love! You deserve to live a life of freedom and peace! No one should stop you from it! No one! If he truly loves you and respects you, then he will never beat you!
     If you feel alone and feel like you need to talk to someone PLEASE MAIL ME! I promise to help you as much as my abilities allow me. Mail me anytime and I promise I will reply to you, be your friend and help you. Share your stories and your emotions! Anything at all! I am always here for you.... Please mail me if you need a friend to help you through this abuse.
                                     MY E-MAIL ID : spoo.friend@gmail.com
    Its easy to remember(I admit a little cheesy), and I created it only to receive your mails, so please please please write to me! If you are afraid to reveal your name, its okay! If you just want someone to listen, then I am here to listen...
    If you are not a direct victim of abuse, but know someone who is helpless, then ACT! You have the resources to help that woman or a girl, then help change her life. No matter how helpless the situation may seem, there is always a solution! ALWAYS!... You can write to me too, and I promise to help you find that solution. Never see a woman facing abuse and ignore it as if it is not your business. It is! It is all our business, because at the end of the day we all belong to the same community and live as one humanity.
     One small voice of help can help change a life. The woman might not have the strength to walk away from abuse or might not even realise that that abuse is unjust, but if you realise it then you HAVE TO ACT. I had a father who physically beat my mother in front of my eyes. Never until today have I spoken about it. But, silence is not going to help anyone. Hiding the truth will only mean more suffering and more violence. SPEAK UP! I was a small girl and didn't know what to do! But today I realise how even one single voice could have helped us... But none did...
     So please don't let the women of our society be abused. And women do not let a man abuse you!

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Feb 8, 2013

How Can I Be Proud Of Being An Indian Woman?

     A few days ago I turned 20. I presume I can now safely say I am a woman and not a girl anymore, and have lived a life long enough to form opinions and be considered as an adult(To my mother I am still a 13 year old kid!). Today I write not as Spoorthi, a college going girl who is always so cheerful and loves Dogs, but I write as a Woman...an Indian Woman.
     I wasn't born in a typical Indian family, but it was rather just me and my mom my whole life. So, I have lived a life where I have seen how strong and independent a woman can truly be, in all circumstances that life and society can throw at us. Today, I too can proudly say I am a strong woman!
    I walk with my shoulders straight and head held high. I voice my opinions in a country where almost everything has gone wrong; starting from the government to the social set-up of caste and religion. I truly believe that no dream is too far away to be achieved regardless of your gender, caste or colour.
     Yet, today I write this feeling pain, disappointment and distress, and am standing on the cliff where I am only a few centimeters away from giving up on this nation. I love my country, and I always will, but will I ever be truly happy in this society?
     From the moment I open my eyes in the morning every force around me wants to show me my place! My place as a woman! I am stared at by the men on the streets for the body I walk in. I am unheard in a debate in a group of men. I am told I need to marry a man to take care of me.
     I pick a guitar, I am told to pick a spatula instead to learn cooking. I try to ride a bike, but no man is ready to sit behind me since it is embarrassing for a man who would let a woman take control of a bike. I want to make decisions for my group, but I don't see a single ear hearing me.
     Why is it so rare in this nation to see a woman making decisions and taking control of situations, and  a bunch of men listen to her and truly respect her decisions without prejudice? Why is so rare to see an unmarried woman successful in her life, being appreciated and held as an example of strength, and not forced to find herself a groom? Why is to so impossible to be a woman and even feel safe in this country?
     Will I really be happy in a nation where everything in my life is decided by the gender I belong to? The clothes I wear, the people I spend time with, the education I get, the lifestyle I want to lead, even the time I have to get back home is decided on my gender! My worth, my value, my talent, my respect and my place in the society is careful measured based on my gender! How can I be happy and proud of being an Indian, when it truly hurts to know this inevitable fact of this society?
     I am writing this under the risk of sounding like a whining woman, who is desperate to seem victimized. But no matter how I am looked at for writing this, the truth will never change. Women have always been and will always be objectified, disrespected and will never be treated as equals!
     We are used for the maintenance of a household and used for the sexual gratification of men(The recent rape cases, and this nation's inability to stop it still is the biggest and the most shameful evidence). Our dreams are crushed and replaced by dreams already planned by the society.
     This is a democratic nation. But, a democratic nation for men! Freedom? Liberty? Equality? How can I ever taste? How can I ever be proud to be an Indian Woman?

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