Sunday, February 12, 2017

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Questions to Ask for Arranged Marriage

If you are getting an arranged marriage, then there are definitely some questions you should ask to make sure he is as egalitarian as possible...here are the ones I could think of:

Do you think women should behave a certain way?
Do you think they are the "keeper of the flame" , or responsible for keeping their reeti-reevaj (traditions) alive?
Do you believe in horoscopes?
What principles do you value (commitment, integrity, honesty, punctuality, honoring your word?)
What would be your "ideal" wife?
What would be your "ideal" relationship?
What are you looking for in a spouse (equality or complementary roles?)
Do you believe in gender essentialism?
What do you think is required for a good relationship (respect, trust, honesty)?
What do you value in life (materialistic vs simple life)?
Do you believe in traditional gender roles?
What makes you think you're ready for marriage?
Why arranged? Why now?
Are you the type of person to follow traditions/rules blindly, or do you think about what you are doing?
What are you passionate about? What makes you feel alive?
How much are you into Indian culture/nationalism?
Do you believe in the caste system?
Are you an independent person who has their shit together (knows how to cook, do chores)?
Would you consider yourself a mature person?
What causes are important to you?
Do you have your own thoughts and beliefs or are they the same as your parents?
Are you the type of person that needs to be reminded often?
Do you want a relationship where you are always with the other person, or do you need space?
How comfortable are you defying the status quo ?
How much do you care about what others think of you?
How do you continually improve yourself ? (working hard, etc)
What is the definition of a man to you and the definition of a woman?
How important is health and exercise to you?
Would you consider yourself a driven and ambitious person?
Is sense of humor important to you?
Are you open-minded and tolerant of others' beliefs (live and let live policy)?
How is your relationship with God?
Are you an intellectual who likes lively debate and deep conversations for mental stimulation?
Would you consider yourself an optimistic and happy person?






From Nazreen at penguinpeeks.blogspot.in

Before I got married I must have read hundreds of articles on how to prepare for marriage, what to discuss with your fiancé(e) etc. But these questions are mostly personal, what is important to one person might be nowhere near necessary for someone else. So the specific questions I asked might not be helpful for you. But, I want to help those of you who asked for 'the list'. This is going to be a semi-long article, so if you want to grab a cuppa tea or coffee, go for it. I'll wait.
Back? Are you teady (ready with tea-geddit? geddit)?
1.Write your introduction BEFORE you go into the questions.
Before you determine what questions to ask, you need to figure out who you are. Without that, it's hard to come up with the right questions. So write a one page (or more) introduction- name, cultural/religious/academic/professional background. A lil' bit about your family. What you like doing in your free time-hobbies/pastimes. What are the causes close to your heart? What do your close friends say you are- introvert? extrovert?fun loving? adventurous? What are your goals for yourself- 5 years/10 years down the line?
1.a. After you write an intro, on a separate page write- what are your priorities in life- family, career, education? In what order? What are the things you absolutely cannot live without? Do you need to travel to a new place every year? What are you passionate about- art, business, travel? Do you need to work on a higher degree after a few years? Are there certain traits that piss you off? BE CLEAR OF YOUR DEAL BREAKERS! (This page is for yourself, to understand where you stand)
2. Write what you expect from a husband/wife- how much should he/she contribute in the household chores? How should they pitch in the finances? How should they meet your emotional needs? How much emotional needs? Now you don't have to send this bit to your potential partner, it can put some people off. I just sent it to mine because I am a bit crazy like that. And I think anyone who gets scared by this kind of stuff isn't worth being considered anyway. But this page is just to help you, like a reference, when the person answers your questions. (NOTE: Sometimes you may find that a person doesn't fit in with everything you are looking for. That is natural. No one is going to find a custom made spouse that checks all boxes. So in things that aren't that important to you, be open)
3, Frame your questions along your priorities and deal breakers. I can't tell you which questions to ask since each one of us has different experiences and expectations. But here are some general questions that might be helpful in the process-
Do you like chai? I am kidding, don't ask that! :
a. Tell me a bit about yourself. Your background, where you were raised, your family, your education and job etc.
b. Do you have any close friends? What do you guys usually do when you hang out?
c. What do you like to do in your free time?
d. Do you like to travel? Where all have you visited? Would you like to travel as a couple after marriage? How often?
e..What are your expectations of your partner? Spiritually, In terms of decision making at home, regarding raising kids. And also in terms of housework?
f.Are you okay with your spouse pursuing higher education after marriage? Will you be supportive of her career after children?
g.In future, if the situation arises and you are given an opportunity to live and work in a different country, are you willing to explore it?
h. What is your take on joint families? (This is mostly for desis)
i. What do you think constitutes abuse, for both men and women?
k. What do you think are the rights and responsibilities of a husband/ wife?
l. What are your professional plans over the next five/ten years?
m.Do you like kids? Have you thought of when you want to have children?
n.. What are your views on religion? How much/how little do you practise/want to practise?
o. Tell me about your siblings. What kind of relationship do you have with them?
p. Which are your favourite books/movies?
q. Do you volunteer anywhere? What are the causes close to your heart?
r. Are you financially dependent on anyone? Is there anyone who depends on you?
These are just some questions you can ask. Some are light hearted ones which give you a general idea of the person. The others are more serious and can give you a glimpse of the core values and beliefs the person holds close. Ask the important questions first, the rest can follow as a natural conversation (or it will become like an interview!) Please note that you must know the answers for these too for yourself. That way you can compare where you guys stand on a lot of issues.
At the end of the day, there is no guarantee they will answer the questions honestly, but at least you have taken a step in the right direction by doing your homework instead of just hoping things turn out all right.
Was this helpful? What are some other questions you think need to be on the list?
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A Letter to Indian Society: Why I Want to Make You Uncomfortable With My Body

A Letter to Indian Society:

Dear Indian Society,

We have a problem. You see, although there are many upsides to our culture, one of the downsides is that we have a hard time talking about sensitive issues. We think it's important to pretend everything's perfect and if it isn't, then we just blame it on the person with the least power (usually the woman). This is because our reputation is the most important. We think if everyone just followed THE RULES of Indian morals/values, then nothing bad would happen.

We are especially uncomfortable when talking about how womens' bodies are controlled and used. To many people, a woman's body itself is an unclean thing. Many people don't know how to deal with it, or think about it since it is seen as inherently sexual, and therefore something both to be wanted and hated. Everything that comes out of it is bad, and the best way to handle a woman's body (if you were unfortunate enough to be born with the body of a woman) is to not think about it at all and let your husband handle it.

But enough. These are some reasons why I want to make you uncomfortable with my body.


1. The real pain of children, women, and men being raped, and the perpetrators getting away with it because it is "bad" and "shameful" and "dirty" to talk about is more important to me than your being uncomfortable.

Keeping children innocent ignorant about sex and romanticizing sexual innocence in women makes you comfortable.


Because of your comfort, children don't have words to describe their sexual assault or rape. I want to give them the words to describe "good touch" and "bad touch" and what parts of their body are. I want to make you uncomfortable.

Because of your comfort, even if children do know what is happening to them, they hide it. They think their bodies become dirty. They feel fear, guilt and shame. I want them to know it is not their fault. I want to make you uncomfortable.

Because of your comfort, families hide and shush and quiet sexual assault and rape. They "keep it in the family". They tell victims to "forgive". Their reputation and image is more important than the victims.  I want to make you uncomfortable.

Because of your comfort, some women don't know what sex is until their wedding night. Forget even talking about pleasure or consent. I want them to know about their bodies, learn to enjoy their bodies and be respected. I want to make you uncomfortable.

 Because of your comfort, marital rape is still legal in India because the fact a man can go long periods inside a marriage (which is the only place sex is socially approved) is seen as barbaric. I want a woman's "marital duty" to be abolished. I want to make you uncomfortable.

Because of your comfort, I lose my "honor" when I'm raped or sexually assaulted. The blame gets placed on me. Last time I checked, my honor does not reside in my vagina. I want to make you uncomfortable.

Because of your comfort, I lose my morality when I lose my virginity (outside of a socially accepted marriage of course). My morality has nothing to do with my sexuality because the critical thinking skills needed to make decisions between good and bad choices reside in my brain, not my vagina.  I want to make you uncomfortable.

Because of your comfort, society still accepts a rapist and considers the rape as a "mistake" if the perpetrator is rich or powerful enough. I want that to be considered unacceptable. I want to make you uncomfortable.

Because of your comfort, the medically correct and objective term for my genitals is censored and taboo, while similar words such as "pussy" and "chutiya" are used for insults and thrown around freely.


I hope there comes a point when you are comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Sincerely,
Me
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Can Arranged Marriages Work?

So in Indian culture, there's a taboo of physical contact before marriage. Usually, the boy or girl study first (more emphasis on the boy tho because he has to have a stable job before marriage duh) and find a stable job, then get married. Any contact with the opposite sex before that is seen as unnecessary and a distraction in the best case scenario, and in the worst case scenario, there is an underlying fear or paranoia that you will fall in love with somebody not respectable enough and get pregnant/get them pregnant.

Indians are also practical people, so they think marriage can't be based on "love" which can be a fleeting emotion. Instead, marriages are based on compatibility of the families, income, stability, security, same religion, etc.

This is because the purpose of marriage isn't to bring two people together who love each other (like the western ideal), it's to set up a family unit that can function inside the larger joint family unit and propagate children to continue the lineage. The compatibility of the children is not seen as the main point, and the logic is that as long as they like each other, they will "adjust" to each other after they're married, since they're stuck together for life.

That's why there are certain expectations for both people in the marriage, especially for the woman. It's assumed that she will move to the boy's house. If not that, there is an assumption that she will take care of the boy's parents. Also, she will know how to cook and take on the responsibility of the household chores and also keep up the religious festivals and the culture. Obviously she will quit her job or pay less attention to it after a child is born (children are assumed also).

The boy's parents are not only looking for a wife, but a daughter-in-law that can bring joy to the household and cheerfully take care of the family and get along with everyone.

There is a horrible self-fulfilling prophecy in this system where both the boy and the girl don't learn anything if their life is set up for them. Moreover, if they are told not to engage with the opposite sex, then there is no chance to learn about healthy relationships or how the opposite sex thinks, feels and behaves. The children grow up sheltered from reality.

For girls this results in an ignorance about anything sexual and a low confidence about her abilities after being told that her end goal is marriage. For boys this results in a sense of entitlement where they expect their wife to fill their mother's shoes even if those wives have an equal education. It also results in them not knowing how to talk to women and therefore being "creepy". They grow up thinking women are mysterious or to be feared.

If anyone breaks these expectations and "fails", such as getting pregnant before wedlock, or getting raped, obviously it is because they did not do as they were told. If they had just listened to the elders, this wouldn't have happened.

Now, not all arranged marriages are bad. They can be a great way to meet people if you know what you're looking for, who you are as a person, and if you think for yourself. In the end, even the parents don't really know what they're doing because arranged marriage is a crap-shoot, especially if you both have 0 relationship experience and are expected to stick it out.

The best thing you can do is see how many morals/values you have in common (not to be confused with hobbies) and ask a ton of questions.

Friday, February 10, 2017

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Healthy Relationships

Healthy Relationships are based on love, not attachment. Here's the difference between the two.

Attachment: Insecurity, fear, control, possessiveness, dependence, security blanket, not complete without the other person, heavy emotional dependence.


Love: Freeing, independent, Want not need, no expectations of your happiness depending on the other person, unconditional, no rules/restrictions that are suffocating the other person. Complete and whole in yourself. Healthy Emotional dependence.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

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General Conduct/Self Confidence Tips for Women

  • Don't talk about deep personal issues 
  • Keep it playful / lighthearted 
  • "Tread lightly"
  • Serious when serious, able to explain and be an intellectual when that time comes
  • Have that certain spark or fire inside you you
  • Learn how to handle awkward situations/not be awkward (don't try too hard, just be at ease with yourself, don't be so blunt, have emotion and expressiveness in what you say, common courtesy)
  • Don't need to open yourself up so freely with other people at first even if you have a connection

  • Do your best
  • Try to understand everything as much as possible
  • Don't take yourself too seriously
  • Self assured
  • Put yourself out there (Dance, etc)
  • Express yourself
  • Laugh at yourself
  • Be grateful, positive, optimistic
  • Be happy inside, don't depend on anyone else for it
  • Life's too short to make excuses

Sunday, January 15, 2017

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Why Being Childfree Should Be An Option For Any Woman

Women who decide to be childfree get a bad rap in Indian culture. I think having kids and not having kids are equal, and one should not be derided over the other. Your personal choice depends on what kind of person you are and what your values are.

However, there are people who think that children is mandatory for keeping the Indian family intact. And I'm not saying that people who choose not to have kids absolutely hate kids- most like kids and are very nurturing people, they just don't think they could do it full time. That's like saying that just because you like football casually you should become a football player.

I think that's a very selfless view to have rather than just bringing a child into the world because you want it and not thinking of whether you can handle the responsibilities to give it a good upbringing. This is the opposite of selfish, which is what some people believe about women not having children.

Additionally, there are even more obstacles for Indian women should they choose to have kids (tradition, meddling society, expectations of how they should be as a mother/conduct their family). Some women don't have consent over their body or family planning after marriage because they are seen as the property of their husband's family.

You have to realize that love isn't based on blood. You can adopt a child or love a child that isn't your own blood like it's your own, just like you can abuse your child even if it's your own. Your DNA has nothing to do with your love - your child could grow up to be a completely different person than you whereas someone that's not related might be more similar. An extreme example is a child that grows up to be a serial killer.

Anyways, these are just my $.02 on why being childfree should be an option for any woman. You should not look at children like assets, you should raise a child because you want to give it love. Even better if you adopt a child from a broken home that would not have had that life if you had not taken care of it.

Indian culture cannot come at the detriment of an individual's freedom and happiness.




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My Ideal Relationship

My ideal relationship would have to be based on Khalil Gibran's poem On Marriage. 

On Marriage
 Kahlil Gibran
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. 


Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. 


Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.



My ideal relationship is one where we are focused on our own goals but together. 
Where we love each other a lot and are best friends but we have an emotionally independent relationship (not codependent). 
Where we support one another and treat each other as equals
A relationship based on love and freedom not control and possessiveness
A relationship where we are not stuck at the hip and become "One Thing"
Where we both have the same goals and strive to achieve them: see quote below

Image result for marriage is not looking at each other