Sunday, December 21, 2014


Ghar Jamai Raja

It amazes me, that even in 2014 we still have outdated notions that just will not quit! 
One example of this happened the day before yesterday. My family and I were relaxing on the couch and the topic of the Hindi serial "Ghar Jamai Raja" (Loose Translation: King of the House, Son-In-Law) came up. It is a serial where basically the guy moves in with the girl's family and rules the roost, being lazy and not doing anything, and generally being expected to be treated as a king.
 Now, as my age gets closer and closer to marriageable age, my parents used me as an example to explain what the name of the serial meant. "For example, IAF, if your husband moved in with us, how funny would that be!". I got the sense that it was supposed to be emasculating if a guy moved into a girl's parent's home. But in situations where I detect sexism, I usually just pretend I don't understand and get them to explain thoroughly so hopefully they hear just how stupid they sound. "So why did mom move into dad's house then? Wouldn't that be funny too?" My mom gave an uncomfortable laugh and said, "no beta, that's the tradition, the way it's supposed to be". 

They thought it was despicable if a guy moved into a girl's parent's home and they had to take care of him, as a burden, but if the opposite happened it was a "tradition"? I suppose in exchange of the boy's family taking the girl in, she was expected to do household work, almost as a new maid. Finally, after I kept asking why it was so different between both the sexes,  my grandma laughed helplessly and said, "It's because you are a daughter, and your "husband" is a son. That's why it's different". 

Ohhh. Now I get it. NOT. My parents have never treated me less than, especially since we live in the US and also because I won't let them, but I can't believe that in things like this, I am still discriminated against. I said my grandma laughed helplessly because it sounded like there was nothing she could do about it, that that's just the way things are. I hate it when people think like that and I admit even I think like that sometimes, but all those traditions then become a box that is imprisoning and restricting us. I wish I could explain to my grandma that the customs do not control us, we control the customs. If we don't like the way something is done, we should make our own history. And damn the old "lekin log kya kahenge?" (Translation: But what will people say?

Anyways, my parents agreed that I am not ready for "marriage" yet because I have not acquired all the virtues of being a good wife, and those virtues are necessary for making a marriage last b/c *gasp* it is up to the woman to adjust and in the words of Tim Gunn, "make it work tm" Some of those virtues they mentioned are being tolerant (sahansil), and hardworking. I tried explaining to them that I didn't think being tolerant was going to win brownie points, especially since it is very easy for that tolerance to turn into tolerance of abuse and insults, just for the sake of *preserving* the marriage. I think the concept is still foreign to them. But I think they really are afraid of getting me "married" because to them I am unpredictable and unstable and it would be better for me not to get married at all than to get married and come home to them and say "I am back! It didn't work out!".

 Because don't you know, I'm supposed to make the marriage work AT ALL COSTS. Even if I am not happy I should make a facade and pretend to be happy and that everything is perfect because a marriage is supposed to be FOREVER and DIVORCE is not an option. It will bring shame upon the family. SHAME, I tell you. SHAME. /end sarcasm

I don't think my family is ready to be that liberal yet, but with two feminists in the house (me and my apprentice sister), they will be forced to broaden their horizon, whether they like it or not. 

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