Tuesday, January 27, 2015

9

I Don't Know How I Feel About This....

 
One of the reasons I started to write this blog is that a lot of the issues that I talk about hit close to home for me. Once upon a time I thought that only my parents were rigid and cultured and protective of that but through blogs like Indian Homemaker, I realized that there are even more orthodox parents than mine, and mine are pretty orthodox. I think it is true about what they say about NRI's, that the parents especially live a life like they did back in India and are reluctant to change for fear of losing the culture, while in reality India has moved on and they have become a lot more modern than the NRI's think.
However, some of it stays the same, especially the arranged marriage circus. Because I did the shaadi.com experiment, I realized that while on the surface India appears more modern, its more traditional institutions like marriage retain the same shape, in the form of arranged marriage.
I just recently turned 20 and my parents have been dropping "hints" to get me prepared in the future for marriage, never mind that they haven't talked about sexuality or anything to me. It is automatically assumed that I get married. I remember the first time we had a fight about this. I was saying to them that I wasn't sure if I wanted to get married and they got all persuasive about why it was important, and they didn't want me to be alone if something happened to them. They said I would get "hoomph" which is Gujarati for comfort or warmth, from marriage. A certain security, if you will.
I think they have become more open about it since my cousin on my mom's side recently got engaged (she's the same age as me). She's studying to be a pharmacist and she didn't want to get engaged at first. But last summer she went to a marriage where her fiance's mother saw her and liked her (especially since she is thought to be beautiful, cultured, "sanskaari", etc). Their son was going to the UK to do his MBA (he's obviously older than her) and they didn't want him to "fall in love" with God knows who there (hint: not a Gujarati Brahmin Vegetarian Religious Cultured Good at Dancing Well-Educated Cheerful Tolerant Adjusting Obedient Pure Non-Smoking Non_Drinking Sheltered Homely Woman). So my cousin sister, who has obviously never had a boyfriend before and is encouraged to concentrate on her studies, is approached by this woman who wants her as a daughter-in-law (Well, they didn't approach her, they approached her parents). Her parents obviously didn't tell her this was happening at first, they wanted her to be unaware and concentrating on her studies, not stuff like this that she shouldn't be worrying her pretty little head about. They found out the boy's side was of the same caste and had a good reputation (from a "good" family") and they had a big house in the city, and they were modern and didn't ask for any dowry or anything. So they approached my cousin and asked her if she wanted to meet him. She said no, but they told her to at least give him a chance. So she and her other girl cousins went over to the boy's house, where his sister was there (she's in her mid-20's) and they talked, and from what I hear, it wasn't awkward or uncomfortable at all because she had her cousins with her and it was just like a friendly chat. So from this one talk, she told her parents she liked him and they started getting the engagement preparations ready. Her future mother-in-law bought her a dress and jewelry and took her to get ready at the beauty salon. My cousin's siblings dressed up too, her brother in a silk gray suit (you know, the ones that look shiny) and they had a small ceremony where he put a ring on it and they exchanged garlands. Guess how many days this happened in?? (You read right, not MONTHS or YEARS, but DAYS.) 4!!! She met him at Day 1 and got engaged on Day 4!! And then he went to the UK to do his MBA (it takes 3 years and 2 are already passed). Actually, he skipped some classes because he is so "smart" apparently and he's finishing his MBA up and coming back to India this spring. From what I hear they are very happy and my cousin is encouraged to talk to her fiance so they talk together and she even asked her parents for a new phone so she could see his face. She sends him pictures of food she makes, and she's adopted the in-laws as her own (like a good DIL) and goes to the movies! with them because they are basically alone now that one daughter is married and the son is in the UK. So they go out to eat and stuff and she's become rather attached to them, taking care of them and calling them Mom and Dad.
Anyways, I'm not being sarcastic because I'm jealous, but I'm just shocked at how sickeningly traditional this is. The poor girl doesn't even know who she is yet, hasn't even graduated college yet, and she's already "taken". I think it's cute that they talk and stuff but I don't know....there's just something off about taking the first person you see and being with them forever. She's never going to have time to discover herself, she's literally going directly from her parents house to her husband's house. There's supposed to be a sense of "security" in that, about protecting your little girl and making sure she doesn't get her heart broken, but is it security or suffocation? The marriage is supposed to be strong because it's backed and supported by both the families and if anything goes wrong the "elders" will be there to sort it out. There are millions of stories like hers and you already know how her future's going to play out...she's going to get married, go live in a joint family, have her suhaagraat, , the new family members/extended relatives/society are going to judge her like a piece of cattle and compliment her if she fits the traditional perfect role well which she will because she's beautiful,obedient yet talkative and friendly, the inlaws are going to start pressuring for grandkids, she's going to pop out a few kids, and maybe become a stay at home mom. The only refreshing thing is that her in laws are modern and even want her to drive. They've given her capris and jeans as presents because they want her to be modern like the girls her fiance sees in the UK. It's like he never left!
Anyways, the point is that my parents have started talking to me more and more about this, and when I asked them why, they said it's because they want to give me mental training to prepare me for it. My dad always likes to be prepared for the future and he likes security, so he started making a "marriage plan" for me. One thing that got me was that they said they wouldn't be doing this if I was going to med school because then I would have to concentrate on my studies. But since I am doing business it is ok? I don't think my dad is confident I'm going to get a job in this economy either, so he's making backup plans. When I asked him why, he told me that since we're going to bring someone from India (again, all his idea), it'll take "him" a few years to settle down and finish his residency. So I'll actually be "starting" my life when I'm 27. Also, my dad said he doesn't care how much I make (150K or 200K is fine, he said), but he wants the other guy to come and double the income so we can live a good life. I didn't realize you had to be a millionaire to live a good life.
This all would be fine if he was just dreaming about it with his head in the clouds, but he actually made the choice to go ahead and open a new email account for me, and talked to someone about putting an ad in the paper for me. He said it's going to be a plus point that I'm so fair and beautiful (fair according to Indian standards). I think I'm more like yellow.
So he's already made this huge plan about how if we get responses, then I'll see if I like them *no force* and then potentially we're going to go to India THIS SUMMER to check out the matches and if one seems good to us then I'll ideally be married by THIS WINTER along with my cousin (2 in 1 to save money). This all seems like a ridiculous joke and if somebody saw it they would think it is, but it's not. It's really sad actually. I am wary about this not happening to me and I for sure don't want to give up my freedom so I said no to him but I think he's actually going to go ahead with it anyways and see what happens.
I just feel really really uncomfortable about this whole situation. I know they're not "pressuring" me but they keep dropping hints about potential hypothetical situations that involve "my husband". I've told my mom I'm not sure I want to marry or have kids but her response is that no woman wants to get married but she has to, and that I will change my mind in the future. It's just, like, the rules of (anti) feminism!! I think deep down, they feel some sort of responsibility for me and that as parents their job isn't finished until they settle me down. They don't take me seriously and I just feel pushed into this box with each comment they make, like my future is already decided.
Maybe you can pinpoint why I feel so anxious about this whole thing and what exactly is it that makes me feel so uncomfortable. Is it that I feel humans are just turning into packages? So after they get their degree "stamped" on them, they are shipped into the marriage market? It sort of feels like this is what my life has been leading up to, the reason to study and the reason to work hard. I don't know how I feel about this...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

1

Cat-Calling or "Eve-Teasing" in India

 
I thought after the Nirbhaya rape, things had improved. Even my mom said when she visited India in 2014, that she felt things were improving and there was no cat-calling. Guess not.....

 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

6

Shaadi.com Experiment Update



SHAADI.COM EXPERIMENT
BY R. SHUKLA

INTRODUCTION AND WHY I AM DOING THIS EXPERIMENT
................................................................................................................

Purpose:        I am really curious about the Indian male mentality and how egalitarian it has actually become, especially with educated* (supposedly "enlightened")  men who have access to the Internet.  The purpose of this experiment is to figure out if guys really want what they say they want. In the 21st century, most women are independent and working and have confidence in themselves.  Many men, even Indian/NRI men say they want an independent and equal partner, but do they really? Let's see how many men actually want an equal.....and how many are just paying lip service. In Payal's profile, we see she has no other interests besides wanting to be a stay at home wife. Basically, she wants to live for her man. She doesn't seem interested in intellectual pursuits like politics and current events. She is sexy, but not sexual (not even kissed a boy!) She is pure and still a virgin.  Actually most of Payal's profile information comes from this blog where there is a poem like this: 

" Karyeshu Dasi, Karaneshu Manthri,
  Bhojeshu Mata, Shayaneshu Rambha,
  Roopeshu Lakshmi, Kshamayeshu Dharitri,
  Satkarma Nari, Kuladharma Patni "



 Line for line, it means : 
"Works hard (as a slave) , Gives smart advice (like a minister),
Feeds and cares (like a mother) , Is a sex-goddess in bed (like the apsara Rambha) ,
Is beautiful (like goddess lakshmi), Is forgiving (like mother earth),
These are the ideal qualities (and duties) of a wife "


......................................................................................

Comments from the OP

"So, to be an ideal indian wife, all i have to do, is be a mom in the kitchen, a slut in the bedroom, a maid in the living room, all while looking like a bombshell, and not to mention, forgive any of his 'little' slipups, like ohhh, I don't know...forgetting our anniversary !!! or leaving his underwear on the bathroom floor !!! (which he really has done today...yikesss), ok....thanks, got it, check...Now that I know all this, what's stopping me from being an ideal wife.....ohh, I know, my BRAIN !!! I mean , come on here, I don't know whether to be mad or amused, it's ridiculous to the point of hilarity .

"Also, please note that there is no such verse for the ideal husband, because logically, the guy could be any schmuck out there, but since he's married to the ideal wife, he isn't required to be any more than a schmuck." 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I fully agree with the author of the original blog post that I got the poem from. It is so ridiculous it is hilarious. No woman- no HUMAN would be like this. Essentially, she doesn't have a personality. She is a living blow up doll.  Her lifelong dream is to get married. You would think that men would know there are no women like this, because *newsflash* women are breathing, living creatures with ideas, personalities and thoughts of their own. Yet it is sad that men think women like this exist, and moreover, they prefer a woman like this. 


...................................................................................................


     I'll include an obligatory profile picture: (not of me obviously)


        HYPOTHESIS: I'd like to think that most people would be able to say that this is a fake post, but sadly most people will think that a person like this actually exists in our patriarchal society.

*Drumroll* Ladies and Gentlement, meet.........

Payal Rohand
View Photo Album of SH43160553

"BIODATA": 


  • 24 / 5' 8"
  • Never Married
  • Self
  • Hindu, Brahmin
  • Rhinelander
  • Gujarati













    • I am a model. Grew up in the US, loves fashion and beauty. Independent and modern but simple homely indian girl on inside. I also believe in husband as head of household (or pati parmeshvar hai) and I am pro-men, anti-feminist. I am a party girl now but willing to quit, and also quit eating non veg and drinking. I am a virgin, never even kissed a boy so I am innocent. Also I am religious and do fastings. Prefer to stay at in law's home and be housewife after marriage.I know how to cook well. Looking for indian gentlemen who knows how to treat a lady and is also dominant and strong enough to be the leader in relationship and so I have respect for him. Need to have "aankhon ki sharam" for him. I will work hard to be a good wife and will keep looking beautiful. I will treat you as a treasure. I will also support and advise you in troubles and am very patient and forgiving. Looks/Height/Caste no bar...tell me why you think you are good for me.

          RESULTS: 




  • I have 596 invitations (currently) and over 250,000 potential matches. It is safe to say I am in demand. Most of them were easy to decline because they sent an automated response. I only wanted the ones that bothered to send a personal message, but only a few sent a personal message Also I got 9 requests for phone numbers and 2 given to me. When I was on there, about 30 people messaged me on chat.  In some profiles, the parents said they were interested in me for their son, I found it funny that the son couldn't do it himself. You would think that only people in India would think like this, but there were some NRI's who still did this. Actually, most of the guys who were in India made their profiles by themselves while more NRI's did the parent/relative/brother thing. 

    Maybe the reason is that NRI guys are not really looking for marriage in their 20's, while in India since it is a sexually repressed society, these guys jump on the marriage train as soon as they come of age, whether they are mature for it or not, because marriage is the only way for socially approved sex. Also, the Bollywood movies play a huge part in what the Indian guys think *romance* is like and what women want. 

    Another interesting thing was that even though I said Looks/Caste/Height no bar, I was very specific about religion. Still, I got invitations from Christian, Jain, Sikh and other nationalities also. Maybe they thought that I would gladly agree to convert. 

    Now let's get to the good part: 
    (My comments are in regular font and theirs are bolded and italicized.)
    ...............................................................................................................












    • Hello, We have liked your profile and believe it to be good Match. If you like our son's profile, kindly accept this Invitation. We can then pursue this further on ph: Phone Number Visible on Accept or through email:Email Id Visible on Accept Warm Regards,_______


      One family made it a bonding activity...
      Hi, I and my son have liked your profile and believe it to be good Match. 


       Here are the personal email responses (out of the 596 currently): 

      One man in his profile just cut to the basics and stated his salary, it really justified my hypothesis that marriage in India is a "business transaction" and that is what guys think girls want (exchange beauty/domesticity for wealth). 
      Hi, I am__________ from ahmedabad.I am in accounting field earning 12000.00/per month & have rental income of 7000.00 to 8000.00.we have two members in my family. My mother & me.My father passed away & i have a one sister who is married.I have a simple attitude no bad habits like drinking & smoking. I am big fan of shahrukh khan & love to wear different types of aviators. i likes cricket & music. I trying to find a loyal & honest life partner. Friendship is important in longlife relationship, so my better half will be my best friend whom in can interact easily as well as share my thoughts without hasitating.


      One guy complimented me on my "Indian Values" and said finding a girl like me was rare...I don't see how that's a good thing. 

      Hi, My name is A I I really liked your profile. I love how you have retained your values so well, which is rare to find even in girls from India. I am also a understanding, caring and supportive person. I also love my indian culture and respect my heritage. I do not have any extraordinary expectations from my ideal partner. I like simplicity. I may not be a model, but I am very honest and will give it my all to keep my partner happy. Well if you are interested in my profile then we can chat further. A.


      He thinks I have *beautiful thoughts* code for...I like that you're a doormat. Also felt the need to put USA in parenthesis (LOOK I'M FROM THE US!)
      Hi Payal. Enjoyed reading what you wrote. More than a beautiful face I see beautiful thoughts. Would like to get to know you better. Hope to hear back from you. R.(USA)



      Only one thing to say...........wow....cheesy or what?
      Hi, i liked your profile description. You look like my dream wife. (So pretty much sums up what Indian guys in India at least, want in a wife). I am good for you because i can promise you that you close your eyes and start your journey of life with me and you will never ever open your eyes .you will live in your dreams. N

      This guy actually took the time to read the profile...
      you really think you can live in india? your profile kinda sparked my curiosity so to speak.hope to hear from you

      This guy really fell in love with the provider/dominant man fantasy...The last sentence is just LOL.
      Coz -i will be the provider for the family -Honest guy like an open book.there is no other side in me -Going to take care of you -Started to work out recently.so may take some time :)


      One guy unabashedly put a picture of him with a doctor's coat and stethoscope.  He might as well have said he's looking for gold diggers. 

      Now this next guy was weird. First sentence was that he is an engineer. Didn't mention anything about himself but gave his whole family tree....I guess he wanted to prove that he was not "backwards" because he had connections in Pardes? 
      hi miss, i am an engineer in india and my brother lives in new york and is married and works for national brock lab of new york as an engineer and my sister is a nurse and lives in new york as well and is married and rest of family lives in calgary canada. one of my sister lives in calgary and owns her house and is unmarried and other one is married and lives in edmonton  and my mama g (LOL Mama G) is a very reputed property consultant and lives in calgary. 


      One guy just jumped into asking what my fav movie was..
      hi, how are you?I'm A.So what's your favorite movie?


      This guy understood that friendship comes before romance...
       My name is R frm India. I like your profile , First , I would like to friendship (the cliche fraandship LOL) with you

      Why would you not read someone's profile? It's there for a reason. 
      You seem like a nice person , I would love to get to know you . I like to figure people out gradually rather than reading profiles and see where it goes.let me know if you really want to go ahead.


      Cheese......so much cheese (This guy is in the US but you can tell he's from India because no guy raised here talks like this...)
      Hi, How you doing ? I saw your profile and thought of saying Hi. hoping the Hi will lead to a wonderful conversation :) If you feel the same, Lets Connect.! 


      This was kind of nice...(again, from US but you can tell the difference he's been raised here, compared to the previous guy.It's more likely the previous guy came here for a working or study visa. 
      Hey! You sound like an awesome person. I'd love the opportunity to get to know you :)


      This one was like, "Yeah, so I just want to tell you *casually* that I'm in med school..nothing about interests or anything else". It says a lot about what Indian guys (even NRI guys--you would assume this guy is more egalitarian)  think potential Indian girls are interested in. 
      Hi How are you? So my name is ______said like an american haha. I was born in London but my family moved to the US when I was 11. I am about to finish med school in Philadelphia and might be moving for a emergency med residency. Let me know if you wanted to connect :) If not good luck! 

      hey, first I want to know whr u wanna stay after marriage ?India or USA? I am looking for understanding, loving, who respects my parents and treats them as her own parents after marriage and stands by me in every situation of life. we belong to middle class family but having bright future so economically no need to worry in my home. and I like whatever u wrote frankly in Ur profile and I m impressed by it. if u reject my profile then also no issue , but at least I request u to tell me the reason. thanks ______(The only thing I have to say about this is see IHM's post on this:  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Only a few got the idea...(or knew that a girl like this cannot exist). 
      this is a joke. right? I don't know anyone who would say 'pro-men' lol you're nuts if you really are looking for what you say you are

      Haha.is this a joke ;)


      Hey!! Your profile looks so unreal haha Seems too true man Haha but none the less we can talk and see where it goes?

      And this guy was really sweet..but maybe it was part of his plan since he knew other guys wouldn't act like this and he wanted to be the special snowflake who actually *cared*.  Didn't even want to connect, just wanted to give me advice so that counts for something. But maybe on the other hand he thinks he can spark a conversation.  
      Why is your profile like this. You're intelligent and smart. (How is Payal smart and intelligent if she only finished high school? Something is fishy.) Forget about all that. Don't give up on your dreams to become the housewife types for the purpose of appealing to the society or the home. Be yourself and love what you do and find someone who can respect you for that.

      Charts








      CONCLUSION:
        The conclusions of this study are that although India touts gender equality through its "Westernized" movies and media in an effort to become more modern, the majority of men in India only do lip service to this idea. In fact, most educated men (educated meaning speaking good English and having access to a computer) want and appreciate a woman like Payal, who is molded on the regressive gender ideals of centuries past. The implications of this study are that there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of gender equality. Considering that arranged marriages are the single most popular way young Indians get married, it is important that gender equality progresses in the Indian marriage market. Also, we need to get Indian men to WANT to have equal wives and not be so impressionable by mostly misogynistic Indian movies that now feature the paradox of women being modern and stylish on the outside but still having "traditional" values. Or, the fact that she should be "cool" and not homely on the outside, but have homely values on the inside.
         
        I also did an experiment with a darker woman named "Laila Rohan" who was the antithesis of Payal- a feminist who wanted an equal partner and said up front that she would not be the more passive partner. Surprisingly, Laila also had suitors, although not as many as Payal. I think that all woman, as long as they have a vagina, will get suitors on this website. I found that Laila's suitors were also more attractive, although that is just my subjective opinion. This might be because the parents of those suitors found each other physically attractive and were in more of a love marriage, while people who were less attractive were found partners through the rigid arranged marriage, which is more orthodox. So the children of the orthodox parents grew up wanting a woman like Payal whereas the more liberal (attractive) children find Laila more attractive. At least that is my theory. What I found interesting was that a lot of parents were interested in Laila for their son, while more "self" created profiles were interested in Payal. This was interesting to me as you would think a potential Indian MIL would want a submissive DIL. But maybe secretly they wanted a strong and capable partner for their son. Any thoughts to why this is? 
         
        I was saddened by these results, I guess I used to think that only people of older generations like my parents and grandparents thought this way but it is scary to see that the current generation is like this too. I will post a more "polished" analysis as I think of it. But what are YOUR thoughts on this?
  • Thursday, January 1, 2015

    2

    Skin Color In India



    I came across this while working on my mega Shaadi.com Experiment that I told you about a few posts back. I found this and thought I would share. This is funny, but also shows how much the "fairer" skin color is valued, even in males. Maybe he was actually telling the truth and it was just the lighting that caused him to look like that (sarcasm).

     But really, did this guy think he could fool anyone?