Monday, October 21, 2013

Do Pious Women Go to Heaven?


Image courtesy - Google images



With her eyes downcast, as she follows the man she has promised to love till her last breath and takes the seven circumambulations around the sacred fire, a woman has no idea this is what she’ll be doing for the rest of her life – running around in circles. Only the sacred fire gets replaced by the ones she loves and will learn to love with time. After all, she is the nurturer, the one who makes the house a home, the banisher of dust and her family’s moody blues, the expert haggler who returns victorious with an extra bunch of coriander, the Sunday morning Aloo-Parantha maker who brings cheer to life of others.

With time she learns to stop protesting and start appreciating his unusual taste in movies and gives up her love for Chinese cuisine because he can’t think beyond dal makhani and karahi paneer. His sisters become hers. His Mom becomes her Mummy dearest who insists on regaling her with exploits of the greatest thing alive – her son. Even as her eyes glaze over as she hears the story of how Bunty won a year’s supply of Bournvita when he stood IInd at the Quiz Contest, for the 35th time, she doesn’t grumble because she knows this makes her ma-in-law happy.

She was conditioned to believe that children are gifts of God. So, when all she experiences is revulsion at the sight of runny noses and smelly diapers, she castigates herself in front of the mirror and proceeds to surround herself with posters of overweight photoshopped babies with blue eyes.

Over the years she and castigation have become best friends. She still can’t over the guilt when she felt like banging her head on the wall for having created monsters who look like her in-laws… For harbouring violent thoughts when her husband innocently asked – isn’t this the second time in the week we are having lauki koftas? For faking sickness at office just so that she could get a few hours alone, at home…Feeling secretly relieved when he said that he’d be gone for a fortnight….

Not all women are natural born givers, who gladly sacrifice their happiness for the sake of others. Not all of us are adept at pushing our needs under the carpet. Some of us play along for the sake of pretences, some of us protest too much, while a few seek retribution by making life hell for others. Some of us try to have careers that our education demanded of us. But what we all share in common is that awful sense of guilt for not being a good-enough mom, daughter and wife.


The other day I decided to make use of mostly missing Math skills and came up with this astounding data. An average married woman makes approximately 30K cups of tea/coffee, fixes 15K meals and replies to “what’s for dinner” 14400 times till she’s alive.

She wastes her youth chasing plumbers and electricians, absorbs the tantrums of all her family members, worries on behalf of the universe and gives motivational speeches to her offspring which is often misconstrued as nagging. She rushes back home like a madwoman, just as she’s in the midst of an important presentation in office, because Nikki has been vomiting non-stop. She is her family’s alarm-clock, breakfast maker, tum-ache soother, exam stress absorber, expert haggler and a warm meal server when the husband gets back home after a long day. But when she gets back home after a long stressful day a long list of chores awaits her.

She often gets a pat on the back for her muti-tasking skills, but no one stops to think that she is one because she has no other choice.

Every time I read Mother’s Day messages posted on social sites by doting children, a little part of me dies. While a few of them equate her to God, the rest can’t stop waxing eloquent about her kitchen skills and how she unfailing woke up at 4 in the morning to pack their tiffin with yummy goodies. Wasn’t there a single day in her life, when she was forced to sleep late and made to enjoy the morning cuppa in bed? Weren’t there days in her life, when she felt so weary of the drudgery that she longed to flee and never come back! Did anyone bother to stop and ask what she wanted, for a change?

If there are a few dedications that do talk about the woman she was and not what she did for them, it is mostly from the daughters who discovered how tough it is to be the pillar of strength after they took charge of their own household.

What I want to know is, what do we get for being such apostles of humankind, dedicating ourselves to tending, soothing and most importantly feeding perennially hungry mouths? Is there a bonus for a lifetime of piety besides a bunch of regrets just as we are about to breathe our last?

Since God has decided to assume a “no comment’ stance and refuses to reveal if I’ll get a one way ticket to Paradise, I have decided to draw my own conclusions.

Perhaps there’s no greater joy than caring for your loved ones. But should we, in that process, relegate ourselves to the background, ignoring our own desires and interests? I understand that love cannot be isolated from duties and responsibilities. But why isolate ourselves from the many good things life has to offer because we are too busy pleasing others.

So, what stops us from making happiness our first priority? If we are not happy, how can we expect to make others happy? It’s a feeling so precious that it needs to be guarded at all cost. The same feeling that makes us greet every morning with cheer and not dread. It is that rare energy that makes us feel that every obstacle, every setback in our life is conquerable. It is that treasure that no one can snatch away from us.

And who knows at the end of the journey, we might still bag an all access pass to heaven and spot Ryan Gosling sipping coffee at Sitabucks, on arrival. After all, it is God who is the greatest suspense writer of all. 


Here's a  man's counterpoint and may I add, beautifully expressed ..

http://www.saketsuryesh.net/2013/11/reclaiming-your-life.html?spref=tw



94 comments:

  1. This is for men to answer. If your wife is not happy, how can you expect her to make others happy?
    Kudos for writing such a relevant post Purba. While some of us have found our voice, a majority lives, acts and behaves according to what others in the family say. Can't even begin to imagine the frustration and desires that lie deep in a woman's heart.

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    1. Ironically, the women I am addressing this post to, won't even have the inclination or time to read this.

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  2. Thought provoking post. ..willl follow for all replies....as for me its no wrong in keeping oneself happy. .

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  3. Beautiful article. Makes you think. I particularly like the Mother's Day messages reference. So true. And the advertisements of washing powder, drinking chocolate, Moov and you-name-it appliances, ALL, function only with women around. Heroines, so to say. Sad, that instead of sharing the burden of the everyday, the family gets together to rub pain relief balm on her back.

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    1. Put her on a pedestal, entrust her with the family's honour, happiness and needs and watch her kill herself to live up to everyone's expectations.

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  4. Gosh, you hit a nerve ... several nerves actually. Some of us have seen the other side and decided that being single is a better deal. We've also taught the next generation that Moms are not there just to pick, clean and cook. They're people too, and need to take off when things get too much.

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    1. Many women end up confusing love with mollycoddling, trying to make themselves indispensable to their family members and end up becoming an extension of others.

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  5. Ok...that was an interesting post. Personally I believe everyone should be free to do what he/she wants. Most women live the tragic heroine life because the ancient rules about the role of women in the society as homemakers. I think that is written in most texts but I could be wrong. Anyway, those were different times and times change...so I guess the rules should change too.
    But, what is the authenticity of the data that you have quoted? Please prove your calculations - use trigonometry, advance calculus, statistical analysis and SPSS.

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    1. I used to simplest method to arrive at this data - it's called logic.

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  6. While what you say is true of many, there are a load of other women who are breaking these stereotypes. Piety, be damned! Husbands chip in with housework and cooking these days. I don't know a single woman in my generation who wakes up at 4 to make coffee/breakfast. And why blame anyone else? A woman gets what she stands up for. Lead your life as an individual who is also a wife, mother, homemaker, careerwoman wherein none of these roles define her. I blame women more than men for being the perpetual martyrs. After all, we have only one life to live.

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    1. I beg to differ. I personally know these women. They were my colleagues who woke up early to fix up meals for the family. Now these are financially independent, educated women I'm talking about. They were doing it because this is what was expected out of the woman of the house.

      And housework always remains a woman's duty and a husband's choice. If he's chipping in, he is helping you out. If the maid is on leave, it's her headache. If the baby-sitter doesn't turn up, it's she who has to figure out a solution.

      Believe me, no one enjoys being a perpetual martyr, Some do it for the sake of kids, while some do it for the sake of their peace of mind.

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    2. And I know equal women who do it because they hate to outsource or because their conditioning is such that they think it is their responsibility. Many times they don't even ask for help. Of course, we live in a patriarchal society so men are conditioned to consider certain chores as domains of women. But look around you and see how many daddies are actively chipping into daddy duties. I remember how my dad was. He never lifted a finger around the house. I know my husband in comparison does a lot. But to think that there will be a 360 degree change in so short a time is to be day dreaming. I know of women who are not working outside the home, have maids and other people for assistance and yet expect the hubby to chip in after he comes home from work at 8 or 9 pm. I wonder how fair that is as well. In every family, a husband and a wife share chores and it is never 50%. But I do agree, that there are some very orthodox family who don't give the woman a choice and she has to do everything at home. Your point about extolling women for being slaves is bang on. And I truly hope that more women are able to shun their conditioning and seek help of their husbands too.

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    3. Hey, I'm married to one. He's a far better cook than I am and I'm too glad to be a guinea pig for his culinary experiments.

      I agree there are certain women who take pride in caring for their family and do a damn good job of it. I'm sure they are not complaining either. But my grouse is for the ones who have to put up with unreasonable expectations and family members. It's time they stood up for themselves.

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  7. Ah! Purba! Don't you know - a woman's greatest joy lies in the joy of her husband and children (and in-laws and neighborhood aunties and the street-dogs etc.). So, how can you say that a woman does not chase her happiness - her happiness is what she is chasing when she makes her husband happy with those innumerable cups of coffee and varied (but limited to his tastes) cuisine; her children happy by wiping runny noses and getting up at 3 AM to pack the 4 AM tiffin-box. What sort of unnatural woman would think of these as chores instead of the greatest pleasures of life? :)

    That IS the problem. The guilt comes from the fact that women have been conditioned to feel that to even think of all these as chores or drudgery is somehow falling short of being a 'normal' woman. And, all of us, are victims of our conditioning. (Therein also lies my defense for men :) As much victims of conditioning though their conditioning is very much in their favor. So, if you break the mold, revile the man who does not - only after he is told that the mold is unacceptable. He will NEED to be told :) )

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    1. I couldn't agree with you more. If men are being insensitive, claim they do not know cooking, think housework is an exclusive privilege of the woman, it's because the woman insists on treating him like a baby. It makes my blood boil to hear a man brag, the only think I do in the kitchen is boil water!

      Like you said - he needs to be told. And the woman should have enough confidence in herself to demand to be treated with respect.

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  8. First time here.... and absolutely loved this one. Perfect!

    Even when we give long hours of speech on Equality nothing of that is seen in the home making department. Its always considered as a complete women's area.


    http://rambledscribblings.blogspot.com/

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    1. If you're both working long hours, housework is meant to be shared equally.

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  9. Thought provoking read no doubt! However it is also true that the current generation of husbands do chip me more than they used to before, about the kids, if they are taught from an early age to contribute maybe things will change?? if not this the next generation of women can make their happiness a priority right?... meanwhile about why most women do what they do.. the female behaviour is deep rooted in the way we are all built.. this post also reminds me of an article I read some time back.. pasting the link here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/11/23-things-every-woman-should-stop-doing_n_3908151.html

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    1. Of course. My husband is a better cook than I am. We try to share the chores but since I'm now a stay at home Mom, I do most of . But this post is not about me or women like you and me. And tell me, if you walk into a dirty, unkempt house, what is the first thought that enters your mind - that the woman of the house is too lazy to do anything about it. Sadly, it's women who judge each other too harshly.

      Thanks for sharing the link :-)

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  10. I loved the last line. Waiting for that Ryan Gosling moment...really. God, you better be reading this!

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    1. Hahahaha....I should have addressed this post to him.

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  11. Very relevant and thought provoking post Purba. Many of us just give up on our own happiness and live under the false feeling that if our family is happy, we are happy. But many now are changing this and men in our lives are also supporting and not fighting the thought. Years of conditioning does take time to weed out.

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    1. It helps if yours is a nuclear set-up. And yes, the new generation of men is far more understanding.

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  12. Most of the women who are reading tis blog do not really fall in this category and to some extent control their own destiny supported by spouse at home. However, what you wrote is true for the vast majority of women at least in India! Admirable the way women manage and they way Purba writes:)

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    1. I'm just trying to say that women need to start thinking beyond their family. If they don't they will be left with a sense of purposelessness once the kids move out.

      And thank you, Rahul.

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  13. The 'guilt'..sigh! It is like the dog and the tail story. I don't know if we follow the "guilt" or the "guilt" follows us. Wonderful thoughtful post with a dash of Purbaness. :)

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    1. It will end once we stop trying to mould ourselves according to others expectations.

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  14. A relationship works well if there is concern and caring between partners. Many husbands know the wife isn't selfish for thinking of herself. Unfortunately, too many, supported by other husbands like themselves and their own extended family still think she is.

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    1. Blame peer pressure, the misunderstood concept of 'manliness'.

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  15. In India, the only thanks you will get from any woman or man for being a dutiful daughter, wife and mother will be the 'best wishes' and 'prayers to the Almighty' for heaven when you are dead and gone. Indian mindsets are such that nobody including other women will ever truly appreciate the sacrifices that women put into their entire lives. And like Suresh C mentioned in his comment, a large part of it is due to 'conditioning', that being said, I am still wondering why the educated new generation of people of my age and even ones younger than me treat their wives the old way, and more importantly why the wives allow themselves to be treated this way.

    Am not sure if it is enough for men to read this post, understand it and make changes. Don't a lot of women also need to read this post and adjust their mindsets, attitudes and behaviors accordingly?

    Awesome post, will continue to stay relevant and contemporary until Indian mindsets change for the better. Wonder when that will happen.

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    1. I agree, women are equally to blame. As mothers-in-law, Moms, friends, we should stop judging each other so harshly.If the older generation didn't enjoy as much freedom to make choices, they should ensure the coming generations do.

      Loving the thoughtful comments I'm getting to read.

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  16. This boils down to the modern day woman who marries if she wants to and has babies if she really needs one. I have come across many youngsters who decided to stay single, and others who decided to stay childless. Who can blame them? Everyone need not follow the norms which were practised from the time of Adam and Eve. If a person decided to stay single... then its the best decision, than marrying a girl of his mother's choice and treating her like a piece of furniture. If a couple has babies, it should be because of the love for babies, and not because people have started asking and raising eyebrows. Then, washing dishes or changing diapers at 3:00 am will not look like a chore. Because life changing decisions should be made by people for themselves and stand up for it.

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    1. God forbid if you're an Indian girl who decided to stay single/or not have kids, you need to develop a thick hide to survive your nosy relatives.

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  17. Lovely.. Truly enjoyed the article.. Reminds me of how I have to make sure my wife is happy.

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    1. Please don't forget to thank me later.

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  18. Superb post Purba .. I really wonder when I see some women slogging in the kitchen for most of their waking hours .. But sometimes, this is also because they want to carve a niche for themselves .To hear their children say 'No one can cook and keep a house like my mom'.
    In fact, many women refuse to give up the kitchen when a daughter in law enters the house out of fear that she may be robbed of the crown of Best cook, best homemaker and what not! For many women, it is a power play. It is a means by whcih she makes herself indispensible.
    But there are quite a few unfortunate women in today's world who work and manage the family and additionally have a chauvinistic husband who thinks himself to be too much of an overlord to help out at home. Their predicament, I truly pity.
    And I completely agree with the train of thoughts behind this post. We should never do anything that makes us unhappy and discontent. Instead of carrying heavy burdens and dying with discontent, we can say 'may the world be damned' and die happily :) Cheers!!!

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    1. How beautifully you've described women who use their domestic goddess skills as a tool to control and men who think it's their duty to keep the woman under control.

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  19. Purba! It's a superb and honest post. Okie, I'll answer: I have always believed that we should respect the individuality of women and it's sad how the hypocrite mindset permeated the view that women place is in the kitchen. You truly pointed out that how we should never do things that make us unhappy and discontent. I take a bow.
    vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com

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    1. It's time we stop letting societal norms and parental expectations govern our life choices. It doesn't help. Once you start living according to others, you start blaming them for your unhappiness.

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  20. Wah! This was a classic. Quick question though - How the heck did you manage to observe my mother all the way from Brissy?? Errrm...and by the way, she really doesn't mind moving around the house with that ball and chain tied to her foot. I am more or less convinced of it. In any case, we make do up for any inconvenience caused when it is Mother's Day. She gets the whole afternoon off (after lunch and before tea/samosay)

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    1. I hope you know what a lucky sod you are!

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  21. All my teenage life I kept repeating to myself "I won't be like my mother" But I think am she all over again...there is no escape...we would be fooling ourselves if we thought it is.
    It is still MY chores that HE helps out with FOR me...that label never goes

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    1. Such a situation comes in stages - unfulfilled expectations, anger and finally resignation.

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  22. Agree with Nalini...I am becoming my mother though my equation with my kids seems to be a little better. Yet, I am sacrificing my holidays for kids. Sigh!

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    1. At least you have a life of your own, Janaki.

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  23. Its all a matter of conditioning, Purba. A woman is a natural caregiver and a nurturer. It is in this avatar that she is happiest. Putting a number of times tea or coffee is made is nothing but a number. It is the number of times she is complimented for the best tea or coffee that she remembers.
    I love my home. I love to keep it clean and warm and tasteful. Its a haven that my family comes back to, to get away from the outside world. Lots of love, hugs, relaxation and understanding is what they look for and get. I love to cook their favourite meals and love to get a hug and a "that was delish, mum" from them. I love to keep my man satisfied and happy. I love to hear my m-i-l speak of her son's childhood no matter how many times because I empathise with her and how she feels as he has moved out of her sphere of influence. So what if I don't agree with her opinion of him? Don't we all have different opinions of people based on our interactions with them? I love it that my children depend on me to get rid of their aches and pains. I have given up many a presentations to rush to pick them up and kiss their boo-boos away.
    At the same time I am a professional. I love working. It keeps my creative juices flowing. It helps me interact with people who are not my family. I can have deep and meaningful conversations with my friends at lunchtime. It gives me the money that helps me become independent of anyone. So what is there to not like that? What was once a necessity (work) has now become a choice.
    Yes I do go to bed very tired... after all I am managing two full-time jobs. But I go to bed a HAPPY woman knowing that my efforts at making my family and my workplace happy has paid off...
    Happiness can only come from within. No one else can give it to you. I love being there for my family and friends and that is what truly makes me happy. I don't let numbers take me down!

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    1. If you are happy, who am I to complain? I think most women love taking care of their family, but I'm sure there are days when she wants to be at the receiving end of the caring.

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  24. yes, It's good and noble to do things for our loved ones....but not by sacrificing our own happiness.....im not a mother yet, but yes im a wife and I have learned cooking coz my hubby loves food......but i cannot imagine myself devoting all my time to it!...i dont know how some women do it (not the cooing but time and again sacrificing their happiness over small things) !!

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

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    1. Women should not let others take their affection and time spent on them for granted.

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  25. 1. I miss those aloo paranthas, don't remind me of them please?
    2. While the homemaker is running behind electricians and plumbers, I don't think it is a youth wasted, look at all the exercise she's getting. Size zero, all in a days work.
    3. Call it evolution or anything you like, but mostly, only (mostly) women are capable of multitasking, because they've done this since ages and now it is wired into them. Now, when women are becoming more like men, monotasking like we do, in a job, the cycle is reversing. I'll expound my entire theory someday else, but a day will come when men will be able to multitask like women, and women's ability to multitask will saturate, but since the cycle will not be reversed till we reach the other end, men will become more and more adept at multitasking (because women today want their better halves to contribute equally in kitchen) and women would be at the helm of industries. Then, we'll rock back and forth as the cycle repeats. Don't believe me, and you ease my cause :)


    4. All points above, except 3rd are for humourous interpretations.


    Regards,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

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    1. I still remember that post where you wrote about how your Mom distributed the chores equally between you and your brother. Now this is the kind of woman I respect.

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    2. And yet she grows old, in our absence. :-\

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  26. nice post I agree with your all point. Women are god best creation what they can do we man cand do that sacrifice nd other grt thing.................. but time is changing and in some cases vise se versa cases also possible in todays world. keep writing

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    1. Yes, thankfully times are changing for the better.

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  27. Purba - Such a powerful post , and so well written. A lot of it is to do with our upbringing and social conditioning..I think.. I guess as a married woman and mother, you've got to make choices, take responsibility for them, and make peace with them.. And yes! I guess the most important relationship one has is with yourself. The minute you really understand and work on it.. I guess everything else will fall in place (health, happiness, etc etc..) Once again, brilliant post and thanks for writing. Nischala

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    1. Exactly, Nishchala. The key to happiness is knowing what you want and don't want, sorting your priorities and making it happen.

      What a lovely comment.

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  28. Well said. Indeed, women’s plight is something unique no doubt. But, what is the alternative, as we are yet to develop robots that are intelligent enough to worry about getting older. There are two species that I can think of who can be trained to help women in running the family(and thus the world), one men and the other the next nearly intelligent creature - the chimps. Unfortunately the latter is endangered and the former too dangerous to employ in jobs that are dealing with human life such as cooking. Frankly, if things are changing as many of my fellow readers wrote here and one day our choice is going to be between eating uncooked aloo-parathas prepared with unpeeled potatoes mashed in an unwashed vessel with an unclean pair of hands and starving to death, I would encourage the next generation to eat out.

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    1. The alternative is empathy from her family members who should stop thinking it's her sole duty to feed them.

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  29. No she doesn't go to heaven Purba. Cz she has actually offered some really nasty people with nasty attitude to the world in the process of being a very good person. She improved herself much near to perfection but others started demanding more and more as she just bares all their tantrums. Tantrums increased exponentially and then her children will refuse to look after her at the old age (living hell). Don't want to comment more on her afterlife.
    Once again a great post from you. Lovely! Well written.

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    1. If only she had taken herself more seriously, others would have taken her seriously as well and realized her true worth.

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    2. Exactly. What I was struggling to tell in a paragraph, u told in a line.
      I think I am the only one who takes my mom seriously. And I did that only after I started staying in hostel.

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    3. Ironically, we realize her true worth only when we move away from her.

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  30. A great post! Thanks so much for writing this, I can relate to each and every word. That thing about 'guilt' is so painfully true. In my opinion the problem is the conditioning and hence the guilt. The only solution possible, to think that one has the right to be happy and do things that make oneself happy.
    True that husbands do contribute, but then they just chip in...it's more about whose responsibility at the end of the day.
    Actually, these mother's day messages and the stuff about enjoying the motherhood, pregnancy, family etc etc..oh please give me a break!!!


    Nidhi

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    1. I am glad you related to my write-up. Thanks for reading :-)

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  31. The definition of happiness differs from person to person Purba. Some women are genuinely happy running the home or household. It's not fair for the rest of the world to call it drudgery or waste of her talents. On the other hand if there are other things that makes her happy, the woman should reach out for it. If anyone needs to arrange for ones happiness it's definitely oneself, for the world will really not care much. Probably after one lets them know what one wants they would see that side of things but till then no one would think on your behalf . That's how the world works !

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    1. Mine is just an opinion, Jaish and you are free to disagree :-)

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  32. And then where is love in this whole equation? When your life becomes a chore, when all you can think of is what to fix for dinner, when your husband thinks the house is your problem, can love still stay alive? Wasn't that the whole purpose of getting married?

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    1. I feel, if the husband continues to be insensitive to his wife's needs, love turns to resentment.

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  33. This is worth spreading and I feel more than anybody else, it is the woman herself who needs to include her happiness as well into the list of her duties. One should keep themselves satisfied and happy in order to pass on genuine happiness to others. There definitely will be a long list of guilts that our predecessors have. But honestly this generation is much better in terms of the women speaking for themselves and the family too being a little more considerate.

    I'm gonna read out this to two such ladies. And sharing to spread the wonderful piece. :-)

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    1. I hope they don't up feeling upset, I don't expect everyone to agree with me.

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  34. I understand it all now. I feel it all now. The anger a woman gets when she is told 'SIRF GHAR HI TOH SAMBHALNA HAI'. The mixed feeling of hearing 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU. WHAT SPECIAL ARE YOU COOKING FOR US TODAY'. The sadness in hearing 'Mrs. Kukrejas Chole is better than what you cook'

    But she sinks it all in.. She becomes the sponge.

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    1. That's why your Mom hurts more when it's you who says it. She expects her daughter to understand.We women must rally around each other and be our safety cocoon.

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  35. True! Agree to every word, Purba! I have often wondered about these points!
    "Some of us play along for the sake of pretences, some of us protest too much, while a few seek retribution by making life hell for others...what we all share in common is that awful sense of guilt for not being a good-enough.."
    One has to be adept at tight-rope walking, being a woman! If we think of ourselves first & do what we like or sleep late, we are selfish/irresponsible! Not making or refusing to serve the endless cups of tea/coffee can cause a marital-earthquakes!!! :)
    If I ever get a trip to Heaven (don't know if I'm 'pious' enough for that privilege!), I'll ask God why this special treatment for women?! :)

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    1. Hey, no one is stopping us from saying no - I've had enough. I will not enter the kitchen on a Sunday. I deserve a day off as well. Most of us end up trying too hard.

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  36. "So, what stops us from making happiness our first priority? If we are not happy, how can we expect to make others happy? It’s a feeling so precious that it needs to be guarded at all cost. The same feeling that makes us greet every morning with cheer and not dread. It is that rare energy that makes us feel that every obstacle, every setback in our life is conquerable. It is that treasure that no one can snatch away from us. "
    --I feel now that some women have got these questions, they should start to implement.
    I have talked about this million times and I just hope women will start to question and protest more and more, atleast those who can distinguish between right and wring for her and instead of 'adjusting'.

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    1. Yes, we should stop trying too hard and be ourselves. Sometimes the Mother needs to feel like a child, cared for and pampered.

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  37. I categorize the women into two - one who lives in a village and does not even realize that she is doing everything that increases her credibility to be called a goddess, and the second who lives in a town and refuses to be a goddess in the exact sense you described above. The problem lies with those who don't fall in any of them and would always be confused about what actually a 'woman' stands for. It is high time we swap the social definition of man and woman and make men bear the pain of a child and please the in-laws. I am sure many woman will not like this idea - because I know they are not 'designed' so!

    On a different note, I quite like the rebellious tone in this post :)

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    1. I intended it to be a cheeky post and ended up sounding angry. That's the beauty of writing, you never know what you'll end up with.

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  38. I can see pain, angst in the post; though you meant it to be cheeky. And a voice that is yelling for the womanhood. I can see myself in few lines, not everywhere though. Now, I have learned to raise my voice (as if I have small one :P). Btw, I made sure I didn't see my in laws' face in pregnancy. However, she looked liked her after she was born...lol. Also, she won't go to heaven. She will go to an orthopedician in circles (the seven) in old age, for breaking her back all those years. I liked your math on coffee cups. Both of us don't drink coffee....so, see how many cups of coffee/tea I am saved from being made.

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    1. I see so many women around me, over-worked and under-appreciated and it fills me with rage.

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  39. Well Purba this is the way it is for most of our sisters.If they start demanding for concessions and considerations the atmosphere at home may degrade further robbing them of what little peace they enjoyed previously.It is up to the men to wake up.
    Loved this post as usual.

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    1. You are right, Indu. Most make compromises for the sake of peace of their mind.

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  40. Great post ! Completely agree on being happy before you can spread happiness. I have this thing against women who behave like martyrs all the time or spend a lifetime full of regrets for things they couldn't do. Half the time, its not the circumstances which stop them, but they themselves who failed to assert themselves and live the life they wanted to.

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    1. I believe, it stems from lack in self-belief. It helps if they get out of the house more often and carve a niche for themselves.

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  41. How true!

    Strange but its a fact that women have to make some or the other compromise.. It might be something trivial but still it is expected out of a woman always..

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    1. But a relationship is rock solid only when both bend backwards and make little adjustments, for each others sake.

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  42. It's our fault. We're the ones who want to be known as the perfect superwoman with ninja skills and ten arms!

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    1. It is. They put us on a pedestal and we fall for that trap.

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  43. Finally back to reading :-). A great post but I must say this is a systemic problem which breeds and trays women as unequals. And yes the women who are the subject in this post aren't reading it. They are busy making chintu's dinner. But slowly a welcome change is coming in the mindset of misogynists, strangely though it's other women who protest and are repulsed at the change.

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  44. "Why should I do all the household chores?" is a refrain that is rumored to have arisen within a few seconds of God using Adam's rib to create Eve. In fact, the only question that is known to pre-date this is "Do I look fat in this?"

    Jokes aside, I get your point, Purba. That men should help. And that we (especially women) should not judge (other) women harshly. A few observations -
    1. A lot of comments above seem to be about judging other women - that they don't stand up for themselves, make martyrs out of themselves, let themselves become extensions of their families, etc.
    2. Love is about being cared for. It has nothing to do with whether a woman works or if she's a housewife, if she is capable of producing and caring for offspring or not, etc.. Why a married couple cares for each other is something that possibly transcends the mundanities of life. One symptom of love is trust - which becomes the foundation on which asymmetries and inequities in relationships are built. There is no perfect balance in any relationship. At any point, someone is always having a better time than the other. Trust is what makes one believe that it will all be fine over the long haul or that even if it didn't even out over the long haul, it would still be perfectly acceptable. When you care, you don't really keep score. You become extraordinarily generous with the time you invest in others. The best examples of such caring and love are mothers! And it's also true that when trust goes out the window, the littlest of tasks become burdensome.
    3. It's easy and tempting to stereotype people, especially women. We like to put people (especially women) into neat little boxes with labels and bow ribbons. Women who wake up at 4AM to prepare breakfast are characterized as "mindless martyrs who seek to make themselves indispensable," which would be frankly insulting if I was one such woman. It takes just the same level of (immaturity and) judgmental disposition to paint working women as "lazy dodgers who go to work so they can avoid the painful reality of being a mother." Both are equally harsh and untrue. The fact remains that each of us is a complex entity. We bring our own unique points of view, history and experiences to the table and each of us has the right to make our own decisions and mistakes in our lives. I think that things get a lot more interesting when we put aside our hostility towards those who don't follow our path and ask, "what can I do to help?"
    4. Last but not the least, the Western world has created a gigantic myth called "the career." First men fell for it. That's understandable because, let's face it men are not the brightest bulbs in the shed. I am disappointed that large numbers of women are falling for this trick. I am not downplaying being a professional woman, having a career and doing amazing things on the job. But women (and men) have to realize that 99 percent of jobs do not involve doing anything particularly amazing and are merely means to make money so we can give our kids a better life or buy that 55inch LCD TV or whatever else floats our boats. Unless you are doing something amazing (like teaching young children or inventing new things or making life better for other people, etc), it's a stretch of imagination to describe your work as a "career" and as "important." Contrast that with a stay-at-home mom who's working on one of the most critical things a society can/must do, which is to raise the next generation.. I'm not arguing that women should stay at home vs build careers for themselves. I'm merely articulating the argument of the 'get-up-at-4AM-martyr-mom' since her voice seems to be absent in this discussion.

    These are personal choices. The best we can do is to help women (or men) be successful in whatever choices they make and not be judgemental about the choices themselves, which I believe is the point you've made very well.

    cheers.

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Psst... let me know what you are thinking.

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