Feminism

A Cute (?) Letter from a newly married Indian girl to her mother

 

Yesterday I received what I liked to call a little red riding hood message in a group on a chat application. I call it thus as it reminds me of the wolf in the ever famous tale of our childhood, the little red riding hood.

You know the wolf that pretended to be the sweet, frail old grandma but was actually a cunning thief? Yea, That’s the one.
Let me first share the message and then give my thoughts on it.

A Cute Letter from a newly married Indian girl to her mother

Dear mom,

Like every normal girl, I was excited about marriage right from my childhood days. I never thought beyond the time that I would spend happily with my prince charming. But today when I am married, I realize that marriage is not all roses. It’s not just about being with your beloved and having a gala time. There is so much more to it. It comes with its own share of responsibilities, duties, sacrifices and compromises. I can’t wake up anytime I want to. I am expected to be up and ready before everyone else in the family. I can’t laze around in my pyjamas throughout the day. I am expected to be presentable every time. I can’t just go out anytime I want to. I am expected to be sensitive to the needs of the family. I just can’t hit the bed anytime I want to. I am expected to be active and around the family. I can’t expect to be treated like a princess but am supposed to take care of everyone else in the family. And then I think to myself, ‘why did I get married at all?’ I was happier with you, mom. Sometimes I think of coming back to you and getting pampered again. I want to come home to my favourite food cooked by you every evening after a nice outing with friends. I want to sleep on your laps like I have no worry in this world. But then I suddenly realize, had you not got married and made such sacrifices in your life, I wouldn’t have had so many wonderful memories to hang on to. And suddenly, the purpose of all this becomes clear- to return the same comfort, peace and happiness to my new family that I got from you. And I am sure that as time would pass, I would start loving this life equally as you do. Thank you mom for all the sacrifices and compromises you made. They give me the strength to do the same. Love you.

It’s an excellent letter for all daughters.

 

My thoughts on EACH LINE:

Like every normal girl, I was excited about marriage right from my childhood days.

Either I ain’t normal or that is just WAY off the mark, coz I sure do not remember spending even a second of my childhood thinking about marriage.  Pirates, Fairies, Rainbows, Teddy Bears, Chocolates, witches….sure!! Marriage..naaah..

I never thought beyond the time that I would spend happily with my prince charming.

I read Cinderella, and I was more attracted to the fairy Godmother instead of Prince Charming. Plus, please note that Cinderella had asked for a night out, THAT is what she herself was thinking of…just going to the ball and enjoying herself. Prince Charming was just an added bonus.

What I am saying is, even Cinderella did not spend her life thinking of Prince Charming…Why would you? There is hell lot more interesting things to do in life, if Prince Charming does come in your life, let him come and accept you for who you are.

But today when I am married, I realize that marriage is not all roses.

Obviously, nothing is..this is life, not a fairy tale.

It’s not just about being with your beloved and having a gala time. There is so much more to it. It comes with its own share of responsibilities, duties, sacrifices and compromises.

How obvious! But this sacrifices, duties, compromises should be done by both parties involved and they should do it because they want to do it, not because they have to do it

I can’t wake up anytime I want to. I am expected to be up and ready before everyone else in the family. I can’t laze around in my pyjamas throughout the day. I am expected to be presentable every time. I can’t just go out anytime I want to. I am expected to be sensitive to the needs of the family. I just can’t hit the bed anytime I want to. I am expected to be active and around the family. I can’t expect to be treated like a princess but am supposed to take care of everyone else in the family.

Umm…I am sorry to say that ain’t an ideal marriage and you are just a maid with benefits that does not get paid. A healthy union of two people does not happen when one person is supposed to be a dumb servant to everyone while everyone lords over her.

How can an adult human not have the right to decide what she wants to wear or when she wants to sleep or get up? Even my dog decides for himself the time he wants to get up and go to sleep!!!!!

Yes, you need to be sensitive to the needs of the family, and your family needs to be sensitive to your needs. It goes both ways, and it’s NOT that hard!

Also request you to read: https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/tag/get-married-stay-married/

And then I think to myself, ‘why did I get married at all?’ I was happier with you, mom. Sometimes I think of coming back to you and getting pampered again. I want to come home to my favourite food cooked by you every evening after a nice outing with friends. I want to sleep on your laps like I have no worry in this world. But then I suddenly realize, had you not got married and made such sacrifices in your life, I wouldn’t have had so many wonderful memories to hang on to. And suddenly, the purpose of all this becomes clear- to return the same comfort, peace and happiness to my new family that I got from you. And I am sure that as time would pass, I would start loving this life equally as you do. Thank you mom for all the sacrifices and compromises you made. They give me the strength to do the same. Love you.

Seriously? I see the life of my married friends in traditional household, I see the change in their personalities, I see the laughing, sparkling, dancing eyes turn dull and forever looking on the ground, and I think, why? Why do we even get married?

I get that if I were a guy, I would want to get married. Why not? I would get someone who cooks, cleans, dusts, lays out my clothes, takes care of everyone including me…and also contributes to the household expenses if she is working!! It’s like the BEST THING EVER!!

But as a girl, why do I leave a place where I have absolute freedom to be myself, get all the love, get all the freedom, for a place I can’t even have basic human rights like sleeping if tired or which clothes to wear? or when to meet my friends or family? Seriously? Why?

Also, this is a classic patriarchal conditioning. Your mom felt the same humiliation you did, now you will face the same and ask every other female on planet to do the same, all in the name of tradition!!

Also, p.s. where is your dad here? He had no role to play in your upbringing? If I ever write a letter of thanks to my parents, I’d give equal amount of tribute to my dad as well. Just curious, How come only the mom needs thanks?

Marriage, my dear, is when two adults decide to share their lives, troubles and happiness together.  Where they add to each other’s personalities. Where they support and understand each other and allow each other to grow. NOW that is marriage.

 

It’s an excellent letter for all daughters.

Ummm…as a daughter, I disagree…It’s patriarchy in a beautiful gift wrap called tradition.

 

So, PLEASE can’t we just STOP glamorizing the sacrifices and everyone becomes an adult and takes responsibility for themselves and let the girls be themselves?? It would be a hell lot of less pain and unhappiness, thanks!

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6 thoughts on “A Cute (?) Letter from a newly married Indian girl to her mother”

  1. Loved your response. I have seen a lot of such inane messages on FB as well. And I have seen a lot of educated women get sentimental over such stupid letters. And the worst part is it’s another kind of abuse – where we build these images of the perfect mom, perfect daughter, perfect..and the likes..thus setting impossible standards of sacrifice and love. It’s sad!

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    1. So true! People applaud and expect perfection, and so anyone who does not fall into that ‘perfect’ role, they are unfit in the eyes of the society. So people choose to remain unhappy and try their best to find solace in thinking “Ah well, that’s how it is”, but I have yet to find a human being who is truly 100% perfect.

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  2. These are times I honestly wish I was born male so that I could be as thick skinned about being a blatant misogynist slave driver, with no fear of repercussion.

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