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‘I was always scared of getting married to an Indian boy’ – Feminism & Marriages

I was always scared of getting married, especially to an Indian boy.

Not because I am a liberal and by definition of some, unpatriotic. (might be good to declare my unflinching love for my country, right off the bat!)

It’s because I never could even begin to practically understand or emotionally accept/ make peace with the idea of marriage as it exists in India, even today. And the overwhelmingly omnipotent patriarchy.

The obvious stuff. The whispered reverence and the ultimate wish to impress and not piss off the “ladka walas”. The ‘leaving of one’s home, to supposedly go to the house of another and become a part of their family’. The name change. The automatically assumed responsibility for house-keeping, cooking, and child care.

The not so obvious stuff. Like the fact that even if you hyphenate your name, the child will still get the father’s family name. Like the fact that an older brother or the father will automatically be offered the car front seat, by default, but not the mother or the older sister.

And all of these I have closely seen and observed in my well-educated, urban, ‘modern’ circle.

But then, surprisingly, very very surprisingly, I got lucky!! The getting-hit-by-lightening-winning-a-billion-dollar-lottery kind of lucky!

I found an Indian boy who wore me down by convincing me that we will simply choose our own story.

My father refused to perform ‘Kanyadaan’

I already had a father who taught me how to question. His refusal to perform the ‘kanyadaan’ strengthened me. A mother who has been a kick-ass equal partner to my father. A family (both mine and his) who found a way to accept all my ‘different’ ideas, even when they thought I was completely nuts.

And as my husband helped me overcome my mortal fear of water to become a scuba diving water-holic, I began to be okay with the idea and finally the reality of marriage. But the ‘unconventional’ kind.

My husband outshines me in the home-management department

I drove off from my own wedding with my husband in the passenger seat. I happily take second place as he far outshines me in the home-management department. I have my passion for cooking and baking but I don’t have any obligation.

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We moved to a whole new city for my job while he decided to take a break for sometime, proudly being a ‘house-husband’ and setting up our new home. This led to many awkward silences and funny conversations within our ‘learned’ circles. 

The truth is, he doesn’t have any obligation at all to be the primary provider etc. I say this because it’s very easy for us to forget that equality and the unconventionality of marriage work both ways.  As does true feminism.

However, that’s not what most of us get. Most of us get the ‘vidaai’ (we’re not dying for god’s sake). Most of us, well-educated, well-earning women, still play second fiddle to the husband. We are forced to, for our own sake and the sake of world peace, to settle for the conventions of the marriage.

And some of us choose it. We proudly change our name or hyphenate. We are proud for us and our children to belong to the other family. We are happy to stay home to take care of the family (if only the husband was allowed to consider this option). What I view as a giving up of one’s identity, another woman might view as ‘the right thing to do’. For herself and her loved ones. (and world peace)

What about her? Do I have the right to judge her? Is my way of thinking, the absolute right way? Not necessarily.

I want to point out that I mean no disrespect to anyone’s life choices.I do have a right to my opinion though.

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Marriages need feminism

I believe that there cannot be true equality for women if the institution of marriage doesn’t adapt to the reality of the well-educated woman who is equal to her husband, whose husband belongs to her family as much as she does to his. A husband who respects her. A marriage where the husband belongs to her family as much as she does to his. Where there’s mutual respect. A marriage where both partners have the space to choose their roles.

We need a society where a husband is respected and not laughed at, for his choice to be at home, to cook and/or to care for the children.

And until that happens, is it really so unbelievable that a boy charges dowry as per his degree and marketability, or that female foeticide is still rampant exists or that there is a strong (said and unsaid) cultural preference for boys. In 2019.

Yes, the mindset is so hardwired in our DNA that it will not change easily. But just because things have always been a certain way, does not make them, in any way justifiable or correct.

For now, let’s just start by asking the questions at least, shall we?

Interesting Reads:

  1. Childfree by Choice – Indian women are choosing to not have kids
  2. अगर काटने ही हैं तो अपनी सोच के उलझे तार काटिए, मंत्री जी: औरत नहीं है पुरुष की संपत्ति

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Asmita Satyarthi

Asmita is a contributer to Chaaipani. If you have a passion for telling stories, you can also get published. To start writing, log in to your account, and we'll pay you to write happy, inspiring stories.

About the Author

Asmita Satyarthi

Asmita is a contributer to Chaaipani. If you have a passion for telling stories, you can also get published. To start writing, log in to your account, and we'll pay you to write happy, inspiring stories.

Read more from Asmita