This hard-hitting post will make you wonder how our educated men are failing their wives for the sake of being perceived as a good and sanskaari son by their parents and society.
“Hi Neha, I won’t be able to come for the night stay!”, my friend, Shikha, tells me as we were gearing for a small college friends’ night stay at my place.
“Why Shikha? It will be so much fun! Everyone is already here. Sneha and Kamini are already in the kitchen to make yummy snacks for our late night chat. After almost 7 years, all four friends will be together. Please come.”
Sneha, Shikha, Kamini, and I were very thick friends. But as we got married and became mothers, things changed for us. We got out of touch even though we lived in the same city. And, after 7 years, we thought why don’t we have a night stay, when we catch up on our lives and share things that have happened in the last 7 years.
Initially, everyone agreed but then Shikha called us that night to cancel her plan. We were sad but when she shared the reason, we were even more disappointed.
Initially, Shikha refused to share the reason. But, after we persistently asked her to come, Shikha hesitated initially but then opened up. She said:
“Atul has to go out and meet his colleagues. Apparently, he made his plan before ours but forgot to tell me. His parents are not letting me come with the driver. They are saying daughters-in-law are not expected to go anywhere without their husbands.”
While I was getting ready, they came to know about our plan. Atul, who initially had no reservation of me going with the driver, is now saying to cancel the plan. I told him that I can drive on my own, but my in-laws are refusing that too. They are saying I just can’t go out and stay for a night without Atul. I am feeling so frustrated.”
“But, Shikha. It is just us. We can come and pick you up. After looking at our faces, your in-laws would be comforted.”
“No Neha. They won’t. I have already told them its just four of us, they are still giving me lecture on sanskaar and parampara. Chal, I will talk to you tomorrow as I am very upset. You guys have fun and share pics.”
Shikha, finally hangs up.
But, it took me to surprise that even Atul, who has completed his education from the best institutes in India and then stayed abroad for a couple of years, still didn’t gather the courage to tell his parents to let his wife live life on her own terms.
But, Atul isn’t the only man, who stands quietly when his family dumps regressive thought process on his wife. The next day when Shikha called me, she told me how Atul has changed after coming back to India.
While he had no reservations about Shikha’s independence or clothes or lifestyle abroad, now he expects her to do what pleases his parents and society. He asks her to adjust and to compromise to his family’s toxic patterns too. Because he wants to maintain ‘Ghar ki shaanti.’
And, Shikha in name of love is ready to do it because she doesn’t want to put any additional stress on her marriage and on Atul.
But, it left me disturbed. It left me to wonder why these educated men, who give big talks on equality when they meet you at a party or college reunion or in the office couldn’t muster the courage to stand for their wives against their society and family. So, here’s what I want to tell those educated men:
Dear Educated Men,
Are you forcing the toxic patterns of your family on your wife? Are you asking her to suffer the regressive norms so that you could be perceived as a good sanskaari son in the eyes of your family? Don’t you feel to take a stand for your wife and let her live life happily as you promised her once! What’s the point of such education, when you don’t use it to bring a much-needed change in your own home!
What’s the point of talking about women empowerment and equality when your own wife is struggling!
It’s high time you stop bowing down to regressive society and start being the man that we, the woman of the 21st century, need.