Why is it that Indian men never grow out of being a “Son”, and become a “Husband”. This is a real-life story by one of our community members, who is asking herself the same question every day.
Exhausted by lockdown, sipping coffee in my balcony chatting with my hubby, I said:
“Let’s make this small balcony a garden feel”
My husband’s short and brief reply,
This made me think that even at the age of 36, delivering two beautiful children and gifting a precious family to my husband, I (or we) still can’t even take a small decision on our own like – decorating a small corner of the house.
What makes me sadder is the fact that I am not the only one who is struggling. There are many Indian wives, who are trying hard to find their right place in an unequal institution of marriage.
The houses are governed by the likes and dislikes of in-laws.
Living with your in-laws, one little liking of yours could be seen as a sign of disrespect. If you dare to choose a different brand of tea than they are used to, be ready to hear:
Humein toh ussi chai ka taste aata hai. Yeh naya wala aage se mat laana!
How many young married girls are able to take the smallest of household decisions. How many of them are able to run their new house as they want?
In a traditional Indian set up, it is a given that the household work is the daughters-in-law’s responsibility! But, don’t get carried away! You are expected to do the housework but not allowed to use your brains.
It is expected to be done in a certain way – as desired by the chief-of-household, our mother-in-law. With minimal autonomy or decision making, I wonder how we are any different from a house help?
It’s not just the In-laws who expect you to “adjust” in their way of living. What makes it worse if that even your own husband expects the same.
Me: Husband, Would you like to eat Poha for breakfast? Husband: Ask mom how she makes it!
Me: I need to get my toiletries from the market! Husband: Ask mom for cash!
Me: Hubby, Sunday outing just u & me? Husband: Let’s ask mom to join!
Me: Need a new house help to cope up with my office and house. Husband: Tell mom about it!
The list is endless!
Brought up in a different setup with different values, many of us accept the changes in our lives from day one of our marriage. But, the husband takes years to understand how we feel undergoing this big change. It takes him years to make you feel like a family member and not an outsider. The years that are the most valuable years of the marriage.
Like many Indian wives, even after years of our marriage, I am still waiting for “boy” to be the “husband” I want. But, I am not giving up. I am hoping that with time things will improve. And maybe when we are fifty we will have our own traditions and decisions in the house. I will be with a man, who finally becomes a husband I always wanted.
Finally, I will hear those words that I yearn for – “Do as you like!”
A humble request to our readers:
IFORHER’s Open letters series capture articles contributed by our community members’ with the objective to share their deepest feelings with the community. If you can relate to them, please don’t forget to drop a message for the writer. And if you don’t please don’t judge them. We all go through different struggles in life. Just because we don’t have that struggle doesn’t mean their struggle isn’t real.