Tag Archives: Desi Women

Her Marital Home: His Inherited Property

22 Jul

Her Marital Home: His Inherited Property

07/22/2013

Whenever there is a mention of women’s rights and any proposal of legal protection for women especially desi women everyone becomes an expert and filth starts flying from all directions thanks to internet and its anonymity. It is a sad story just like the anti stalking bill in the parliament few months ago where democratically elected lampoons were jumping up and down to the extent that one even went ahead and said, “who amongst us hasn’t chased women? We are men that is what we do?” With such a sense of entitlement it is hard to expect any good coming by for women.

Last evening, IHM sent DG one line email asking what are DG’s views regarding the wife being given a share from the house a couple was living in, even if it is inherited or inheritable (like in Joint Families I suppose). She was referring to her latest post about the new bill in the parliament. We have done this in the past in-boxing co-bloggers to clarify concepts and issues. What DG wrote back IHM suggested she post here for everyone to read, hence this post. Along with that response DG has also included few comments she had made at IHM’s current post.

DG has spent most of her activist life working in the grassroots working with women and children  experiencing domestic abuse while she was still in des and then abroad. The organization she is affiliated with has actively contributed to drafting of this bill over the decades. In future posts DG will post few examples both from her personal and professional experience how the concept of marital home actually works in real life, here she’ll stick to technical stuff related to marital home and inherited property of the male spouse.

Colonial roots of current problems

Going back to 1858 when India came under the rule of crown and the white man’s burden set out on the project of taming the native male beast who brutalized native women, rather emasculating the native male for crown deemed it incapable of taking care of their own women. The native male elite in order to resist this emasculation gloated in the distant past that he called “golden age of ancient India.” It was like a blind man searching for a black cat in a dark room that never was there. Coming back to the topic, the natives did not have a singular rule of inheritance though they were patriarchal like the colonizer but they had too many customary laws governing the actual practice of property succession depending on the locale and community. For the purposes of uniform administration and tax collection colonizer selectively chose areas of reform, land restructuring and reform being the primary then selectively leaving the family laws for native elite to feel in control. New land revenue systems included landlord systems, individual cultivator-based systems, and village-based systems the latter two allowed individuals and families to maintain the de facto structure of property rights that previously existed; patriarchal and male coparcener neither benefiting nor disinheriting women all together.

The Indian Succession Act of 1925 did not include Hindus who were majority and were governed under the Mitakshara system of succession. The Hindu Women’s Rights to Property Act, 1937 for the first time made a Hindu widow a party (possession not ownership as coparcener) to deceased husband’s estate along with her son (coparcener) not daughter. It was only in 1956 with the advent of Hindu Succession Act 1956 that women’s right to property is spoken of. In their over zealousness the law makers actually harmed the interests of women by tweaking the Mitakshara succession system. By definition:

1. coparcenary (unity of ownership) is the essence of this system.

2. son was a coparcener by virtue of birth in the joint family property, as an adult he could demand partition of this property during the life time of his father.

3. son could prevent (both in action and word) his father from unauthorised alienation of ancestral property.

4. a coparcener has no right to alienate his undivided share in the joint family property. On his death without male offspring, his share goes to his brother.

5. The widow of deceased coparcener has a right to maintenance but she cannot enforce partition.

With Hindu Succession Act 1956, Section 6, a daughter was added as an coparcener but mother, wife and widow were left out. The father could dispose his share in undivided joint family property and could alienate another coparcener both son and daughter by making a will, this also applied to residence as question of agricultural property for women was never asked. In Mitakshara system if daughters had no coparcenary rights at least they still could reside under their father’s roof and a father could not throw away a son who refused to tow the line be it disagreeing to an arranged marriage or marrying outside the caste. When one law gives women access to something the other competes to disempower them at the same time. Not many fathers treated daughters as coparceners but many chose to will them out of natal family’s residential property. It is this statute men on electronic media are making much hue and cry about that women as daughters should ask for their share from fathers and not claim a share in husband’s inherited property. There is yet no law that makes wife a coparcener in her husband’s undivided joint family property. It is a long road ahead.

It is Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act 2005(HSAA) which deleted the gender discriminatory clause on agricultural land for just Hindu women not all Indian women. The Punjab Haryana examples given about women denouncing their right to father’s property in favor of their brothers actually never existed until HSAA 2005. Married daughters were just making a promissory note that they’ll not file a suit as a coparcener to the natal home, thus only an unmarried daughter had a right to remain in her father’s home but not own it.

English Marriage vs Desi Marriage

Now coming back to the primary question what happens to the roof over woman’s head if she lived her marital life in her husband’s undivided joint family. It is not surprising if the legal meaning of marriage differed in England and India in colonial times it continues even today. The British, once married  the couple is considered as a single legal independent unit that set up a household together and neither their parents nor their children had any control over the assets they acquired together. Whereas, in India the new bride “joined” man’s family in his natal home where people of two or more generations in vertical (by blood) and horizontal (by marriage) hierarchy lived together under one roof and only coparceners had the right to residential property during the life time of the primary coparcener (husband). Now from this understanding we can draw number of hypothetical scenarios that are generating so much paranoia in Indian men about their emasculation by Indian legal system and women.

Breaking up while under the joint roof

In case of marital discord women have been thrown out of joint families in the middle of night and when they ask for spousal or child support men wash their hands of the responsibility by saying the house belonged to the family and he like her was just living there thus has nothing to give her. If she insists the man seek his coparcenary rights and take his share of property and then give her what is rightfully her due be it a room or an amount that would be half of what his share amounted to. The “karta” the head of the family, father of the man can immediately alienate/disinherit the man from his coparcener rights thanks to HSA 1956  in order to prevent the daughter-in-law from begetting anything. It is more complex than it is visible to our eyes. It is basically about primary residence of the married couple during the entire duration of the marital union no matter where it is, in the extended family or ancestral house they live in and other family members may be living abroad.
The share will be calculated according to the duration of marriage and it will be subtracted from  what ever is man’s share with respect to other share holders in the joint family so that woman can have a roof over her head or be provided with money so that she can buy a place or pay the deposit for a rented home (deposit often runs in lakhs). A woman who was married for three years cannot have same percentage of share as the one who was married for twenty years. Use some common sense.

What about other women under the joint roof

Some people are worried about the other women living under the same roof who will be rendered roofless in compensating one woman. There are ways to work this out the one who is leaving the joint household need not be paid lump sum at one time she can be provided with easy monthly payments that will give her rent money and living expenses. It is not a rocket science.

Joint Family Business

There is a big section of middle class men that works in family owned businesses and no one knows who is earning what. It is here the court has to decide what the primary earner (usually man) earned during the life time of marriage so that wife can be compensated and child care can be assured.

At the name of woman walking out of a bad marriage man’s family immediately declare him absconding or lampoon who doesn’t contribute an iota to family business whom they have disinherited quite some time ago. Thus woman is rendered penniless and roofless in a minute.

For example: For example: If Sr. Ambani was still alive and one of the brothers were to seek divorce even though they lived in separate homes but still earned from the family business. The man’s share can be calculated from the day he got married divided by three (if only father and 2 sons were working together, but it is here the problem arises coz’ they have Sons-in-law working for them too) so it will be divided by joint business owners and then divided by 50% between man and the woman for the duration they were married.

Same way if the woman is married to a marginal farmer (someone with a very small holding but is also a peasant in other people’s fields to make ends meet), it will be what they made together, even if it is a hutment and little earning they brought from that one field.

The minute you talk about giving something to the woman the number of shareholders go up and her share is reduced to nothing or families go ahead and declare their son or brother is not contributing to the business or has cheated or is alcoholic or lampoon. Hamare kahane mein nahin hai…

A woman asked:

Ansestral property is handed down thru family and why would I split that??

And DG’s answer is:

for exactly the same reasons you’ll uproot a woman from her natal home and force her live in an almost stranger’s home with his natal family.
This is exactly the reason used for centuries why would you split ancestral property by giving a share to female child who is going to leave at marriage (paraya dhan).

The idea of community property/joint property, the property and assets acquired by the couple during the entire duration of the marital union is pretty alien to Indians given the free ride men have in patriarchy. In rural Rajasthan there is a saying, the children belong to man and his family for the woman did not bring them from her natal home, like wise she can leave with what he brought with her. If a woman stays home and does the status production work (making it possible for man to work outside home while she makes sure he has clean clothes for work and his guests are taken care of when they visit and so on…) along with care giving and upbringing of children according to the caste and class position etiquette. Even if she was working outside home for income why should there be any doubt about dividing the assets and the savings they acquired  together during the total duration of this playing house?

Another smart elk asked:

also if the mans a liability in terms of financial loans acquired before and after marriage, will the wife gets a 50% share of that too on divorce.why not ??

Yes, woman and her children suffer more than the idiot who gambles away family assets and his earnings. When you talk about equal division of joint marital property losses are included by default for the duration of marital union not for what debt one acquired before marriage, be it for building his parents a house or paying for his sister’s dowry or capital fee for his brother’s admission.
Same way a woman may bring her student loans into marriage she is responsible for them not him. It is student loans that become a bone of contention with man and his family coz’ they expect her parents to pay for it and she should just hand over her salary to them as is spend it in the marital home. As more women are marrying late and are also marrying for second time they are going to bring assets into marriage, some will bring student loans too. What man or woman brings into the marriage; assets and income they had acquired before they got married remains their sole property, they can choose to keep it as it is or dissolve it according to their volition the spouse or kin should have no covert or overt right to it.

There is another bunch of monkeys jumping up and down screaming women will marry only for man’s property and in one night/month of marriage they’ll file for no fault divorce and beget 50% of his property that his forefathers worked hard to beget. They forget it takes minute to wed in India and it takes years to dissolve that marriage. No person can file for divorce prior to 365 days from the day of solemnization of a wedding no matter what the reason is, one has to be married for a year before they can file for divorce. In the case of no fault the stipulated period is three years.

In a country where registration of marriage is still an alien concept and only 3% pay taxes because they don’t have many options of not paying to imagine a bitter spouse will let a woman rest her hands on anything extra is sheer paranoia than realistic fear.

If anyone wants to make any corrections in the HSA 1956, HSAA 2005 please feel free DG has tried to put it in very simple words, it’s almost 3am DG has to sleep.

Good Night.

GGTS is 3

16 Oct

10/16/2012

Today with 215,783 hits GGTS turns three. Thanks to all readers, supporters and comment writers to help keep this space safe and productive for healthy initiatives to venture into desi relationships.  When DG started writing three years ago her undying optimism nurtured a lofty ambition of revolutionizing desi relationships and reaching out millions. That happened or not is different story but she definitely believed if she dreamt little bigger like she aimed little higher  in her .303 range firing she’ll hit the target. Her target audience was middle class educated and gainfully employed desi women or desi s, she did reach some in multiple ways and desi men of course came on their own.

Year I

These three years have been a very productive journey with personal ups and downs. In the first year she learned to use gchat and started chatting with her readers beyond GGTS. Few of those interacting with her were curious about her identity and asked too many personal questions. Curiosity is understandable but inquisitiveness is unwelcome. Those who respected DG never asked any personal question of identification are still around. Four of those readers and co bloggers have kept in touch from time to time through gchat and gtalk given their personal trials and constraints on time. This is a shout out to @IHM, @Bikram, @Anju Ghandhi and @STIC. During this time DG wrote regularly and posted lots of analytical material that was self explanatory and was designed to be used as self help. She answered each comment in great detail and supported numerous women to the extent of making personal international calls. As a survivor working outside the system she felt strongly to hold every hand that reached out. There was also an attempt to highjack GGTS that was foiled and DG learned to post copy right inscription and how to monitor use of her moniker.

Year II

In the year two her posts became fewer given her personal engagements but she regularly followed up with her comment writers through personal emails. Self doubt is a root characteristic of abused people until they understand the basics of abuse they keep fighting every well researched reason you offer.  Once they get hold of basics of relationship between love and abuse; how it operates and it’s cyclic nature they sooner or later make a decision. Once they reach the decision they don’t need much help from DG they quickly move on. While on an international trips she kept regular check on comments and gmail. While on one such trip an abused woman reached out to DG she gave her hours of one on one attention through live chat and resources yet she came back few months later to seek answer to same questions. DG did observe distressed comment writers had a pattern they kept coming back with same questions and seeking DG’s attention. She felt disappointed and defeated because either those readers were not getting it or thought DG was idle waiting for them to ping her.

It is interesting during this period DG was like everybody else dealing with her personal stuff too. These women who desperately sought her vanished she hoped they moved on. As usual DG regularly followed up with them. Most had made a decision and had moved on but none found it worth to let DG know that her hours of one on one personal attention paid off or not.  It is then DG started struggling with the thought what do readers owe a blogger? Comment, acknowledgement or formal greetings! Guess, not a thing. These were people who could not afford therapy, life coaches or any kind of professional help given their circumstances were counting on someone who could be there for them.

It is then a woman wrote a comment and asked DG if she could send her a personal email. A globetrotting successful professional trapped in emotionally abusive marriage. DG spoke to her couple of times coordinating her schedule to the different time zone. Then DG finds an email reading, “Sorry DG….I have let you down….I can fight no more…..” What is DG suppose to make of it? Those were scary 24 hours, few of you have been part of that scare helping DG find out if the writer was safe. It was a fake id and fake name what could DG do, count her blessings and pray for the safety of the writer. If DG suspects the person she is in communication with is in danger in anyway be it from someone else or from self she’ll do everything in her power to make sure they are safe. But she can’t help you if you don’t want to help yourself. Next day this person apologized and few days later vanished and just reappeared a month ago. DG is glad she made her decision and is getting back her life but had no interest to inform DG about it. Did she have to? Nopes, not at all.

It is then DG started receiving occasional personal emails from young desi men who were interested to learn about improving their personal relationships and learn about healthy ways of conflict resolution. One even wrote a guest post about his reclamation journey. DG continued making international calls when and where a person in need appeared. DG misses Gbuzz it was a good place to initiate discussions on wide variety of topics with wide range of audience.

Year III

Year three has been pretty slow for DG’s writing efforts. It is not that she ran out of topics or she is burnt out. She is just not motivated to write because some people are assuming she is on a rescue mission. Rather at times it makes her angry that all this time and effort she has put into GGTS is of no use if some support seekers do not even have basic etiquette about how to seek help irrespective of the fact there is a post on that too.   To amuse herself she started a 30 day rant but that too fizzled out within a week. She has put out enough material in the form of posts, pages and comments for anyone to read and learn. But still there are people who have no regard for the work she has put forward who still expect to be spoon fed instead of digging the posts and comments carefully. Few friends of GGTS, suggested and helped in starting a nominal fee based service for those who can afford but very few people opted for that. Even when they could afford to pay this demonstrates how serious they are about the relationship issues they are dealing with.

If one is sick one seeks best treatment or tries to find the best remedy. If your relationship is sick you seek the cheapest solution and advice; browse blogs seek total strangers who judge you and shred you. This is how important desi relationships are. DG has worked hard to keep GGTS a rant free space. Few co bloggers have forwarded her emails from their readers who are in need of help. It feels good that peers think DG can help but the truth is she can only do as much. No one can help you if you don’t want to help yourself. It is hard to stay focused when you are abused, you are depressed and are on a constant guard to avoid next assault either emotional or physical or both but you have to do what you have to do to get from point A to point B. DG is there to walk with you from point A to point B but you have to take the first step she can’t do that for you. Be informed, browse around and read GGTS.

Rules of Engagement

DG is still making those international calls. There are readers who are in touch with her through personal emails and who genuinely check with her from time to time. As a reader you do not owe her a thing, just don’t fake interest in her well-being. Don’t expect her to share her personal struggles with you, here she is a service provider and is bound by professional ethics. She’ll let you know what you need to know. She has already shared a lot about her personal life. Just know when you ping her she responds but that does not mean she is sitting idle she makes time for you. She doesn’t give a hoot what you think about her but respect her time.

Post Logue

True, this post doesn’t sound like regular anniversary posts you read elsewhere. GGTS, is a different space and so is DG, very unapologetic. She is humbled by the love she has received here. She is grateful for the friends she has made. A best asset a woman can have is her head over her shoulders and strong women in her life than dysfunctional men. This is a shout out for you all gals who have stood with DG- Preeti, Julia, Alison, Narcolovelies . A best asset a man can have is to grow some spine and yank that uncut umbilical chord. DG has some relatively functional male supporters of her cause as peers and comrades. There are a good number of male subscribers of GGTS now even a male blog is following GGTS, God know how they plan to liberate men by reading A Desi Girl’s Guide to Relationship Survival. DG writes poetry on facebook you can join her there. Yes, even DG needs help from time to time some angles have been walking DG from point A to point B every day. They are angles so they cannot be identified.

Stay safe and stay happy, healthy and holy until we touch base again.

Approach With Caution: Desi Women Calling Shots

22 Feb

Bless her friends Desi Girl has just returned from a trip abroad. She was a tag along with K, who was attending a conference. Since most of us are single and childless we friends have decided to be there for each other and make sure we meet when ever possible or else take trips together. Who ever can take off from work and pay for travel will tag along where ever the other is going. This is where air miles come handy sweet K used them to fly DG. While she attended the conference DG toured the town and amused herself. On two occasions she attended sessions open to public, a meet and greet event and the formal dinner.

Desis, like potatoes are staple and are found in bulk every where on the planet. There were handful desi men grinning ear to ear in every corner. While K was hobnobbing with peers DG was calculating points of menu items with her WW calculator. DG doesn’t mind being abandoned every now and then but all of a sudden K rushed to her, she seemed bit angry. Sensing her expressions best thing was to smile and wait for her to spit it. She said, “9 O’ clock, oh my I can’t stand it. Why do they even have to try? Don’t look that side.” Okay, then how am I supposed to know what is going on? Let us go to ladies room and then we can talk. Sure.

K: I am sick of these desi middle aged dudes.

DG: Yes, we always were. What is new about that?

K: When will they learn?

DG: Old dogs seldom learn new tricks but what do you want to teach them?

K: Just being desi does not mean I’ll be interested in talking to you, or even interested in establishing any remote affinity in this life time.

DG: Sure, so what happened?

K: I hate it when these men approach me with that grin.

DG: What grin?

K: you know it, that smirk on the face, like trying to strike a conversation and hang around you for no reason.

DG: That is what people are supposed to do at these gatherings. Strike conversations and make professional contacts.

K: don’t pretend you know exactly what I mean. I have to get back in there and I don’t want to bite anyone’s head off.

DG: Okay, will our regaining our composure and cooling off some of the steam change anything out there? So what is the plan?

K: Divide and conquer, you tackle some and I’ll distract others.

DG: How about we stick together and I listen to your pleasantries even though I’ll comprehend nothing and my fore head will wrinkle permanently as I’ll sham interest and comprehension.

K: That sounds like a plan, how about if you had to break ennui or we parted we’ll come to each other’s rescue.

DG: Good, works for me.

We headed back to the floor. Within seconds, we could see a middle aged desi guy (MDG) approaching us. Our divide and conquer and distraction tactics fell flat as his speed of charging was pretty admirable.

MDG: Hello, you are from India

K: Hello, yes we are…

DG (in her mind): wao, what a discovery congratulations, K is wearing a sari duhh.

Few pleasantries exchanged, DG while feigning interest had her eyes on baby keish being served. She was wondering what grooming rules are for such gatherings. Women dress in their best sometime in the national or ethnic wear while men are dressed all alike. There are few wall flowers and few wasps and butterflies in all corners and then there is DG following the food. Sensing K’s discomfort DG strategically coughed as roaming charges applied none of us could make that one important call that rescues one from a bad date. DG has no clue what they were talking but she was pretty bored and her game of calculating BMIs of those in the room was no more entertaining but taxing her mental mathematic skills. Guess it was some thing emcee said that saved us…

Once back in the room K was really charged up and vocal. DG skyped IK for intervention, for a minute imagine shapely K standing 5’3’’ tall in this gorgeous handloom sari with clenched fists and almost yelling in the screen. Here after this is the rule:

If you are pot bellied,

If you are half or full bald,

If you are married, If you have stained teeth,

If your breath stinks, If you are an unhealthy eater,

If you are an MCP, If you are a smoker

Don’t even come anywhere near me…

IK: Ok that is reasonable, but they are not asking you to marry them. It is their choice to be the way they live their life you need not judge them.

DG: (in her head why did you forget sweaty stained shirt guys, those that eat loudly…)

K: Doesn’t matter, they just want to have the pleasure of talking to me and I don’t want to.

IK: This has happened almost all our lives. Is there a better way to deal with it? What can you do about it? Could you be just little kinder and remove your self from the situation?

K: I am sorry I just loose it when I see these losers rushing towards me.

IK: How do you know he was a loser? He was at an international conference just like you.

K: Anyone who fails to take care of themselves is a loser for me. If he was at the international conference I was there too. I have done everything to keep me healthy and agile and I don’t even have a wife to cook and clean for me. I don’t run to talk to any handsome guy I see on the floor. Oh, you are not desi so you have no clue what these middle aged desi guys have in their mind…

IK: I may not be desi but I am definitely middle aged.

K: Have you seen you’re self in the mirror lady? You look younger than us and you work hard to keep healthy and well groomed. I haven’t seen you charging like a bull towards any cute guy.

IK: That is true but this is just spoiling your aura, can you do some heart breath and look where all this coming from.

Ah, sweet IK is doing her therapy thing on a charged bull :) . To diffuse the tension, DG turned the conversation to IK. So what has happened with you lately? IK’s roommate has set up a facebook and twitter account for her and since then she is getting these Fraaandship requests non stop. That is a good thing when you are single. Guys are popping up from wood work. I was in your high school class, I met you at X, …. And then there is this one particular guy he is bit older just in 60 brackets. They were in some class together almost a decade ago. She was impressed with his work and hanged around with him and nothing in particular, she didn’t like him as such. He has been sending IK emails, “you know that I love you, we both could practice together and travel the world.” Then he wrote “I am on few spiritual dating sites, I don’t have much time you know so I want to know what you think about what I said…” Sweet IK is feeling the pressure since he sent her this email, where he wants her to complete a sentence she is literally freaked out, she is really irritated (DG is glad she has no personal FB or twitter accounts rather no one’ll be interested in knowing how many calories she ate). While we were at it T logged in. She has her own melt down, six years of singlehood and 100s of scumbags from matrimonial sites yet no future in sight… She said if she kept her expectations at this rate she’ll never find anyone. She wondered if it is ok to lower our expectations in the prospective partner or settle for something less than we deserve. Then it is said no one is perfect, only yesterday someone asked if one should prefer to live alone or compromise?

After mulling over all the facts and fiction DG concluded:

The fact is if you didn’t like someone when they were young then you are not going to like him now either (a plain Jane transforms into hottie in movies but in real life it is the package that matters not just looks but how person conducts themselves and treats others). If you liked someone then and now they are no longer single stay away you’ll mess it because fantasy is very lethal…  IK think it, why would you like to be with someone older that you’ll have to care for. Yes we are looking for companionship not caretaking… a peer will be a better choice.

Answer to sentence completing exercise: I am too dumb to fill in could you please enlighten me or I am not into such games or I am too old for such games…

It is a good idea to express what one is looking for but it is a bad practice to put pressure on the other person. Drawing timelines is a good practice but expecting the other person to abide by your timeline is not so good. Best way to handle such a situation is to politely tell the person they are great but you are not yet there, at this time your priorities and needs are different. They’ll be wondering what is wrong with them, they deserve an explanation but you need to be firm in what you want and need from a relationship and life. It is not a matter of few hours or days, it is a life time commitment we are talking about.

T, first time we settled because that is what our folk wisdom told us, no one is perfect and you have to get married or else you’ll end up alone. We did compromise and then too ended up alone. Just because of fear of dying alone you cannot marry anyone. Just because your biological clock is ticking you can’t make babies with anyone. You have to respect them enough to keep them around children for all their lives.

Guys, no offense just take a look at where you are in life and in shape. Women have sixth sense to know why you are even striking a conversation with them. Ok it may not be the sixth sense but your body language definitely gives it away. These 30-40 something women are not looking for meal tickets, they are not afraid of dying alone, they have brains and they make healthy choices now on just step up…

What should I say about my friends, they are treasures of my life.

When ever they give me they give me a new headache, how stead fast are they… Continue reading

Desi Ex Files

5 Feb

The shrilling phone woke DG, it wasn’t early but any hour before noon on Saturday is technically early. It was T* hauling her heart out,

T: Are you up?

DG: Yeah sort of, tell me what’s up?

T: Baw, baw, baw….world is an unfair place, there is no God, there is no justice.”

DG: Um (yawning), oh my, what happened? Are you ok? Tell me what happened?

T: You know he is getting married to her today.

DG: Oh, how do you know?

T: I saw they have posted for registry, I saw it on their wall and you know what, I told it to my dad and he had the audacity to ask, “we could not understand what went wrong between you two?” what part he couldn’t understand that he was cheating on me with his ex-girl friend and he married her.

DG: Yeah, that is really insensitive. After all your dad is a man and he is from a generation that thinks woman is responsible for all marital debacles. But why did you go to their wall?

T: All our friends are common so I can see other people’s comments. It is injustice; he ruined my life and now is enjoying himself with her. I wish they should never be happy. What did I do to deserve this? Did I ask anything outrageous, just a marriage, a home and a family life, is it too much to ask?

DG: I can understand your feelings, but it is beyond you and me to ensure their unhappily ever after… This will hurt until you get what you want and move on… Yes, it’s been years since you enlisted on shaadi.com and encountered numerous scum bags. Each time you face an MCP you are back to square one… Give it a break and may be that will make a difference for now…

T: You know that medico I told you about, she filed for divorce because he could not get it up. She has been cursing every one now even she is married and pregnant. When such a negative and jealous person can get remarried within two years why not me? What is wrong with me? I feel like cursing him and his folks…

DG: Love, I do not know what to tell you. If you want to curse him then do it and get over it there after we are not going back there ever again.

Little more crying and sobbing and life went back to normal until another hurt. When ever we so called desi divorcees struggle with life and face social discrimination, it brings back all the bad memories and all the hurts back to life. Life for many of us just stopped (in desi sense) the day we were kicked out of married people’s club. We are not invited to desi gatherings; if we ever get an invite then dirty looks welcome us and keep an eye on us all evening. When some married woman is kind to us her well-wishers especially other women run to pre-warn her of our evil gaze and designs. God forbid if one of their men exchange customary greetings with us they make 100 meter sprint record to stand in between.

At times we pity these so called happily married women who think we’ll be designing to entice their pot bellied, half bald husbands. We may be looking for companionship but definitely not a married man who is straying on his marriage. Those of us with children (especially young or teen kids) see their exes introducing new girl friends to their children as flavor of the month prefer to stay single so that children have at least on stable household.

Dear ladies, if you are so insecure in our presence, then something is definitely wrong in your relationship kindly work on it than painting us black. Some of us still have it in us and getting a guy is not a problem. Yes, we know there are numerous desi scum bags who want to oblige but the ball is in our court. We can get what we want and we’ll not settle for anything less and why should we? One time compromise is enough we do not believe in second and third…

Such are the times when one wants to blame someone or curse the one who put us through this; who could be better than a spineless squid we now call ex.  All these feelings are normal but our desi upbringing often makes us feel guilty and then divine wrath scares us, wishing bad on someone begets bad karma.

Ah karma, isn’t it good we are done with it in this life time?

*Amu wants to be called T now on.

Desi Women’s Friendships: Explore the Dynamics

2 Aug

Desi Women’s Friendships: Explore the Dynamics

Be courteous to all, but intimate with few,

and let those few be well tried

before you give them your confidence.

True friendship is a plant of slow growth

and must undergo and withstand

the shocks of adversity

 before it is entitled to the appellation.

- George Washington.

 Although friendship is a gender neutral term but research shows gender is a major organizer of friendships. There are documented differences in friendship among men and friendship among women. Women report their friendship in terms of emotional attachment and proximity; they share feelings, thoughts, experiences and support. There is an element of self disclosure and intimacy. Women’s friendships are inclusive and cover a broad spectrum of social life. Like one could have a friend or two with she shares emotional stuff, family problems, professional dilemmas and even goes shopping or watching movies. Where as men’s friendships are more segmented and an activity focused. Such as men have different friends to enjoy different activities, few to play cricket with and few to discuss important stuff with but rarely intimacy. Fierce competition, masculine stereotype of non emotionality and fear of homosexuality prevent them from developing close friendships. There friendships are sort of exchange of favors but not keeping account as such.

There is historical romanticization of the male friendship be it Akbar-Birbal, Vikram Betal, David and Jonathan, Duryodhana and Karna, Krishna Sudama (readers may add their findings here). Then there is bollywood singing paeans of male friendship in super duper hits like Dosti, Yarana, Dil Chahta Hai or Three Idiots. These movies celebrated male friendship, purpose, courage, sacrifice and fun time together. No such examples are found in history about women’s friendships and when Desi Girl explored bollywood track record all she could find was Raste Pyar Ke, Dil Ashna Hai and Filhaal (readers may suggest their findings, Sex and the City is not desi, DG hasn’t watched Bach Ke Rehna Re Baba, may be she can’t survive it). Yes, few attempts are made by TV channels to copy western sitcoms but they are equally pathetic. These movies focused on how a women upheald patriarchal expectation of their gender roles and fun was only a subset of the whole friendship equation. First movie, is a love triangle so one heroine has to sacrifice, second one, is friendship between three friends who guard an out of wedlock pregnancy of one and third though is a bit different route to glorify motherhood in the form one woman surrogating for the other. In all three movies women at least one woman if not all women was unmarried. What happens to women’s friendship once they get married?

Women are considered identity markers of communities and families. Who women befriend depends on the liberties of their families be it natal or conjugal. It serves patriarchy in general and families in particular to keep women segregated and prevent any unity between them. In natal homes women share more domestic chores than their male siblings hence have less time to socialize after school. Thus their friendships are limited to school premises or to the tuition classes if they take any. Women’s friendship also depends on the social strata they belong to- class, caste, region, and religion. Where as men even if they stay at natal home still display social variety in their interactions. Another important factor in women’s friendship is who their parents consider to be worthy of her friendship (read their social status). They may disapprove of a tomboy or loud mouth friend, someone from poor family or lower caste or even daughter of a divorcee or bigamous family etc. Fear of loss of family reputation is used to herd women within the four walls where as men go around freely.

Once a woman marries she moves to live with her spouse and his family in another city or village. Earlier her contact with her childhood friends was limited to letters or when she visited her parents. If she was lucky and her friends too were visiting they could meet or else just leave messages with families. In the conjugal homes, women are considered outsiders and have to be trained and inducted into the family traditions. Not only the change of location but also control of conjugal kin on their mobility prevents them from establishing any friendships in the neighborhood. It is important for conjugal kin to keep the new bride isolated or else she’ll discover the skeletons hidden in their closets and the façade they have put up. Secondly, she’ll develop a support system that could help her if she needed to stand up against the atrocities of her in-laws. It is over time she develops any friendships with other women outside the conjugal home. Those friendships are again marred by constrains of family honor (ghar ki baat) thus are not very intimate, she may borrow groceries or few bucks here and there. A married woman’s ability to help her friend depends on the goodwill of her spouse and conjugal kin. Families discourage such helping because they fear their own women will seek help and revolt against the in-laws.

Within the conjugal family women are competitors and are struggling to gain authority over one another thus they rarely develop any strong bonds. There does develop a sorority between co-sisters if competition for authority and survival is eliminated.

With more women working outside the homes and speedy communication technology they are able to establish and sustain friendships. But still women’s friendship styles are more intimate, emotional and inclusive, all in a friend or friends as compared to those of men. Within these parameters women try to include fun. Every time life gets busy the first thing women let go of is their friendship with other women.

Although friendships for both men and women act as stress busters and reduces depression. A landmark UCLA Study on Friendship among Women suggests women’s friendship fills the emotional gaps in their marriages. Social ties reduce the risk of disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol. Another study concluded not having close friends or confidants was as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight. In the same study researchers studied how women coped after death of their spouse, those women who had a close friend and confidante were more likely to survive the experience without any new physical impairments or permanent loss of vitality.  

Distance and time constraints do take toll on friendships. As our priorities change so do our interests. The friends who were once intimate may find each other incompatible to their changed needs. It is still okay to be friends and keep in contact even if our priorities change and needs remain unmet. It is also okay to make new friends now you know why.

If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life,

 he will soon find himself left alone.

A man, Sir, should keep his friendship in constant repair.

                                                                                            -Samuel Johnson

Remember to

Choose your friends wisely-they will make or break you.

                                                                                         -J. Willard Marriott

  

Walk with a Friend

Walk with a Friend

Friends are Just Friends

Friends are Just Friends

After School Fun with Friends

After School Fun with Friends

Friends Sharing Heart to Heart

Friends Sharing Heart to Heart

Women Need Strong Women Not Dysfunctional Men

Women Need Strong Women Not Dysfunctional Men

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seasoned Friends

Seasoned Friends

                                                                                                                                                                                             -Desi Girl

PS: All quotes are by men, sorry will replacewith women’s quotes soon.

Submitted for BlogAdda and Pringoo Friends Forever Contest

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संजीव तिवारी . . Sanjeeva Tiwari .. Chhattisgarh

हमको मालूम है जन्नत की हकीक़त लेकिन, दिल को खुश रखने को ग़ालिब ये ख़याल अच्छा है

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नारी , NAARI

Own your relationships. Don't let them own you.

Own your relationships. Don't let them own you.

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