Privilege: A Burden of Guilt

2 Jun

Privilege: A Burden of Guilt


She was searching online for a quote on hunger by Sheikh Farid when her stomach growled and head spun ah! DG forgot to eat lunch. While reheating lunch her sight strayed to the makeshift pantry teeming with all kinds of lentils, beans, spices, grains etc. Late March, city mayor announced suspension of public transit in 72 hours to limit movement of people to combat spread of Coronavirus. Next afternoon, with her shopping bags and dolly riding two buses she went grocery shopping (due to binocular vision issues she doesn’t drive).

She rushed through almost empty aisles scrounging whatever she could, including frozen vegetables and fruits. At the cash-register she swept credit card to pay this unplanned expense. On dolly she stacked neatly packed three grocery bags; called a cab and rode home. Off the cab she took stock of her belongings then her two knee braces adjusted her back brace to get ready for four trips up two flights of stairs to her abode. Once everything was inside she stored everything in a makeshift pantry. Then she took a breather, counted her blessing and marveled her body and strength wow, so many privileges.

This particular shopping trip left DG emotionally drained. At the till she thought of people who are on budget and didn’t have a credit card for an emergency. In the cab she wondered about those who had to lug their purchases in the buses; many who could buy and bring stuff home but couldn’t lift it or climb the stairs with it and those living in rooming houses or shared rooms with no room to store it. What about the homeless? Living in a developed country doesn’t mean it has conquered the demons of inequality and inequity. They remain obscure within our range of vision and stare us in the eye only in dire times unmasking in the forms of disability, aging, poverty, working poor, homelessness, racism, abuse and oppression and so on; reminding us food, shelter and health are not human rights but privilege of few.

By evening this burden of privilege morphed into guilt when she saw a news report from India where a new mother with a week old baby was crying for she hadn’t eaten enough to nurse her new born yet another man competed with dogs to lap spilled milk. With empty stomachs what chance do they stand to combat any infection? If gluttony is a sin then hunger is the worst curse. Baba Farid said, ਫਰੀਦਾ ਮੌਤੋਂ ਭੁੱਖ ਬੁਰੀ, ਰਾਤੀਂ ਸੁੱਤਾ ਖਾਇਕੇ ਸੁਬ੍ਹਾ ਨੂੰ ਫੇਰ ਖੜੀ. O Farid, hunger is worse than death you eat and sleep through night in the morning it again awaits you.

It is 2020 and we are still grappling with food security issues. Committing her tithe to a soup kitchen does not absolve DG of her guilt of privilege for her voice against global hunger is still feeble she needs to scream louder and with those who believe food is a right not a privilege. The governments should be responsible and held accountable to provide basic rights to all citizens. Those of us not hungry need to speak up for the hungry and the poor.

To test your privilege just replace the word race, color, caste/class, gender and religion with the majority community in your community/nation.

Caste Privilege


This post was penned on April 13, 2020 but DG did not have the courage to post it because the guilt was so overpowering.

True Love

21 Feb

So long…

True Love


English transcript is below this post


Just when you are ready to throw in the towel thinking “love” is a fallacy and trope of literary minds, a story like this comes by once again making a believer out of a skeptic. Not once Mukhtar Ahamed complained, lamented or despaired over lack of money or anything else. The contentment and love poured from every inch of his being. Does love triumph all odds? If yes, then how come so many of us are bereft of love in our daily lives including those who are married? It is true love morphs into many shapes and forms over time in one relationship.  How and when some of us fell out of love and drifted apart is not an implausible mystery. Did we failed the love or the love failed us?

Until morning she thought respect and loyalty translated into love, but recalling last evening’s heated discussion with besty 2 she came to conclusion only one thing that translates into lasting love is RESPECT. Loyalty and kindness can keep two people trapped in a dysfunctional marriage. One partner is loyal because they are self righteous and the other is loyal as he/she doesn’t have the courage to take a stand thus egos triumph not love. A half a century long loveless marriage is essentially based on loyalty to the institution of marriage not the partner. Respect for the agency of your partner and your relationship will morph into love. Let’s celebrate Mukhtar Ahmed and Shaheen Akhtar’s love and leave the discourse on loyalty and respect for another day/post.



Transcript (verbatim)

Why one man in Pakistan claims his wife is one in millions?

Both are singing: God united us now we’ll never part…

Mukhtar Ahmed was married to Shaheen Akhtar 35 years ago.

Mukhtar: Few or many, the trials are part of life but that doesn’t mean for little bit of hardship you left your wife. To keep her at home is like asking the sun to rise in the other direction. She cannot stay at home without me.

Voiceover: They have no children because Shaheen had nine miscarriages. Shaheen started losing her mental balance, Mukhtar supported her.

Mukhtar: Due to children she took too much tension/stress. The last miscarriage was a full term of nine months and four days. Earlier miscarriages were those of six months or so but this was full term of nine months. That left her shell shocked.

Voiceover: Mukhtar had to leave his job and home to provide for her treatment.

Mukhtar: She would obey me and I would abide by her then we fell in love. We got married and left for Karachi four days later. At my workshop I earned enough but when she fell sick I had to leave the work. All day I had to attend her, feed her give her medicine, oil and comb her hair, put kohl in her eyes. Do laundry, cook, from a man I became a woman, one who serves.

Mukhtar: We live in this cattle barn; there is only one room here. A year or two ago the roof fell so for now we sleep outside. There are two cots on one we sleep and on the other our belongings are stored. If it rains we take cover under a tarp. We bathe with our clothes on as we have no privacy and place to undress. By God’s grace time has passed well, now the winters are almost done with.

Voiceover: For many years Mukhtar had a food cart as means of earning. Shaheen was with him then and even now.

Mukhtar: Her health may fail randomly. So to stay together is our need and our lively hood is also continuing. We leave around 11-12 after breakfast. We buy a plate of meal from a hotel and share it. If our expense is 300 we make 400 and come back home.

Seeing her with me at times people wonder why I bring her with me. Less educated people refuse to sit with her thinking she is sick whereas, those who are educated are kind and understanding.

Voiceover:  He recently bought a rickshaw.

Mukhtar: My parents, friends and family all said, remarry but Allah has given me a wife who is one in millions. Whenever she had miscarriage the doctors would give her injection. They would summon me, please come your daughter is now awake. She looked 20 years younger than her age.

My effort is to make life little comfortable if I can get the roof fixed it will make it bit easier for her. If she is not happy I cannot be happy. She is my life partner.

Voiceover: Neither Mukhtar’s courage nor his hope has diminished.

Desi Gifts: All in the Family

6 Jan

Desi Gifts: All in the Family


DG called some relatives to wish them happy anniversary.  Family elder answered the phone after exchanging pleasantries she asked for the couple. The senior who happened to be the parent and the father-in-law of the couple suggested it wasn’t a good time. He explained the couple had just entered the home after five hour Boxing Day shopping spree. In the background DG could hear aggrieved female voice. On probing old man said she is upset because her husband did not give her an anniversary card. The perplexed old man continued, “He just bought her a $700.00 refrigerator; is that not a gift?”

Though DG is a relative on the man’s side but she sides with the aggrieved wife. How can a refrigerator that whole family will use equate to a personal gift to your wife. A refrigerator, water heater or any household gadget is something a family needs it’s definitely not a personal gift. A personal gift need not be an exorbitant “want” it can be a much needed item for personal use that the receiver is coveting or giver feels will be useful to them. A gift doesn’t have to be tangible it can be an experience, a romantic dinner at home, movie or quality fun time together. A gift is about making the other person feel special and appreciated.

Back in the day as a kid if DG asked for a birthday gift parents would feel exasperated and throw it back, “hey, we provide you with everything, best of the best does that still leave a need for any gifts?” or, “hey, we just bought that new oven, TV or whatever shame on you asking for more gifts.”  She couldn’t argue so went around pouting or stomping with age she started appreciating the parental sacrifices and care. One would wonder why a spouse especially a wife can’t be propitiated by similar reasoning.

The question is ludicrous because spouses comprise family yet they are a couple unlike other family members. The spousal dyad shares intimacy, responsibilities and history like none other in the family. To honor their commitment to each other and appreciate the milestones together they reached deserves a private celebration if not a public display.

Though DG sided with the wife but she is still wondering why this wife felt she deserves to be acknowledged not her spouse? If she knew it was their wedding anniversary why didn’t she wish her spouse and give him a card. Both are working and raising a young family, yes; it is true she shoulders more domestic burdens. If she was testing her spouse and keeping a score of his sins of omissions then she too was guilty of sin of commission. May be it is a fun game keeping score of sins of omission and commission.  Who wins and who loses. May be there are no winners just losers.

What is an ideal gift/present?

You are the ideal gift/present when you are present, when you give your undivided attention and time to someone and make them feel special and appreciated.

What is the best gift you ever received please share in the comments.

Ideal movie to watch on the topic of intimacy will be Hope Springs


Sins of omission: Willful omissions, not disclosing all the facts or refusal to do the right thing.

Sins of commission: Willful act of moral digression, Adam and Eve eating the apple.

Suicide Warning Signs: To live or to Die

8 Sep

On World Suicide Prevention Day


Learn, Observe and Stepup You could Save a Life

Suicide Warning Signs: To live or to Die


We all encounter feelings of loneliness, helplessness and hopelessness that make us depressed. At some or the other point of life we all face life changing events like loss of a loved one, breakup of a relationship, financial setbacks, loss of dignity, property or personal failures that lead to feelings of worthlessness. These negative life experiences are common but they are unique to each person; depending on their emotional state of mind and endurance threshold they respond differently. Some people are overwhelmed by their situation and they may feel like ending their life. To them ending their life seems to be the only solution to end their difficult situation.

Why would someone want to die?

People going through negative life experiences respond to their situations in different ways. Some may feel all their efforts are futile and are not making a desired impact they may look at death as the only solution to end their misery. Here are some reasons people chose to end their life.

  • The death of a loved one.
  • A divorce, separation, or breakup of a relationship.
  • Losing custody of children, or feeling that a child custody decision is not fair.
  • A serious loss, such as a loss of a job, house, or money.
  • A serious illness- mental as well as physical.
  • A terminal illness.
  • A serious accident- leading to permanent disability.
  • Chronic physical pain.
  • Intense emotional pain.
  • Loss of hope- depression, teenage depression, postpartum depression.
  • Being victimized (domestic violence, rape, assault, etc).
  • A loved one being victimized and feeling responsible for them or feeling unable to help them (child murder, child molestation, kidnapping, murder, rape, assault, etc.).
  • Abuse- Physical, Verbal, Sexual abuse.
  • Unresolved abuse (of any kind) from the past- childhood sexual abuse, humiliating experiences from childhood.
  • Feeling “trapped” in a situation perceived as negative such as a bad marriage; constant blackmail/sexually exploitative relationship; unending debts.
  • Feeling that things will never “get better.”
  • Feeling helpless.
  • Serious legal problems, such as criminal prosecution or incarceration.
  • Feeling “taken advantage of.”
  • Inability to deal with a perceived “humiliating” situation, like loosing face in the public, social dishonor
  • Inability to deal with a perceived “failure,” example poor performance in examination that is critical for future course of life such as, board exams, entrance tests etc.
  • Substance abuse- Alcohol and drugs.
  • A feeling of not being accepted by family, friends, or society- disapproval of life choices by significant others such as, love marriage disapproved by family.
  • A horrible disappointment- loss of job, failing in school
  • Feeling like one has not lived up to his or her high expectations or those of others- failure in school or at work.
  • Bullying- being teased incessantly, being picked on (adults, as well as children, can be bullied).
  • Low self-esteem.

Suicide Warning Signs:

Large majority of people who commit suicide give some clues as to their intentions before they make an attempt. Being aware of these clues and comprehending the severity of person’s troubles can help prevent such a tragedy. A small minority may not exhibit any signs just little awareness on the part of friends, family and colleagues may help save precious lives.

  • Appearing depressed or sad most of the time.
    (Untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide.)
  • Talking or writing about death or suicide. Many people convey their intentions directly with statements such as, “I feel like killing myself,” “I don’t know how much longer I can take this.”
  • People contemplating suicide often have a plan and access to resources required to execute their plan like, chemicals, weapons, vehicle etc. Some may even describe their suicide plan like, “I’ve been saving my pills in case things get really bad,” “I can get some sankhiya (arsenic) from X source (shop, friend, lab etc)” “These days I like to drive as if nothing matters anymore.”
  • Withdrawing from family and friends. The person starts preparing for the final exit he/she start detaching themselves from their near and dear ones.
  • Feeling hopeless and helpless. In despair they only see darkness and no other alternative to their situation.
  • Feeling strong anger or rage.
  • Feeling trapped — like there is no way out of a situation. For a person who feels stuck and trapped their thinking is clouded they see no other alternative to their situation.
  • Experiencing dramatic mood changes. Sudden changes in mood like, serious one minute and cracking jokes the other.
  • Abusing drugs or alcohol. After making the decision to end their life some people start abusing drugs and alcohol in an attempt so as not to change their mind.
  • Exhibiting a change in personality. Angry people all of a sudden start behaving friendly and congenial once they make a decision to end their life. Some people who are pleasant and agreeable exhibit signs of aggression as if they no longer care. In a way they are convincing themselves they don’t matter and don’t want others to ever think about them after they are gone.
  • Acting impulsively. They make rash decisions regarding money, sex and personal safety. People go on expensive shopping sprees, have unsafe sex and take to adventure/risky sports.
  • Losing interest in most activities.
  • Experiencing a change in sleeping habits.
  • Experiencing a change in eating habits.
  • Losing interest in most activities.
  • Performing poorly at work or in school- it could be due to ongoing depression and fear of failure but it is an important sign to look out for as it becomes a cause for suicide.
  • Giving away prized possessions, I remember our dear friend Durgesh Nadini, the day before she and her boy friend killed them selves she gave away her favorite sterling belt and other expensive stuff to friends. None of us could see it coming.
  • Writing a will.
  • Feeling excessive guilt or shame. Our friend Mahendra Singh, fatally shot himself on the day he was to be engaged against his wishes to a woman his parents chose for him. His sense of guilt towards his lady love was so strong that he could not bear to live in shame for marrying someone he did not love.
  • Acting recklessly. Driving recklessly.

People contemplating suicide may exhibit combination of these warning signs; it is never just one sign. Being aware of these clues may help save precious lives.

Myths and Facts About Suicide


People who talk about suicide are just trying to get attention.

Suicide fact

People who attempt suicide, and died by suicide talk about it first. Until in extreme emotional or physical pain, and often thanks.  They reach out for help, because they do not know what to do and have lost hope. Always, pay attention to anyone talking about suicide. Always take any such talk seriously.


People who talk about suicide, do not kill themselves.

Suicide fact.

People who talk about suicide and wanting to die oftentimes kill themselves.


Suicide occurs, without warning signs.

Suicide fact

Warning signs always precede a suicide. Seldom, suicide, without signs is observed.


Once people make a decision to die by suicide, no one can stop them. People who are suicidal definitely want to die. People who are suicidal do not seek help.

Suicide fact

Suicides are preventable. Most suicidal people, do not want to die, all they want is to stop the pain, be it physical or emotional as the case may be. They want to stop the pain. Many people who are suicidal reach out for help.


Only people of certain gender, race, financial status, age etc. commit suicide.

Suicide fact

Suicide can strike anyone. There are scientific studies that draw patterns and profiles of people who may commit suicide. But the fact remains, suicide can strike anyone.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24. Sometimes children under 10 die by suicide. Insert India study.


Those who attempt suicide and survive will not attempt it again.

Suicide fact

Those who attempt suicide and survive will oftentimes make additional attempts.


People who attempt suicide crazy.

Suicide fact

People are attempting suicide are experiencing emotional distress, due to number of reasons, some not even  known to many of us. It could even be a chemical imbalance in their brain. They are not crazy.  Anyone could attempt suicide.


Only weak people attempt/commit suicide.

Suicide fact

People who attempt/commit suicide in excruciating physical or emotional pain, all they want is, for their pain to stop.  Many “strong” people die by suicide.


People who talk about suicide or make threats about killing themselves are trying to manipulate others.

Suicide fact

That is not true in most cases. Those who talk about suicide are in pain and in need of help; telling them that they are trying to beget sympathy or influencing another person’s decision about something is both ignorant and insensitive. Often people talk about suicide, before dying by suicide.  Always take such talks seriously.

Desi Case

Yes, in some desi families often parents use threat of suicide as a tool to influence their adult children from doing something they do not approve of. At the same time, even children as young as teenagers use similar threats to  get their way. It is important to put an end to any such behavior, and not only because they are manipulative, but are dysfunctional. It is a good idea to probe the person about their plan and resources to execute their threat.  On such questioning, often times the threat makers who does not have any intentions of dyeing strats rambling , and one can see they are trying to manipulate people around them. But it is wiser not to ignore their threats rather repot them to the law enforcement and medical intervention. It will be a good idea to seek  medical  and other professional help for them. Often times putting them on the suicide watch, bugs them into mending the ways. It also opens an opportunity to learn constructive way is of meeting pne’s needs and negotiating relationships, rather than emotionally manipulating and blackmailing the near and dear ones.


When people become suicidal they will always be suicidal.

Suicidal fact

Most people are suicidal for a limited period of time. But it is important to note, suicidal feelings can recur.


When people who are suicidal feel better, they are no longer suicidal.

Suicidal fact

Sometimes, suicidal people feel better, because they have made a decision to die by suicide that decision-making, gives them a sense of relief that the pain will soon be over.


One should never talk to a suicidal person if they are thinking about suicide, or have a magnet because it can give them an idea.

Suicide fact

Talking about suicide to people who are suicidal does not give them an idea for suicide. It is important to talk about suicide with people who are suicidal, in order to learn more about their mindset and intentions and allow them to defuse some of the tension that is causing their suicidal feelings.


There is little correlation between alcohol or drug abuse and suicide. 

Suicide fact

Oftentimes people who guided by suicide, under the influence of alcohol and drugs. These substances are used as a method of suicide, or the decision to kill oneself is influenced their use.

If you are suicidal please seek help. What ever is overwhelming too shall pass. Please  read this for ideal methods and success rate.

If you are a young woman who is jilted by a lover or you are  pregnant so you want to hide your secret believe me once you are dead your secret will by posted all over the town and women like my ex-MIL will be gossiping about it for years to come. Find a nearest planned parenthood clinic and seek help. Desi Girl wants you to watch Kamla Ki Maut before you make your decision.

Desi Girl will soon add more information in this page for now she has to get it to you in this form as it has been sitting in her drafts for too long. Thanks for bearing.

For Help in India follow these links



Suicide: India Hotline


Desi Women’s Friendships: Explore the Dynamics

8 Aug

A Desi Girl's Guide to Relationship Survival

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…

View original post 1,055 more words

The first time I sang in public

25 Jun

The first time I sang in public


I remember waking up every morning to the sound of my very musical mother singing hymns and not at all musical dad’s reciting prayers pretty tunefully while at other times the All India Radio or a tape recorder hummed at home. Mother was then a music teacher, she sang beautifully and dad was equally inartistic in every manner, rustic and bookish. I liked music but I guess I was born tune deaf though I heard people say I had a good voice. It was a torture to sing for the compulsory music class, all through middle school I worked on the music teacher by becoming her pet to let me sing to her in the private. At home students came to learn devotional singing from mother, she was pretty embarrassed by me though she’ll not admit. I tried to sing a few times at the church it was out rightly bad.

Years went by I would listen to music but would never dare utter a word, rarely did I sang in the bathroom. Parents never liked my addiction to listening to music they thought time could be better spent studying. I remember it was the final year at the college we were competing in the inter college youth festival. I had won almost all debates and public speaking contests. Last day was cultural evening students could sign up for solo song and solo dance competitions. I have no clue what came upon me and I signed up for singing a song that I had heard only once in my life and had never practiced. May be it was the confidence of winning every other contest or what I have no recollection.

On my turn I instructed the band to play the number and I’ll pick it up from there, as if I had been singing all my life. The opening notes were perfect, I used all my might along with my breath by the time it was time to sing the stanza I was not only out of breath but tune, notes and everything musical in between. The dud was obvious but I was no quitter. The louder the audience booed the shriller I became. Guys were restless ready to throw chairs at me as they had nothing else to throw. I was calculating if a chair came at me how far I could jump and beat crap out of him. In all that cacophony far in the back I saw a guy dancing to the beat and moving towards the stage. He was the son of our family friends who knew me well and I guess had read my mind. His dance distracted the audience and few others followed him dancing to the stage as I completed the song. I think may be I am an accidental “no quitter” because the fact is I do not know when and how to quit but quit I did my public singing thereafter.


This is an old piece from a creative non fiction writing class. Till date DG has no clue what she was thinking when she sang in the public. If anyone has any idea please pitch in. Hope 2016 is treating you all well. Still here, will be back soon to kick some rubble.

एक मील का पत्थर

20 Nov

एक मील का पत्थर


सिर्फ़ और सिर्फ़
होते हैं हम
एक मील का पत्थर

किसी भटके हुए की
या फिर
नयी मंज़िल की खोज में
निकले मुसाफिर की
राह में खड़े इतेफ़ाक़न

राह में खड़े सदियों से
होते हैं हम
गर्द-ए-सफ़र में
मील का पत्थर जो हो गयी
हमारी मंज़िल
या फिर
होते हैं हम
इंतेज़ार में मिले
सिर्फ़ और सिर्फ़
एक मील का पत्थर.

sirf aur sirf

hote hain hum

ek meel ka patthar

kisi bhatke huye ki

ya phir

nayi manzil ki khoj mein

nikale musafir ki

raah mein khade itefaakan

raah mein khade sadiyon se

hote hain hum

gard-e-safar mein

meel ka patthar jo ho gayi

hamari manzil

ya phir

hote hain hum

intezaar mein mile

sirf aur sirf

ek meel ka patthar.


Aging Desi Gods

23 Aug

Aging Desi Gods


The other day a young mother of two, a five week old and six year old called in. Her problem was as common as any other woman who approaches DG yet was very unique. She confessed ten year and two kids into the marriage it was still shaky and challenging in every way emotionally, mentally, physically and financially yet she wasn’t calling in for herself. It is very common for a survivor looking for help to begin with, “I have a friend who is going through…” as if they are testing waters or are retaining power by externalization of their plight. Through her tears and sobbing she barely managed to say, ” I am too tired.” Yes, that is very natural when you have a five week old. “No, I am emotionally exhausted.” Yes, that is natural too as your hormones are still adjusting. She kept sobbing and DG kept asking her if she was safe and if she had any thoughts of hurting herself or anyone, the usual protocol. She kept insisting her problem was unique by now DG has seen a lot in this field of work nothing surprises her yet this work never ceases to astonish her.

After lots of crying she stuttered, “nothing changed it is still the same. They say people mallow with age but in this culture they just become obdurate. My father is selfish and self centered, he was always verbally abusive, demanding and snooty towards all of us especially my mother. No doubt he was a good provider but an attitude ridden with certain entitlement and anger lingered around him. No matter what is going on with us all attention had to be on him and his basic needs. We kids had to protect her from his tantrums then now with age he is just getting worse.. He has hypertension and other life style related health issues that he is responsible for yet thinks he is entitled to servitude by everyone especially my mother. She isn’t young anymore she too has age related issues and she is slowing down. But this man wants her to run around and attend to his needs. Get me water, where is my XYZ… why is this here, why did you say this or not say that instead; numerous basic things he is capable of doing he still wants her to do and nitpicks on her. If she misses anything he starts berating her and accusing her of neglect because he is retired, not earning anymore,” meri is ghar mein ab kyon chalegi, boodha aadmi bhoj hota hai (my word now has no value, an old person is a burden). Guess the age difference in desi marriages, older man married to a woman few years younger to him was designed to provide personal old age care to the man and his parents.

“Every time I speak to her she just talks about what he did now, how mean he was. I can’t help her other than listen to her venting but I am getting tired of this same story every time. I too need emotional support but I am so scared to ever tell her my marriage isn’t great either, I think she is aware. What do you do? How do you help a person in such a situation? They have been married forty two years it is only getting worse. I feel helpless and angry at the same time. I want to scream, I have left the home it is not my problem anymore. I have my own mess to take care of.”

Anytime there is a mention of domestic violence mind immediately conjures an image of a battered young woman with a kid or two in tow or just by herself. History of domestic violence is as old as patriarchy then how come the image of domestic violence survivor in our collective psyche hasn’t changed much. Haven’t those young battered women ever aged either with age the violence within the homes stopped or we have turned a blind eye to it.

DG has faced similar dilemma. She has yelled at her dad few time to back off and leave her mother alone. Mom is no longer a perky teenager who’ll get you a glass of water as soon as words roll out of your mouth or needs your instructions on how to entertain guests. She had suggested mother not to cook or do laundry for brother and father because what she can do they can do too, it is a learned behavior. To do laundry a person has to put soap in the slot, dirty clothes in the washer and hit the button, what part is rocket in this? Scrubbing collars and cuffs? Write the washing instructions and paste them on the wall. Efficient home making is ingrained in the identity formation of “desi women,” as much as the sense of entitlement is for “desi men;” any failure to serve or being served challenges their “self” concept.

When these women were young, to take a respite from this constant drudgery and nagging they often went to live with their parents (maykaa, peehar, nehar) for few weeks or months; desperation assuaged they returned; the cycle continued but the problem remained. Now that the kids of these post menopausal women have left homes and their parents are either dead or dependent on their sons who have their own families to attend to make these visits to natal homes not very regular and feasible. With age this avenue of respite is lost what else can these abused women do?

The other day a dear friend was sad he had tears in his eyes. He said, a young man took his mother to the USA with him to care for his infant child and left his old father behind because he can’t help around the house. He felt the son was selfish and shouldn’t have separated the aging parents as if all parents always had perfect spousal relationship(bollywood has raked moola on this one so many times). How sensitive? What does he know about that couple’s marriage?

Anytime the term “elder abuse” is uttered image of seniors abused by young people come to mind. We just forget seniors can be abused by aging partners too. Some women have waited all their lives to get out of this misery through their sons. Adult children of abusers do want to help their oppressed parent and the only way they see is to remove the victim from the abuser’s reach because kicking the abuser to the curb is not possible in this culture. Even a drunk, womanizer, indolent and abusive father is deified in this culture.

She recalls a sixty year old woman who could not take constant bullying, nagging and constant put downs she asked her husband to pack his bags and go live at “his home,” this was her home she for paid it with her sweat, blood and tears. He packed the bags and left for the village. Within a week neighbors started asking her when he was coming back. As if neighbors had some business that only he could take care of. She was afraid people will make indecent remarks about her because she wasn’t yet in the grave (she looked good for her age). Her son called from the USA she told him what happened, the son who always supported her turned against her. He was worried, “what will my in-laws say…,” ” my wife will use my parents’ conflict against me.” The poor woman had to let this man back in and now he was even more vicious as he knew there are no consequences for his bad behavior rather it will not just be tolerated but will be rewarded. She laughed about it and said, “pati kitna bhi bura ho ek nazar battu hota hai aurat kisi bhi umr ki ho use gair mardon ki buri nazar se bachaataa hai” (no matter how bad a husband is he is like an evil eye catcher, protects a woman of any age from evil designs of unrelated men).

It is hard for a young woman to seek divorce even if she is being abused it will definitely be a cake walk for a post menopausal woman who never worked outside the home and is now unemployable given the youth worshiping economy we always had. Even if an aging woman musters the courage to utter “D” word, her own kids who commiserate with her turn against her. All of a sudden everything becomes about them. Even the courts don’t take her seriously the court clerk just sits on her application if she went to file one without attorney or a family member.

A very small percentage of aging men are abused by their partners. Just like women these men endured abuse usually verbal and psychological through the length of their marital relationship. In a culture where men grow up with a sense of entitlement (read being God) this seems an anomaly. It is usually their failure to fit into the stereotype of ideal male, dominant provider who is always in control. Men who want to break the generational cycle of power and control in intimate relationships have an intention but lack skill. This will need a whole post and we need more studies to understand this phenomenon.

In the absence of efficient and sustainable support services how do we support aging victims of partner abuse? Few weeks ago DG helped a 69 year old survivor find resources but that is not a possibility in Des.

Can we really support an aging survivor of intimate partner abuse in the absence of detrimental consequences for the abuser and sustainable infrastructure?


Living a Curse: Adult Children of Desi Abusers

15 Aug

Living a Curse: Adult Children of Desi Abusers


DG ran in to him on the way back home he was rushing to the bank. He told her he was glad to see her as he was leaving for India in two days. She asked when he was coming back. He said, he was leaving for good. She had a puzzled look on her face, “it is mid semester you are already half way through your master’s program.” I have to, it is important, urgent and needed he retorted. Tell me, what could be so important that you’ll forsake your education. It is family problem that needs my presence, he said while looking at his shoes. What kind of family problem that can’t wait another six months? Tell me in detail, we can figure out something, I can help you find resources back in your home town said DG. No, it is my mom who wants me back she is sick. What happened to her? She is just sick she needs me. Is it life threatening? “No, I just fear something will happen to her.” DG lectured him on his enmeshed sense of self and failure to see things for what they were and how he’ll be a nuisance to his future partner. He retorted, “you don’t know, it is not like that.” Then you tell me what it is?

He kept insisting he can’t tell and DG won’t give up. He insisted he would visit her before he left the country but DG wouldn’t trust him. Together they went to the bank and then he accompanied her home. She made some tea and they started talking. This six feet tall lanky 28 year old man lowered his eyes, the cup in his hands shook as words failed him. After lots of assurance of privacy, confidentiality and nature of DG’s work he began talking. For the purposes of the length of the post DG will omit her probes. He said:

I fear my mother will have a heart attack, she is living under too much stress, she is all by herself. I am here and my newly married brother is working in Canada. Though I speak to her every day but I live in constant fear that she’ll die of this persistent stress (ma ko kuchh ho jayega. Something will happen to her). She has no support till we were in India we made sure one of us was around now she is all by herself I don’t know how long can this continue. After a long silence, he wiped tears from his eyes and spoke in a trembling voice. I have never spoken to anyone about this. We had a very hard life, she raised us all by herself. You cannot even imagine the days I have seen as a child often we slept hungry, had no fee for school. We would go to my aunt (mother’s sister) or grandmother’s (mother’s mother) home to eat. My mother has not seen a day of peace, she struggled to keep a roof over our heads, she didn’t even have a decent saree. To attend family functions her sister would gave her clothes, she would be the plainest woman there. I remember my mom was young and beautiful very caring and kind always trying hard to make it better for us. I decided as a child when I grow up I’ll pamper her, I’ll buy her the best clothes and jewelry. When I got my first job in Australia I bought her latest suits, sarees and gold jewelry, I wanted her to look the best dressed woman in any gathering. For the first time we saw her smiling and beaming in pride all her hard work and struggles had paid off.

In all this talk not once DG heard him mention his father. She asked him about his father. He evaded the question and then gradually started talking by addressing the man as, “woh” (he), not once he said, dad or father as if he was trying to maintain an emotional distance between them. He is the reason I am going back, he was always abusive to our mother, physically, verbally, emotionally, mentally and economically. He was a leading contractor in the city rolled in money ten years older to my mother, she was a school teacher but he made her quit the job. He is a habitual drinker as far as I can remember he was always away when he came home he was drunk, he would throw fits beat us up to save us mother would come in between and take the blows. He didn’t come home for days, didn’t care if we had food and school fee. Our house looked little better than a shanty, I had no friends, how could I? We never went to anyone’s home because we could never invite them over. Even today I hesitate to mix with people.

Yelling, screaming and hitting is all I have to tell about my childhood. He robbed us of our childhood. I just wanted him to go away and leave us alone. Go away anywhere just don’t return. I dreamt taking my mother away three of us living in happily ever after sort of way. He would not let mother go back to work as teacher I think she also lost confidence in all this, she would sew to raise us. One time he did not pay the bills our power was cut off she would sew in the candle light. One time he saw her sewing he destroyed the blouse in anger saying how dare you do this in “my house.” She had to feed us so she would sew in hiding. While I was in high school mother somehow managed to start a boutique with the help of her family. Our living standard improved a bit, he started coming home, his business he said was suffering. I think it was a lie. I won’t be surprised if he has another family. Mother fell sick for a month and trusted him with orders, he was indeed acting differently. When she recovered the tailors and workers had left as they were not paid everything was destroyed we were back to where we started. I know he did it on purpose, he just couldn’t fathom our peace. What kind of father would do that? We both were good students both of us got admission in engineering college mother’s family made sure we went to college we have paid them back after we got jobs.

Both of us brothers made sure one of us was in the city living at home while the other took a job or project abroad. We built our dream house, used best tiles and fixtures, bought everything new, the furniture, pots and pans, curtains, everything. A fully stocked pantry for the first time she could cook anything. We didn’t take a thing from “that house” and we moved. We left him there in “his” house. He went around bad mouthing us, telling people that we have abandoned him now that we have started earning. Community members and relatives from his side started admonishing us. Where were these same people when he abandoned us and we slept hungry or had no school fee. It became a big spectacle, people at the community events, temple everywhere started sneering at us and telling us he is now an old man and has changed. We should care for him after all he is our father. Unwillingly we had to let him into our home. Our dream to be free of him was quashed by his evil designs and this society. All our lives we thought we’ll be free of him once we were grown up but here we were. He is seventy two and going strong hasn’t changed a bit.

One night my brother was in his room with door bolted. “He” in his drunken fit was knocking it and wanted him to open the door. Brother asked him to leave him alone but “he” just kept getting louder and louder. “He,” picked up the wooden pestle and started hitting the door it broke he also damaged the walls and windows. At this my brother lost it, I had never seen him so mad. Brother just wanted to kill “him.” Mother and I somehow pacified him. There is no way we can get rid of this plague. It is a curse on our lives. You might be wondering who talks like that about their parent. Tears rolled from his eyes, we made another cup of tea and started preparing for dinner while he continued talking.

I worked five years saved some money to go abroad and do a masters thus I came here. Instead of congratulating me “he” kept saying how I was wasting money. Every day he calls and asks me to come back and take care of him, “mera kamaoo beta, wapas aa meri pension lagaa de” (my earning son, come back and give me regular monthly stipend as a pension). Brother got married and got transferred to Canada. Mother wanted him to leave because she did not want his new wife to see how messed up our lives are. I live in constant fear that he is going to kill my mother or her heart will fail some day, how much can one person take. These days I can’t focus on studies, it is so hard I get flash backs and night sweats hence I decided to go back, I know he’ll make my life miserable even though it was my money. I am 28 and still not able to stand up to him or protect my mother or myself. We are so trapped I don’t see a way out.

He had seen the school doctor who diagnosed him with anxiety and depression. But DG suspected it was a full blown case of PTSD that manifested once he was away from constant dysfunction, it needed proper diagnosis and treatment. After dinner they did some soul healing work through meditations and deep breathing. She gave him few tools and referrals in his home town to follow up with. It was past 2am DG suggested he sleep on the futon in the living room. Next morning he attended his chores while DG went to work he came back in the evening to continue with meditations and healing work, he also read few posts on GGTS to understand what was going on in his life. Once back home he contacted DG to inform her of his progress he saw a clinical psychologist and practices what he learned from DG. He did not even complete five sessions he said it was too expensive (Rs 5000 per session). He has taken up a job after six months of hiatus. The situation at home did not improve but he is now better equipped to handle it. DG had asked him to write this post but it was too anxiety provoking for him thus he gave her permission to write this.

A person may divorce an abusive spouse but children cannot. Ours is a system that will not let you leave an abuser more so if you are his/her child you are doomed for ever…




Is My Family Dysfunctional

20 Jul

Is My Family Dysfunctional


Is it common for desi kids to fake having a good relationship with parents?


In last few days a discussion in personal circles once again emerged about our families of birth and their impact on our adult lives. Going forth and back numerous times decided to re-post this from the tools on the right margin of GGTS under All About Relationships. Click the hyperlink to read comments from desi adult children to learn more about desi family dynamics in everyday lives.

Is My Relationship Reflection of My Family

Stepping into the adulthood many of us thought we could not only leave our family but also our childhood problems behind. However, many of us have found ourselves experiencing similar problems, feelings and relationship patterns, long after we left our family environment. In family environment, growing up children learn their worth and to value their needs and feelings. In many families the communication patterns are such that they limit a child’s expression of feelings and needs thus breeding low self-esteem and a deep feeling that their needs are not worth to be taken seriously by others. As a result, they may face difficult establishing satisfactory adult relationships and often find we are finding people who are almost like our family members.

Patterns of Dysfunctional Families

 Following are the examples of patterns frequently observed in dysfunctional families:

  • Either or both parents subscribe to authoritarian control over the children. Often such families rigidly adhere to a particular belief. Here are few examples:
    • Personal: No child of mine talks back to me; no one in this family marries out of caste; women in this family do not wear skirts/trousers etc. You follow the recipe as I taught you to.
    • Religious: In this family we follow our religious rituals in a particular way; our religion is the best etc.
    • Political: In this family we only vote for X political party because we have been doing so for generations etc.
    • Financial: Money is hard to earn, it is not for spending on fashion etc.

Food & Shelter What Else?

  • Either or both parents are unable to provide adequate emotional support or threaten to withdraw emotional of financial support. Failure to provide basic physical care or provide it conditionally to the children. It is commonly heard in desi families- “We provided you with every comfort, even those that were beyond our financial reach.” “If you disobey me, I’ll disown you.” “If you marry him/her I’ll commit suicide.” Atiya, grew up with best amenities but resents how her mother was never emotionally available. Her mother was always preoccupied with her self and the needs of everybody else in the extended family. Even when Atiya initiated a talk about her day or life it always became all about mommy. Atiya feels she goes emotionally unavailable to her partner for days and weeks because that way she does not have to deal with his problems.

  Needy Parent: You Are Me, You Are For Me

  • Either or both parents treat children as possession and use children to meet their physical or emotional needs. Anuja, grew up in a family where she and her siblings had to protect her mother from her father’s openly sexual demands and his family’s vicious violence. Anuja feels she is observing similar trend in parenting her child. She often asks her son to take sides for minor things. DG’s mother grew up taking care of her sick mother because her father did not pay attention towards his wife, as a result she has hard time accepting even she can fall sick and someone can care for her. Some parents use children to get even with their partner. They ask children to take sides. In some desi families mothers raise sons with a constant reminder to them how they brought them up irrespective of the hardships piled by their father and grandparents; how they are counting on their sons to pay back their sacrifices by caring for them in old age or taking sides in any future family dispute. Some parents treat children as their extension. They expect children not only obey them but think and act like them.

     Angry Parent: Child’s Problem

    • Either or both parents us use threats or physical violence as primary means of control and disciplining. Children may witness physical aggression between parents or experience aggressive disciplining. Some parents force children to participate in punishing siblings, or they may live in fear of parent(s)’ explosive outburst. One time while growing up DG saw a neighbor was punishing his very naughty teens by asking them to slap each other hard. She heard him say, “slap the other hard or I’ll beat you both”; both boys were crying and slapping each other. Recently when she was back at her childhood neighborhood came to know both boys are no longer at talking terms with their father and the older on has pretty bad anger issues famous in the neighborhood.

    All in the Family

    • Either or both parents have addictions or compulsions like, drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, gambling, overeating, overwork, over indulgence in children’s lives etc. these have strong influences on all family members. My high school friend Veenu’s mother followed too many religious rituals- fasting, extended poojas etc. Thus Veenu could never invite us to her home so she refrained from coming to our homes. Our friend Vinita’s mother was like a helicopter, she not only hovered on Vinita and her siblings for home work but was too involved in their lives. Vinita feels her mother was trying to escape her over bearing and adulterous spouse through her children. Vinita finds so many similarities between her spouse and her father. She said “Now I can join the dots, I am actually married to my father. During the courtship he acted just like my father, controlling, emotionally unavailable, making evasive replies,  and pouting if I refused to do as he wanted. I felt it odd but then I thought I could handle it as I had seen my mother managing with my father. This familiarity seemed comforting but now I see how big a problem it is. I see a pattern here, I am just a copy of my mother, something I hate.”  Atiya says she married her needy mother, as her spouse demands too much attention and time.

    There are numerous variations in how often dysfunctional interactions and behaviors occur in families so is the severity of their dysfunction. No family will have an absolute match to the mentioned patterns and some families will have over lapping conditions. If the patterns mentioned above are a norm rather than exception, they systematically foster abuse or neglect. Children may:

    • Be forced to take sides in conflicts between parents.
    • Feel ignored, discounted, or criticized for their feelings and thoughts.
    • Have parents that are inappropriately intrusive, overly involved and protective.
    • Have parents that are inappropriately distant and uninvolved with their children.
    • Have excessive structure and demands placed on their time, choice of friends, or behavior; or may receive no guidelines or structure at all.
    • Struggle with rejection or receive preferential treatment.
    • Experience restrictions on direct and full communication with other family members.
    • Face temptations to use drugs or alcohol and subtle encouragement from parent(s) who abuse the same.
    • Experience physical violence- slapping, hitting, kicking etc.
    • Experience verbal and emotional abuse- name calling, undue criticism etc.
    • Experience “reality shifting,” means there is a contradiction in what is being said and what is happening in actuality. A child may see one a parent hit the other but one or both parents may deny if physical scuffle ever took place.


    End Result

    For children to develop trust in the world, in others, and in themselves they need life free of abuse and neglect. Those experiencing abuse and neglect as children later as adults find it difficult to trust not only others but their own judgments and actions; they have doubts about self worth. They also experience problems in their relationships and their identities.

    Abused and neglected people often struggle to interpret their families as “normal.”  They make accommodations to make their situation seem normal, such as, “I wasn’t beaten, I was just slapped little too often.” “My father didn’t have anger issues; he just had low threshold for frustration.” The more accommodations they make the more likelihood is they will misinterpret themselves and develop negative self concepts (example, “I deserved it,” “I had it coming,” “I am a bad person”).

    Making Changes

    All behaviors are learned behaviors. At times we continue in our roles in a hope that our parents will give us “permission” to change. This permission has to

    come from within. People can ask you or encourage you to change but it is only your prerogative to change. Often people and parents in dysfunctional families fear change; they feel threatened by changes in their family members and children. They may even try to thwart your efforts to change by manipulating you to give up attempts to change or revert to your previous self. For this reasons it is important for you to trust your own perceptions and feelings. Change is difficult but not impossible. Only you can change your self. You can do the following:

    • Identify difficult or painful experiences of your childhood.
    • List your those behaviors and beliefs you would like to change.
    • Against each behavior or belief in the list write what you would like to do instead.
    • Choose the easiest item from the list and begin practicing the alternative behavior or belief.
    • After you have performed the first alternative behavior number of times and you feel comfortable performing it without much difficulty follow the other items on the list.


    You may seek support from people who believe in what you are doing. You can also seek help from professional counselors.

    Best Practices

    • Perfection is not the aim just be comfortable in practicing the change you want.
    • Don’t try to make your family perfect. You can only change your self and inspire others to change.
    • Don’t try to win the old struggles- you can’t win.
    • Set clear limits- e.g., if you do not plan to spend your vacations with your parents say “no” not “will see.”
    • When you try to change your self people around you may not like it. Even if you make small changes be prepared for adverse reactions from you near and dear ones. The anticipated reactions are tears, yelling, temper tantrums, threats etc. Prepare your self how you will respond to these adverse reactions.

     End Note

    Change is difficult but not impossible. It is normal to slip back to your original behaviors patterns because you are accustomed. Change is slow and gradual. If you miss some day do not treat it as an excuse to give up. Instead continue to practice healthier and new behaviors soon they’ll become part of your daily life.


When it Hurts to Go Home

2 Jul

When it hurts to go home


After a lazy day just after 8pm DG realized she needs to pack in some exercise for all the goodies she ate at the afternoon potluck. Before she changed her mind she decided to go as she was in a churidar suit, that has no pockets. Her new phone is the size of a brick she was reluctant to carry it but decided against it. Too many decisions to make before she steps out of the door. She had thought of downing a quick 5K and be back home by 9pm.

A summer evening by the river is a busy scene families, friends, couples, joggers, walkers and few loners like DG mark their time. Just few yards before she hit the mid mark a tiny Asian woman may be in her sixties dressed in all black to the teeth a full sleeves hoody pulled up on her head, track pants with white stripes and a bag on her shoulder caught her sight; she looked as if she was fresh off the boat. On her way back this same woman crossed her may be past few hundred yards. Her walk was painfully slow a slug would beat her. DG checked her phone for the time she wanted to get back in time to call it a night but that voice she told you all about came from nowhere. “Are you okay?” she asked that woman in black. “Yes, I am fine.” “Are you sure?” “Yes, I am.”

Suddenly DG used her DG voice (curt one), “No, you are not. You look sad. What is the matter?” The lady tried to shrug it off,” it’s just a family matter.”

DG: Are you safe to go home?

Lady: I don’t want to go home. I just came back from work.

DG: I can give a you hug, we can sit there on the bench and we can talk, you can tell me what is hurting you.

Lady crumbled in her arms, don’t know when these arms became so strong. As they sat down she started , she is terrified to go home because the minute she steps in her husband will start with his tirade calling her names, yelling at her and cursing her and her dead parents. At 69, she was working 10-14 hour shifts in packaging industry on her feet just to stay out of the home. All her life she worked and worked hard to raise three children and few grand kids now she worked for her sanity. Previous night she said, she stayed by the river until 11:30pm soaking wet in the storm finally making her way to a friend’s home to sleep and leave for work at 5:30 in the morning.

He never laid a finger on her she professed but his words are becoming acerbic by the day more so since she stopped retorting few years ago. His choicest were to blame her for being happy and enjoying outside the house though she spends all her time at the back breaking work and accusing her dead parents. Though she said, her children were not aware of her plight as she doesn’t tell anyone and he is known for being a quite person who doesn’t speak beyond exchange of greetings. Adult children are not blind, sometimes they just choose to turn their faces away as they don’t want to pick sides or parents never taught them how to do the right thing. She wanted to talk but had no one she could speak to in her mother tongue (Thai).

She talked DG listened while her mind raced faster than the setting sun. She told the lady, “it should not hurt to go home.” “You have a right to peace and peace in your own home. There is help available and you are not alone. I SEE YOU and I HEAR YOU.” She made few phone calls took the woman to a women’s shelter instead of Domestic Violence Shelter. There the staff told her about the services and living arrangements if she wanted to stay tonight and gave her some food. She chose to sleep at her friend’s place as she had to go to work early in the morning. Tomorrow the centre will start working with her to find her own place as she wishes. Her voice and demeanor changed after this short visit. She was no longer invisible. Walked her to her friend’s home and came home by 11:00pm. The lady in black kept wondering why she walked past her usual path and how come only DG saw her while hundreds thronged the riverfront. DG sees you because once upon a time she was you.

Home they say is a place made of hearts where souls and soles find peace after long tiring days. While typing this post DG recalled all the times when she and many others did not want to go home but had nowhere else to go either. One time a young woman told her how everyday she spent an hour in the car in the parking lot at work just to get some respite for once she was home there awaited demands and complaints. She had a car so she could say the traffic was bad but all those who don’t have cars or travel by public transport cannot say, they missed the bus or metro every single day. To her weekends were a torture. Yet another said, she feared going home because the atmosphere weighed her down and another said, “I am homeless it is his home I live in.”

Every time there is a mention of home DG is reminded of “Chaipau” of Salaam Bombay and many kids like him who runaway to escape the perils of so called home. Most street children are runaways and they run to escape the abuse within the homes. Habitual runaways, whom police write off are often teens who want to flee the toxic homes. It should not hurt to go home…

Hundred Times Over Still No Regrets

19 Jun

Hundred Times Over Still No Regrets



On a usual morning when DG leaves home she sets intentions for the day, armed with her to do list she takes bus, delivers warm greeting to the bus driver and a compliment to lady driver or a co-passenger. Then shut her eyes to focus on her breathing to conserve energy and avoid sensory overload. A portly woman of color in a well fitted dress boarded the bus her bereft of makeup looks caught DG’s attention. Most of the time DG is not aware of who is sitting next to her, this time when she opened her eyes at some random stop sat to next her was this woman in fitted dress, about half a foot taller than her. As she looked up to her face, she saw a stream of tears running through the corner of her eye. Disappointed at her meditative stance she was glad she opened her eyes. She put her hand on her hand and asked what is the matter? What is hurting her? Are you safe? She struggled with her words and barely managed to say in broken English, “my husband, wants to kill me, my child is at home, I ran out with no money just bus pass (that explained her disheveled looks).” Now all eyes, on both of them as they spoke to each other. Quite audibly DG said, “in this country we don’t let people kill people coz’ one is married to them, you don’t have to die just because you are married to someone.” Yes, it is a lie she told, more women are killed every year by their intimate partners in this country and across border than by cancer.

To make sure she was safe and had a safe place to return was DG’s priority in that moment. The lady, did not know what to do just had a business card of a an attorney she saw in the past. DG offered to accompany her. These are the moments when DG feels very blessed, people she work with understand her random style of working don’t push her for lapses in keeping appointments every now and then. While they alighted the bus and started walking a bible thumper who was listening to their conversation kept interrupting, “I’ll pray for you, Jesus will make it all well for you.” As if praying solved the social issues world would have been Eden, a reign of peace. They went to the attorney she was kind to take a walk-in DG spoke to her to make sure this woman had a safe place to go back to and her child was not at risk. At work DG explained why she was late a volunteer chirped, “so you are the good Samaritan today.” All DG could say was, “No, I was she.”

That afternoon DG recalled how it all started, there she sat by the roadside sad and confused, she came out of that apartment she was told was her home just to catch a breath. The cop from the patrol van asked her if she was okay why was she sitting there. She realized, one cannot just sit anywhere without looking suspicious. Few years later, broken she stood at the doors of her academic mentor, who told her not come in with a long face, there after she regularly took her sadness to the malls where she climbed elevators, strolled in the stores aimlessly not one soul saw her or her sadness. She returned when her feet hurt or the mall was about to close. Her sadness was the ghost she carried on her being for a very long time. Then came a time, she started working on the source of sadness it is an ongoing project… she learned when you are sad you are invisible, you shrink in size, your presence ruins the scene of social propriety.

Maintaining a spiritual practice with the rigors of a yard-bird she grew stronger by the day her intuition sharpened and she learned to trust it. Coming out of class as she headed to International Student Center under a tree a pair of shapely legs in magenta fishnets attracted her attention, she smiled to the glory of youth and walked by. She hadn’t gone past more than five yards, she heard a loud and clear voice, “go back to her.” She could not take another step forward, it was so compelling she had to go back. There sat a 19 year old freshman, sad and alone. DG asked, if she was okay? standard response came, “I am fine.” DG won’t give up, she sat down and continued what was ailing this youngster. It was her father’s death anniversary who died a year ago and now she was away from her mother and sisters in another city. That sadness melted into tears in a strong embrace.

Few days later as DG walked out of her physiotherapy session to take the trolley, she heard a pedestrian in back and neck brace walking ahead of her crying and talking loudly over the phone. As they both crossed the traffic light and came to the trolley stop don’t know what came over DG she just opened her arms like Shahrukh Khan (two years ago she learned this phrase when she was playing bollywood with a 24 year old in the snow by the river). The young woman just hugged her tight and cried her heart out while her mother on the other side over the phone waited. This young lady had fallen from the fourth story balcony of her apartment in a drunken episode now her back and neck were broken and diagnosis was not very encouraging.

Many more such moments came just before DG left the town for good, she walked to the bus stop after class, a woman was on phone talking and in animated Spanish and sobbing in between. DG just stood in front of her and opened her arms though she understood not a word, this woman too hugged and cried her heart out. Her relationship was breaking and she had realized there was nothing more she could do to save it. That was DG’s good bye to the city she learned so much from.

Moved to new place 5000 miles away; one afternoon while browsing the shops on a trendy street where lull reigned on a sultry afternoon DG passed by a white woman in her sixties who walked like a slug. That loud and clear voice struck again. DG had to go back and ask her if she was okay. “Are you okay?” “No, I lost my husband last month, I am so lost.” They stood there in the middle of the street embracing when they parted like always no information was exchanged.

Last year while she headed to join Take Back The Night (TBTN), just before she alighted the bus she saw a fourteen year old with red eyes, on bit of probing she disclosed how her sixteen year old boy friend was “streaking.” Her parents we druggies, one was incarcerated and other was just out of jail, her grandmother had her custody. She had about an hour before she could be home; took her to the TBTN venue, introduced her to professors and students gave her a glimpse of possibilities, that she mattered and we saw her. Soon she vanished in the crowd without saying a good bye, it was okay. At least she heard it so many say it out LOUD and CLEAR, IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.

DG trusts her intuition and never misses an opportunity to ask ARE YOU OKAY? It’s always been right. There have been times, it is usually younger people, who fight it like few months ago, a teen who looked perturbed, kept insisting she was fine and called her friend to tell him/her how a weird woman was asking if she was okay? Yes, also Desi women fight her if she asks, “Are you Okay?’ She doesn’t care, if it doesn’t feel right, it ain’t right is the bottom line for DG, she has to do what she has to do. She’ll not have it on her conscience she should have, could have, would have…

Yes, on her shoulders DG carries the carcass of her past it doesn’t weigh her down but reminds her how far she has come and how far she has to go. By training she is a student of social relationships she is bound to observe and draw similes and metaphors from life around her especially what she knows the best, her life. That doesn’t mean she hasn’t let go of her past. Her past is a undeniable truth etched in time be it good, bad or ugly she can and does dispassionately observe it and carry on with her life. Obliterating past does not mean one has let go of it, to let go means to live in peace with what has happened and give it its due place where it needs to be.


IF THE ANSWER IS “YES” GO OUT AND ASK SOMEONE “ARE YOU OKAY? maybe you’ll touch a nerve…


FACEBOOK has blocked DG, she refuses to disclose personal information for reasons of both privacy and safety of people she works with. If it is a life and death situation you know how to reach her. All other queries can be addressed in the comments on this post or other posts.

World’s Largest Democracy Goes to Vote

29 Apr

World’s largest democracy goes to vote


Here are the gems contesting elections shinning bright and making us proud on the international stage today and if declared winners then for next five years. Let us refresh our memory because we desis have very short memory and suffer from euphoric amnesia and long term cribbing disorder.

 Drum Roll

Meet Mr. Onkar Singh Thapar: Shiromani Akali Dal

This 59 year old Vice President of Shiromani Akali Dal Functionary broke in the middle of a speech on the ‘democratic right to protest’ to admonish his wife for absently tapping the table: Tenu pata hai jad mai bol rehan haan, bhen***d thaa-thaa maari jaandi hai (You can see I am speaking but you SF keep making that infernal noise). When cornered, Thapar told India Today, “Show me any man who has never abused his naukraani (domestic) or his janani (wife)?” Great logic sir. You have rightly defended the great desi/punjabi culture.

Not sure if he is running for 2014 elections.

Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia: Shiromani Akali Dal
Has the honor of cussing in the house during the session, he too has a justification for his choice of words and more than that he too claimed his words were taken out of context.

3 Idiots of Porngate

Porngate refers to three sitting MLAs of BJP  Lakshman Savadi, C.C. Patil and Krishna Palemar were watching a porn video while the session was in progress. In their justification states they claim were watching a video of rape of a woman by four men to educate themselves in order to raise a question at a later hour.

This video is in Kanada but the information section has details in English

Laxman Savadi, won 2013 elections from Athani constituency with a margin of 24,879 votes that is one third of the total, really women were sleeping during the elections. This is how good our memory is.

Oh then there is Gurjrat porngate and stalkgate

Sanjay Nirupam Indian National Congress

Has an honorary Ph.D. for what have no idea, though DG spent 8 years slogging in libraries and field. This scum of earth was congress created Shiv Sena crony became congress candidate. On a media penal discussion when he was losing the to a female politician who happened to be a TV actress too he called her dancing girl watch it for yourself. His masters just chided him no disciplinary action was taken by secular people.

Asha Mirje Nationalist Congress Party and Member of State Women’s Commission  According to her “Rapes take place also because of a woman’s clothes, her behaviour and her presence at inappropriate places.” 

Her party member Supriya Sule immediately released a statement how she and her party did not agree with Mirje’s remarks.

Abhijit Mukherji Indian National Congress and Son of President of India

Called the women protesters dented painted unworthy of registering protest against sexual crimes against women. Though his sister came running to apologize for him.

Saved the best for the last

Mulayam Singh Yadav Samajwadi Party

Is the Messiah of rapist considers rape is a mistake boys make.

Abu Azmi Samajwadi Party

He is a sitting MLA was just following the foot steps of his master, said, women who have sex outside wedlock should be hanged. Wao, he’ll bring sharia law to Hindustan. Guess, he really respects Indian constitution’s claim to equality and its citizens especially women.

His daughter-in-law expressed her disgust on his remarks.


Sharad Yadav Janta Dal

Supports khaps and believes stalking women is fun activity he had men his generation undertook.

Abhishek Manu Singhavi Indian National Congress

Caught with his pants down at work

Time to wind up it is two past midnight. Readers are requested to add to this list and beat the drum. If the voters especially fail to wake up now then they should not complain for next five years just get ready to roll with the punches.

Person is judged by the company he/she keeps. Choose you allies carefully.

Good Night


A Time To Grow Up

5 Jan

A Time to Grow Up


Finally someone is talking sense
“When a grown up, educated and office-going woman subjects herself to sexual intercourse with a friend or colleague on the latter’s promise that he would marry her, she does so at her own peril. She must be taken to understand the consequences of her act and must know that there is no guarantee that the boy would fulfill his promise.

But this sensibility came loaded with lots of moral BS

She must understand that she is engaging in an act which not only is immoral but also against the tenets of every religion. No religion in the world allows pre-marital sex,”

Why can’t desi judges shut their moral BS and stick to the books. Moralizing defeats the whole purpose of taking responsibility as an independent agent. What about atheists? They have no religion do they still have to subscribe to this judge’s BS or they’ll have to just grow up and take responsibility for their actions.

It is high time desi women learned sex does not mean marriage, broken promises are not rape but buying peace in marriage with sex is definitely marital rape. It is ridiculous when consenting adults refuse to take responsibility for their actions and play the victim game. Sex no matter how protected can lead to pregnancy and STDs, what part of this fact is hard to understand is beyond DG. Desi women bear the differential consequences of exposed sexual indulgences and worse in case of premarital pregnancy. In a system where premarital sexuality of women is frowned upon and penalized in the form of social ostracism and stigmatization women are bound to either limit it by setting boundaries of practice that are conditional (ultimate goal is marrying the person you sleep with) like sex with fiancé, or sex with someone who’ll be her future spouse etc. If the mother lode of desi cultural upmanship was not rested in female bodies and their sexuality women will take more responsibility for their actions rather play victim.

In 1950’s whole nation wept for unwed Mala Sinha in Dhool Ka Phool and made it super duper hit these were the same people who would stigmatize and ostracize an unwed mother in the neighborhood if not stone her alive. If women of 1950’s in bollywood and reality did not understand that sex can lead to pregnancy but not marriage they did not learn it in 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000+ either because of this same moral BS this judge spouted above.

In those early decades a woman ended up with pregnant belly in lieu of broken promises now she has another sword hanging on her, STDs and HIV. It is high time women started taking responsibility for their sexuality. This does not mean it is all women’s responsibility as it takes two to get laid. Men cannot just walk away from their responsibility they have to be accountable for their actions too. Now is the time to ascertain consequences for men too. It is time men start understanding a woman may or may not abort and if she doesn’t you are responsible for the seeds you sowed. You like it or not sex even if protected has consequences at times.

Just because woman’s sexuality and motherhood out-of-wedlock is stigmatized for this one reason men can walk away from shouldering any responsibility for paternity. A woman’s right to her body to determine what she does with the fetus is hers but consequences are yours to bear for next 18 years in the form of child support, you like it or not. Unless we ascertain accountability for paternity we cannot ask women to stop being perpetual victims.  All those men who denounce child custody in lieu of not paying child support and alimony should too be brought under this gamut. It will be thrown in DG’s face that women will purposefully get pregnant if not to force a man into marriage, then for child support those naysayers will love to forget this is des and life for single mothers is not a cake walk for many decades to come by…

Think before you get laid…

Desi Dilemma: To Get laid or Not to Get Laid



DG is pretty sure there will be a barrage of hate mail and flak for this post but in these many years she has become use to it.

The second news link needs a separate post about women who become mistress and rights of first wife in desi context these are complex issues as women’s dependence on marriage and man are social cultural crutches for majority.

Though did not want to start 2014 with this kind of post but couldn’t help. Hope readers had good 2013 and will enjoy 2014…

2013 in review

31 Dec

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 96,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

A Voice for Her

13 Nov

A Voice for Her


Few years back DG was an interpreter for an art exhibit where the curator had flown artists from des to demonstrate their art. It was a middle aged couple from interiors of central India who only spoke local dialect not even proper Hindi. The lady until then had never stepped out of her village her first trip was to New Delhi US consulate for visa and second was landing in the US of A. The couple and a very amiable relationship they had six children back home few of them were married.

As an interpreter DG’s job was verbatim communication between the artists and the museum patrons. Patrons had too many questions for the artist and their exotic land. They would answer in monosyllables and the patrons would look at DG’s face as if she was refusing to interpret what they just said. Any question they asked, like how did she like the place, how was food etc. the woman just had one word in her language, good.  The patrons asked why don’t they say anything else or elaborate. This compelled DG to think hard why was she so reticent in usage of adjectives and sentences. She was neither dumb nor reticent she just didn’t have words to express herself it is not that her language lacked it was her lack of knowledge of language that limited her expression.

This revelation took DG to her childhood where her dad would drag the family to visit his widow mother and would insist kids especially DG listen to the stories she told. Every year the old lady told same stories a princess and her bad step mother or how the sparrow and crow together made a porridge. They were interesting until DG had not started reading Reader’s Digest ( at seven she was reading RD) once you are exposed to the world of words who wants to listen to same old stories. Working with these artists DG realized how limited and isolated was her grandma’s life in that hamlet where oral tradition only lost and nothing got added to it by a generation that as no longer interested in listening. It reminded her of alienation of  ABCD grand kids from their desi grandparents who raised them from the day they were born here in the US and Canada. Once kids entered middle school and experienced a wider world these loving grandparents were speaking a different language . The kids could no longer communicate with their grandparents ones they realized their classmates had grandparents who were not only driving but were net savvy and understood their experiences at their level.

As Malcolm X proclaimed in Learning to Read,     “I became increasingly frustrated at not being able to express what I wanted to convey in letters that I wrote, especially those to Mr. Elijah Muhammad. In the street, I had been the most articulate hustler out there. I had commanded attention when I said something. But now, trying to write simple English, I not only wasn’t articulate, I wasn’t even functional.”

When someone is sexually assaulted they have difficulty describing what was done to them it is not that they do not know what was done to them it is lack of vocabulary that prevents them from articulating their experience. This is especially true for children because some can’t even name their private parts. Reminds of  those 1980s movies where in court scenes rape is being prosecuted and the victim is asked to describe what happened to her. What you cannot name how can you be expected to describe it. Shaming the words is disempowering the user.

Words are powerful they not only open a doorway to the world but they also put you in the center of the world that refuses to let you in. Words carry meaning so choose your words carefully for they can make or break you. If you don’t have words you don’t know what to tell and if you don’t tell your silence is taken as your choice. It is important for us as women to not only master words but claim them for they are the steps to our redemption. As mothers and socializing agents we can teach our kids whatever we want then why not begin with naming the unnamed…





A Voice of Her Own

12 Nov

A Voice of Her Own


It is interesting how  power and control plays in subduing inherent human voice of some humans be it women, children, dalits, people of color, immigrants, disabled to name a few  and then declare them disempowered thus thrives a whole industry to empower them. It was the year the first chair person of NCW (National Commission of Women) Dr.  Mohini Giri retired on her way she made a stop in our city and we organized a small farewell party. Long with academics and activists came our grassroots women. These were the urban lower middle class women we worked with for years and were now able to get them out of homes to attend events, they came with their heads covered but no longer wore “ghunghto” (veil). It took us weeks to help prepare Kanwar speak two sentences to Ms Giri that she and her friends are very sad that she is retiring they are very thankful for she did great work for women and especially  of our state. Kunwar had been nervous all day she was mocked by family and friends that now she has become “neto” (politician) and will be speaking to “baddo log” (powerful people). She wore her best sari, finished all her chores, fed her kids and left early with us to attend the event that didn’t start until few more hours she sat repeating her lines and sweating profusely out of fear of public speaking.

Finally the chief guest arrived and formalities were done then came the moment we had been waiting for introducing our grassroots workers and for Kanwar to say her lines. As Kanwar uttered “didi hum bahut dukhi hain…” (sister, we are very sad…) Ms Giri caught her hands and said “hum tumhara dukh samajhate hain bahan…” (I understand your pain, sister…” and went past her. Kanwar was in tears she had practiced her lines so much and this was her chance that just whisked past her. DG and her colleague stood there looking at their labor of love rolling in tears; she was young so was pretty upset  and chose to step out of the group picture. She kept wondering, “how do you know her pain, you didn’t even let her complete the sentence. Now she has a greater pain that is all her hard work went unnoticed and her folks will mock her.”

Few years later when DG went to des for recovery she was signing up at the medical college for intensive physio therapy. Then she walked with quad cane her steps were very wobbly; the crowds were maddening people falling over each other. She was a pretty attraction, a woman dressed as a Charlie Chaplin walking with a quad cane and spouting English. After waiting in women’s line for an hour she was behind a woman who was asked her name and age, she was about to open her mouth jumped in a man from nowhere over DG’s shoulder and shouted her name and age. DG turned back stalled the process and asked him if the woman was deaf and mute. He said she was his wife so he was giving her personal information. DG’s other question was this is an information a four year old can give why did he feel the need to do so over DG’s shoulder. He said, he was trying to be helpful as she is in pain (the woman had been standing in the line for more than an hour with not much problem). DG wouldn’t let it go, she not only told him off but also said, “Bhale manus, apaki patani ghar ka sara kaam karti hai, do bacche palti hai abhi tak to ghar, bacche aur aap ko surakshit rakha hai isne to kya yah apana dhyan nahin rakh sakti ya apana naam nahin kah sakti. (gentleman, your wife attends all domestic chores, raises two kids and has kept, home, kids and you safe so why do you think she can’t take care of herself or tell her name?”) The man had sheepish look on his face and the woman had a smile of gratitude while she finished her turn at the counter she stealthy pressed DG’s hand on the quad cane.

In experiencing your person and claiming your space in any context to be able to tell what happened to you or what was done to you is a very pertinent. In the name of love and protection the first thing that is taken away is your voice and then your choice. It is like someone takes away the hockey stick from a child and then declares to public the child does not know how to play hockey. In everyday life a large number of women are silenced by taking away any chances of voicing their concerns in the name of love, safety, honor shame etc. and a proclamation is made for whole gender, that it does not know what they want so someone else has to be benevolent enough to speak for them and empower them. Claim your voice and speak for yourself before you speak for another human. Challenge patriarchy every day and everywhere.



This is Her Home Too

11 Nov

This is Her Home Too


She had sent DG an email stating “I need your counsel my lease is running out and I don’t have rent money he has moved out and made me sign divorce papers in lieu of right to stay in the apartment. He visits the apartment whenever he wants but refrains from spending a night under the same roof (it is a requirement of divorce court that they do not spend six months under the same roof) but takes away whatever he wants and yells screams. I have no money to buy baby food or necessities I have to wait for him to bring those for their child. There is a court date in three weeks and I do not know what to do. Please help.”

As they were in the same city DG asked her to come over for a meeting. The woman was a doctor in India and had moved to the US after marrying the love of her life, a software engineer. That one meeting gave her lots of validation and courage to go on for another two weeks while DG traveled. Over time DG has learned how to read  legal documents and file responses; on her return together they did that and prepared for the court date. On the eve of court date DG spent a night at her apartment as they had to go early morning to the family court, it is the most unsafe time for the woman when she stands up to an adult bully and he knows she is preparing to leave (here he had filed for divorce). He did his usual yelling and screaming and pointed finger at DG and said, “this is my house, I’ll call cops on you, you are here illegally.” The poor woman was in tears for she had asked DG to be there with her and now had to ask her to leave. By now DG had learned the rules of game played in US of A by desis. She shouted back and asked him to lower his finger as well as his voice because she was not his wife and “this was her home too and she could invite her family and friends as she wished no matter if he liked it or not.” This was a stunner for him no one to that day had stood up to him under his roof and asked him to lower his voice.

Next morning DG approached the man’s attorney and served him the response (just know one has to respond to all legal notifications not doing so will not make them go away rather you’ll be at loss). Without a lawyer the woman pleaded her case (though DG and another male friend wore black coats, they looked like lawyers but were not granted permission to sit beside her) the judge immediately asked the man to deposit $500 in cheque or cash for woman and her child’s expenses and asked him to pay rent and child support of $1500 in back date since he moved out and rest of spousal support and division of assets could be taken care of in subsequent court dates. First thing the man does is fire his attorney because if his wife could stand in the court without a lawyer and beat his lawyers why did he needed to waste $5000 paying a useless fellow. That night DG brought the woman and her child to her place for, there awaited one scorned man to teach a lesson to the timid wife could do nothing.

This was immediate relief the woman needed to get back on her feet in its absence she was vulnerable to further abuse. Lack of knowledge of laws of land and means to beget that information is very difficult for an abused woman who cannot leave home for fear of being locked out or not knowing where to go searching for it. Just one positive association and validation works as a stepping stone to set women free. It still remains a question where to find it when greater number of people you know disapprove of you or can sympathies with you but do not know how to help you.

One thing we could do is tell women the roof they are under no matter who pays rent is their home and by law they have equal rights to invite friends and family. This one affirmation will challenge patriarchy and abusers alike.
It is important we all learn how to help an abused.


When Roof Over Head is a Compromise

10 Nov

When Roof Over Head is a Compromise


They had been married for four months now they were visiting des to attend her brother’s wedding. She was to stay behind for a month with her in-laws and then go back on a later date while he went back to US of A in two weeks. Her tickets and passport were with her MIL and the four weeks had become four months, he never called even once but he regularly spoke to his parents living in the same house. There was no communication between them, she shuttled between her natal home and in-laws’ place. She went on rickshaw to her parents’ every morning and came back in the evening. Her father would have preferred her dead than see her everyday at his door. The four months turned in to eight months and she had no way of getting back to her husband who she had no communication with. She goes to local NGO asks around and threatens 498A only then she gets her passport back. She flies to the US of A, he receives her at the airport everything is water under the bridges takes her to the apartment they shared before they went to India and never shows up again. With no rent money past two months and no rations this beautiful creature is reduced to 90lb bag of bone. Next step is women’s shelter, finding a job (job market was still okay in 2006) she files divorce but has no way of proving his income as he never brought home any papers all she knew was the name of the employer. Court summons him to produce tax documents and she presents bills from what her parents gave her and spent on her wedding and she walks out of that marriage with that, no alimony, no spousal support. He had a house in his name before his marriage and that remained with him along with everything else that her.

Two years after their so called love marriage they go abroad, physical abuse has already made inroads into the already troubled marriage. After an year of extreme physical, emotional, financial  abuse and isolation she calls 911, he is arrested and she stands there on the street with her suitcase. Though her name is on the rent deed but the lease ends in less than forty days, she is on dependent visa, has no money as he cancels both debit and credit card as soon as he comes out on bail (posted by his employer) in few hours. As she steps into women’s shelter she asks herself is this the right choice to be living off the charity than to stay in that marital hell where she at least had a roof over her head?

What is the cost of roof over one’s head is a very pertinent question for someone living in an abusive marriage. Women often trade personal safety and dignity in lieu of roof over their head because women outside the homes are deemed sitting ducks for character assassination and vulnerable to all sorts of bad things. The hype of home and its safety is so over worked for women and the bad world outside is so demonized that most women prefer the known devil than the unknown. In the absence of an alternative roof over the head women are forced to make so called compromises not out of love and respect but out of lack of alternatives and fear of loss of home. Without safe alternatives women will remain vulnerable to abuse. With a sizable population like ours it is near impossible to provide save shelters in every nook and corner of the country so it becomes more important we make homes safer for women, children, aged and disabled people. It is time we as neighbors, friends and relatives challenge and incident of domestic abuse we witness around us.

Marital Home Belongs to…

9 Nov

Marital Home Belongs to…


Most of her activist life is spent working at the grassroots with women and children  experiencing domestic abuse while she was still in des and then abroad. Here she’ll share few examples both from her personal and professional experience how the concept of marital home actually works in real life.

There she stood in her two month old marital nuclear home cooking and cleaning as her in-laws were visiting them, she made a feast and she made sure they had a comfortable and pleasant visit. There comes the mother-in-law, starts making faces and making snide comments you don’t have a dining table you don’t sofa the message she is sending is, your parents didn’t provide you a decent start up funds for setting up your new household. By the end of the visit it was established the house is MIL’s son’s and the daughter-in-law was there just to cook clean and serve her husband his family and be thankful for being given this opportunity. They leave she, sulks and he asks her, why a sad face and there ensues their first fight and he says, get out of my house. Yes, it is his house he pays the rent, she only cooks and cleans. There after she could never bring up even rightful concerns because she knew it was his house and she had nowhere to go as she did not want to return to her parents’ who spent so much on this wedding both financially and emotionally.

Her case was brought to DG by a well-wisher who did not know how longer he and his wife could support this woman and her three children who were abandoned by her husband who had moved out of state after defaulting on few jobs and was no longer paying the rent or sending the family any money. The woman did odd jobs for desi families like babysitting, housekeeping and cleaning and that was not enough for four mouths to feed on.  As DG visited the apartment she lived in DG was shell shocked all it had was a crib and a chair three bed sheets, two pots and few plastic plates and tumblers. It is a grace the apartments in the US of A by law are to have appliances and some are carpeted. There was no running water as the bills were overdue the hydro company had disconnected the supply. DG’s first question was what happened to your personal belongings? She told her in a very low voice, her spouse had sent his friend to take away everything in the house and the man proved his loyalty to his friend by actually loading everything in a truck and taking it to his place. He even showed his sympathies by saying, “I am just doing what he asked me to do, it is nothing against you.” Basically it meant “I am an ass for not challenging an adult bully.” It is amazing how some men support other male bullies actually they do so for protecting their common male interests.

How owns the home two people in marriage live in? Is it the partner who pays the rent? If one partner was not employed outside the home does it mean the home does not belong to them? What if one of the partners is earning less than the other or assume is earning just minimum wages and asked to contribute towards the rent then what should be their share? Will you ask them to pay half the rent or go by some percentage of their earnings?

and I was there…

8 Nov

And I was there…


P1080334Dawn cracked, mist arose and the geese honked a lazy person stepped out with camera so that she can say once upon time there lived a lazy person who for once…


While she wandered all day long the moon came up in the skies as she gaped mesmerized P1070550it fell in a tree and was stuck in the branches all night long until the dawn broke again…



This the Season of Apologies…

7 Nov

Tis the Season of Apologies…


We all recall the apologies we made that we didn’t want to and the apologies we await that our offenders didn’t want to give. This is a season of famous apologies first came Mr. N Peethambara Kurup’s sincere apology on national TV and by a phone call to the lady who then was chided by her father to put an end to this man’s misery by withdrawing the case against him. While DG was wondering about this apology business along came apologies into hundred times from Goa minister for comparing Nigerians to cancer.

That reminded DG of her tween years when she and bro fought they put dogs and cats to shame. It happens in all home now she knows then she was told she was the only bad apple in the whole world. Coming back to apologies, so you hit your baby brother because he was being a pest when you wanted to read comics with your girl friend and he wanted to stick his grade two picture book between you two and talk about the roger rabbit. Now he is crying his lungs out so mother comes running and drags him along to soothe him, once crying stops he gives you two punches and now you are mad running after him for his dear life. It is then dad steps in and slaps you now you have one extra punch from brother and one from dad. So after lots of he said she said dad yells, “both of you just shut up.” All other families in the world are in peace except ours and you are the source of all trouble now here is your punishment write hundred times, “I am sorry. I will not hit my brother and I will call  him Bhai ji.” Why should I call him Bhai ji, he is younger. Two tight slaps more now the balance is one punch from brother and one slap from dad plus the two new ones plus the writing exercise. But nobody will listen to you, you are the wronged party and you are being forced to apologies rather apologies are extracted from you. Your tears won’t leave your eyes even if you drank a gallon of water they just ditched you. You keep wondering how this six year boy manages tears so readily. After lots of reasoning, stomping and crying all you can manage is for dad to ask bother to do the same written apology, “I am sorry. I will not hit my sister and I will call her didi ji.” But you see that it doesn’t make it write this written exercise is evened out not those four slaps.

Parents want peace they are not interested in justice. As kids come with no manuals so parents apply the hit and trial method. First they begin by assuming the older one is trouble so needs to be put to test after a little while they realize their little angel is no lesser beast so they go by who initiated the fight holds more responsibility. Then they realise the fight still didn’t end but just got carried forward to another day so now their final weapon is to punish both irrespective of who was at the fault. Moral of the story is those hundred apologies and four slaps plus nth slaps the issue never got resolved now we don’t fight like Tom and Jerry but the fight still continues to date.

Readers might be wondering about the “I am sorry” part oh, that was a means of buying peace and getting out of grounding. Of course it was sincere didn’t I tell you we wrote it hundred times if we weren’t sincere then why would we waste our time writing that. Oh, you are right that was the only way to get dad off our backs and get back to each others. So much for sincerity…

While DG was mulling over the sincerity of her apologies there came mother of all apologies, yes, Rob Ford apologized again. Since yesterday when Ms D came back after visiting her mom across the border we have been laughing our hearts out this guy is desi, first deny then apologize but never quit the office.

Then there was Japanese apology for the comfort women and a nation in shame for Holocaust then there was apartheid and so on… Did any apology change anything? At least someone had the courage to say sorry but in desi land we say sorry to buy peace and repeat…

Cost and Effect Analysis of Last/Past Relationship

6 Nov

Cost and Effect Analysis of Last/Past Relationship:


In recovery journey one has to do lots of house cleaning before that one has to take inventory of the emotional stuff so that you don’t repeat the pattern. When one embarks on a new relationship it is suggested they take such an exercise where they ask themselves and their partner early on so that they know if it is worth going forward or if it is just repetition of past patterns.

This a worksheet from a course work that DG just found in her old assignments zip drive. It will make an interesting read she thought.

How is this relationship different from last/past relationship?

  • Not mooching
  • Not sexual
  • Equality based
  • Inexpensive fun/ joy
  • Enjoying nature
  • Spiritual- discussing God
  • Discussing tentative issues- love, finances, career goals, expectations, children, other significant relationships etc.


Why were these things missing from past relationships? If not totally missing then why were they not as important as they are today?


Cost and Effect Analysis of Last/Past Relationship:




Net Result

comfort + initial comfort Discomfort- physical, emotional, financial
 love + initial love Just memories
 appreciation + initial appreciation Guilt generation
 long term commitment + initial need gratification- physical, emotional Short term relationship- long term prescription medication
Security – nil Doubtful of future relationships, comfort eating= weight gain
Stability – nil, they were looking for anchor in me Still looking for it  
  – that was the best they could do but was not enough for me Quest to find best matched partner – if one really exists  

You can add more of your expectations in the empty rows.

Present Situation:

Are you looking for a carbon copy of self in partner?  Not possible there does not exist another you.

What are your immediate and long term goals? Emotional, Physical- health, financial, family etc.

What issues are negotiable and what are not? Place of residence, shared activities- volunteering, recreation, child rearing, spiritual, finances, chores, social life etc

What will not be tolerated under any circumstances? Infidelity, emotional unavailability, financial blunders and secrets, abuse of any kind inclusive of spiritual, values…


You are complete in yourself, you do not need any one to make you complete. All you need is someone deserving to share your achievements with. You know that just believe in yourself.


Word your needs precisely and work towards them no one can achieve abstract needs example- You want peace, but what action or activity will or can bring you peace?

Hope this helps, make suitable suggestions and re send it to your partner for further mind work.


About Some Relationships

5 Nov

About some relationships


Most relationships begin and end unknowingly because it takes an effort to maintain them. Even the effort made has to be wholehearted. Many come across only few stay back, it is either their need or our insistence. All relationships come with an expiry date, some burn in the furnace of truth and come forth shining bright, some just turn into ashes and others just smolder and linger along to take those last few breaths and yet there are few others that you can pick up from anywhere irrespective of the years and decades gone by as if nothing ever changed.

The longevity and endurance of relationships depends on the effort put into nurturing them.  There are those informal relationships where one adorns the garb of formality because they are so fragile to stand the truth. If one asked, “How are you? the expected answer always is, “I am fine, thank you for asking?” even though the respondent was not fine. Though this formality is an effort yet it is our societal need, a societal shield to protect ourselves from the attacks of these relations. Will an end of such relationships bother us or we just wait for them to die a natural death so that we can breathe easy.

This can even extend to intimate relationships where being vulnerable is no longer a luxury but a non option. When silence in relationships becomes a condition of peace understand you have crossed that fine line between compromise and self-betrayal. Compromise is an act of volition made out of love when you make one you don’t walk away feeling you betrayed yourself. If the health and longevity of a relationship is dependent on either or else then it is not a compromise but a betrayal of equal partnership. When our so-called compromises start hurting us it is then we have to realize we are no better than those who are hurting us because we are also hurting ourselves by buying peace at any cost.

To pause and think for a minute how long can one walk on eggshells (either this or that) is a good strategy to take an inventory of our relationships.

Is it:

…the only time we get along is when no one is talking…

and we have made it work for quarter a century…

Between Divorce, Annulment and a Lived Lie

4 Nov

Between Divorce, Annulment and a Lived Lie


As we sat on those tiny chairs in the children’s room besides the chapel he pulled a piece of paper from his coat, took a deep breath and said, “here now this is what comes next… she wanted to move to another country and we did. It was her country of birth and this is mine, I tried but I could not be there forever so I came back. We tried to make it work long distance but then there was nothing holding us together anymore, for the first time those complains actually seemed so lame, they were for the sake of. She was ever complaining throughout our lives together even our kids can bear testimony to it. They repeatedly told me let it go, let go of the marriage but I was just so old fashioned. For three years this long distance drained me both physically and financially it is then I said we need to make a decision what are we going to do, even the kids don’t want to move overseas. It is then I received divorce papers  from her attorney. I did not see a reason why not to sign I had always been giving so this was just one more thing to extend. But this, now this is ridiculous, she wants an annulment to make amends with her Gods.

“A piece of paper will erase the 42 years we spent together and two wonderful kids we raised. An annulment after 42 years of marriage, why? Why can’t divorce be it why annulment?  How do you explain two kids, okay we didn’t sire these kids but we raised them together and 42 years of cohabitation? Sin of fornication, what is she trying to prove to her Gods, that life with me was a lie. Either it was a lie or this is a lie. I don’t know what to make of it I am just too angry at this time.” He kept speaking for a long time and few of us just wandered into different directions with our thoughts…

Is it possible to annul a 42 year old marriage for that matter any relationship of any duration. Can one say they are done and they can wipe the past clean and move on. It is true we enter relationships with  both an ideal of relationship we would like to have and the actual emotional baggage we have from previous associations and relationships. We part ways but we leave a part of us behind and bring along a part of the other. How can this slate ever be clean? There will always remain a set of memories good, bad or evil with potential to taint our present.

What do the esteemed readers think ? Please share your views.

Haath chhute bhi to rishte nahi chhoda karte
Waqt ki shaakh se lamhe nahi toota karte

Jiski awaaz mein silwat ho nigaahon mein shikan
Aisi tasvir ke tukade nahi joda karte

Shehad jeene ka mila karta hai thoda thoda
Jaanewaalon ke liye dil nahin toda karte

Lag ke saahil se jo behta hai use behane do
Aise dariyaon ka kabhi rukh nahin moda karte


Happy Diwali, not for many

3 Nov

Happy Diwali, not for them


The unity in diversity of India is best observed outside India especially within desi student communities. Come International Students Day or India coffee hour or Holi, Diwali you’ll see all these students from different regions of India coming together to put up a tableau to showcase India. More than representing India the draw actually is free food and there after freedom to dance on Bollywood tunes. Diwali celebration usually takes place at local Gurudwaras (Sikh place of worship), Holi is at the Hare Krishna temple and Navratri Raas (dance) is where ever Gujrati community can find cheap venue to accommodate hundreds of people according to fire marshal’s rules. Last night was no different like always free buses plied students from school to Gurudwara for lungar and fireworks. Lots of sweets and sumptuous dinner followed by fireworks makes a good outing but the fun was soured for some when the hosts announced midway through the dinner there were going to be no fireworks as for the Sikh community this time Diwali coincided with the day of mourning for 1984 Sikh genocide.

For most students were born a decade or after the fateful happenings of 1984 so they had no idea about community sentiments some were disappointed as there were no fireworks and few others were indifferent. Here was one community abroad seeking answers to a state sponsored pogrom while the citizenry of this country had moved on. This reminded DG of another massacre no one ever talks about, a year and half before Sikh genocide of 1984 in a small village called Nallie,  Assam cut away from mainland in the paddies cornered by a river 3000 people were hacked to death both by locals and the state machinery. Three days of bloodshed and not a word out to anyone anywhere. Living in Assam and on the state machinery that is all DG as a kid heard all the time. Another community forgotten.

The following decade was nightmare of Punjab, it was not cake walk for Kashmiri Pundits in Kashmir, now it is not for the Kashmiri Muslims either. While people struggled to stay alive from bullets and political apathy in these states cities of Jaipur and jodhpur, Rajasthan experienced their first communal riots in 1991 (there was not a single death or report of communal violence in 1947). Then came 1993 Mumbai and many more in between fallen of the public memory. Many were lost to arrac in South of India and dalit murders. Central India is witnessing systematic elimination of native people by the establishment. Recently Patna High Court declared no one killed 58 dalits in Laxmanpur Bathe in 1998, they just died like those motor vehicle accidents just happen. The Godhara 2002 riots seem fictional and now it is Muzaffarnagar 2013.

Starting 1983 in the paddies of Nallie coming to sugarcane fields of Muzaffarnagar in 2013 all one can conclude is unity in diversity. Diverse communities in every nook and corner of this great country experiencing their humanity challenged and destroyed that is the unity they exhibit but forget to claim it.  Lives lost, murderers acquitted and survivors struggling to stay alive and trying to light a lamp of hope each Diwali in the darkest hours of despair that someday their dead will get justice and their living will see the culprits punished. Yet they do not find the commonalities to stand by one another and speak for one another to challenge the political apathy in this nation.

When Devdas is the role model

2 Nov


When Devdas is the role model


Few months ago while riding back home someone called DG’s name aloud, she is not used to such occurrences so was startled, there stood a young woman smiling at her. DG’s eyes tried to scan her features to find some recognition in those yellow teeth. She started without a pause, “I no longer live with your ex-roommate. How did you ever live in that company.”

It is then DG realized this young woman was girlfriend of the kid she rented her spare bedroom to last year. She was at her place most afternoons and evening after work because she did not want to go to her home where her parents fought constantly. She is a fine young woman, interested to go to cooking school so she would cook in DG’s kitchen stay late and go home around midnight. In her company the best came out of the young man she was with but once they decided to move together after three years of seeing each other DG saw the signs.

Together they could afford a place, she was trying to escape her home and he wanted to have his own place all worked out fine between them. When he left he not only left the place horribly dirty and stinking but also took DG’s dishes and sheets. DG was still recollecting that time when she spoke up again, “I am no longer with him, he was so horribly dirty I moved out within a month.” All DG could say was, hmm and she babbled again, “did you say good for you?”

DG said, “no I did not and I am too old to say anything” and then her stop came and she alighted the bus. DG was left wondering at twenty she had had a relationship of three years, a live-in experience of a month and now a new boyfriend. She had experienced what it is like to on your own and how to stand up for yourself and walk out of dysfunctional relationship in time without much harm.

That reminded DG of the question a desi student had posed the previous week, “why young desi people suck at relationships and are into so much devdas like drama,” he confessed how he acted masochistically to get a girl’s favors  by inflicting self harm in high school and a year after.

DG’s answer to him was, we desis thrive in drama and Bollywood music that hammers into our psyche you can only love once and failure or rejection demand self-destruction or just destruction for that matter. With no healthy way of interacting with opposite gender and lack of healthy relationship models what do you expect from them? A young man or woman here (in the US) starts dating by 15-16 and has had few relationships before they actually settle down with someone for good. By mid or late twenties they have had their share of dramas and have if not fully then partially discovered “the self” and are cognizant of their needs and what they need in a relationship and a partner.

We desis if we pick and choose dates just to know them become playboys and sluts who wants those labels? If we prefer arranged marriage then there is no option of dissent but to make it work until death do us apart or one of us kills the other.

How all her worst fears came true

1 Nov

How all her worst fears came true


Finally scumming to NaBloPoMo

If not fear then it will be our ego that keeps us stuck in dysfunctional situations and relationships. If our thoughts become our actions and our actions become are behaviors and habits then our thoughts are definitely powerful enough to make things happen. As the readers know how DG’s worst fears both actual and assumed came true in the exact order she had been mulling over them for days, months and years while every fiber of her being screamed to get out of an abusive marriage. If her fearful thoughts  were so powerful that they could manifest themselves exactly the way she had dreamt of them both in sleep and wide awake through days and nights then how powerful her positive thoughts could be she often wondered. Being  present in the moment was the positive side effect of the accident that not only broke bones, home and bank all at the same time. The moment was all she had, first it was morphine free moment to moment then hour to hour and then one day at a time for many years to come and even now many days are just one day at a time.

Looking back it seems those fears were not unfounded they were very legitimate but were given little too much credence and space in her head that magnified them and their end results. Once all those fears came true they were there and were dealt one at a time and they were manageable, bones were fixed if not in the company of loved ones then in the company of strangers who became dear ones. The physical home was just a roof over head without the feelings of belongingness that was gone a new idea of home emerged home is where you rest your head be it in a motel for a night. DG still unpacks her suitcase and sets up the nightstand even if she checks in a hotel for a night and building her piggy bank is an ongoing project…

If those fears were manageable then how did her mind magnify them to those monstrous proportions? It was her ego that fed those fears, she was willing to betray herself than the social scripts that said, homelessness will be worse possible outcome as it will bring not only physical hardship but also shame. The physical hardships are manageable but the minute you attach value especially shame to a situation you give away your power and make that situation have power over you. Homelessness was a state with a potential to change but being under unsafe roof in the name of honor of family and marriage was a dead-end stage. Social scripts, social agents, significant others and everybody can shame you for being homeless for any reason be it addiction, abuse or misappropriation of finances but you lose the battle the minute you shame yourself. It was one man’s ego (raised on cultural scripts) that destroyed a beautiful family within minutes that was build both by him, his wife and extended family over years.

Situations are states with a potential to change sometimes sooner sometimes very slowly but they do change why indulge your ego and make them humongous. See them as they are and break them into small pieces and tackle them one at a time. This all DG learned.

Her Marital Home: His Inherited Property

22 Jul

Her Marital Home: His Inherited Property


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.

Jiah Khan a Preventable Tragedy: Teachable Moment Lost to TRP

12 Jun

Jiah Khan a Preventable Tragedy: Teachable Moment Lost to TRP


DG has been away from GGTS for quite some time to break her hiatus she had other plans but lately desi media acrobatics on a death forced her to change plans. From last few days desi electronic and print media is having an all out expose on  Jiah Khan’s suicide. It is not one of a kind suicide everyday numerous young women and men end their lives due to personal and not so personal reasons. Just because this young woman was an actress, a public figure her death has been made into public spectacle as TRP launchpad. It is a shame that a young life lost has given media an opportunity to sensationalize her death and titillate the imaginations of sexually starved nation all to make money.

Everyday countless jilted lovers, hopeless professionals, trapped individuals and clinically depressed people commit suicide. Jiah Khan’s suicide could have been a teachable moment that is not only missed but is turned into money minting spectacle. The early discourse began with how she was depressed due to stagnating career graph and then the discourse changed to newly found evidence a six-page letter her mother gave to the investigating of officers. Since this letter became available to media it has been circulated via electronic media at high pace.

Some electronic versions of reputed newspapers did not even proofread the headlines just in a hurry to make it big, what a shame (the correction is made on 06/12/2013 you can google to see the initial  error). Yet others have published this letter to rake moolah from every word written by the departed. As the case is progressing more facts are coming forth and everyday a new story is minted about the intimate relationship of the departed. A privately lived life all of a sudden becomes a public property to be stripped and judged by threadbare analyses by media and the readers alike. The comments left by readers are appalling they match in shamelessness with impunity to  the contents of news feature.  DG agree with justice Katju on his views about the current breed of journalists who have no foundation in the basics of history, socio-political, cultural or economic s of the nation state forget about the journalistic ethics. They learn one knew word san its usage and keep repeating it like a parakeet be it “living in relationship or differently abled” long after the proponents of the same have moved forward leaving behind these incomplete constructs.

What could have been a teachable moment is lost in the fray of a statement made by a leading pulp fiction writer, DG is yet to read the actual article where she makes this statement. Following the statement the media goes haywire in digging dirt about the father of the named accused in the case. This was a moment when a discussion about generational cycle of violence could have been initiated to explain how patterns of intimate relationships of parents become models of intimate relationships for their children.

Generational Cycle of Violence

The happenings in the lives of significant adults in our lives are not only teaching moments but their lives are like residential school for learning about relationships. Poor role models do not exonerate children of their irresponsible behavior as the consequences are theirs’ to bear. A son of an abuser (here it is in context to heterosexual relationships, it is equally applicable to couples of other sexual orientations too) learns abusing is a normal part of relationship whereas his daughter learns it is tolerable to put up with an abuser. One child is taught how to become an abuser and yet the other is taught learned helplessness. DG is aware some of you will be eager to point out that a daughter of an abusive father can also become an abuser where as his son can chose to refrain from intimate partner violence or any kind of violence. A discussion on differential implications of abusive upbringing demand another post that will follow in future. Right now DG takes this opportunity to talk about relationship patterns. Do our intimate relationships resemble those in our birth families? If our relationships resemble those we grew up with it assures us of their normalcy and makes us confident “I survived my family I can handle this too.” This explains why it is difficult to walk out of an abusive relationship at an earlier time than a time when life and death is in  question.

Sings of an Abuser

Abusers do not fall from skies they are bred here amongst us by not challenging their misdemeanors but by rewarding their bad behaviors; boys will be boys; what do you expect from young people etc. This was a moment when personal responsibility of the abuser should have been discussed but no that is one thing we desis don’t do. Abusers can be traced quickly and too often if you just put down those rose colored bollywood gogles and the basket of folk wisdom that confuses abusive behavior with love.

Private Lives Public Shame

This was an opportune moment to move the discussion from misogyny in the community to the realm of intimate relationships. Some bloggers and one news feature wrote about how a relationship gone sour is not worth it (though this newspaper could not refrain from the greed of sensationalizing the message by making it a photo feature about the departed) but that does not make sense to anyone going through abuse you have to enumerate how to get out because in their head they know it is not worth it. After nine days appears this trash of an article on why actresses get abused. DG has raised this point elsewhere how any accessible shrink with a practice becomes an expert on what ails women and the society.

When and where did we failed in telling our young women that an intimate relationship is not an end of all? We fail every day we failed today when we refused to challenge the sensationalize of the departed’s intimate relationship by the media. When an intimate act that goes wrong is used to stigmatize and problematise the victim it only encourages abusers.

The way this young woman’s intimate life is now dissected will only discourage other women to report intimate partner abuse. DG usually says, “your lived life is yours until you are alive once you shut your eyes for good it is for others to spice their mundane lives with it.” The burden of secret this young woman carried to grave is no longer a secret somewhere deep within she wanted it to be made known to the world how she suffered at the hands of an intimate partner. Why was death the only way she thought was her way out of this misery? Why didn’t she have the courage to say it aloud to significant others in her life. What could have been a private pain is now a public shame for the family left behind. The use of words “shame” in this context is made with careful consideration because that is what media and the consumers of media are portraying it to be instead of facts.

Can an Abused Trust Her Family?

It is evident that the mother of the departed had confronted her about the abusive nature of her intimate relationship and asked her to end it. But why didn’t she, when she had such a supportive parent? We all know our birth families and we also know what they approve of and what remains unmentionable. The abortion that is so much talked about today was she in position to talk to her mother about it? Most parents are aware their children are sexually active but would prefer to remain oblivious to the truth that only harms the young. Greater number of young women are trapped in abusive relationships because they had sex for all the wrong reasons in first place also they grew up to believe sex is sinister and getting pregnant was a death sentence. Though the departed was an actress and a public figure but these stricture still hold good in the realm of families. We try to pull together an image we are expected to uphold by our loved ones thus the guilt of failing is very high. Only if we could teach our young break ups are tough but are survivable.

How to Talk to an Abused

What her mother could have done differently to save the life that is now lost? Once you initiate a dialogue about abusive and addictive relationship the fear of being over indulgent other in an adult’s life emerges in our mind. Parents and families ought to be there for the abused but they also need skills to respectfully intervene and make sure there loved one get the help and support they need. Take ques from this hyperlink about how to talk to an abused.

Why Wait So Long?

Every time people ask why didn’t she leave at the first slap, why did she wait so long? DG is not amused because they do not know that abusers groom the abused over a period of time. Abuse in intimate relationships is not an overnight development, it is systematic and sneaky. When first act of violation takes place the abused is shell shocked, ashamed and  in disbelief it is then then abuser pulls out the first trick from their bag; by second incident abused is sure it won’t happen again but when it happens a little more self confidence is eroded and by third time most of the self confidence is gone and they feel helpless, trapped and not knowing how to stop the abuse or if getting out is an option.

Learn to Say No

When are we going to learn to say NO in relationships and when are we going to take responsibility for our feelings?

Most of all when are we going to be adults in a relationship and learn how to break up gracefully?

DG can go on and on this topic because she survived a nightmare. When she reported abuse and her abuser was to face the legal consequences he challenged her on the notion of love, how she could give upon him and do this to him (make it public where he was to face the consequences for his actions). Not only desi people made her feel guilty about reporting abuse but her abuser too tried to play on the guilt card.  All through this she had never lost sight of the fact that if she was born, she had a purpose and it was definitely not to be abused and die being abused. Her saving grace was what her kid brother taught her:

“I love you that is true but the fact is in order to love you I have to stay sane and alive. I have every legal and God-given right to protect me no matter how much I love you or you love me.”

Learn about abuse and abusers and save your life or that of another person.

All tools, posts and comments on this blog for anyone to learn from for free copyrights apply for usage though. If you still want personal opinion be willing to pay for DG’s time and services. Please do not email her unless she has given you the permission to do so.


GGTS is 3

16 Oct


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.

It Feels Good to Know DG Made a Difference

4 Jul

It Feels Good to Know DG Made a Difference


It’s been almost two and half years since GGTS came into existence. Until now it has received 176,313 hits while DG is typing this post. Sadly GGTS could not even make to 1500 comments in this whole time.  Numerous reader find a confidant in her thus write personal emails sharing their deep secrets few write comments too. DG is aware more men subscribe to GGTS where as more comment and email writers are women. It is assumed GGTS is women’s space forgetting that her signature reads “A Desi Girl’s Guide to Relationship Survival,” thus any reader can use it if they wish to.

Since its inception GGTS has dealt with almost most issues of desi relationships in the form of posts and comments. There is even a joke in circulation within close group of readers that DG has a link for everything. DG is on No RESCUE mission her aim is to break the isolation and provide research based best practices to her readers to learn new skills to deal with their relationship issues. There are situations where she provides individual support to a person depending upon their need and seriousness of the issue. Rarely do people come back to say thanks and publicly acknowledge like this reader.

Please do not expect DG to spoon feed you like this comment writer who had no patience to even write a proper comment. DG is no mind reader and will not go on a RESCUE mission. Just remember no one can help you unless you want to help yourself. Just ask yourself why should they help you in the first place? Read around browse GGTS read through the comments you’ll find an answer, all tools are on the side bar on to the right in separate pages. Personalized support to identify problem areas, set realistic goals and learn new skills to resolve them is hereafter nominally charged to keep this space safe and free for all find her email id within the comments and write to her if you fail to find answer on GGTS.

GGTS is DG’s personal blog it is not a forum where other readers pitch in. Each comment is dealt with as sensitively as possible. DG is human. Join DG on FB.

Seldom men write to her about their issues and one such person had lots of courage to publicly acknowledge how he sought DG’s professional help and benefited.

It’s been a sweet and sour journey but is worth it.

From: Haresh Patel

Hi DG,

They say there are things which cannot be measured by any parameters. Your pieces of advice are some of them 🙂

I am amazed at the level of maturity your posts show. I’m glad to see how your posts – and your pieces of advice/counselling – help break complex/difficult-looking problems into smaller bits that can be acknowledged and worked upon.

When I first emailed you, I didn’t know that your advice would prove to be so helpful. It’s your ability to read problems, to analyze root-causes of problems, to understand psychology and to generate trust that make your counselling so effective.

I am glad that I came across with someone so understanding and sensitive yet so disciplined. I never hesitated in sharing with you all the issues that I had been dealing with.

Our exchanges of mails and your personalized advice were all that changed everything. You helped me realize what the real problems were. You helped me realize how the problems were actually different than those I had thought (or rather, imagined). You showed how my approach in dealing with my problems was more likely to do more harm than good as you could analyze the real simple causes of an apparent complex set of problems.

I was trying, though not hard enough, to come out of the mess I was in. But, after your counselling, I realized that all my efforts weren’t in the direction I should. I needed to change my perspective of looking at things, at issues, at people, and above all, at myself.

It wasn’t that no one had ever suggested me any steps. But, it was your level of expertise in counselling and my belief in the same which ensured that I tried to follow your suggestions. I’m glad that I’ve been able to solved issues that I’d been dealing with since long. I’m glad that I know myself better now.

I’ve absolutely loved all the posts of yours that I’ve read and I now know that it’s not impossible to come out of mental/psychological problems that we sometimes find to hard to come out of. If you start understanding the problems, realizing them, accepting them and sincerely try to come out of the same, you’ll be amazed to see how fast you can recover.

Thanks DG for being there. I’m happy that I came in touch with you. I know what your counselling meant to me. I’ll always be obliged to you for the same 🙂

Haresh Patel

What has class got to do with Domestic Violence

9 Apr

What has class got to do with Domestic Violence



This question was thrown at DG once again by some one rolling in their middle class privilege and DG is tired of typing same answers over and over again. She is settling this issue for once and all. Long time back @IHM posed a question “Is it possible to solve a problem without treating the cause?” Many of us made our views known. As usual DG posted mile long comments in response to some reader of her blog. DG had to and fro commenting marathon with one comment writer in particular and she asked What has class got to do with it. You can check all  the comments between her and DG here. DG is easier to locate just look for bright gazania as her gravatar in front of the comment.


@Desi Girl and IHM :

“Is it not a time we start asking men to share their of childcare and house keeping. How long are we women planning to ride on the backs of less previleged women”

You have a point there regarding the maid. But, I was being sarcastic. Its highly impossible to get a free of cost and hassle free maid! Maybe robots might serve that purpose in future, with just the initial buying and maintenance cost. :)

So your solution is men sitting at home and taking care of the kids! For the life of me , I don’t know how a set of parents, however helping hubby would be, can raise a child and work at the same time without outside help. Creche and nursery you mean? Honestly, I don’t know a solution to this.

Read ur post on confused girls. I am sure every guy too has a different story to tell, nobody ever has a perfect childhood or teenage. The parents mentality then was, especially a father’s, that the son has to at some point earn a living for his new family. So arm him with everything they can. Daughters now are given oppurtunity to basic education, but how many will send their girls to far away places for further education or employment, even if they can afford it? The mentality has to change, like someone said, even if the girl is raped or not a virgin, she should be treated as a normal person.

In peace too :)


Following is the comment she made in response to this reader’s 3rd and last comment that liberally used emoticons to make light of a very serious issue. Wish they had rules on how to use smileys and lol.



I am sorry doing this on another person’s blog. I guess you need to do some homework before you make flat statements. I guess we all are guilty of that. At times we think being Indian we qualify to make statements about India that are not even factual or at other times we assume we are expected to know every thing Indian and about India just because we are Indians. So is the case of women and their problems. We are women so we ought to know every thing under the sun that ails women. But is more than what is visible to eye.

Jyothi: why the violence occurs?

DG: Because a person or a group of people assume they have a legitimate right or are entitled to and have power supported by law or culture to control the actions of another person or group. Be it upper castes perpetrating violence against Dalits on the pretext of fetching water from the community well or men beating their spouses for they did not do exactly what they wanted them to. Think would a man beat his subordinate at work because he did not meet the project deadline or follow the instruction.

A man beats his spouse because he knows he can get away with it without any penalties rather the system/culture will support him. Remember, THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR VIOLENCE.

A man/men make cat call at women or rape women because
1). they think women are like objects and they can do what ever they want,
2). know they can get away with it because culture will stigmatize the woman if she reports it and
3). the law will support him as it will ask what was woman doing at that hour of time, has she slept with other men in the past or what ever else…

Now about intimate violence against women, it is also called domestic violence because it occurs within the confines of homes, an assumed to be a safe space. Any violence is a learned behavior all genders are capable of committing it. More men abuse other men (refer general crime stats in any country) and also a greater number of women (through intimate partner violence) and some women also abuse both men (fewer in number than men abusing women) and other women (refer desi households).

Jyothi: Nothing short of a revolution will change the male mentality!

DG: Totally agree with you. Nanak, Jesus, Gandhi, Buddha all failed to generate compassion in the heart of patriarchal system for women and under privileged people only you dreaming of a revolution will definitely do it (pun intended and no apologies)

REVOLUTION BEGINS WITH ME. Start confronting your own biases. I have problems with obesity (I constantly struggle with weight but at times I still feel fat people are slaves to their emotions so they over eat or they are just lazy where as the fact his some people have genetic disposition for fat or are dealing with some health issue that makes them fat). Challenge the male preferential treatment and rituals in your family and circle of friends. If a man cracks a mother-in-law or bad woman joke snub him at the same time. Initiate a discussion what prompted him to say such a bad joke. Confront anyone who uses MF, SF or what ever abusive and cuss words they are using? Ask the why not BF, FF??

Jyothi: Middle class privilege? Where does class play a role here? The situation of women is the same in every strata of society.

DG: This is your middle class privilege speaking. How can you and the domestic help you employ have same issues. Some of your issues could be similar but never same. Like wise a manager and peon cannot have same issues but many similar issues like being late to work. The boss was late due to high traffic or his car broke where is a peon is late because the bus was too full and he/she could not board it or the bus just did not show up. But people are worried about the education of their kids.

You wake up every morning. Jump in the bath for a quick shower the running water in the tap refreshes you. You dry your hair with a hair dryer because you have electricity if there is a power outage then you have a inverter or generator. You dress up in a crisp saree, salwar kameez or business suit that may be you did not iron your self. You have breakfast at the table that is made on LPG stove. Then you pick car or scooter keys and zoom out of the door.

During all this you also got your kids dressed for school packed their lunches and shoved them into school bus or drove them to school. And your male spouse just read the newspaper or may be helped you but not as much you wanted. Or he still has a hangover from last night and when on high he said some thing mean to you or even hit you.

Now about the domestic help you employ or the female construction worker who constructed the building where you sat and typed this comment.

She wakes up before the sun rises because she has to find some privacy some where on the railway track to relieve herself. Then to clean herself and have some drinking water for the family she has to wait in line at the community tap or walk few miles to fetch some water on her head. The she has to feed herself and her kids she either depends on kerosene stove or fuel wood that she has to find in the concrete jungle. It will definitely take more time for her to prepare a meal than it took you. You may say you have seen many slums have LPG stoves, refrigerators and TVs. So?? Would you like to live there?? :) Back to the chronology of events if she is domestic help she has to reach work before memsahiba leaves. If she is a construction worker then she has to be even earlier because the contractor may not give her a day labor or someone who just came from village will grab her job. She still has work to do at home, clean and get her kids ready to go to school (if they even go)If they are very young a construction worker will put them in the on site crèche (not all places have crèches)that we middle class people operate for their benefit and pat our backs. If she is a domestic help her employer will not like her to bring her kids to work so who will mind them may be her minor daughter who is little older than her siblings. She’ll do the chores and may be go to the anaganwadi or even the afternoon school. where she’ll fall asleep because she is tired and has had not enough sleep and the teacher will say she is good for nothing. She’ll flunk and the school will chuck her out. Here goes her chances of bright future an education will bring now she is all good to fill her mother’s shoes as a domestic help when she retires. Think, will this ever happen to your daughter? will you let this happen to her?? :)

Also, remember her husband is drunk, shares no chores or parenting responsibilities rather shouts, yells and hits her. Here you and she are on the same page. So what has class to do with it??

If she were from your class she won’t be dealing with all the things I enumerated above and also the spousal abuse.

Yes, children are affected in both the classes because men are not sharing their share of parenting duties and women are tired and they can do only as much.

I could not find anything Indian context appropriate other than this.

Jyothi: Where I live, and I am sure in India too, most companies don’t work in shifts. Not all can work at Call Centers! Children will definitely be affected either way!

DG: Yes, you are right. No shift work for most middle class Indians. There were no childcare options and maternity leave privileges in India but women raised voice and got it implemented. Start talking to your friends facing similar situation. Unite talk to your employers. Under the UN and ILO Convention they are bound by law if they are ISO 500 companies. Even the smaller ones with 25 or more employer have to follow some laws. But it is too much work besides coming to 9 to 5 job and taking care of house hold so you or I will not do it. We’ll wait for women laborer’s to go on strike and fight for our rights (that is thehistory of International Women’s Day).

Jyothi: I don’t think any woman (or man), educated or not educated, will ever look down upon a rape victim. But moral less girls (or guys for that matter), it’s a different thing all together.

DG: That is why educated people have been debating on internet in English how characterless was Nirupama for getting pregnant.

Jyothi: I would love the revolution to empower woman (or man) to be able to make their own choices, but not to adopt western animal culture.

DG: The internet you used to present your views here came from west. The printing press that contributed to India’s independence was a product of west. So what is this western animal culture?? West gave us the idea about maternity leaves for working women, women representation in the leadership positions and education on and on… So what is this animal culture?? :) Rapes, as if they never happened in India before MTV. Yeh, sure we forced the rapist to marry the raped and declared it Rakshesa Vivah. Great. (I will not elaborate on this please do a google search.) What happened during the 1947 roits, Godra roits were they west influenced?? What happened to all those women?? So many of them committed suicides because of stigma and they way there are taught a once raped a woman life is not worth living.

Jyothi: But moral less girls (or guys for that matter), it’s a different thing all together.

DG: What is moral?? What was moral 60 years ago is all upside down today. A Hindu man deserting his wife to beget a son in order to secure a place in heaven is moral. Now after 1956 Marriage Act his place in heaven has been curtailed as he can’t dump her on this pretext. Teens having sex is a moral issue but child marriage and teen wives having kids is ok?? Is the bond of marriage cure and cover all?? Bigamy is a problem but man visiting sex workers or raping a domestic help is ok because it is not visible to all. What is hidden is not a problem until it is exposed. Lets shove the dirt under the carpet.

So morally a prostitute cannot be raped because that is her work. But doesn’t she have a right to say NO?

Jyothi: I don’t agree with the fact that woman should work out off home to be part of this revolution for woman’s empowerment.

DG: That is the whole point of this exercise. Women’s domestic work should be respected. It should be a woman’s choice if she wants to stay at home and raise kids or should go to work outside the home. If a woman is poor she has to work to feed her kids then it is not a choice it is poverty directing her actions. You and I can have that privilege but not a very large majority of Indian women. UmaS had a choice how many women will have that option??

The whole idea is to treat women as Humans and supporting them in their parenting roles. Women do not get pregnant out of vacuum. Men are responsible for making babies so they should be shouldering the parenting duties. They don’t because we haven’t made that demand strongly rather we have employed other less privileged women to do father or husband’s job minus coitus.

I guess this is done here if you have any questions please leave a comment at:

Apologies for this on going discourse with one person, now on I am taking this discussion to my blog.




Holy Holy it took DG 45 minutes just to cut past and insert links in this post. Good old days, when she had the patience to type mile long responses.

Any reader who has any question about dealing with in-laws please read the comments all your doubts and queries are addressed there. If you still have personal questions or need specific help you can contact her on gmail (to find the email read the comments carefully she has disclosed her contact number of times in comments to different posts).





In DG’s Less Than Perfect World

24 Mar

In DG’s Less Than Perfect World



Yes, it is just three months and twenty three days late, did you forget about “better late than never.” Hope some of you are still continuing with your new year resolutions. DG didn’t make one, she gave up few years ago on resolutions because the pixels don’t match her drive just as the fish don’t ride the bikes. This post is not new it was penned few months ago when in a week three people told her they wanted a “life like yours” but did not make it here because other posts made it. So now why is it resurfacing? It is resurfacing because three more people within a week have wished for “a life like hers.”

DG finds a strange affinity with GGTS readers, some communicate through comments, some via private emails and yet few others ping her on gtalk or facebook. Many are curious to know what DG’s life is like. Then there are desi strangers beyond the virtual world who want to know about her every day living because they are in face to face situation they feel at liberty to ask many direct personal questions. Yes, her age is showing she is 30+ just few years shy of jumping the box. Usual conversation begins with “If she is married?” She answers, no she is single. Then the next question is she never got married or what? She wants to scream not your business be happy with the information you are given. She is neither interested in lives of inquisitive strangers  nor curious please leave her life alone let’s talk about politics and whatever… She’ll accept any and all information you give her about yourself without batting an eyelid. It is interesting in a minute these people commend DG for her life style and the very next minute they are envious, then pitiful followed by selling marriage to her. It is amazing how one person can entice so many emotions in others.

DG is pretty private person yet she shares a lot about herself and her experiences to break the isolation many desi women may be experiencing in their lives across the globe. DG’s world may seem perfect but the truth is it is pretty imperfect and less than exciting but it is her world and she loves it to pieces. There are good days and there are not so good days then there are days that cannot be defined. The everyday living she took for granted until two years ago is no longer the case. The routine she followed all her life as if on auto pilot no longer seems familiar, it often seems stranger than fiction.

An ordinary day begins with getting out of bed. Yes, it is for everyone but for DG it is important for DG because waking up at a decent hour and without pain is a biggie. There after day begins by the book and the buzzer. Yes, she has to use timer for ordinary things like bed, bath, breakfast, lunch and so on. She eats same breakfast day after day with exception to Sunday when IK takes her to Gurudwara for early morning meditation. Those people are good they not only feed you but give you take along bags too; as DG cannot be trusted around food she tries hard not to bring home any doggie bag. She loves see food; she sees food she eats food. She is a life member of overeater’s anonymous.

DG's Breakfast

DG's Breakfast ready to eat

DG's Breakfast ready to eat

DG’s Breakfast

Due to her love for food and compulsion to eat she cooks once or twice a month and freezes portion sizes for reheating as needed but mostly survives on fruits, smoothies and saute veggies. It is not that she cannot cook she is prefers path of least resistance and labor.  Also it is safe because on numerous occasions she has managed to burn rice in rice cooker. She believes all behaviors are learned behaviors so all tastes are acquired tastes. According to her all cultures have special formula to destroy nutrition thus she prefers her food with bit of nutrition, raw, blanched or steamed is better for her. She is a one pot cooking person; less is better it is easier to clean after and most of all it is easier for her to manage on a difficult day. The fact is one pot cooking is easier to manage than multi step multi pot cooking for her.

DG's Dinner

DG's Dinner in making

DG's Dinner in making II

DG's Dinner in making II

DG's Yummy Lunch

DG's Yummy Lunch

DG's Favorite Saute Zuccini

DG's Favorite Saute Zuccini

DG's Lunch Ready to Eat

DG's Lunch Ready to Eat

It takes an expert to burn rice in rice cooker

It takes an expert to burn rice in rice cooker

A stitch in time saves nine is her motto. Everything in her world has an ascribed place, whatever you pick up from where ever kindly put it back in the same space and in same order. It not only keeps the place looking clean and organized but keeps the dust in order too. Also, it helps DG navigate on auto pilot or according to the picture (none of the pictures in this post are taken for GGTS, these are part of her cooking protocol).

Her clothes are placed in order of colors and in sets so she doesn’t have to think twice; to save the trouble most are white, anything and everything goes with one another.

With the help of her alarm clock and timer she is able to work through the list of chores she is supposed to do every day. Her talking timer tells her to get herself to gym or else she’ll be comfortable in her pajamas for days in row (it is a possibility when you work from home). Thrice a week she drags herself to gym; workout comes second to doing a crossword puzzle in the sauna. She may forget the traffic signals when crossing the road but she definitely remembers clues to the puzzles, now that is called a blessing.

Faith, family and friends are the constants and pillars of her life. Rest everything and everyone is welcome but will have to earn a place for themselves. GGTS has afforded her some very good friends who watch out for her even if it is virtually. She can count her friends on her finger tips and they do the best they can for her. Her in person interactions are very limited, thanks to technology she can lay on her couch and make her world go round. And for those who walked away she did not stop a single one of them because she believed they were there for a reason…

Yes, BFF dude DG will go on at least one date in 2012. Happy? She is making a public announcement. Sardar, now you know bahanji’s life is not for every one. It is hers and it works for her. Kid you have to make your own, there is no manual on how to live life it is live and learn but also learn from others’ mistakes you don’t have to make all the mistakes. You’ll have to get out there and take risks or else how will you know what could have been…  What ever you decide DG will support you but just be safe.

Her social filters are broken thus she has no qualms of calling out anyone on anything. That is not a very good thing but it works for her because she has the protection of creator.Yes, she rarely gets upset or loses her cool but when she does she means it. She dislikes inveterate complainants and few months ago she cursed one that they lived complaining and will die complaining. IK has been on DG’s case to take her words back but she is adamant because words once said cannot be taken back and when she said it she meant it.

Did she spoil her karma with this person? May be. How will she resolve it? As of now she has no plan when she is in that frame of mind she’ll think about it for now she’ll not fret about it; one task at a time. Yes, DG is just another person with same needs and wants she just knows the difference and she is best described in the words of Seemab Akbarabadi

In Continuation… Happiness: A Work in Progress…

31 Dec

Happiness: A Work in Progress… 2

In continuation…

December 31st, 2011

To understand happiness we have to explore our relationship with unhappiness. Like everybody else DG’s relationship with unhappiness began very early in childhood. Out of the womb into the world of new faces what does a baby know? Poo, pee and scream for feed poor mum runs crazy to quite this little bundle of joy that it no longer is. So begins the regime to regulate feeding hours thus will follow the changing times and so on. Did the baby like it? How could baby tell? Baby could not talk so began the campaign to teach her how to talk. Once parents succeed in this they want to display their feat to the world. My baby can say “mommy,” “daddy,” “chocolate and what not. It became baby’s job to make them proud and happy in the world of parents to complete the sentence “my dog is better than…” or else baby was being difficult and a bad baby.

Baby picked it early on the smile mommy gives depends on obeying the commands. The smart baby goes ahead and not only follows the commands but learns new tricks for treats (approval). Some tricks/behaviors especially those the baby used her brain to learn were detrimental to parental reputation and baby’s survival outside the home. First they taught her how to talk now she speaks the truth so they have to teach her how to shut up. Auntie is fat, uncle is not good, mommy said… Thus began the second campaign to teach the baby what is desirable and does not challenges the parental wisdom and authority. The “saam, daam, dand, bhed” (use all means- tricks, treats, spanking, grounding) were used to train and make the toddler an obedient doggie. Oh, this wicked baby came programmed with her creator’s secret code fixed deep within her soul and parents had a difficult task of decoding it or shutting the code off. This is child’s earliest encounter with happiness and unhappiness.

Lesson she learned was  happiness of significant people in her life is in her hands and key to her happiness is with the significant people in her life and any other person she considers worth. So our happiness is actually mortgaged to others and each is carrying the burden of keeping the other happy. But the fact is nobody can make anyone happy if they decide to be unhappy. Do you recall the story of “sad princess,” a spoilt brat of a princess one time became silent and sad  for years and she would not laugh. Her father, the king pledged half of his kingdom to anyone who could make her laugh. Thousands tried but she did not laugh and one day she laughed at a lousy freak show. Did it mean other shows weren’t good enough? It was a choice she made. May be she laughed when she understood the joke or she became tired of remaining silent and sad.

Truth is happiness because truth sets you free but all social energies are focused on declaring the truth a malady, an ailment in need of a cure or elimination. From early on children are taught how not to honor their inner voice, a voice kept there by their creator to keep them safe. Even a very young child knows who not to trust or get closer to but parents and caregivers negate child’s apprehension and make them vulnerable to abuse. It is true children need to be taught venturing out from the safety of homes and caregivers but they also need to trust their instincts. DG felt early in the courtship it wasn’t feeling right but her friends, family and media convinced her it is just a figment of her mind and she ought to take this risk. How is a person supposed to trust their instincts when there is no validation from those around them? But why did she need a validation? Because validation and approval was what she grew up for, when and where ever she used her instincts as a guide she got in trouble as it did not match the social conventions rather challenged the folk wisdom and authority.

That inner voice never dies the clutter we pile on it just makes it feeble. Reclaiming happiness is to de-clutter and start listening to that voice. The more you honor our body and its messages the more we get closer to happiness. This body we have was given to us at birth and will remain with us until our last breath but we chose to trust everyone else who’ll leave us at anytime unannounced. Why are they more important than our body that it has to yell, scream and fall sick for our attention? In previous post DG mentioned how her hormones went haywire. Connect with your body and its messages you’ll discover “YOU” and it will lead you to the path of happiness. If your spouse is being an idiot your body will tell you don’t fight it or try to justify his/her bad behavior just accept the truth. If in-laws are monster-in-law then accept it don’t try to win in a game they invented. If your parents and siblings are energy drain and drama junkies don’t deny it accept it and protect yourself from energy suckers. If your DIL or SonIL are difficult just give yourself a timeline how much time you want to spend in their company.

Happiness is a choice. Gone are the days when marriages were means of survival for women and they had to take all the nonsense or else they had to kill themselves (this sentence is directed towards GGTS readers- middle class, highly educated and gainfully employed women; DG is very much aware of hardships of abused married women who have no recourse as she was one of them). No matter what the circumstances there is always a way out if we become still and listen to our body and our inner voice. When we acknowledge worldly chaos and accept it as truth that is when we get lost in unhappiness. DG has lived in homeless shelters, faced hunger, bore social stigmatization, isolation, self doubt and what not but she always had one thing clear in her head no matter what she was created out of kindness for happiness and she’ll achieve it.

Just consider what is important for you happiness or winning medals of social approval? The day DG decided “if you don’t pay my rent and bills then what you think about me don’t matter” half her troubles were gone and the other half is constant work on SELF.

This is a short post and yes, it did cut corners because DG wanted to honor her word that she’ll post before the year end. She is moving on New Year’s Day so she’ll be little busy in coming week or so. But she promises she’ll share her journey in coming weeks and months. Please follow the links carefully because each link documents her journey on this path.

                         Experience is not what happened to you; it is what you do with what happens to you.

                                                                                                                                                                                           -Aldous Huxley.


Happiness: A Work in Progress…

13 Dec

Happiness: A Work in Progress…

December 13th, 2011

Yes, DG has again done the Houdini act for no apparent reasons. She was gone for 3 months and three days. While she was gone GGTS turned two on October 16th and a week before that it hit the 100,000 hits mark. Few health debacles and travel trips later she is here. Lately she has been getting emails from some desi bahus combating psychological warfare waged by in-laws and few are asking, Is it possible to be happy when people are messing your life? This post was penned in Oct 2009 when GGTS came into existence but it never felt right time to post it until now.

A lot has been written about happiness, “It is in Your Head: Thinking your Way to Happiness,” “Happiness is an Inside Job,” “Baby Steps to Happiness,” “Happiness: How to Find it and Keep it” and so on. DG does not claim to devise a formula that will turn all unhappiness in one’s life into happiness. This is how she learned to claim her happiness. It was a slow journey, but it was worth it. She believes if it helped her then it will help anyone who wants to try it.

Few years ago, DG was in a situation where she was immensely unhappy and miserable. Those who loved her, asked her to be happy, and not bother herself about petty things people said to her or did to her. Someone suggested she should fake being happy, until she became happy and gradually she’ll start feeling happy all the time. That seemed so simple but it was not. How could she not be bothered when her spouse told her she was mean, because she could not keep his mother happy? She did not want harmony in the family. She was going to separate him from his family. She had no such intentions but was blamed for everything that went wrong between him and his family, to the extent of family dog running away…

She wondered what would make his mother happy. Her combing hair the way MIL wanted her to, covering her head when MIL had company or cooking the egg plant according to her recipe. She lived 11,000 miles away, but her one phone call was enough to ruin the weekend. She wanted to know what time DG woke up. What did she do all day, if somebody from her family or friends visited her, her son’s home without MIL’s permission? Who visited us, what we served them and what they brought as gifts all had to be reported to mummyji-in-law. It was like the saying “when they came, what they brought, and when they left what they gave.” She always had something to say about everything under the sun and so did her son. At times, DG thought they were more anal than anus because even rectum exhibits some control of place and time but their tongues had no bar (excuse the analogy this is a transliteration of a Hindi idiom [muhavra]).

All this was normal to them, a sign of affection. There was no concept of boundaries. At times, it felt we were three people sleeping in the bed. One time, past midnight MIL called during very intimate moments. He rolled DG aside to answer the phone, but it disconnected. His mother immediately called back, and chided him for hanging upon her. He cried, and begged her not to say that. He yelled, screamed and threw things, and went to the other room to sleep. DG stood there, like spectator not hurt, but bemused. At least this should have made a wife happy, but she felt pity for him, and wondered will she ever be happy in such an unhappy company.

At that time, DG was so overwhelmed by the emotional blackmail and manipulation in and around the relationship. The modesty taboos prevented her from disclosing it to anyone it was so humiliating to tell this is the marriage she had for love. Maybe that was the reason her well-wishers thought she was choosing to be unhappy. All that was visible to them was a big house, a husband with fat salary and the mother-in-law living in another city so why was she choosing to be unhappy. It started showing on her health. The ongoing stress messed her hormones, she suffered from insomnia, gained weight, and was unhappier than ever.

As a teenager DG spent my Rupees three diet allowance to buy her best friend a poster that read “better alone than in bad company.” She wanted to follow that quotation but felt helpless, as she could not find a way to change the situation or leave the bad company/marriage. What was humiliating then is entertaining today, it is fun to share it with the world. Why should DG be humiliated? She should have been humiliated, if she had chosen to stay in that company. DG knows, she is not alone all those who are reading this have their own share of amusing stories to tell. Yes, DG recalls Shannu telling how her MIL had the audacity to ask her if they had sex during the navratri. Nimi, DG owes it to you, remember one day you asked DG if she was so unhappy then why not leave him. DG was speechless and you said “I see you ten years latter still with him, miserably unhappy.” That sentence kept pounding in DG’s soul. Many nights she stayed awake just wondering if that was how she wanted to live rest of her life. You remember Rinky from the previous posts, she had almost given up. Her MIL created so many rifts between her and Pinku they are staying separate. Rinky has moved back with her parents and her bhabhi keeps making snide remarks. DG can go on and on we all have our unhappy tales to tell. You are aware SILs have their own agenda how to extract as much from their brother’s coiffures.

DG has read on so many desi blogs and otherwise how in-laws are the cause of most unhappiness in a desi bahu’s life. Those providing suggestions usually recommend tit for tat passive aggressive tactics. DG keeps wondering is that how we’ll live our youth fighting these old unhappy souls who are frustrated with their sexless mundane lives. Most of all DG wonder if after certain age all causes of our unhappiness are limited to our spouses and in-laws. Remember those days in the hostel we use to be unhappy about that khadus warden, unavailable thesis supervisor, that girl in the corner room who spread rumors about everyone. Guess we were unhappy all along our lives other than the time we spent in the company of our girl friends. There was something about friends when we were together we forgot about our unhappiness. When we were away we were secretly jealous of each other’s lives. Some where deep inside we thought the other was happier and I deserved what the other had (2 months ago Rinky disclosed on our 25 years together she was secretly jealous of DG coz’ she could do anything, yes, DG was Rajani of her times 🙂 . And DG told her how at one time in her life she was jealous of her good marks, oh Atiya too has confessed she envied DG’s guts and DG was jealous of her intelligence). It felt the people we knew owed us our happiness. Together we agreed that inside can make you happy…..but fact remained that it is the outside world that makes us unhappy!!!!

Journey to happiness

Along the journey DG learned unhappiness is a sign from the universe/God to us to change something. If we don’t then, universe/God makes us even unhappier in a hope that we will change something. Even then, if we fail to change something to revert to a state of balance (happiness) then it has to take some drastic measures. Like for DG the universe had to break her legs and put her in the bed so that it could fix the things that she failed to.

DG remained unhappily in an unfulfilling relationship for a very long time. She followed whatever anybody suggested about how to create happiness. She thought buying harmony and peace by doing what her spouse or MIL/SIL wanted her to would create happiness. It was never enough within few days there was some other cause of their unhappiness. The list of causes increased in geometric progression but the principal participants remained the same. DG faked happiness in a hope it will become her reality. Yes, she did change something that was herself. She could not recognize herself anymore. She was unhappy and bitter. She exhausted her emotional resources but nothing changed about her situation.

In the second stage of her unhappiness she even lost motivation to try to create happiness. Her energies were invested in maintaining status quo. She did not want the unhappiness to increase so her best practice was to do nothing about it and wish it will go away. Go away how? May be he’ll be killed while crossing the road. His mother will have food poisoning or our plane will crash. Nothing of that sort happened rather physical abuse ensued because her not reacting made him feel he was losing control over her and the situation. Every inch in her body screamed this is not what she wants. The more she focused on the unhappiness the more it emerged in her life. She wanted out but did not know how. She was in a foreign country on a dependent visa with no job and money. That was not all her worst fear was what if she fell sick how will she care for herself, what will people say if she broke up, who will stand by her, is she even allowed to break up a love marriage etc. On and on went the list of her “what ifs….” The T-map she drew of pros and cons of leaving or staying just increased her confusion. She didn’t want to even think anymore.

Her core screamed it wants peace. She was created to be happy she married this person to be happy then how come she is unhappy. She felt cheated, used and ashamed. She lived in relationship ambivalence to leave or not to leave and most of all how to leave. Everyone around her asked me to leave and nobody suggested how. She did not want to take any action. She was tired and exhausted of fighting this unending war with someone who claimed to love her. Guess it was time the universe/God stepped in. One day she reported the abuse. She became homeless. The so called well-wishers came forward and showed sympathy and asked why she didn’t tell them they would have talked to him. For some she just became invisible and few others chose to chastise her for bringing a bad name to the community and creating legal hardships for him. All of a sudden DG felt she was socially invisible rather dead.

One day DG took a leap of faith and decided she should explore resources how to become free of him. She begged the universe/God for one chance to help her get back on her feet. She promised she’ll honor her life. She made this promise but she did not know how she’ll keep it. The same evening she was hit by a car while walking. She woke up in the hospital with no cognition of what happened. All she remembers saying was thank you lord for the gift of life. She had asked for another chance and this is what she got, as if being homeless, without money and a pariah was not enough…

Rest in the next post. Yes, DG promises it will be posted in 2011.

Once Again Words Lost Meaning…

11 Oct

Every morning lazy DG rises, turns her computer on and goes to brush her teeth. Nothing great about it everyone does that but the only difference is her teeth take thirty minutes or more to brush. With brush in her mouth she reads her emails, check GGTS and news. She wants to hate gmail for it burned her day. She hates how gmail displays the content of the email by displaying the first line, then why do they have subject? Sunny Jaggi of The Browsing Corner had posted on face book “Rest In Peace Jagjit Singh Sahib. You will be remembered and missed sorely. RIP always.” And this one sentence was flashing in her gmail inbox, rest everything just vanished from her sight.

Is it for real, if yes then for a minute DG did not want to know it. Just the other day as soon as she was online Sum pinged to tell her Jagjit Singh had an emergency surgery, her first thoughts went for his wife Chitra Singh and then she broke it to Rinky and within few minutes they relived two decades, their youth, crushes, dreams, hurts and what not…

DG was introduced to the genre of ghazal as a tween, a brother sister duo of a very musical parents sang in school solo song competition Rafta rafta who meri hasti ka sama ho gaye… she appreciated the song but the high nosed singer told her off, it was a ghazal not song, what did silly goose DG know. Then came aa yeh barishon ka mausam hai…, aap jinke kareeb hote hein… things were pretty good until she heard hontho se chhoo lo tum… there it was and all of a sudden every nook and corner of the city echoed it be it All India Radio or street Romeos.  It wasn’t any different from songs (in rendition) and if this was ghazal (not exclusive) DG was good without it. She had almost given up on ghazal then she realized it was not mentioned in the Hindi Grammar course, there were dohas (two liners), chaupais (24 liners) Soraths etc. but not ghazals. If it is not in the course work then it is forbidden fruit she’ll go after it. Oh yes, she has to be there…  She had just turned a teen with lots of bickering, authority defiance, time outs and grounding for everything under the sun, nothing seemed good anymore until one sultry afternoon her neighbor blasted Mera sagar sambhal lo… that was one hell of a voice and lyrics. She had no clue what it meant but it remained itched in her soul… thanks to youtube that she rediscovered it two decades later.

In those two decades a lot happened, high school, crush, second crush, Rinky, second crush, MK, college, second crush, MK, university, disaster called love and love marriage. Ghazal did make an appearance in our lives in high school but it was just few Ghulam Ali classics then an impasse until we reached college in separate cities. It is then DG dragged in A Sound Affair, Live in Concert, Ecstasy… it is then she learned about Sudarshan Fakir, Nida Fazli, Bashir Badr, Gulzar… yes, there were others out there besides Ghalib, Meer, Faiz, Firaq. All of a sudden ghazal was humable. Ghazal, a genre of high culture, forte of the rich and famous was accessible to underdog; this did compromise the quality and technique. DG the underdog was little too much into ghazals, it freaked out her folks (just few weeks ago dad confessed he was wrong in reprimanding DG for her ghazal and naat addiction; he saw Ghulam Ali performing on TV and he asked his friend to call later because he had to listen as it was his daughter’s favorite, yes, times, dad and DG have changed).

In those dreamy years it was Someone Somewhere that shook something deep within, a loss this massive that person looses voice to never ever return to something it loved so much. Then those ugly rumors of Jagjit Chitra separating, did those evil journalists had any consciences? Slowly a voice returned alone to the stage to raise funds for charities, a voice that was no longer as tantalizing as youthful yet at times it turned the soul and sometimes pep the young hearts by experimenting with music videos. By then DG had reverted to her standard classics yet Rinky kept dragging her to these youthful illusions, yes her non classical spouse gave her a musical gift and DG’s DH (read ***k H**d) gave it to his daddy.

The voice had achieved all there was with all the time at hand now could be used to give a chance to new poets and new causes, create new dreams in numerous teen eyes… Yes, the voice will be missed for it was a companion of tumultuous teens, tough twenties… An era has come to an end and so did our youth, Rinks jumped the box two days ago.

DG’s all time favorite jagjit Singh Songs

Dono ke dil hein…

Main Kaise Kahoon…

PS: Keep an eye on this post DG will post few more links to her favorite Jagjit Singh numbers.

DG regularly posts her favorite and rare ghazals and songs on gbuzz, join her on gbuzz.


Desi Fathers: Super, Lesser and Some in Between

2 Oct

Yes, DG is still alive. Yes, it’s been a long time to be exact 3 months and 20 days since she last posted on GGTS. What did she do all these days? Not that busy readers are interested in her not so happening life. Her basement apartment flooded and she literally survived electrocution. One Saturday morning in early September while she was still drifting in and out of sleep she thought she was dreaming until her hand hit the floor in six inches of water. She jumped out of bed to find she was still alive because in her sleep she pulled the plug to heat pad and fan. She blessed her stars for she is not a parent. She salutes you all parents out there, kudos for how you do that. Now you have another one for your arsenal, “be happy DG is not your parent, or else you would have been… surviving on raw food, green smoothies, steamed veggies, sitting in 6 inches of water… (You can add whatever to the list). DG is definitely not parent material she is just as good as Gabbar Singh to scare kids in the neighborhood though she is a good auntie to spoil your kids and talk to them about everything under the sun. Her friends tell her she gives very good parenting advice that is possible only because she is not a parent. 😛

Her social life might be nil but her Karma life is pretty interesting… Now everything is almost under control, all suitcases are wet and have gone bad, mission impossible to find a new place is on… Hope readers had a good time while she was away. In continuation to the previous post, though it was DG’s assumption that it will be in two parts but it appears it will be in few more parts.

By definition the super father, did not have to struggle to establish his hegemony it just came by virtue of his birth order. There after he had to maintain it by asserting his might and right at all the important life events in the family such as, birth of children, birth rites, finding matches or spending on wedding and sickness in the family and so on. To have power and absolute power is no big deal the skill lies in maintaining that power over a life time for this a person has to learn to execute power in a balance so as to not alienate the menials or push them into rebellion. Constant stiff upper lip is one way to do this but it is pretty threatening and alienating thus a super father has to occasionally shower affection at distant quarters so as not to destroy his in-control image. For example, a father who is known as terror incarnate to his children is often viewed as kind person by his nieces, nephews and neighbors. He’ll be readily available to guide and support his siblings and their children at the cost of his own progeny; rather he is obsessed with them. According to him his children by default should excel in career and social life and take his baton further. His filial loyalty is secondary to his filial piety (sharing his parents’ duty of raising their progeny, his siblings). Though his children often grow with emotionally absent father and resentful of their aunts, uncles and cousins but he makes sure he gives tips on parenting to his siblings. Often these kids rebel and super father loses grip on them.

With such a super father in picture all other fathers in the family become lesser fathers and they have to establish their own pecking order. There is a natural unspoken competition between siblings for parental attention and approval; all their lives they do tango and once they have children this burden to provide them with identity falls on them. Thus children become poster child of “My dog is smarter than…” So each father not only minds his children to save face but also pokes nose in the upbringing of those of his siblings’ (if possible then neighbors too) to maintain pecking order. In this double and confused parenting their own children rebel and move away from them thus to feel in-control they take it up to themselves to discipline other people’s children. The only way to deflect attention from their errant (rather resentful and disrespectful) children they interfere in other people’s disciplining regimes; they find faults in other people’s children to an extent where not only the children but their parents too resent them. Although the generational reverence and gender hierarchy prevents any direct confrontation with such nosey pseudo fathers but after a point a mother will stand up for son(s). This double edged sword often falls on male children and thus their mother emerge as their saviors.

It is mommy’s job to protect her sons’ from daddy’s unreasonable wrath and that of other fathers in the family. Thus mother son dyad is further cemented as her emotionally absent husband further drifts away. Her rising to protect her son(s) immediately brands her as family breaker and an outside (her association to family is through marriage and she’ll remain outsider until her death, she’ll be inducted into the clan only after sharad, a death feast is organized in her name).

These are not set in cement rules of desi parenting they are just prototypes there are numerous variations and combinations depending upon where they stand in social pecking order. It is true that it takes a village to raise a child but it is also true that too many chefs will only spoil the broth…

PS: These fathers are not bad people they are good providers and law abiding citizens they are just confused and they do not know any other way to behave. It is time we created new parenting role models. The world of desi parenting is evolving and some young men are stepping up to be “Dads.”

Desi Parenting: Cycle of Generational Dysfunction

12 Jun

Yes, lazy DG is still alive and counting her blessings. Previous post elicited a very interesting comment. Glacier and sexantheindiancities answered it appropriately

I know it’s naive to ask this question, but if it is so obvious that many parent-child relationships in India are abusive and based on the control game, why are they often so protected, cultivated and nourished by the victims themselves?

I saw a lot behavior of the type “I had it bad, so you will have it bad for me”. Is there any logic? It should be normal for parents to protect their kids from what was wrong in the previous generation. Instead of that, there is this wheel of misfortune that is passed on for ages. What for? In the name of what?

It is a good question why desis continue with dysfunctional parenting practices for generations irrespective of the fact that each generation incessantly complains about it and yet follows the suit. If this were the case then it would mean no social change took place in centuries. But that is not the case because even though things seem unchanged yet they have changed. Each generation adapted its parenting practices according the trends of its times yet maintained some aspects of the previous generation as sacrosanct, the essence of great and proud desi culture and tradition. This is a two part post in response to the questions posed by intercultured.

There was a time desi fathers could not be affectionate to their children in the presence of their parents, it was considered disrespectful towards the elders. DG can recall an incident her high school substitute teacher narrated (he was retired English teacher substituting for a teacher on maternity leave). He said, he was the only college educated man in his village with a job in the city. One time on his trip home he lifted his toddler in the presence of his father and there was a scene in the family. His father felt affronted and declared his son (teacher) has insulted his authority by insisting his own parenthood. The only way to understand this idiocy is to examine the survival needs of the aging and their dependence on next generation for elder care. In order to ensure old age care it was important for the senior generation to prevent any deflection of attention from them and development of bonding between next generation and their children. This does not mean that he (teacher) buckled to old man’s irrationality but he pushed centuries old boundaries and drew new lines where he retained his right as a parent and assured his role as a son towards his father thus creating a dent in the system. But like many desi men he could not establish an open and out partnership with his lawfully wedded wife, even though it was an arranged marriage.

Desi Parenting From Yore

Karta, the doer; father, the provider and the head of the family model of masculinity has existed from yore across the globe. In desi context this model is collated with primogeniture and thus obliterating all other fathers in the family; the eldest male becomes the “super father” and all other men in the family become lesser fathers (his brothers, sons and nephews). This arrangement could work only if all challenges to the authority of super father were to be eliminated and dealt with a strict hand; reprimand, shaming and sometimes even excommunication.

What could be more effective than evoking the great heritage and the golden age of absolute reverence of age through folklore (a son goes into exile to honor his father’s word and yet another remains a celibate to let his horny father have another wife). Attaching honor thus value to any action cements it in the moral fabric of a social psyche; people assume it is their sacred duty to preserve these values even at the cost of their peace and lives. While reverend Karta ruled the affairs of the outer world his wife became the demagogue within the household, her job was to socialize the young men and women including incoming women (DILs) into the great family tradition and keep the authority struggles in the inner world under check. While Karta made sure the lesser fathers in the family did not bond with their children on the other hand his wife was committed to check any bonding between lesser men and their wives in the family. Remember, this super couple was lesser adults in their youth and in their grey years it is their turn to rule; it is much deserved and awaited for all those years of oppression. Bollywood does its best to revoke this model of desi parenting every now and then to rake moola as desis love to live in a glorious past that never was.

What old man was doing was exactly like in-laws checking development of any meaningful bonding between the newly married couple, discussed here. When in-laws resort to such measures they come to our notice but when parents do the same to their children it goes unnoticed because it is cloaked in generational reverence and parental affection and well-wishing. Desi parenting agendas have to be understood at both gender and generational levels.

Desi fathering was synonymous with providing and emotional restrain towards wife and children; parental and sibling commitment always preceded filial duty. Desi fathers have shown physical affection towards their prepubescent children irrespective of their gender (usually youngest child is an exception post puberty) there after they are usually authority figures to be obeyed and feared not as source of emotional sustenance and communication. Desi mothers filled in for the paternal emotional lacunae in the lives of their children, especially sons. We have to remember desi mothers are wives of emotionally absent spouses hence their emotional needs are met through their children; hence continues the cycle.

Even though the families are no longer live under one roof yet the super father syndrome has persisted. To change this parental equation demands changes in the spousal equation meaning changing the centuries’ old definitions of masculinity and family. Parental relationships cannot change for good without affecting the conjugal relationship of the parents; expecting a simultaneous change without positive role models is a hard sell. It is easier to follow the pre-established tried and tested relationship patterns without much effort and lots of complaining than to stand up and challenge the system. Change also means learning new behaviors (treating adult children as adults not juveniles), unlearn old behaviors (to stop living their children’s lives), taking responsibility for one’s actions (be prepared to be shut out of your children’s lives on crossing the line) and giving up some privileges; giving up control over adult children in a hard one to denounce. Now readers may judge for themselves why generational wheel of misfortune is passed on for ages…

TO BE CONTINUED… Continue reading

Desi Sons,Victims of Their Mothers II: Modus Operandi

14 May

This post is in continuation from previous post. Original comment is here. The bold, CAPs and italicized is addition from DG.

Thank you DG.

My post was not against parents, I loved them and still do but I cannot see them because of the actions they took and think they were right in doing them. It is true that I have not come across a woman as toxic as my mother.

I posted my story partly because I wanted to inform people that there are guys in this mess too. Most desi men are very lost, between two poles 1) wife 2) mother.

Desi parents alternate between two poles :

a) Downright ignorant, nasty, abusive.

b) Controlling, manipulating and over protective.

Narcissism reigns supreme in both forms. Mine were in the second category, emotionally engulfing and very manipulating, in particular my mother. My father’s toxicity was of a different sort but it was my mother that really had everyone wrapped around her little finger.

I am not sorry about estrangement, in my ideal world it would never come down to this because my parents did a lot for us. I had this ideal picture in my mind where I would have done anything for them but then things changed ….

My mother underwent a changing I did not fathom at first and did not understand. It was around the time where I had confessed to her that I want to be self sufficient independent adult. At some point she realized that her only investment is her sons (she openly admitted this many times and made it very clear to me that she will let go, “I will NOT let you go.” … yes she said this many many times). Everytime she said this my stomach would turn but I kept quiet, patient that she might ease up on this.

When an abused declares or decides they will nolonger be controlled and will walk away from the controlling intimate the abuser feels loosing control. The idea of loosing control makes them intensify abuse or induce more manipulative ways to keep the abused trapped in their design. Abusers usually begin with sweet talk, how they cannot live without you if that doesn’t work they employ limiting your access to survival means, finances, social isolation etc. When that fail they resort to violent out bursts. This is a very dangerous time. If you are contemplating leaving your abuser do not declare it to them. Move away and then inform them that IT IS OVER. And thereafter there is no going back or working out until your safety (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual all included) is guaranteed, sorry there are no guarantees in the books of abusers.

However it became worse with time, the mistake I made was that I kept thinking that if I did this one more thing for her she would ease up. But as soon she was pleased she started pressing for something else, her aim was to steal me for me… kill all sense of independence so she can control my life as she desires. The guilt an manipulation I faced for a year before my arranged marriage was probably my most miserable year of my life, I was torn between leaving and staying.

Abusers suck the abused into perpetual cycle of people pleasing. The harder you try to please them the harder it becomes to please them because they have made a choice not to ever be pleased. You’ll finish on task they’ll be ready with another. It is a choice they have made and you can’t do anything about it so stay out of this game of making them happy.

Her strategy was multi-faceted, understanding is golden ….


A general nasty level manipulation tactic was to keep me engaged, keep my mind busy so she can have my time. She would start talking to me in subtle, looking at my face to see my reaction to it and thus adjust her. This was the most irritating form of manipulation because it assumed that I stupid and child like. I used to laugh at this behind my back, I pretended in front of her that her manipulation worked to ward this form of incessant manipulation off.

She would get my brothers to do the same, both my elder and younger brother to engage me, keep me busy with tasks, giving my false praise in an effort to smother me and make me give in. She used to pump my brothers for info regarding me and my brothers fully participated, my mother was very good at manipulation. My elder brother though she was right and younger brother mocked and berated me behind my back many many times.

I took me a long time to figure out this facet as my mother was and is a master of guilt inducing toxic lump. When I realized it I understood that anything I say will be used against me so I better watch what I say, how I say and who i say it too.

Abusers will watch your every move and expression keep a ready log of it and use it against you when ever you try to challenge them. Abusers, especially emotional blackmailers recruit allies. Allies are usually people in your immediate circle who have stake in your life; relatives, cousins, friends etc. If you still don’t give in they’ll summon their allies to convert you and make you submit to their designs. You are exposed and shamed in front of these allies thus to escape such future humiliation you start towing the line. Parents often use siblings against each other to maintain control over all of them; siblings relate to parents differently. Some abusers create immediate allies in strangers by shaming you in public or posing a martyrs in public.


Using circumstances to gain sympathy and induce massive guilt. This was very difficult to figure out because there was extreme guilt involved. Basically my mother would complain about someone (my sister in law, my elder brother or father) about something seemingly horrible they did to her and how she is miserable. After telling me the garb she used to observe my reaction to it and keeping coming back with the same manipulation in one form or the other until I reacted to it in a emotional outburst – at this point she knew she got me. Few days of peace followed then the bullshi* again.

The purpose of facet 2 was to keep me close to her, so I never do anything that I wanted for myself. The higher purpose of this facet was to keep me engaged, she knew my weak spots and attacked them whenever she pleased and when she pleased.

A common tactic was to request a task of me which I had to do, during the task she would give me false adulation and pump me for information about circumstances that were later used against me at convenient times. A fight between my brother and father would be used to press her own agenda on me, she was clever and knew when to press & how much to press.

Abuse is cyclic in nature, in order not to alienate the abused and loose the game all together abusers strategically employ praise and admonishing. Abusers go around portraying themselves as martyrs; making an impression that they can be rescued and made well if you will step up. “I am sad or sulking because you would not do X. I’ll be happy if you do X.” “Look how miserable you have made me.” “So and so wronged me you are the only one who can make it better for me, if you listen to my sob story or do as I want.” Thus it is your job to keep the abuser in good humor. An abused starts believing it is their job to keep the abuser happy this induces guilt every time they try to do something for themselves.

It is important for abusers to keep the abused engaged at all times because time to themselves will make them analyze their situation and ask for a better deal or rebel.


Hate for other women. Toxic or no toxic, this was just plain crazy.

She often used to tell me : “You are naive and don’t understand women”. (Underneath my breath I used to tell myself : ‘but I do understand you …..’). Any women who even looked at were vilified openly. I missed out on women a lot a lot of time girls that I found downright gorgeous.

My sister in law used to face the brunt of this nonsense, she realized the game early on, I requested her to be calm and concentrate on her life. Of all the people she would know why I left my family. I used to feel for her but her life is hers to deal with. She will eventually divorce my brother who unfortunately is one of the dumbest men I know when it comes to deciphering my parents actions.

As abusers recruit allies they also tactfully check any competition. Their competitors are all those people who have the potential to lure the abused away from the abuser like, friends, sympathetic relatives who call out on the abuser or an attractive suitor. Abusers are insecure and will do anything to paint their competitors black. To stay on top of their game they have to systematically eliminate all competition.They prefer to dwell with those they can control thus their allies are their mini-mes.


“I will die …… something will happen to me”.

Geez do I really need to say more? Pathetic shi*

Abusers create so much chaos through drama that abused in an attempt to buy peace and cease chaos gives in. Thus a mission accomplished for the abusers. Desi mothers are known for making suicide threats or they suffer an unknown aliment when attention is one someone else. At T’s wedding her MIL had a fainting spell; everyone rushed to her and they forgot to do the wedding pictures; mission accomplished.

Something will happen to me… is the favorite and nothing ever happens. It is a fear induction mechanism to keep the abused and allies in tow. The fear of blame induces guilt


Plausible Deni-ability.

She would deny everything and shake off her responsibility when it was convenient for her. My marriage was part of this, oh “you said yes to the marriage …. no I did not, you confirmed the marriage while I was asleep and then manipulated me into it”. She chose my wife carefully, seemingly meek and controllable, someone she could keep under her thumb at all times.

Abusers never take responsibility for their actions. They always have a reason to everything they ever did. If they broke stuff in a anger fit, it was because you made them angry. If you call them on their misbehavior or unreasonableness they out rightly feign ignorance about what you are talking about.

I learnt this the hard way, I would suffer in silence, then read about it & THEN realize this is the shi* my mother is pulling. She know what she was doing all along taking satisfaction in putting me through a emotional roller coaster and then taking satisfaction that her goals have been met.

Estrangement was depressing but necessary, wish it was not like this but thats life and it is not all roses and tulips. Peace of mind is good, I love peace and quiet so I invest my time in working towards goals and pushing myself to limits I didn’t know existed. Most people would classify me as a freak given I am away from my family but I can make choices that they can’t, this does not make me better than them but the thrill of having a choice is the essence of being human, remember even God gave humans a choice to accept or reject Him.

Do I hate my parents? No.

Did I forgive my parents? There is nothing to forgive, I forgave my-self and that gave me the comfort of being true to myself. If one does not confront reality it will force itself upon you and you will kick yourself for it, make your choice before you have to make one.

Before we can forgive someone it is important to forgive ourselves because we beat ourselves for being duped.


Desi Sons: Victims of Their Mothers

13 May

DG is usually accused of gender bias towards women’s oppression, her detractors have failed to notice how vociferous she is about the nature and actors of violence in intimate/familial relationships. Many bloggers have lamented based on their personal experiences about desi men’s failure to draw a balance between their mothers and spouses. Some marriages have ended on this point and others are hanging in limbo. Just the other day this comment writer asked if men feel guilty too? This post comes partly in response to that question. Yes, DG will post another post exclusively about your concern.

Familial relationships are very complex, the option of walking out is very limited. A Punjabi phrase aptly sums it

Sharike da kauda daana, pher vi khaana (extended family is nuisance but you have to live with it). Just like the faceless strangers called log we desis lament about.

Women bloggers and otherwise do talk about oppression and discrimination within their natal families and their relationship with their mothers but men rarely talk about how they feel about their birth families and individual members. Both men and women learn doing their gender in the birth families and they become what their natal families make them. In doing their gender they also learn what they can express and what is proscribed. These boundaries on expression never let us know the whole story when courageous few come out and name the game either they are painted black or treated as anomaly. Here is a comment that DG wants everyone to read to see if it is happening in their lives, if yes then what do they want to do about it.  


Desi Girl

This is coming from a desi dude :

This is very true, sometimes I think about my Pakistani parents and it is unbelievable how incredibly toxic they were. My mother in particular with time became emotionally blackmailing, manipulating extremely toxic. This eventually after many years of blankets of guilt led to my estrangement from my entire family, even on the day I was leaving without telling anyone I was covered with guilt and feelings of selfishness. After years of being torn, guilted and manipulated I felt I had no choice but to go.

It is strange several years ago (before estrangement) on a breakfast table when my mother was having one of her hissy fits my younger brother called out to her :

” What you are doing is just blackmail… “,

My mother’s response was :

” … because it works…”.

At another time I recall her saying :

“.. mardon ko ghumana bohat asan hay …”

which means :

” … it is very easy to manipulate men …”

She had become very skilled at emotional blackmail, using circumstances to her advantage, pumping one family member for information regarding the other and using it against both. The aim always was to get what she wants : control over everyone and all dynamics.

I got into an arranged marriage due to this guilt which was inflicted for several years. During this time all family members had turned against me, my younger brother mocked me behind my back denying that my parents were doing something wrong by guilting me into marriage. The manipulation is so subtle it is difficult to recognize it, difficult to pinpoint and say this is what is wrong. Come to think of I had refused the marriage 2-3 times however my mother refused my refusals by countering them with blackmail, confusing arguments. Her strategy was to inflict the blackmail long enough until I break and give in. After I give in my parents smothered me in an effort to convince this is the right thing to do.

I realized the game too late, after I got married. My wife unfortunately was a product of the same codependent system. She was sweet but under the skin the same blackmail, manipulating personality existed – she just did it in a different way. I realized with time that she would just be a copy of my mother in a few years, be possessive, crazy and toxic. She was also emotionally unstable and was not very good at managing her feelings, having wildly conflicting emotions one day to the next.

So one day I got very angry with myself when I realized the game my mother was playing. The thought of estrangement depressed me, I lose whatever I do : I go I lose, I stay I lose – geez what a situation to be in. Slowly I began to accept that if I don’t go I’ll be stuck in this forever : stuck in my mother’s basement and an imported wife from desi land.

Then one day I decided to stop giving a *hit. I went away (I almost did not) & never looked back, got a divorce, full of doubts although the understanding of my mothers actions had helped curb the damn guilt. It’s only when I went did I realize that I won the desi game. This is the secret to this game : “you can never win, the only way to win is to depart the game”.

One thing to grasp is that people in these living conditions think this is normal. They don’t know anything else but don’t more importantly don’t want to, they are convinced they are right. Then one day they realize life went by them, the outside world away from this mesh of dysfunction did not care about them. All there is misery and regrets, what a waste of life.

My biggest regret was the time I wasted in this and my biggest gain was I got control of my life back.


Desi Parenting: Daughter vs DIL

2 May

DG often jokes about the definition of a desi daughter-in-law, an enemy brought home with marching band and fanfare. Other bloggers have blogged about failure of married men to draw a balance between their two prime relationships, female parent and wife. A statement made by a psychologist posted by IHM attracted DG’s attention, “…Your mother loves you unconditionally and will ignore disrespectful behaviour, but a wife has expectations and cannot forgive transgressions…” It strains DG’s grey matter, why a mother will ignore disrespect shown by her child and how and why unconditional love ought to be devoid of respect. Then there are others who keep asking this question why MIL’s and FIL’s don’t accept the DIL as their own daughter and why DILs’ don’t oversee smaller things as they would with their own parents! DG has contemplated and reached this conclusion…

Why MIL and FIL don’t accept the DIL as their own daughter?

Beacause their daughters are not what they are very proud of. Their daughters talk back to their parents, throw tantrums, engage in emotional blackmail and even make unreasonable demands. They pout, give silent treatment to moms and pull out skeletons from the childhood closet. Children are what parents taught them to be. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, same applies to their sons. Parents have trained them and have invested time and emotion in them so they take nonsense from them. Are they ready for that from a new person in their homes? Doubtful. That is the reason they have two sets of rules for daughters and DILs. DILs have to fulfill their fantasy of an ideal daughter they could not make :)

Why DIL’s don’t oversee smaller things as they would with their own parents!

A DIL can tell her parents, “Mom Dad enough is enough I have heard this story million times,” can she say that to her MIL and FIL? DILs are daughters too, as daughters they do the exact things your daughters’ do- talk back to their parents, throw tantrums, engage in emotional blackmail and even make unreasonable demands. Are the parents-in-law ready for a replacement daughter? Again, it is doubtful as they want to retain their right to be the dominant party with right to unconditional reverence from a relatively stranger. Adult children (biological and adopted)  bear the generational dysfunctional parenting because they have grown up with it and do not know how to call it off and they feel they owe it to their parents for changing their dirty diapers. Wish people could keep it simple, “my parents changed my diapers so they are my responsibility, your parents changed your diapers so they are yours to deal with.”

A person cannot be adopted in adulthood (leagally yes but emotionally it is doubtful). Won’t it be more practical to accept one another as fellow adults and behave like one instead of childish passive aggressive mind games if that doesn’t work then violent outburst (throwing things and beating people). Some in-laws begin converting the new DIL into their own kind the minute she steps into their doors and they expect her to follow their dysfunctional instructions like a robot and should only express positive emotions. The statement, “I treat you like my own child/daughter/son” is an eyewash for treating another adult as a child, even if the in-laws are twice the age of a DIL she is still an adult with a mind of her own. Wish people could learn to be adults in relationships.

Desi Sisters: Nemesis of Brothers

25 Apr

Honey I Doubled the Kids/Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer

Honey I Doubled the Kids/Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer

Tangy Tuesday Pick

Tangy Tuesday Pick


The word “sister” conjures all kind of beautiful memories of growing up; running around and fighting for sweet nothings with siblings. Desi folk lore celebrate siblings in so many beautiful ways irrespective of region or religion. Hinduism has specific rituals celebrating brother-sister bond, in the form of rakshabandhan and bhai dooj with regional variations. In Bengal women celebrate Bhai Phota and in south India sisters’ pray for the wellbeing of brothers on Nag Pancham and Avani Avittam.  Thursday is called Birvaar in Punjabi and hindu women do not wash hair on that day to elongate their brothers’ life. There are folk songs celebrating this bond; in some brothers tease sisters how they’ll be married and sent away to their marital homes, in others sisters lament this parting and differential treatment. These rituals, fasting, praying, singing and dancing everything comes and rests on bolstering male ego by declaring women’s dependence on men. Even in non Hindu communities where women as sisters are accorded special place yet it is secondary to male siblings. The only reason for this discrimination rests on patriarchal nature of all communities (minority matriarchal Keralites and North Eastern States are exception).

Desi brothers are expected to protect their sisters from not only from evil strangers but also support them financially when they or their marital families are in need. In 1950s-60s a bollywood sister depended on brother to fix her marriage if her parents weren’t around or could not and a great brother would forgo his marital bliss happily. In 1970s-80s a bollywood sister had to get raped to bring out the angry young man in the hero. To save the honor of his family the hero was entitled to kill his sister if he found her in compromising position. Either way the brother was considered pseudo parent (karta, family head) irrespective of his age. In every decade there was a self abnegating sister India who would kill her dreams of romance and household to raise her orphaned siblings and settling them by getting them married later on to be shunned by their selfish spouses, mostly brother’s wife. She could not get married and take care of her siblings because she did not have a wife where as a raising man’s sibling’s is default job of is wife.

A woman as a sister has a very important place in desi family but the same woman looses that place as a wife. The sister becomes the nemesis of wife. The wedding songs sung by bride’s party describe the mean sister of groom waiting to rip the fragile new bride and her relationship with her yet stranger spouse. The married daughters have visitation rights to their natal home, they are treated as guests entitled to make demands and boss around because it is believed they are hapless in their marital homes. The unmarried daughters are considered temporary residents hence permitted to throw weight around and to be tolerated.

Whereas the songs sung by groom’s female kin portray an evil picture of the incoming bride who’ll deprive them and rip the family unity. Each group of women voices their insecurities and fears related to the bond they share with the groom. The fear of incoming bride is so potent that tradition recommends sisters’ be married before the brother because it is feared his wife would not let him or his parents spend good amount on the wedding. One woman’s need to save for her children’s future becomes selfishness for rest of the family.

The inherent gender inequality in families as supported by culture and tradition shapes the brother-sister bond differentially in every family depending upon the nature of parents. In some families siblings are very close and in others they are bit distant. In some families mothers pamper daughters and spoil them because they believe daughters will go away after marriage and may not receive good treatment at the hands of their in-laws. Then there are some mothers who openly discriminate and ill treat their daughters because they think this way they are preparing their daughters for the worse that may await them in their marital homes. Yet there are other mothers who discriminate and pamper male children without much thought for girl children because they believe for their care in old age they need to be in the good books of their sons. Depending on these approaches of parents towards raising daughters, brothers bond with sisters.

Some siblings are too involved in each others’ day to day lives and some build their identity on this involvement. Others have a concern but not suffocating attitude. Both these attitudes sometimes work and other times backfire depending on who they marry. If a brother who is too involved in a sister’s day to day life is not able to keep up once he is married the sister feels she has a legitimate right to feel neglected. It becomes imperative for her to show her displeasure and make her neglect known. She can even try to sabotage his marital union to make her presence felt. Throwing temper tantrums, making snide remarks about brother’s wife and sulking are some common tactics. In the early days of her marriage C told us how her unmarried sister-in-law would get into a fit of rage in the evening when she and her husband went out for a walk after dinner. DG recalls how that God forsaken now ex’s sister made a scene at wedding reception. She would not go to the banquet hall because DG has snatched her brother, DG was yet to live with the man in the house.

If an over indulgent sister is not able to keep after once she is married she is appreciated for her non interfering stance. But once she is on visit to natal home she can make sure her brother knows her place. Rinku has this evil incarnate SIL who wants everything her brother bought his wife her argument is she won’t ask her husband because she wants to show him how generous her folks are. One time Pinku told his sister, if he were her husband he would have gone missing on purpose. Recently Pinku bought his sister a home because Rinku bought one, now he is paying her mortgage and his wife is preparing for filing divorce. Anti 498A club has been in the forefront saying women file false complaints against married SILs in dowry harassment, when they are not even living with the couple. One need not live with someone to botch their peace, remote controlling can be done over the phone and internet.

Women are selectively accorded privilege in one role and oppressed in another that way they are kept confused and fighting within themselves. All that fasting and praying is a sham when sisters and wives have to rip one another off and destroy peace of men in their lives. Why stay hungry, bother Gods and waste time, just get to the task, fight tooth and nail and get over it for good.

The previous post raised questions about role of siblings especially a brother in the lives of sisters. The unconscionable anchor viciously accused the brother ignoring the fact that sisters were no saints and had tried to break his marriage.

Isn’t it time we desis started behaving like adults and humans.

Desi Life: Log, Martyrs and Selfishness

21 Apr

We all are aware of faceless strangers called “log” we have debated and lamented their existence. We can point all fingers to this collective called log but at individual level we have no names and faces to point at. Have we done anything to identify and eliminate these nasty mites that control our lives? Guess not much. This locust called “log” swarm out of wood work when it is a matter of a woman’s body, sexuality and agency. A woman who refuses to commit suicide on being raped; one who is determined to file charges; one who is insistent on walking out of a bad marriage or one who is ready to step into male dominated work arena; one who is single or childless by choice or otherwise all let these tongues unleash their furry. These tongues also demonize anyone that does not match their definition of perfect, be it people with disabilities or health issues. These same tongues go dormant when men rape and abuse women, when men steal and rob banks. Why do these tongues selectively bark?

In the previous case women are exhibiting agency, they threaten the power and control of these tongues. They open venues for other women to follow the suit thus further weakening their control; where as in the later case wagging tongues fail to control male behavior because greater number of men fantasize and take pride in following the suit of abusers, rapists and dacoits.

Watch @7:35

For seven months none of the neighbors gossiped about these two sisters dealing with mental health issues, may be they did. Yes, wagging is their job, taking action is not. Now all of a sudden the media tongues along with the neighboring tongues are leashing out on each other and blaming on apathy on urbanization and vanishing joint family. Oh and now they have found the best scapegoat, a brother who got married and decided to move on. How easily the media has demonized and blamed the brother for the mental health issues of his sisters; indirectly they are pointing fingers towards his wife.

According to them the perfect world of Behl siblings fell apart once the brother got married and his spouse could not put up with the sisters-in-law dealing with mental health issues. These were two adult women endowed with agency who chose not to seek medical help for their mental illnesses what could a brother do in such a case? Had his spouse suggested clinical help and institutionalization of these two sisters she would have been demonized by “log” and parents in-laws if they were alive. Oh, some will be assuming if they were alive the Behl world would have been more than perfect. If the brother would have suggested the same, still his spouse would have been blamed for his choice of those words.

Desis are a codependent culture, where like the families of alcoholics we help maintain dysfunctional behaviors because it serves us as it makes us feel in control and gives us an illusion of being useful. (Families of addicts may present a desire to help them quit but their subtle behaviors support addiction because if the person was clean it would be difficult to face the personal demons and dealing with personal issues.) There are mothers who would refrain severing ties with their rogue sons just to keep them coming back home every night. There are mothers who give their stash of hidden money to their druggie sons so as not to deal with his withdrawal symptoms. There are parents who would send regular installments of dowry money or gifts because they do not want to deal with the issue for once and all. If someone was to call this bluff off and say, “Hey I am done, here on I am not going to be part of this game.” The “log” comes around admonishing them, calling names and ostracizing them because they set a new precedent and open doors for others to walk out on dysfunctional families and relatives.

The word we desis dread is being called “selfish.” We are a culture of martyrs without cause; women take nonsense from conjugal kin and spouses and call it a sacrifice for the sake of their children. Sacrifice by definition means a choice inherent, not choicelessness. Younger siblings are forced to delay getting married just to give the older a chance and then it is branded as a sacrifice. If the younger sibling gets married before the older one he/she is branded selfish. Parents choose to have children and then term their lives as a sacrifice. Does taking care of oneself and one’s needs qualify to be called “selfish?”

Selfish are people who refuse to take care of themselves. Selfish are those who portray a sorry picture of themselves in the name of doing favors. If an action we perform does not accord us a choice to back out then it is not a sacrifice it is a bonded labor (most desi women are in bonded labor in marriage and family). A parent has to change the dirty diaper because a child cannot but a parent cannot go around beating the kid all her life “I changed your diapers” (it is a favorite of desi mothers, “I slept in the wet and kept you dry”). A child did not have a choice to be born, as a parent you chose to have a child. Yes, you have a choice to mark an expiry date on parenting they are adults now. You do not have a right to go around emotionally blackmailing your adult children. No you should not and cannot emotionally blackmail minors either.

It is high time we desis reconfigured definitions of family, community, shame, honor, sacrifice, and selfishness.

Desi Sex Ratio and Marriage: Nirmala* (1925) to 2011

8 Apr

This week the Census of India 2011 exposed our veneer of India shinning. More girl children are missing in a century. We need to be internationally rewarded for our extreme success in eliminating girl children in the 0-6 year age group. We are really very near to solving the problem of crime against women; simple formula no women no crime against women. Dear @IHM often poses a question about India’s faltering sex ratio, if it will ever improve. Then she finds the answer in the custom of dowry, mandatory nature of marriage for desi women and absurd inequalities for the bride’s family.   This video compliments what she says. But if marriage was the bane of desi woman kind then there ought not to be other crimes against women outside the homes and especially married women. Marriage as an explanation for failing sex ratio is too simplistic; oppression of women is complex and multifactorial phenomenon.

Few weeks ago DG made a comment on a post about if marriages are over rated. @IHM blogged about DG’s basic premise on desi marriages; that further lead to a marathon of posts by different women bloggers. Everyone worded their heartfelt grievances against the institution of marriage to their heart’s content. Understanding desi marriage is a bit complex. To marry is one of the favorite national hobbies besides feeding corruption in the desi world (read South Asia, our neighbors are no different than us; rather they compete to keep the tabs with us).

In her book “Dowry Murder: The Imperial Origins of a Cultural Crime,” Vina Talwar Oldenburg found in pre independent India dowry was essentially an upper caste class ritual that intermediary castes adopted to rise up in the caste/class hierarchy. Castes were pretty fluid** at the periphery but the Raj in its need to administer diverse desis tried to fix caste boundaries and duties. Marriages and death feasts became the deciding point. If one belonged to X caste they could/should spend X amount, if they failed that meant they belonged to the lower strata. To keep up one’s position in the caste/class hierarchy or climb up in the hierarchy people started spending exorbitant amounts on these two life rituals, even to the extent where they borrowed money or sold their lands. It is then a rise in female infanticide along with dowry was observed.

It is not to say that communities did not practice female infanticide before that rather there were communities that took pride in the fact they were the bride takers and not bride givers. Village Devra in Rajasthan did not marry a single daughter in 100 years and now again is in news for all the wrong reasons.

In a culture that worships women as Goddesses in the religious texts why there is inherent hatred for living women is something to ponder about. If it is such an oppressive system for fifty percent stake holder why couldn’t they ever topple it, even when they are 50 billion in number they are still slaving. What does a marriage has to offer that women and their families spend all their energies and monies to feed this oppressor? If women are oppressed by the inequalities inherent in marriage so are their natal families. Is marriage only oppressive to women? If marriage benefits men then do all men benefit from it? If not then who are these men who lose in marriage and why? The natal families do not just comprise of all women they do have male members, brothers, fathers and other kinsmen. Are they oppressed too? The answer comes from Sai Akhtar Lahori***, who asks the divine how easy it is to sit in heavens and judge and how difficult is it to be a father of a daughter and a brother of a sister.

Marriage is not the end goal but is the new beginning to sustain this monstrous system. Marriage is not one time expense on dowry and feeding the groomsmen, it is a life long drain on the woman’s natal family. On every festival her natal kin is expected to send gifts to her and her in-laws. On the occasion of her first pregnancy baby shower and child related other ceremonies are her parent’s responsibility. Come the birthdays of kids, weddings in her in-laws’ home every time it is her parents who have to consolidate her position in the household by giving timely and status appropriate gifts. Does it ever end? Guess no, at the time of her children’s wedding, even if her parents are dead her brother(s) ought to bring in rich trousseau for the bride/groom and gifts for other family members. Her reputation depends on these gifts.

A man who is burdened with marrying his sister(s) and daughters finds it easier to accept dowry and gifts from his wife’s family than stand up and say NO to this life long drama. May be he even feels entitled to preferential treatment and gifts because he filled in another man’s coffers. If he could raise a voice to stop this oppressive cycle he faces challenges from other men and women in the community because he challenges their share of privileges. DG recalls a rich uncle of a friend; he married his son to a lower economic class same caste young lady with no dowry. Instead of appreciating his effort and emulating it people in the community gossiped about his son, that he had some flaw (impotency) that he had to be sold for no dowry. His young daughter-in-law was discriminated by other women in the family because she came from poor family and often did not have lofty gifts from her parents to flaunt. After two years of this ongoing harassment DG heard this rich uncle saying he’ll marry his second son according to the caste customs and will accept the dowry too.

DG sees these H 1B visa holder young men living in ghetto like conditions to send money home for their sisters’ wedding and then themselves being sold to highest bidder in the marriage market. DG sees these young poets and writers struggling everyday between their choice to pursue a dream or meet the dictates of masculinity to provide for their sisters’ wedding and submit to their parents’ demands of arranged marriages.

What kind of a system is this where oppressed are vigilant in protecting and perpetuating it and more than willing to feed its gluttony by butchering their beloveds?

If you are a father of a daughter(s) and a brother of a sister(s) do you have the courage to stand up and say “I refuse to waste money on feeding 1000 people I never met and give useless gifts that my daughter or sister will never get to use?”

Or you are the kind like her God forsaken now ex who had the guts to say “I won’t ask for anything but I’ll not refuse if I am given anything by your parents.” Yes, DG did marry that blotch on humanity and she is not proud of it. Yeah, we were cutting costs on food and milk to save for a grand wedding of a pint size terror incarnate (his sister), until last year she was still at her parents’ home. May be the helicopter they saved for is not good enough to secure her a prince in shinning amour.


* In 1925 Munshi Premchand wrote this revolutionary story about a young girl from poor family. Herparents could not pay a dowry so they marry her to a widower with children her age. She struggles and gives birth to a daughter and dies. Her last words are, “do not make me a women in next birth.”

**Refer concept of Sanskritization by M.N. Srinivas. It is still potent and functional go to Rajasthan and you’ll find Khati Rajputs, and Khati Brahmins and so on. More loyal than the crown…

***Sai Akhtar Lahori wrote two revolutionary poems about men’s oppression in patriarchy. Allah Mian Thalay Aa and Allah Mian Utte Raho.

Allah Mian Thalay Aa

Allah Mian thale aa              Allah Mian please come down

Apni duniya Venda ja           Come and see your world

Yah asmanon rizaq vara        or else shower riches from skies

Yah fer kar ja muk muka       or else have another dialogue


Tanon dhehi viyani pendi     If you were to marry a daughter

nanki chak banani paindi      If you were to give gifts to sister’s daughter at her wedding

rusi bhen manai paindi         If you were to appease an upset sister due your poor gifts

lath jande sab tare chah        All your charms would have left

Allah Mian thale aa               Allah Mian please come down


Dhiaan non to jamne daindon     You would have not let the daughters be born

kurman de to tane sahndon         If you were to listen to torments from their in-laws

nal shreekan kade na bahndon    You would not have sat with your kin who make snide

miti jandi kapre kha                  remarks for your daughter or sister is still unmarried

Allah Mian thale aa

tare gher na dane honde          If you were poor and had no food at home

pate leef purane honed            And every thing was old at home

kamle log seyane honed          The rich but insane would have given you a ride

pa dainde tanon ghbara         Allah Mian please come down

Allah Mian thale aa

Once Upon a Time There Lived a Happy Gal=HG

24 Mar

Often Desi Girl receives personal emails from readers seeking support and validation. These emails are all similar but these different writers suffer in isolation wondering as if they are the only ones going through this chaos. The truth is greater number of married Desi women are mired by psychological warfare by waged by in-laws and unsupportive spouses analogous to spineless squids with uncut umblical chords. All this happens in the name of generational reverance, lower position of women as ascribed in the great traditions of this great culture and over indulgence of faceless strangers called “log” in other people’s business. The problems are further exacerbated due to lack of personal boundaries and problem solving skills.

Most personal emails received by DG do not make it to GGTS. DG works with those writers one on one in identifying problems, creating a strategy to proceed and follow up with them time to time. Some write back a thank you note and some never return and DG assumes they are doing good. Today morning DG received this email with this attachement from Confused DIL.

All DG could do was smile and say THANK YOU.

On the request of Confused DIL the previous story board has been removed. It did not show case her talent that well. She wants it replaced by new story board.



Desi Girl storyboard

Desi Girl storyboard






This is a great validation of the work Desi Girl is doing. Thanks to all reader, comment writers and supporters of GGTS.

How to Talk to an Abused Daughter

4 Mar

Beloved IHM does an awesome job of bringing up burning issues in the desi world on her blog and heavy discussion ensues on what ought to be and why things are the way they are. Two of her responses compelled Desi Girl to pen this post.  I wish I could say the right words to the mother – to make her let her daughter come back home and start living again.

The girl lives in another city and the mother didn’t give me her email address, I wanted to send her a link to some sites that might help her at least understand what is happening.

I did tell the mother about cases where if not intentionally the abuser has killed the victim accidentally or caused severe injury. She sounded worried but continued to say the girls doesn’t want to come back. In the beginning she had told me they did not want her to come back – but now she says it’s the girl who wants to make the marriage work.

We all know what is wrong and why it is wrong but we fail when it comes to how to address it. The best service we can do is to be informed about intimate partner abuse; what is IPV, nature of abuse, how abuse begins, what is a cycle of abuse and what an abused can do and how to help an abused.

When an ordinary fight with wife escalates into bloody nose it is no longer a fight but a law and order issue, a public health concern most of all it is a question of human dignity and it is your problem too even if it is not in your home.

Familial and intimate partner abuse is not accidental. Someone purposefully decided to hurt another person who they consider they have a legitimate right over. Abusers do not hurt strangers even when strangers step on their toes but they choose to hurt their partners and children because they know they can get away with it. The faceless strangers called “log” cross all boundaries of decency and hurt your sensibilities in all possible ways through their mean words and actions to ostracize you, still you do back flips to be in their good books. Aren’t you in an abusive relationship with these people? Have you thought how your daughter feels while living with an abuser?

Your initial reaction of distrust and reprimand of her choice to marry for love just closed the doors for her to come back to you. You judged her once, what are the chances you won’t judge her again. The “log” will say something and you’ll get into blaming and accusatory mode. Basically you cannot be trusted. You lost your trustworthiness, the minute you said “I told you so…” Your daughter has a hard time to believe that you will not judge her and even if you did trust her today what are the chances you’ll not throw it on her face in future. Now you want to help her and you do not know how because you closed the first door of communication with your judgment and now you do not know how to reopen it. Just saying, “Come back and everything will be fine, we’ll support you” is not enough, there is a way to open the door and keep it open. This is how it can be done:

Communication Agreement

Every time we open our mouth we sign an unspoken agreement/contract with the person we are interacting with that says “we are in a relationship I’ll not hurt you and you’ll not hurt me,” it is realized only when this contract is broken. When this contract is broken the first thing that goes out is respect for each other. This contract has three constituents:

1. I agree to be non judgmental, you can feel safe to tell me what is in your heart.

2. There will be no repercussions for what you disclose to me.

3. I’ll love you unconditionally.

Agreement To Communicate

Non Judgmental:

Your daughter has broken this contract with herself. She lost respect for herself, is feeling guilty and bad about herself. You broke this contract with her when you judged her and it shut that door of communication on her. How do you feel about it? Do you respect yourself for that? Opening the door begins with reinstating this contract and this time make it spoken instead of unspoken. Create a safe space to communicate and invite her for a conversation and begin with:

“I understand you are going through a very tough time in your marriage. I want you to know I was wrong to judge you when you first reported abuse. I am truly sorry for what I said them. I want to assure you today, what ever you tell me I’ll not judge you. You are being abused it is not your fault. It is a choice your abuser is making. If you made a mistake of picking a wrong guy as a partner I too made a mistake of judging you. Today, we can look beyond our mistakes and explore what we can do together to keep you safe and happy.”

Does anyone know “judgmental” equivalent word in hindi? DG could find none, please help.

No Repercussions:

“First time when you reported abuse I blamed you for your choice that was wrong on my part. I promise you what ever you tell me today and now on will have no repercussions I will not throw it on your face ever. I want you to feel safe and be assured there will be no repercussions about any disclosure you make. I will never blame you for what happened and I will never hold it against you here on.”

(People complain all the time that their teens do not want to talk to them even when they have an open door policy. Who are they kidding, your children are of you so they know you inside out, and they know what you are capable of. They know you’ll blame them and punish them.)

Unconditional Love:

You love her and you are concerned but are you sure your love is unconditional? Are you kidding, you already said, she made her bed… You meant had she had an arranged marriage she could have counted on your support. Unconditional love does not mean ignoring the behavior or not addressing the behavior, it means there will be consequences for your actions but my love for you will still be the same. In this particular case it would come out something like this:

“What ever you decide, to live with the abuser or walk out, I will support you 100%. I will not question your choices. I want you to understand my position as a parent, if you are hurt or are contemplating of hurting yourself; I will do everything in my power to protect you. As a parent I want to see you safe and happy nothing matters to me more.”

This is not unconditional love:

I love you but...

I love you BUT…

Once a “BUT” comes before or after LOVE it is no longer unconditional love.

For parents of teens:

“I see you did X and I want you to know I love you so I want you to be safe. In order to be safe we have to follow the rules. If we break rules then we face consequences. Your choices are no bike keys for next 8 weeks or no allowances for next 8 weeks.” Give them choices of picking up their consequences. Once your children are ready to step out of home without you chaperoning start laying ground rules and consequences for breaking the rules. The consequences have to be reasonable and consistent and equal for all kids irrespective of their gender and grades. “Promise me, you’ll not drive with a drunk driver, if you are in a situation where you do not feel safe, call mom or dad. We’ll be there and we’ll not ask you any questions. Just call us.” Once safely home you guys can decide the course of action and consequences. Remember children too have a social reputation to live up to just like you have one, they feel embarrassed when you throw a tantrum even if they are wrong. Do all the drama at home not in front of their friends. That helps build trust and begets you their respect that you care.

This same script can be used to open doors of communication with anyone just remember the steps, to be non judgmental, no repercussions and unconditional love.

PS: Learned this technique while working on a workshop with Ms Nichols of “The Secret.”

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 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.

Of Men, Masculinity and God: Men’s God Kills Men or God’s Men Kill Men

16 Jan

Few weeks ago DG invoked the women of the world to rise and invent a new God who will love them and not discriminate against them. As the readers are aware of recent stampede in Sabarimala shrine hills; it is the same shrine that forbids entry of women. The entry to shrine is an annual event on various occasions during the year. Every believer is expected to make a pilgrimage to Sabarimala at least once in a life time, like Hajj is for Muslims. This pilgrimage requires men to fast for 41 days (vratham); abstain from meat, fish, alcohol, and tobacco, sex, using foul words, hair-cuts and shaving (borrowed from wikipedia). There after take an arduous 45km trek to the shrine through dense forests and hills to see the bachelor God.

DG assumes usually most shrines are at inaccessible heights not because it makes them near to God(s) as some assume God(s) live in the skies; but only committed few will ascend those heights. Taking an arduous journey would give a person an opportunity to contemplate their each step as a misstep could be fatal. In other words such a journey would be a conscious one where one would ponder about the purpose of their life, its direction and their actions. With the advancements in the technology and shortage of time some people are making part of the journey by vehicles through an alternative route before they can climb the hills. If according God(s) user manual do taking short cuts qualify to claim prayer benefits is not known to DG.* It was jeep full of devotees that ran over pedestrian devotees and then other devotees stampede the other devotees (can we blame women here?? May be a lustful thought of a woman distracted the jeep driver). There are many other shrines where even choppers are used to expedite the pilgrimage and those the children of lesser God(s) ride donkey or walk their way to the hearts of God(s). If fasting could be outsourced to the poor, they would jump to the opportunity to make little money to eat after fasting but they’ll die of starvation and no one can be blamed but God(s). It seems like a foolproof way of eliminating the poverty, eliminate the poor but that is already in practice since 1947 by the state economic policies.

If 41 days of fasting and 45 Km arduous hike did not bring out humility and kindness in a person then DG wonders what else could. May be she is wrong may be religiously charged masculinities ought to be immune to humility and kindness, they ought to be courageous and fearsome.** Resources suggest it all started with foul words. May be foul words are proscribed only until one sees the God(s) seated in the temple, on the way back they can revert back to their usual behavior ASAP. Women be happy that you are proscribed entry or you would have been mince meat in this stampede. If you still have suicide ideation there is no dearth of religious opportunities you don’t have to wait for next Kumbh Mela just check these place and visit them; you’ll die religiously and families will be compensated.

Different devotees perform different rituals for different purposes depending on their need and relationship with the God(s)/divine. All those thousands of men making this pilgrimage had some intention best known to them. Some in them would have even assumed taking this pilgrimage would ensure their seat in the heavens near God(s). Those killed in the stampede made it to heaven DG is not sure, but those they left behind (families) will definitely live a living hell for rest of their lives as they’ll miss them dearly. May be the loss will be lessened by the tax payer paid compensations that local government is announcing and opposition is demanding to make it up to Rs. 1 million from Rs. 500,000 knowing there are no funds available in bankrupt coffers. It is just like using the credit card in the Great Americas; you buy the stuff you don’t need with the money you don’t have. These are just announcements will the monies reach the deserving hands is questionable, but it will definitely boost the parallel economy of bribe takers. The shrine management has Rs.100,000 (1 USD= Rs. 45.00) accident insurance policy for the pilgrims and that is it. It has not uttered a word about giving anything to the injured and the dead. Why should they it was all between the men and God(s), those in need should directly approach the God(s), management refuses to broker this sacred relationship between men and God(s).

It is known the Sabarimala shrine receives millions and millions of dollars in offerings every year. Few dissident voices are challenging the maintenance of shrine camp grounds and the services provided to the visitors. What ever arrangements are made for the devotees are inadequate and definitely not safe. The shrine management has Rs.100,000 (1 USD= Rs. 45.00) accident insurance policy for the pilgrims and that is it. It has not uttered a word about giving anything to the injured and the dead. Why should they it was all between the men and God(s), those in need should directly approach the God(s), management refuses to broker this sacred relationship between men and God(s).

Then there are some pointing fingers at the government for not doing enough for the devotees and not providing enough security forces. DG wonders why it should be the responsibility of the state to provide services and workforce for religious functions. India is a secular state, if any religious group thinks they need state services and workforce to help them efficiently run the show then they should pay up. That is how events take place in here, if a community fears there could a trouble at the event it hires private security and even pays the city to send police guards and paramedics. It should be the responsibility of the event organizers that they make sure they do not break the traffic or other laws. It seems the religious fervor is pain in the neck of the tax payer.

Did the God(s) play any role in this self-aggrandizement show of masculinity or they just sat silent to let the men, masculinity and murder play on its own. Then there will be some who’ll own the God…

*Some people think God(s) is like a car. It has to be used according to the user manual (following the rituals) in order to claim insurance benefits (prayers being answered) or the failure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions will lead to denial of claims (prayers unanswered).

A co blogger is still upset in 2011 coz’ she thinks her life is in mess as God(s) are not listening to her. DG has been wondering if God(s) she thinks are her employees on wager (prayers) so they ought to perform the job to her satisfaction.

** The feminine nature of women (kind, delicate temperament, frail gait and fearfulness) is used against them to forbid entry to the shrine.

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