Aging Desi Gods

23 Aug

Aging Desi Gods

08/23/2015

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?

 

2 Responses to “Aging Desi Gods”

  1. asianwomanswoes August 28, 2015 at p08 #

    Hi. I desperately need your help DG. How can I get in touch with you?

    p.s I am in the UK.

    @asianwomanswoes,
    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
    If your or someone’s life and limb is in danger please get off internet and call the emergency number 999.
    DG’s email id is in the comments in one of the comments on the page Dealing with In-laws.

    If it is very pressing you can reply to this comment with an email id where you can be reached for sure and safely and DG will write back to you from her id.

    Please delete the cookies on your computer, phone etc. for safety reasons.

    Stay safe.
    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like

  2. psharmarao August 24, 2015 at p08 #

    Well DG this “sense of entitlement”, where does it come from, where does a boy learn it, who reinforce it, these are all important questions.
    A male neighbour who has otherwise been very cruel to his wife and the mother of his two children ,does laundry every weekend in a way that the whole neighbourhood witnesses, a s a result he has become the ideal “bechara” pati and the wife an evil tyrant whose making her poor husband slog in the house.
    I hate cooking at least the everyday cooking but because my husband comes from a family which believes hiring cooks is a bad thing and men obviously don’t cook the only option I had other than feeding my child bad takeouts was to cook thrice every single day. No body understands the resentment, not even good friends because all “good women” love cooking especially for their husband and child. unfortunately same was the case with my late father ,while he allowed mum to have help for all other chores and did help a lot himself too around the house, the drudgery of cooking fell on her.
    I could be wrong but a lot of times I have seen women enjoy this victimhood too,and sadly these abused elderly women then look for fulfilment (emotional and financial) from their sons and wreck their lives too.
    so yes this entitlement needs to be questioned and challeneged, but how?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

From the wet market

Mostly vegetarian meals from Asia

****आयुर्वेद : आयुष**** ई०टी०जी० आयुर्वेदास्कैन ****AYURVEDA : E.T.G. AyurvedaScan **** ****आयुष आविष्कार**** ई० एच० जी० ****होम्योपैथीस्कैन **** E.H.G. Homoeopathy Scan

AYUSH means A.Y.U.S.H. य़ानी Ayurveda + Yoga & Nature Cure + Unani +Sidhdha + Homoeopathy ; आयुष पान्च चिकित्सा विधियो को मिलाकर एक टर्म बना दिया गया है , जिसका मतलब [१] A word से आयुर्वेद [२] Y word से योग और प्राकृतिक चिकित्सा [३] U word से यूनानी चिकित्सा [४] S word से सिध्ध चिकित्सा [५] H word से होम्योपैथी चिकित्सा ; आयुर्वेद के अलावा भारत में आविष्कार की गयी और भारत सरकार द्वारा परीक्षित की जा चुकी मान्यता प्राप्त विश्व की पहली और अकेली आयुर्वेद की शत-प्रतिशत पूर्णतया स्वदेशी तकनीक "इलेक्ट्रो त्रिदोष ग्राफी : ई०टी०जी० आयुर्वेदास्कैन " , जिसका आविष्कार जून, १९८६ में कानपुर शहर, उत्तर प्रदेश, भारत के आयुष चिकित्सा वैग्यानिक डा० देश बन्धु बाजपेयी - मोबाइल: 09336238994 - e.mail : drdbbajpai@gmail.com द्वारा किया गया और जिसका लगातार विकास कार्य जारी है / E.T.G.A.S. तकनीक द्वारा (1) आयुर्वेद के मौलिक सिध्धान्तों का स्टेटस क्वान्टीफाई करने और इसी तकनीक द्वारा (2) शरीर के सभी अन्गों और प्रत्यन्गॊ में व्याप्त समस्त रोगों के निदान ग्यान की वैग्यानिक aproach की जानकारी कराने और सबसे नवीन दूसरी आविष्कार की गयी निदान और रोग ग्यान तक्नीक आयुर्वेदा थर्मों ग्राफी ; आयुर्वेदा ऊष्मा-स्कैन ; आयुर्वेदा थेर्मल मैपिन्ग एवम स्कैनिन्ग के अलावा आयुर्वेद की अन्य की गयी खोजों में तीसरी खोज ”आयुर्वेद हीमो-मीटर मशीन” द्वारा रोगी के रक्त का परीक्षण करके आयुर्वेद के सिध्ध्न्तों का मूल्यान्कन तथा चौथी खोज रोगी के पेशाब / मूत्र का ”आयुर्वेद यूरीनो-मीटर” द्वारा परीक्षण करके आयुर्वेद के सिध्धान्तो की उपस्तिथि के अलावा मूत्र के अन्दर पाये जाने वाले पदार्थों का विष्लेषण करके रोग निदान की विधियों की खोज रिसर्च सेन्टर द्वारा कर ली गयी है और रोगियों के लिये उपलब्ध करा दी गयी है ...आयुष AYUSH चिकित्सा विधियों के बारे में विश्वसनीय और सटीक और अचूक और सही जानकारी और शोध पूर्ण और शोध युक्त ग्यान बोध कराने वाला द्विभाषीय चिठ्ठा ...................................Ayurveda and AYUSH Therapies including Chines Accupunctur, Magnet Therapy,Physiotherapy etc and with this in June, 1986, invented by KANPUR, Uttar Pradesh State, INDIA based AYUSH Medical Scientist Dr. Desh Bandhu Bajpai - Mobile : 09336238994 - e.mail: drdbbajpai@gmail.com , completely indeginous AYURVEDA SCANNING Technology - "Electro Tridosha Graphy ; E.T.G.AyurvedaScan " system, EXAMINED & APPROVED BY GOVERNMENT OF INDIA , by which (a) status of Ayurvedic Fundamentals are quantified and (b) examinaton of whole body for diagnosis of presence of anomalies and ailments , Second scanning system of Ayurveda Discovered and Invented by Dr. D.B.Bajpai ; Ayurveda Thermal Mapping and Scanning , Other research in Ayurveda is Third one which analysis Blood by AYURVEDA HEAMO-METER devise and Fourth one is AYURVEDA URINO-METER for analysing the contents of urine and status quantification of Ayurveda Principles and is avalable for patient in our research center...... provides information about Research and Developments technology provider , authenticated subject material publisher, Bilingual Hindi and English informer Blog

LOKSANGHARSHA

जनसंघर्ष को समर्पित

Talking to the Wall

Posting about this and that :)

Surviving Traumatic Brain Injury

TBI - Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

My life and everything that touches it....

kafilabackup.wordpress.com/

10 YEARS OF KAFILA - OUR COMMON JOURNEY

"कुरुक्षेत्र"

मेरे विचारो का

समाजवादी जनपरिषद

वैश्वीकरण विरोध हेतु

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

W.S.S.A @ UWindsor

Women's Studies Student Association @ University of Windsor, Ontario

Shafiq Ur Rahman Khan

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

Beyond The Second Sex (स्त्रीविमर्श)

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

नारी , NAARI

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

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

Sparsh

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

Zerqa Abid

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

%d bloggers like this: