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Cost and Effect Analysis of Last/Past Relationship

6 Nov

Cost and Effect Analysis of Last/Past Relationship:

11/06/2013

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:

 

Expectations

Received

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.

 

When Devdas is the role model

2 Nov

 

When Devdas is the role model

11/02/2013

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.

Desi Cougars Vs Desi Wolves

8 Dec

Desi Cougars Vs Desi Wolves

This msn piece on relationships caught Desi Girl’s eye, she did not know what to make of it. The story as usual had mentions of few bollywood icons that dared to swim against the tide. These were all married couples where women were older than their spouses. The author in her over zealous attempt pulls in a psychiatrist to give his expert views on the issue (just wondering if he is qualified to even speak on this issue). He does mention it is not about feminism but about women and men making choices. Wao, it feels as if feminism was just a waste of time, we were all born with right to exercise choices, only we did not know it; caste, class, gender, religion etc. do not have a bearing on our choices. Then he goes about explaining daddy fixation in women looking for sugar daddies and mommy fixation in men leading them to sugar mommies. Coming back to the issue the author borrows the word “cougar” from the western media (along with pictures) and juxtaposes it on desi milieu, as if bollywood represents everyone living in Des.

If these ladies are cougars then we have had enough in the past be it political marriages of the royals or marriages in agrarian communities. For the royals it was a marriage of convenience with allies and for the agrarians it was marriage of labor; an older bride meant she was able to provide farm hand and progeny as soon as she came into the new home. Then there was the custom of “nata” (levirate) where older brother’s widow was married to his younger brother or cousin. None of these women really had any fun, it was just marriage and marriage in desi communities is an obligation not a choice. If you consider it a choice try staying single after certain age and hear rumors about your sexuality and sexual prowess in circulation. DG believes some people just get married because that is what everybody else is doing and few others try to shut up family and the faceless strangers called “log.” In her enthusiasm to write this author did forget explore the literary world and mention the name of Amrita Pritam, Manu Bhandari and many more that swam against the tide by choice in times much before these bollywood trinkets sprouted and nobody called them cougars.

The marriage, in patriarchal societies essentially rests on the shoulder of the woman who is younger than the man. A junior partner is easy to induct into the new household (at marriage women move to live with man and his family) and dominate (a senior partner can boast of more experience and earning power). Some will jump in with their evolutionary theories about female’s need for a strong father and provider for her progeny; it is another story that many strong and providing are wife beaters, child abusers and often found wasted in gutters. And few others would rather make good grandfathers to their kids than father. As women are younger to men at the time of marriage they are bound to loose on the fun part before marriage and once they are married there they are unlikely to have fun because remote controlling in-laws will make sure they have no girls’ night out. 🙂  The whole cougar concept becomes problematic if the woman marries the man, as fun is subtracted from the equation. In the west the cougar label is accepted as part of fun not just marriage, the end.

If women could have fun with younger men[1] and not get married then it could qualify for cougar label. It is not that it is not happening it is but there is so much stigma attached to women having fun with no strings attached  that it is concealed and where they can be in the open and out these pink chaddis march in. Could we call them “wolves,” the old men having fun with younger women? These young women are often called gold diggers. What would you call these young men who are willing to oblige some cougars with their masculinity for wads of notes?

[1] DG has strong objection to the word auntie (coz’ she is one to her niece) coz’ men in similar situations are not called uncles.

Signs of an Abuser

7 Aug

Signs of an Abuser

 

Desi Women: What Were They Thinking?

Submitted for indiblogger.in Soch Lo! contest. Please click to vote

 The phrase washing dirty linen in the public is used by communities and families to maintain status quo on an issue that is not acceptable or is oppressive to some members. Gone are the days when washing dirty linen in public meant a private matter exposed to neighbors or those in the vicinity but these days this phrase has acquired new heights. Those involved in interpersonal squabbles rush to media instead to law enforcement and courts for intervention. Media channels kill two birds with one stone by acting as mediators by bringing in so called experts (read any one with a private practice or some credentials basically you have never heard about) and the warring parties to the table and raking moola at the same time. Recently two incidents drew Desi Girl’s attention. Realities TV fame Rahul Mahajan and his already known antics and another TV actress Sehrish Ali. There are many other similar incidents that do not get media attention go unreported one such incident is click to read.

The current wife experienced the same outcome that the first wife reported and sought divorce for. In between another lady reported similar abusive outcome in a short relationship. There appears to be an established pattern in Mr. Mahajan’s intimate relationship that women intimately associated to him have ignored or are not able to decipher. Sehrish, the young actress is dealing with similar issues with a man who not only publically assaulted her but also went out to media with the details of intimate SMSs they exchanged. What were these women thinking? Yeh, the initial euphoria of romance and hormones induces a sort of reality blindness. Also abuse begins gradually in a very systematic way where the intermingling of love and abuse is hard to separate.

Desi Girl wonders if media responsibility is limited to reporting or it goes beyond to raise awareness about preventive measures about the reported issues. I guess when visual media provides titillation in the name of information it should also extend information about gender issues and gender violence. None of the channels or print media have deemed it appropriate to research and report how such incidents can be prevented.

 Overdose of bollywood romance (plus Mills & Boons) and desi wisdom have established classic signs of an abuser as pure love. Be it middle aged Kishore Kumar acting as college student and chasing Vaijantimala or some recent lovelorn hero. Research has shown abusers display distinct personality traits. If one is observant they can easily identify signs of an abuser. Some of the readers will be quick to say even women exhibit these signs. That is true, abuse is a learned behavior. But most statements here will use pronoun “he’ in cognition to the fact all incidents mentioned in this post are of male to female aggression.

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Here are classic signs of an abuser:

Pushes for Quick Involvement:

Soon after meeting he starts talking about exclusive commitment and wants to take the relationship to next level be it physical intimacy or engagement or not seeing other people. In case of Mahajan, agreed he was on the show exclusively for marriage but both of them could have asked for more time to know each other than be surprised after marriage.

 Jealous:

Excessively possessive; calls constantly; crashes on you; is always suspicious either you are looking at someone or someone is looking at you. He feels insecure all the time. Mahajan insisted in the middle of the night his wife tell him who sent her an SMS. If it was urgent she would have told him but he could not wait because he was jealous and insecure.

 

Controlling:

Calls you constantly and too much or asks too many questions and cross questions about your day such as, where were you? Who was with you? Why did it take so much time etc? If you named a person you were with he may even call them to confirm if you are telling the truth. He may monitor your phone calls, may visit your work unexpectedly Don’t be surprised if he keep a tab on your car/scooter mileage. Makes most of the decisions in the relationship, you don’t voice your opinion because you are afraid of upsetting him. 

Another dimension of control is manipulation. Often abusers in the beginning of the relationship are readily available to meet all your fancies. They’ll go far and beyond to meet your expectations in a way that you’ll feel obligated to meet their requests.

Unrealistic Expectations:

Wants you too meet all his needs be it of affection or releasing anger. You should be perfect woman, ideal wife, girlfriend etc.

 Isolation:

Prevents you from meeting your family and friends or people who do not approve of him. He accuses your supporters or his detractors as “trouble makers,” or “causing trouble in the relationship.” Checks or insists on checking your purse, diary, phone. Prevents you from meeting your friends. All this doesn’t have to be direct.It can be done very lovingly like, “I want to spend all my time with you,” “I feel lost when you are not around.” “I miss you when you go away.” It is a way of controlling your every wake moment and isolating you from people. He can even go to an extent to jeopardize your job by delaying you from reporting on time, showing up at your work, calling you too many times at work. If this continues either you’ll quit or you’ll be fired. 

Blame it on the World:

The angry young man of 70s and 80s is still around. Every thing wrong is someone’s fault. You made me angry by not following what I said. He cut me on the road that made me loose my temper. It is always someone’s fault.

 You can Save Me or I Die:

Never takes responsibility for his actions and behavior. You made me angry, you made me do X. I am unhappy because you won’t do X for me. I am sulking because you did not agree with me. It is your job to keep me calm and happy. Devdas is drunk and dying of cirrhosis because Paro won’t forgive him. To save him from cruel death is her job.

Hypersensitivity/Drama Junkie:

Every thing is about the abuser. He/she is easily insulted, feels hurt a about minor things. People are looking at me. I know what you are thinking. Rants about divine injustice meted out to him, as if the whole world is after him/her. The universe is out to get him.

His relationship be it with his parents and siblings are pretty dramatic regular fights, pouting and make up.

Cruelty to Animals and Children:

Yells at, beats or kills animals. Expects little children to perform beyond their age. May tease children to such an extent that they start crying. 65% abusers who beat their partner will also abuse children.

Insensitivity:

Is rude and abusive to those with less power than him/her. Feels entitled to the services of those with less power and prestige. May yell at beggar; be rude to waiter or porter. Look out for these signs they can blow away a very polished exterior.

Verbal Abuse:

Uses foul language, curses, degrades, calls names, and says cruel and mean things.

Rigid Gender Roles:

Believes in stereotypical gender roles, expectations and entitlements. Example, house keeping is a woman’s job; if a man helps he is doing her a favor. Man is the head of the household etc.

Unexplained Mood Swings:

Switches from sweet nothings to violent verbal berating or physical violence. Breaks things and plays rough while still talking sweet nothings. In all desi languages there is a saying “his/her anger is like boiling milk,” it is a way of endorsing and minimizing abusive behavior. Someone just released their pent up anger at another person for no reason or someone just released their displaced anger on a wrong person. After a release they are normal and the recipient is dealing with the after effects and confusion.

Past Battering:

Reluctantly admits battering previous partner but blames it on her for instigating him. “She made me do it.” Mr. Mahajan has classic history of partner battering. Had Ms Ganguly paid attention she could have saved the heartache. Past behavior is the mirror of future behavior. It is very hard for abusers to keep up the façade, sooner or later their true colors show. Yes, people can change only if they take responsibility of their behavior and realize there is a problem. None had happened here.

Makes Threats of Violence:

Threatens to use force if you do not submit to his demands. “I’ll beat you.” Then immediately denies it. “I was just joking.” “Do X or I’ll kill my self.” “If you try to leave I’ll kill you or I’ll spread rumors about you.” In a way he’ll blackmail you. You are affraid of his threats because you know he is capable of executing them. You are afraid of breaking up the relationship. May be you do not know how to break up.

Violent Sexual Fantasies:

Playful use of force during sex. Finds rape exciting. Throws or pins you down during sex.

According to latest reports Mahajans are back together. Nothing unusual about it. It is a cycle of violence. The honeymoon phase will soon fade away again…

It takes 8 to 9 times before a woman can actually leave her abuser. She keeps trying to make things work out until she finally realizes she can do no more or else she’ll loose her sanity or her life.

An average middle class dating scene will some thing like this click to read…

Read How Abuse Begins…

Desi Girl is repeating and cross referencing previous work. She’ll keep doing it until very reader is thorough on what is abuse and how to identify it 🙂

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Desi Dilemma: To Get laid or Not to Get Laid

13 Jul

Desi Dilemma: To Get laid or Not to Get Laid

In last one week I have been bombarded with question at least 5 times by four different people and then I read this on a message board

Name: Lover

Date: 2010-04-29

Hi,

I have a very loving and caring boy friend. We were in relationship for the past 4 years. I’m from south and he is a northie. Our marriage is fixed to happen after 2 years. As he is in north,i havent met him for the past 1yr 9 months. He is coming to meet me and i’m so excited. Though we have stayed lot of times together, i never allowed for sex. But this time, he is so adament bout sex and he is compelling me. I dun want to have sex before marriage. I said NO, and frm tht time he is upset and he said he ll cancel his tickets. Just to console him, i said yes now. But i really dont want to. How i can tel him NO so that we wont have any fights after he come here. I love him a lot and he is just in western culture and i’m in south..thts d prob 😦 Pls suggest.. 

The responses by other readers are pretty amazing. Left me wondering are relationships all about compromising one’s comfort to please another or manipulating the other.

 Saturday I went to Uni after morning Sadhna. A 22 year old male desi student approached me. We exchanged greetings and he asked if he could talk to me. We sat in the Student Association lounge and I asked how I could help him. He said, he felt he could talk to me because I am Desi and I am in Bana (weekends I wear Bana minus turban). (So Bana brings with it comfort of approaching a woman I did not know that.) He began with his problem; he is 22 and is sleeping around with anyone in skirt including Desi aunties who approach him at the temple. My response was dude; you are in guy heaven what your problem is? He insisted a tiny voice within his head reprimands him he feels guilty he thinks of ending this cycle and then he meets next skirt and it starts all over again. He believes it is not right but he can’t stop.

If it is bothering you then don’t do it very simple. Why me for this TMI? Because I want to know how you control your mind and actions. Do Sadhna or go and see school counselor. I am no ascetic, I know one thing for sure when you let someone become intimate with you they penetrate your aura and it takes 5 to 7 years to clean up your aura. I am still cleaning the mess from those 8 years I have no desire to start the nonsense again until I am really sure if that is what I want. It is lots of work but it is worth it at least that tiny voice doesn’t bothers me. My parting words were practice safe sex or you’ll end up with AIDS or child support payments for rest of your life.

Last fortnight, A (you met him here) went on a first date after communicating with the lady over internet for 4 months. He drove 120 miles to and fro to meet this 38 yr old school manager, who owned a house and a big car. According to A every thing seems good. She has goals of having a family in next two years and retiring in Caribbean, the only obstacle is to find the man to settle down with (pretty measurable and legitimate goals). She told him she believed in sex before marriage to check out sexual compatibility before she seals the deal. He was pretty freaked out. For him it is not a Christian thing to do. He believes marriage is a spiritual journey and needs to be honored. Though he clearly stated his stand, she insisted they meet again and talk.

This weekend he drove up north again and offered to cook for the lady and spend the day watching Slumdog Millionaire. She insisted going out. He shelled $150.00 to hear it won’t work because he doesn’t believe in sex before marriage. He was pretty pensive (I said, dude be happy it is just $150.00 and four months or else it would be $200,000.00 and 18 years of child support). I also said, dude you are worse than a Desi woman. Leave this drama-shrama to us, it is our copy right. He was more upset about the double standards the lady had as she was advocating abstinence for teens in her school.

Now it was my turn to be upset with A. How can he expect same ideals for a teen and a woman in her late 30s. Her biological clock is ticking; people above 40 are already receding in sexual encounters per year. Will she have time to figure out what works sexually while she is focused on making a baby?? Once the baby comes recreational sex will be out of window, kaboom there goes her sexual fantasies. He accused me of acting like a white man. Last time Ambi accused me acting like a white woman. Great now gender ambiguity.

 T called to say how pissed off she is that she’s been divorced for 6 years now and all her youth is passing by without sex where as the jerk who cheated and put her through all these hardships is sleeping with his new wife. Relative deprivation is natural when you believe sex is reserved only for marriage because you grew up with similar messages. She was even mad at herself and her desi upbringing why can’t she have mindless sex like other women she knows. Dear, you need a guy you are attracted to. Those you are attracted to are jerks and you don’t like jerks. So how is it supposed to work? You don’t want to date other ethnicities and your desi fixation is going no where. D is mad she’s been never married and is missing out on sex too. At times I wonder if sex is over rated just as marriages are.

Don’t Get Laid Because:

  • You are told it’s a biological need. Give me a better reason. I haven’t seen anyone dying without sex.

 

  • You are feeling relatively deprived because every body else is getting laid and you are running out of your share of intimacy or orgasms. You never felt relatively deprived when your peers were committing suicide. How about competing for that. You do not know what is going on with other people’s lives, focus on your life and needs.

 

  • Your partner wants to take the relationship to next level. The argument is exchanging bodily fluids will strengthen the bond. As if it is Fevicol. If that was the case sex could fix all those marriages that ended in divorces. If your partner is pushing you to have sex and you are not comfortable with the idea it should tell you something about your partner and your relationship. A relationship is more than getting laid. It is about respect for your partner, their feelings and comfort level. Today it is penetrative sex tomorrow it will be some weird sexual fantasy. Talk it now than fighting it out later. Even if you get laid for this reason and later find other red flags, walk out. It is not the end of the world.

 

Get Laid Because:

  • That is what you want to do. You want to do it for you, not to please your partner or score with your peers.

 

  • You are responsible enough to deal with its emotional outcomes like disappointment if it didn’t take you to cloud nine, guilt because you broke your own rule or your partner just dumped you and now you are feeling used and defiled.

 

  • You are responsible and you understand inherent risks STDs and pregnancy. Be informed about available services and where to seek help. If you are a woman and find your self pregnant, please don’t kill yourself. Talk to your partner check out your options, you know your priorities and circumstances the best don’t get influenced by what others are saying. Also, Planned Parenthood is there to help.

 

  • You are sure you’ll not get (feel) hurt and won’t hurt the other person.

These are just Desi Girl’s views do what ever works for you without hurting yourself and others, planet earth included.

Aren’t You the Curry n’ Rice Girl?

12 Apr

Technically Aren’t You the Curry n’ Rice Girl?

 “Aren’t You the Curry and Rice Girl? My best foody who happens to be also my best friend for ever (BFF) posed this question on Skype during our weekly catching up session. It took me off guard. I blurted, “You know that I seldom eat rice and my relationship with curry is not very good either? Then why do you ask?” I was bit confused how could he ask such a lame question. The next thing I see on the screen is this youtube link. I almost fell off my chair I was laughing so violently.

 He continued, “I mean do these men stand a chance with you?” I was again taken aback how my BFF could ask me such a question when he knows I am not in this game. I don’t cook, clean or you know what… I camp, boogie board, meditate and have decided not to have any biological children hope he remembers I laugh like a devil on high. Oh yeh, I don’t drink, smoke or date either. I am pretty boring in a conventional sense. What is he thinking? I don’t fit any where in the desi box. Since I initiated project ME after homelessness and hit and run, I realized I am not any longer a relationship person, my priorities are different. I have recently started running after five years. I want to run marathons, climb Kilimanjaro. Yes, Papy we are going to Kili in 2012 on your big year. Nurse your back and get ready. Ok conditions apply- if I manage to stay alive till then. I had to repeat all of the above to him and remind him how lame it was to ask me such a question. He did not give up and continued “ok, then do they stand a chance with your friends?”

 Yeh, that is a different question I can’t speak for my friends but I have known them well for eons. I don’t think they’ll differ with me. Who knows their priorities might have changed like mine. Then I recalled Amu was still on shaadi.com and Atiya still hopeful to find someone to share her life with. Ah, this thing called hope and hope to find that one true “Love.” I roped in Amu on the Skype conference and asked her the same question. There was a silence for a minute and then follows what she said, he said and I said.

 Amu: Good video.

Desi Girl: BFF is asking if these guys stand a chance with you? Awaiting your expert comments…

Amu: Are you out of your mind?

Desi Girl: Why? Don’t you wanna find someone and have a family?

Amu: That is true, but I have never seen you putting me on the spot like this.

Desi Girl: I am just asking a question. What is the problem there?

Amu: Why do you have to hear every word from me when you know the answer?

Desi Girl: Yes, that is true. This BFF wont take my word so I want to you tell him what I already know.

Amu: A (we call him A for short), that is ridiculous.

BFF: Hi! Thanks, But why?

Amu: Do I have to explain that.

BFF: Yes, it will help my understanding of Indian culture (he is African American male big into diversity, cultural sensitivity and exploring racism in diverse locations, has made few documentaries in the Latin America)

Amu: Look dude I am in my early thirties, divorced desi woman who has a professional degree and a well paying job. I don’t cook or clean unless I want to. I exercise at least 5 times a week and I go dancing at least twice a month.

BFF: So it that a problem?

Amu: What have you then learned about desi culture? Oh my, DG you need to give him a 101 on Desi Gender Relations and gender expectations for desi women.

BFF: You just give me a yes and no answer.

Amu: Ok if that is what you want, NO in caps. Happy now?

BFF: But why?

Amu: Oh my God I never thought I’ll have to spell it out aloud.

BFF: Is there a problem?

Amu: You won’t let it go then take it. I don’t find any of them attractive to even go out with.

BFF: Isn’t that little shallow. I thought you would see beyond the exteriors. Isn’t that what we are suppose to do, give another person a chance and get to know someone before we write them off?

Amu: Thanks for judging me you Freud. Say what you wish but that is it for me. Also, I am not into these theatrics. Ask Atiya, she is the one with a degree in cinema studies. And you DG, don’t you do this again.

 Still refusing to let it go BFF stuck to his guns, I had to call Atiya on my crisis call three ring code (it means get on Skype or gmail, need to talk NOW). She had just returned from the college. She logged in and saw me haggling with BFF. I explained her issue at hand and sent her the link to take a peek. Here is what follows:

 Desi Girl: A wants to know if any of these guys stand a chance with any of us and you in particular.

Atiya: Interesting, you pinged me for this. Couldn’t this wait? I thought there was some existential crisis at your end.

Desi Girl: I implore you please do not log out on me this A, is driving me nuts.

Atiya: Interesting video, it is hilarious. But A why do you ask this?

BFF: I just wanted to know what kind of men do highly educated professional desi women prefer.

Atiya: It is not that simple. One takes many factors in consideration. You have to sort of know the other person…

BFF: You think like me, so this means you’ll go out with one of these guys.

Atiya: No I don’t think so.

BFF: Why not?

Atiya: Do I have to tell you?

BFF: Yes please, it will help me improve my understanding of desi culture more so of desi women.

Atiya: I don’t find that amusing. So keep a lid.

BFF: I just asked a simple question why you women have to be so uptight about it.

Atiya: Ok, No, I’ll not go out with someone I don’t find attractive.

BFF: That is too shallow?

Atiya: Yes, I know it is shallow but will it be right to go out and find out you like them and still are not attracted to them. Then it will be even harder to break it to them.

BFF: But aren’t you the fair and slimmmm girl!

Atiya: Yes, I may be but I am a healthy person who takes care of herself and is not interested in caring for another person who chooses to live an unhealthy life style.

BFF: How can you tell that looking at the person in the video? Isn’t the love supposed to motivate the partner to strive for good things. Isn’t the love about accepting the people for who they are?

Atiya: Enough, you Freud. Why can’t desi men accept us for who we are? Why is it that it is always desi women accepting not just men but their families too.  

BFF: I donno…

 Atiya: DG tell him about still fair and slim, mother of two and project manager Anu, who fakes it as if she is with someone else when she can’t stand now fat and ugly Ramesh.

Desi Girl: Uh!!! I didn’t need to know that…

Atiya: DG you owe me a good one. Get ready for that…

Desi Girl: Hoy, Hoy … I am not in this game. You guys need to sort it out on your own.

Atiya: Loged off

Desi Girl: Dude you are in trouble and you have put me in a big trouble with my girls.

BFF: Why? I thought your friends would be more accepting.

Desi Girl: Dude, I don’t disagree with you but I don’t disagree with them either. These are successful women who are competent enough to take care of themselves. They are looking for partners not chaperons. Also, why would they stick around with someone who is callous about their appearance and health? I guess they are accepting the fact what they need in a partner. I guess good job and reputed family are no longer sufficient conditions for an eligible desi bachelor…

BFF: I donno…

 It is for the readers to decide and make their mind about our Curry n’ Rice Girl…

 Enjoy Singing:

 Few times I checked the magazine ads,

I even tried the Indian chats,

Cos I really wanna find the right girl

I want a curry n rice girl!

I asked my dad and I asked my mum

To put my biodata on shaadi.com

Cos they want to find the right girl

They really don’t want a white girl!

O0o0o shes too dark shes too big!

O0o0o shes too short shes too thin!

O0o0o shes too small shes too light!

O0o0o0o OH MY GOD look shes so WHITE!

I looked thru the mags

Thru the county ads

Cos I was looking for my future wife

So an ad in the back I really liked

For a girl that was fair and slimmmm!

So I went to the house

And to my surprise

I saw the girl in front of me

And couldn’t tell if it was a her or him!

Few times I checked the magazine ads,

I even tried the Indian chats,

Cos I really wanna find the right girl

I want a curry n rice girl!

I asked my dad and I asked my mum

To put my biodata on shaadi.com

Cos they want to find the right girl

They really don’t want a white girl!

O0o0o shes too dark shes too big!

O0o0o shes too short shes too thin!

O0o0o shes too small shes too light!

O0o0o0o OH MY GOD look shes so WHITE!

Hey what is ur birthday

Hey what is your screename

Larki are u on friendster too?

Cos if u are then put ur picture up

And you’ll know ill holler at you

If you want to meet

We can go to eat

We will share some lassis and some ladoos,

If this doesn’t work out ill stop chasing girls

and let my parents choose!

Few times I checked the magazine ads,

I even tried the Indian chats,

Cos I really wanna find the right girl

I want a curry n rice girl!

I asked my dad and I asked my mum

To put my biodata on shaadi.com

Cos they want to find the right girl

They really don’t want a white girl!

O0o0o shes too dark shes too big!

O0o0o shes too short shes too thin!

O0o0o shes too small shes too light!

O0o0o0o OH MY GOD look shes so WHITE!

U like my biodata?

B-I-O-D-A-T-A!

U like my biodata?

B-I-O-D-A-T-A!

U like my biodata?

B-I-O-D-A-T-A!

U like my biodata?

B-I-O-D-A-T-A!

Few times I checked the magazine ads,

I even tried the Indian chats,

Cos I really wanna find the right girl

I want a curry n rice girl!

I asked my dad and I asked my mum

To put my biodata on shaadi.com

Cos they want to find the right girl

They really don’t want a white girl!

 

 

 

 

Desi Dating: Read Between the Lines

31 Oct

 Desi Dating: Read Between the Lines

       The opportunities for higher education and career in the recent years have expanded manifold for women in the urban India. This has brought about rise in age at marriage for women. At the same time changes in rules of commensality and connubiality between castes and genders is being observed. Marriage in India is considered a social and economic exchange between two families rather than two individuals tied in the matrimony. Arranged marriages are a tradition in most communities. Construction of a new approach towards marriage is being observed, where parents and children negotiate on finding a mate (Wei, 2007; Medora, 2003). Medora draws attention to semi-arranged marriages where parents screen potential partners for the children and allow them a courtship period to date and determine compatibility. At the same time many young people accept arranged marriage and family involvement in their romantic relationships but also desire to find their own partner and experiment with dating.

            Dating in India is a complex phenomenon; it carries differential implications for men and women. Often women who pursue premarital relationships not only risk bringing this honor to the family, but also to reduce their (also those of their siblings’) chances of a good marriage. Often, a hint of a premarital relationship can more over hasten marriage for young women to and not of their choice. Hence, most intriguing relationships are clandestine. Wei (2007) studied young urban middle class professionals in Bangalore supporting their personal and romantic relationships with mobile phones. She explored the interactions of dating couples and their families. According to her marriage is the cornerstone of romantic relationships in India. I use few excerpts from her study to demonstrate how young couples are circumventing cultural traditions and yet reinforcing them; a potential ground for abuse where the line between expectation, demand and coercion is indistinct.

            Rohit came to work at GTSC, leaving his home town of Delhi, over 1,000 mile away from Bangalore in the  north. His parents keep in close touch with him, and fact, his mother had recently stayed with him for a long visit. He works an overnight shift. A friend from home is staying with him while he looks  for a job in Bangalore. When Rohit comes home early in the morning, his friend is getting up to start his day.

  Rohit has two mobile phones that he regularly uses: his main Bangalore phone as well as one with Delhi number. The Delhi number is paid for by his parents becaus they have a plan that allows them to call him for free and without roaming costs. He normally carries only The Bangalore phone with him. He reserves the Delhi phon  for family calls and a few friends at home to save on the expense for his parents.

  Besides these two phones, he also keeps two other mobile handsets on his kitchen counter. He has a handset that he keeps in a basket, a broken Nokia that he has smashed in a fit of rage after a fight on the phone with his on-again, off-again girlfriend who lives in Delhi. The basket also holds a collection of chargers. These four phones were all purchased in the last five months. Rohit said that if I had met him earlier, he could have shown me even more handsets from when he switched from a GSM system to his current CDMA one.

 Rohit has been in his on-again, off-again relationship for five years. They are no  “off”- she is engaged to another man. This outcome, according to Rohit, suited his parents and his friends who disliked how the two of them fought. After the breakup, Rohit chatted over the computer with a friend about the latest quarrel he had with the girl, and the friend urged him to cancel her mobile subscription (which he was paying for). His friend told him to cancel it right now, “in front of him.” With the support of his friend, Rohit immediately called the mobile company to cancel but was not able to reach anyone. (Wei, 2007 p. 202-3) 

        This field note excerpt from Wei’s work is an exemplary case of tracing signs of an abuser in the subject Rohit. He has anger issues, in rage he had smashed a mobile phone. In his five years of relationship he has broken up with his girl friend number of times. He is influenced by his friends about how to behave in his relationship. If his girl friend broke up with him in cognizance of his abusive behavior or under pressure from her parents to marry another person is not known. Had this relationship culminated into marriage its future would have been predictable. In the absence of Rohit’s complete life history it is difficult to guess if he was exposed to parent to parent aggression or parent to child aggression but he fits into two of Riggs and O’Leary’s situational models of dating violence. He has friends who support his behavior and he has repeated aggressive behavior in the past. The distinction between expectation (subtle) and demand (explicit) governs the terms of coercion.

            In India arranged marriages have been normative in all communities in India, there are rare occurrences of marriages for love. Marriage is social and economic exchange between two families rather than two individuals tied in the matrimony. With changing socio-economic conditions more and more young people are exploring this less traveled path. As more and more women are entering higher education and professions more changes are being observed in the nature of commensality and connubiality. People are dating and marriage is often the unstated goal of romantic relationships.

Some other excerpts from Wei’s work:

                  “The main barrier though is that his parents are against her, though Kiran is  unclear what their reservations  are besides that they come from differen  communities. Maya frankly realizes she is not a prospective bride because   she is not of the same caste. Kiran wants to win his parents over because he will not marry Maya unless his parents approve. This is as much for practical reasons as it is for filial piety. “If parents are against the girl I am married to then I would have to be the ‘point man’ between my wife and family,” which would be uncomfortable. The process of persuading them is challenging  partly because he is of marriage-able age, so his parents are “under pressure  from their own relatives. Every single day there is a new girl.” (Wei, p. 212)

         Kiran, wanted to marry Maya despite his parent’s objections, yet wanted to win over his parents before making any further commitment to her (p. 232). His parents are visiting him so his relationship with Maya has go clandestine at this time. This romantic relationship desirous of matrimony is marred by parental disapproval. The situation can change if the woman in question and her family pay a price for their daughter’s outlandish demand to marry a man of her choice. The nature of expectation and requests would be something as follows:

Kiran:       My parents are giving up their right to find me a match so at least they can expect a wedding of their choice. 

Maya:       My parents are giving up their right too. Even they would like to have a wedding of their own choice.

Kiran:      But you should understand I am their only son. You know how many expectations and dreams they have for 

                  their only son’s marriage. Your parents can fulfill their dreams at your brother’s wedding.

 Maya:      But this is not right.

 Kiran:       Look, I love you. I am not asking you for any thing all I want is my parent to be happy. They are  not asking      for a dowry. All they want is a decent wedding and good welcome for their guests.

Maya:       Decent wedding means 500 guests. That is too much burden on my parents.

 Kiran:       Maya, even if your parents would have arranged your wedding they would have spent good amount. So  what is the problem here? I want us to be happy.  it is just a ritual my parents want to do and it is just a one time thing.

            This relationship is exposed to friends and society, woman’s reputation is tied to the man. Breaking this relationship will have social and emotional costs for her. The request is becoming a demand and choices to resist the overbearing pressure are limited. Later in the chapter Maya reveals, “Marriage is an integral part of life. If you have a good partner, your life will be smooth. Divorce is not possible for a girl. I will have to get married.” Wei describes this statement as the belief that females in particular must be married. It suggests that marriage is on the participants’ minds as a necessary and important life stage, something that will occur regardless of exactly when or how it does. This attitude frames their interactions with romantic partners (p. 230).  The stage has been set for Maya’s vulnerability. Her choice of spouse can be used against her by her future spouse in either love or arranged marriage as she has transgressed the gender norms. Her prolonged courtship makes her vulnerable to demands for wedding arrangements not conducive to her liking.

            Yet another excerpt: 

                 “Ambar met her husband Nikhil in a C++ programming course in Nagpur.  They were the only two students left in the course after their classmate dropped out, so the instructor told them to exchanged phone numbers. If one of them could not come to class, they were to call each other and the  instructor so that he would know not to come. Nikhil took the opportunity to call Amber every day and talk to her for an hour at a time, even when she was                   too tired to carry on a phone conversation.  At the end of the course, they didn’t have any reason to talk to each other any more. But Nikhil called one more time and proposed to her (making an offer of romantic partnership). Ambar, a beautiful and charming girl, had received so many proposals already, that she thought he was joking and didn’t pay  attention. The next time he called, he asked her what she thought of the question he had asked. She didn’t remember what he was talking about.

 Eventually they decided to spend time with each other as friends and became romantically involved. During their relationship, Nikhil purchased his first mobile phone and got a pair of SIM cards, one for him and one for her. She          already had a handset from her brother as well as a free connection from her employer. He told his family that the paired card was for his chum, Shankar.

                   She told her family that the card was a free gift from Nikhil (although it cost him Rs. 1,000 INR). They talked to each other 4-5 hours a night for free with these paired SIM cards. Because the calls were free, they would just keep the lines open between them even while going for a drink of water. 

                    His parents were initially suspicious of her because during their C++ course, Nikhil had asked Ambar to call him on the family line at 7 a.m. every day to make sure he made it to class on time. The parents did not understand who this girl was to call so often and so early. Ambar also said his family was traditional, and their girls wore salwar suits [loose-fitting tunic and trousures] while she preferred jeans. She said she won over his parents by dressing up in a sari and jewelry to his brother’s wedding, garnering admiring comments from relatives. After that, they asked Nikhil if he wanted to marry her.” (p-226-227)

              The patriarchal expectation from the female partner to assuage the prospective in-laws by adorning traditional garb and behaving demurely is efficiently fulfilled. This was requested or done by Amber on her own either way depicts woman’s attempt to balance tradition and modernity. Over time when this expectation transforms into demand the equation of relationship will change. Some of Wei’s male respondents expressed the desire about the kind of partner they would like to be with. “Ankit described an ideal partner as someone who was not concerned entirely with “cosmopolitan matters. I want a good girl, who is balanced. I want someone who can go to a party and the temple.” Likewise, Abhishek sought a girl who occupied a liminal space, “someone who is open, not too conservative and not way too modern with a ‘model attitude’…A ‘model attitude’ is someone who is working hard but not on the ground or in touch with reality. A conservative attitude is someone who asks for everyone for their opinion.” These desires for partners who can fit in multiple worlds or combine two polar characteristics reflect the realization that they themselves are caught between spaces, says Wei (p. 231). These findings are similar to those of Abraham (2001, p. 142), college going men wanted men to be “simple,” ‘home-loving,” with “compromising nature” being able to “respect elders.” I am left wondering as if these men are signing a package deal, best of both the worlds. What do women expect and get in return? A label- married.

Upadhya (2005) reports unmarried women information technology (IT) professions are less likely to be able to stay in the office till late night, unless there is a pressing need, because they may face objections from parents or in-laws, or social disapproval. Most women IT professionals, said that they would prefer husbands working in IT, because they would be better able to understand the demands of the job. Where as male IT professionals said that they would not prefer to marry women in the same profession.  This mismatch between IT women’s and men’s expectations in terms of marriage is symptomatic of the ways in which gender relations are being altered by the entry of women into this new kind of workforce. The eight domains of coercion mentioned by Dutton and Goodman (2005) in which a batterer makes demands, imposes coercion, and strips the victim’s autonomy start emerging here; her personal activities/appearance (e.g. demand to wear certain clothing or hair styles) are subtly controlled. What a woman can wear and do is being dictated by patriarchal expectations that are manifested through intimate actors.

              In Wei’s sample working and living away from home are often the personal “firsts’ in the lives of young women. College education and work life has afforded these women new experiences that have implications for their future and families. The transitions in to new adulthood, opportunities to meet non related men and relative emancipation from direct parental supervision are definitely signs of change in society but there is a significant part of social psyche that is struck in patriarchal practices. Violence is linked to the changing power dynamics in the spousal relationship. How men treat women in the newly acquired space and freedom is evident from the new spat of crimes against women, acid attacks, blackmailing and date rapes. The subtlety of coercion is difficult to discern by women and it works in favor of men both individually and collectively.

         Wei also exposes how young urban youth maintain their relationships with their families irrespective of long distance via mobile phones. Family ties and obligations are part of their identities. In some case participants call home daily to espouse family members of their availability and assure closeness. 

                 “In some cases, participants used the phone to check in with siblings that they were “responsible” for. For example, Manoj has his sister routinely give him a missed call to let him know when she has arrived to her office elsewhere in Bangalore. They do not live together, but he shows his concern for her well-being and personal safety by asking her to update him on her whereabouts. 

                  Praskash similarly checks in with his brother in Delhi. Even though he is only one-and-half years younger than him, he feels responsible for him and worries because he lives on his own. He talks with his brother three to four times a day to chat or to ask if he has eaten. Ultra-close relationships with their family indicate care about their well-being beyond catching up on news (p-215). 

           The above excerpt shows defused boundaries between family members. In collectivist communities concept of boundaries is limited to outsiders as families impose restrictions pertaining to commensality between caste, class and religious groups on both male and female members. These restrictions are manifold for women as gender dimension is added to the attributes of their identity and character. This essentially belongs to social/support/family domain of coercion. The incumbent is restricted from seeking support or contact with certain individuals but it is acceptable as it is caste, class, religion or gender appropriate behavior.  In future if a spouse makes number of phone calls to check on the female partner about here whereabouts, she’ll find it hard to believe she is being monitored as it will be confused with an expression of love and care also the spouse is ideally supposed to be her the only emotional support she needs. Any attempt to look for emotional or other support outside the spousal relationship is considered scandalous. Women are rarely able to support and sustain female friendships due to vericlocal (at marriage the woman moves to man’s residence) nature of households. Where as, when in-laws prevent a woman from meeting or talking to neighbors she’ll be able to sense the isolation. At the same time men who are over involved in the lives of their siblings and parents demonstrate subtle codependent tendencies. With so much of long distance intermeshing of lives will these men be able to create time and be emotionally available to their spouse in future is questionable. What about the family their members, will they accept their new responsibilities as married men and curtail their demands? A disturbed relation with parents and siblings is one of the signs of abusers frequently mentioned in the research. The nature of IPV in Indian context is familial rather than individualistic. Over involvement with the family of origin is a potential sign of abuser too. Inability to distance themselves from the daily lives of other family members and create a balance with conjugal life often frustrates men and they use this frustration as an excuse to abuse their spouses. Despite appearing to be independent adults living on their own, participants are entwined with their families who still play central roles in their romantic decisions. Love is considered as a potentially dangerous emotion that could disrupt family obligations (Derne, 2000b), even when the marriages are arranged. So if you are dating with an intention to marry this person start reading between the lines. Starting now how much are you willing to give up?

Thanks for reading. Now “Rate Your Romance” (look in the side bar) and see where your relationship is going.

 References:

Derne, Steve. “The (Limited) Effect of Cultural Globalization in India: Implications for Culture Theory.” Poetics 33 (2005): 33-47.

 Dutton, Mary Ann, Lisa Goodman and James R. Schmidt. “Development and Validation of a Coercive Control Measure for Intimate Partner Violence in Boston, Massachusetts and Washington, DC.”  National Institute of Justice. 2004 < http://dx.doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR04570>

Medora, N. (2003), “Mate Selection in Contemporary India: Love Marriages Versus Arranged Marriages” in Mate Selection across Cultures edited by R.R. Hamon and B. B. Ingoldsby, Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

 Riggs, David S. and K. Daniel O’Leary. “Aggression Between Hetrosexual Dating Partners: An Examination of a Causal Model of Courtship Aggression.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 11 (1996) 519-40.

 Wei, Carolyn Y. “Mobile Hybridity: Supporting Personal and Romantic Relationships with Mobile Phones in Digitally Emergent Spaces.” Diss U of Washington, 2007. URL: http://scarlethamster.com/research/dissertation.html (March 28, 2007).

 

 

 

 

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

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