Marriage advice


If there was only one piece of advice I were to give to people getting married, it would be to get their OWN Separate living space – be it rented or bought – separate from both sets of parents and relatives.

It is absolutely VITAL, especially in patriarchal societies [but then, tell me which society is not?]

I am amazed at the number of women who agree to live in joint families and then are unhappy and can see no way out of it [see IHM's blog]. When you walk in to a patriarchal way of life, why would you expect it to be free of patriarchal expectations placed upon you?

Note: Let us be really honest here. There may be exceptions in joint families but a large majority of them are skewed in favour of men and elders. The women and the new daughter in law are the lowest in the pecking order.

Add to that, most husband’s inability to stand up for their wives in a strong fashion. I say strong because many women claim that their husbands to support them but in a meek way. They will not fight tooth and nail and yell. Sometimes, you have to fight for things that matter and arguments may turn ugly.

I disagree with the idea that people should be respected, just because they are older or that they are men. Some of these people throw tantrums like a 5 year old and expect nobody to complain and be constantly served.

Reasons why you should live separately:

1. You get to know your partner

In arranged marriages, most people barely know their partner. Know them and learn about them independent of the in laws breathing down your necks. Most people are always almost not gonna let loose when other people’s parents and your parents are observing you and you are expected to maintain decorum. In India, most love marriages also do not involve the partners living together. Hanging out for coffee does not often reveal a person’s character and it does not mean they will stand up for you in front of their parents.

Women get the short end of the stick here because they have often no home to call their home and they cannot relax anywhere.

In short, get to know your spouse, free from any external pressure. And grow closer together.

2. You need to create your own lifestyle and home

Living with parents does not let you bring out your own ideas as the house is already ready and set for  you, mainly the woman. If the woman walks into a joint family, she has to do ALMOST ALL of the adjusting. Why should anyone person give up everything?

Most men will balk at the idea of having to give up everything and follow the rules of their wives parental home. Then, why is it fair that women have to do it?

3. Freedom

To wear what you want – Many women have to stick to certain kids of clothes because modern clothes are considered inappropriate in front of elderly relatives. They have to wear marks of marriage and almost always expected to be in traditional attire.

Cook when you want. Set your own rules not what the older people tell the DIL to do. And so on. Everyone has their own style of living. In fact, I feel one may not even agree with the way their parents do things.

4.  Learn to be independent

When are you going to learn to run your own house and do your own stuff, if your parents dictate everything for you? When will you become an adult if you always run to your mommy?

5. Living separately helps in creating a gender equal home. That is if the wife allows it. If she follows the traditional model, well, at least she is doing it of her own will [or conditioning].

6. Many parents ruin their own children’s marriages because they cannot bear the thought of their own child getting close to someone else, even if the spouse was chosen by them. They are emotionally insecure and leech on to their children and expect servitude. It is a messed up emotional cycle of dependence. Also,  there is a lot of baggage involved. Of course parents are blind to their children’s faults.

7. Let the parents enjoy their freedom from children and their parents.

8. Sex

Sex in joint families tends to be quickly and quietly because there is often no privacy. 

Note:The phrase “quickly and quietly” is TM of SS company coined by U. Please ask permission before copying that phrase.

I do understand that some people will say that their parents need to be looked after. Even in that case, I would suggest living close by, dropping by as and when needed and cooking for your parents than living in a small flat together. If economic reasons dictate that you cannot live alone, I would suggest working towards economic freedom as goal so that you can move out or having a large house with independent kitchens and units. 

P.S: Please ignore the grammar mistakes or typos that crept in as I was typing in a hurry and my meeting was about to start.

Dating advice – Don’t be a good girl


I came across this article from yesandyes and I loved it. Of course, it is more applicable to dating than for arranged marriages but the underlying philosophy is applicable to everyone. Here are parts I really loved – 

“Plenty of dudes will want to form a “fun little team” with you, particularly if you’re smart and highly evolved and you have your shit together.” 

“It makes me wonder if you’re really showing up or not. It makes me wonder if you don’t want, so badly, to be someone’s dream girl, that you’ve got your hands on all of the sliders and the knobs (sorry!) at all times, controlling all the levels to achieve the perfect mix. Does he look impatient? Turn up the tempo. Does he seem bored? Pump up the bass. Does he seem on edge? Turn down the treble. Play up the mid-range.”

“Either way, you are a government certified, grade-A, consumer-friendly woman, approved for multiple uses, from forming a fun little team to kind, healthy, mature fence-sitting!”

You’re putting up with whatever. You’re never getting ruffled or hurt. When someone breaks up with you, you’re not yelling “Whyyyyy?!!!” In fact, you imply that only a weak or less evolved person would do that.” 

You’re so good at being GOOD. But how good are you at being YOU? You know what makes a spark? A real human being with a bad attitude who’s tired of moving shit just to sit down in a motherfucker’s apartment.”

“Because let me tell you the god’s honest truth: A lot of women out there are afraid of being something. The template for us is pretty clear: We are meant to have clean skin, a pleasant demeanor, and a nice rack.”

But there are lots of ladies around me, everywhere I go, who hesitate to say what they’re thinking and feeling. They go with the flow, they never make waves. And eventually, they don’t even seem to know what makes them who they are. They live to serve. They read the books that other people are reading. They say the pleasant things that other people are saying. They never put their needs first, unless it indirectly serves someone else — a manicure, some highlights. They make sure everyone around them is 100 percent satisfied. Like grocery-store managers. Like customer service reps. Like masseuses who also give free happy endings.”

If that sounds sexist or demeaning, then it’s by design. The developed world is packed to the gills with shiny, pretty sheep who will never step on your toes. I know many representatives of the middle-class suburban version of this, and I even know women in creative fields who pull the same “Me, too!” face in everything they do. It’s soul-sucking and it’s problematic and let me just say, too, that it is a FUCKING SNOOZE.”

“Like you yourself wrote: YOU SHOULD BE CHERISHED.

Because even the ladies who step right in line and aim to please, they have lots of spark, if that’s what makes them happy. YOU WANT MORE THAN THAT. The lack of spark within you comes from the conflict between WHO YOU TRY TO BE and WHAT YOU REALLY WANT FOR YOURSELF. You want more. You act like you don’t want more, you act like you’re satisfied, but in fact, you want a lot more.”

When I read this, I could think of several women who fit the profile who fit this. They are in 2 categories – 

a) Women who are free to date and want to be in a relationship and don’t express themselves. They feel bad that there is this lack of passion. Yup, because robots do not invoke passion, raw humans do with all their imperfections. The advice above goes against the grain for women who have been taught to be good. Yes, don’t be a bitch because nobody wants to be around one but self respect and not expressing your feeling in a respectful manner is not bad. You can’t always be on the fence. Sometimes, you have to take a side.

b) Women in arranged matches who are forced to be the ideal wife/DIL/mother without anyone giving a thought to their self expression and what makes them tick. Again, people want robots they can control to varying degrees. 

To put it concisely, be your best authentic self. Do not pretend to be somebody to please others, especially in a relationship. This is applicable to everybody irrespective of gender. Of course this is more for women as women as a whole tend to be more prone to fall into the people pleasing mode and perfectionism. Basically, how can someone like you in a relationship when you are not in that relationship? Resentment builds over time, when you are constantly pretending and it does come out in form or another.

P.S: That does not mean you have to a jerk or yell at other people. If something bothers you, bring it up in a respectful manner.

When getting a wife is easy


We were watching Godavari the other day and there is this scene where Ravi is very condescending to his fiancée, Raji. It is an arranged match. 

U made an observation that Ravi was rude and condescending because he did not work hard to get the girl. Finding and having a long-term girlfriend is not easy and generally people would not treat their girlfriends like that because the girl would simply leave.  Without arranged marriage, would these guys even find women as they did not even have basic skills to interact with females?

This observation is absolutely spot on.  I often feel that these men have no incentive to step up the plate because they women will put up with their behaviour (whatever the reasons maybe for putting up). I was shocked when someone told me that their husband barely talked to them after coming home from office and never ever helped in the house. I could not believe the way she normalized it and told me that most of her friends had similar experiences. I do not think her husband would have a girlfriend with that kind of behaviour had he dated some woman here.

This guarantee that men will find a wife via arranged marriage makes them think they can behave like A-class jerks and still get a wife + dowry. All they have to do is have a job and earn money.

I am not telling women to start throwing tantrums for every little thing or threaten to leave for every little thing. But please, you do deserve to be treated with basic respect and consideration. And yes, the entire household does not run with your labour alone.

Snippets of my life #7


I am sitting in office typing away. In walks some guy (G) and talks to my colleague (C) in the next cubicle.

G – “Your African friend is in office. The entire office smells of him”

C – “My friend?”

G – “Ya, smell downstairs.”

C (lets out a laugh. She does not find it offensive AT ALL) – “Oh, the office cleaning lady was in today. She used bleach to clean the toilets.”

RG guy walks into my boss’ room to talk to him by the time I turn around.

DID I JUST HEAR THAT IN THE OFFICE?!

I could not believe that. I peeped in my boss’ room to see who it was. RG is some old friend of my boss. RG was the same guy who came to me and made dumb ass statements about Indians and India when he knew I was Indian. I am never ever talking to him.

On writing block


Lately, I had blogging writing block. I had so many ideas for posts in my head but I just couldn’t write on my blog. I wondered when I would feel like blogging again. On one hand,  I felt like I SHOULD be writing blog posts. On the other hand, I should not put pressure on myself to write as that would lead to more resistance.

I was also having a passion crisis. What was I interested in? What drives me? I was afraid I was becoming one of those ‘no interest in anything, no zest for life’ people. I was scared that the state of being emotionless/ dispassionate, was seeping into my skin from the people around me. Many east asians here are very uncomfortable with positive expression of passion or excitement. They tell you to calm down even if you are happy excited. Everybody has to be straight faced emotionless all the time!

Like Agent May. She always has this expression no matter what! P.S – She appears in TV series Agents of SHIELD

And Bam! I got so riled up this week (see here) and wrote many blog posts like I was on fire!

I AM NOT DEAD INSIDE!!

Yay! I am relieved and thank people who riled me up. There is a silver lining to every cloud after all. 

Snippets of my life #6


It has been pouring like crazy since yesterday. Luckily, I was back at home 2 minutes before the downpour started. It is nice in way that it has cooled down a lot from the hot sweaty days before.The side effect of rainy days is that it is very difficult for me to get out of bed. Nothing is better than snuggling in a warm bed when it is raining outside.

So, when my phone rang in the morning, I sleepily ignored it. I was late and rushing to office in the rain after I woke up. Later I had a feeling sis had called me earlier because she gave birth! I saw photos of the baby. Very cute, if I may say so myself.

On maternity leave and values


A rant. Venture no further, if you do not like rants.

I have pretty lame and racist colleagues as I have discussed previously on this blog. And this afternoon I am  was pissed in office. No point getting angry over people you can’t change. They still make plenty of lame statements regularly though they try not to be racist in front of me.

Colleague A (male) commented how women who DO NOT work till the last day of their pregnancy are taking advantage of the system and are not dedicated to their jobs. They are lazy and there is no reason they should be sitting at home doing nothing instead of being at their job. A’s wife is about to give birth to a third accidental unplanned child next week and she is still going to office. That pissed me off. I told him to talk when he carries the foetus. Why the hell should women work till the moment their labour starts. Why the hell should they be back in office 2 months after giving birth? As many people here are workaholics, they are all back in office in 2 months. One of my ex-colleagues was. Immediately, another female colleague jumped to his defense and said it was better for women to work till the moment they go into labor as many of her friends did.

When you have a fucking lame system, admit it and how we can change. Don’t try to defend it. 

I told them it was lame and who wants to spend time in the office when they can relax at home in the last leg of their pregnancy and spend time with the baby after the baby is born. Why should the woman rush back to office in 2 months. That does not mean she is not ‘dedicated’ to her job. Why should women NOT enjoy their pregnancies and babies. Of course, a mother is going to be more dedicated to her baby in the initial months than to her boss. What is wrong with that?!

I cannot tolerate it when women also defend the argument and feel women should return to work ASAP.  Like, they are not humans. They are machines who give birth and should be roaring to go to their jobs and not miss their baby. If they don’t, that reflects poorly on them and they are LAZY.

Also, talk turned to how expensive confinement ladies are. Confinement ladies are women who live with you and cook special dishes in Chinese culture after you give birth for about a month or 2. They look after the mother and the baby and let the mother sleep in the night. Again, $1000 is nothing for a month of someone cooking and taking care of you and the baby. But that is bloody expensive but spending $3000 on a branded bag and $1000 on a wallet is considered absolutely normal. Add to that, an expensive car (200,000) because you need be seen in a BMW/Merc. They NEVER complain about that!

What kind of a value system is that? Money is all that matters in this society. Money is not for you to enjoy what you want but to show off and make other people jealous.

You want to work till the last day of pregnancy in office till you can feel your contractions and want to be back in office a month after giving birth, go ahead. But do not complain about how you have no support when you defend and support the system and impose your social norms on everyone.

Note: This does not mean I feel every woman should stay home tending to her baby for a year. You are welcome to do whatever feels good to you but that does not mean you can be condescending to women who want more time at home with their babies.