Wednesday, August 05, 2015

The plight of the modern Indian woman in a relationship

(God help us)
We have seen our mothers and grandmothers (some even our great grandmothers) live through their relationships with their menfolk without burning the house down or severe bloodshed. Sure they had their share of trouble, but back then, there was no option but to 'woman up' and deal with it. Words like compromise and commitment held enormous weight and whether they liked each other or not, they made it work somehow.

Today's 'modern' Indian woman is in a soup. She has been in it for sometime, slowly brewing and shifting uncomfortably in what I can easily say is the biggest dilemma of this age. The clash of the traditional values of sacrifice, selflessness and unconditional love against the new-age independence, gender equality, sense of self and the need for ' personal space'.

"Okay so if I do the laundry, you cook," said many a new-age woman to her man. Life became easier since household chores were shared and she no longer was solely responsible for the chappatis or clean socks. She stopped changing her name and had a choice to never bear children. The in-laws took time to get used to the idea of their bahu acting a little 'alien', and actually preferring her powerpoint presentation over making laddus for their son (the shame!).

Travelling alone or with a friend (read - not lover) became a way of freeing oneself and proclaiming to the world an enjoyable non-adherence to stereotypes (main tumhare bina kahan jaaungi?). We take ourselves shopping, drive ourselves home and put off marriage till we're absolutely ready (and had our fun!).

In short, we've taken over what was rightfully ours and are having a party.

But do we feel totally triumphant? Let's take a look at our relationships with men. Hmmmmm.........
Not so good, eh? The neighbours probably take out their log book to make another entry every time the angry yells rise to the ceiling. We walk out of relationships as if it were a restaurant serving bad food. We break up a million times without thinking what it actually means. We know that if we leave, we're not helpless damsels in distress. "I can take care of myself. I don't need you!" said many a new-age woman to her man.

I hate to say it but here it is - the threads in the fabric of a relationship have weakened. They are beginning to wear out faster, leaving behind shreds and rags. Our new-found freedom may have come at a price - The inability to stick to our relationships, to stay happy and content with what we get from our better halves. To expect less. Now that we're up there, we want the world. The list of things we want from our men and relationships will probably finish off every piece of paper on Earth. We want. Sigh. Lots of wanting, lots of demanding, lots of unfulfilled expectations. Happiness quotient?

No, I am not saying that women don't walk out of relationships only for the wrong reasons. A lot of them deserve better and should find it. And then stick to it. That's the problem. The sticking. Neither am I sure about how men have evolved and deal with their relationships. Hence I'll refrain from making a comment. This one is not about them. It's about us.

Hence the terrible dilemma.

"I'm so mad at him....... but I want to make up now. Hmmmm....but if I make up, he'll think I'm giving in and more shit will come in the future. I don't take shit!........ But I love him and I know he meant well.....what to do?........Grrrrr."

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