The transformations that Indian women experience! Musings…

I took the Delhi Metro today after a longish time. It’s always an entertaining experience. The people watching especially. The ladies’ coach in particular!

Today, I was struck by the multitasking that women manage, or have to manage. In front of me, a newly married young woman was frantically calling home and no one seemed to be answering the phone. Finally, she got through to her domestic help (I think) and instructed her to put her washing out to dry (she had hand washed clothes than ran color and left them to drip dry in her bathroom). After this call, she was visibly relaxed. Another young lady was calling home to check on her guests who had clearly come in from out of town and were being given all sorts of assurances about her getting back home on time, taking care of some taxi arrangements, etc.

I was also struck by the many women who wore symbols of marriage in a very overt manner. Newly married girls wearing the traditional ‘chuda’, the red and white bangles plus gaudy clothing. Also prominent sindoor, toe rings, mangalsutras, etc etc. It’s cultural, sure, and nothing wrong with it. But then I saw these two sisters chatting. One was college going and dressed in skinny jeans, top and sports shoes. The older sister, just a few years older I presume, was in salwar kameez, bindi, sindoor, bangles and all the get up of a married woman. And I wondered about the transformation that she went through. Was she proud of it, embracing the tag of ‘married’ like young women in India are taught to? Was she proud, of being in the married people’s club, perhaps looking down on her friends who hadn’t managed  a membership yet? Or did she just adopt these ways without thinking, because everyone did it? Did she, at times, long to slip into her jeans and t-shirt, did she rue the lack of choice?

I have been in those shoes and I’ve aspired to be the ideal daughter-in-law, the ideal wife, the ideal mother. I don’t know who I needed to, still need to, prove myself to. I don’t know what made me think I wasn’t already good enough. I’ve come a long way in being a little more comfortable in my skin. But I’m still finding the balance, and still processing the transformations that women undergo to just be women in our society.

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About ramblinginthecity

I am an architect and urban planner, a writer and an aspiring artist. I love expressing myself and feel strongly that cities should have spaces for everyone--rich, poor, young, old, healthy and sick, happy or depressed--we all need to work towards making our cities liveable and lovable communities.

Posted on March 25, 2014, in Politics & Citizenship and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Loved this post and the observations.
    The freedom of being able to breath some fresh air and get some busy but still ‘me time’ I think all make the multitasking worth it. I think we are still some distance from the time when the multitasking would not be the only way to get some me time.

  2. Love your observation and guess one get to know so much by observing people in the Metro. Unfortunately, our society impose so many conditions and program people to behave in a way as in show their married status. I am dead against that, whether it’s the Mangal Sutra or other stuffs like taking the husband name, at least I would never urge my would be wife to so. She has no point to prove to society:)

    • Good to know vishal. However, it’s not the husband but women who are themselves victims of patriarchal thinking that’s the tough part beyond being lucky to marry a liberally minded gentleman!

      • Yeah! That’s the problem when they insist on doing that. We live in a hypocrite world. We need to move beyond patriarchy and live our lives on our own term:)

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