By Anisha Nair:
Usual questions asked to any bride-to-be are like “How are things going?” or “All packed and set to go?”
Women’s problems have been thought about to the core. From dowry to domestic violence, women’s duty to change their surname after marriage, all these issues have been addressed. Why should dowry be given by the girl’s family? Why do girls become the victim of domestic violence, sexual abuse, etc? Questions like “Why should a women only change her surname after marriage?” have been raised several times. The so-called “weaker sex” is expected to suffer all the hardships and not make the smallest of sounds.
Still there are many questions that remain unanswered.Â Mumbai based Padma, who has done MBA, has taken over all the responsibilities of her husband’s family soon after her marriage. She gets up at 5 in the morning to prepare food for her husband. Then cooks lunch for her family, takes care of her in-laws and son. She is the one who is supposed to get her son ready for school, help him in homework and put him to sleep. At night, she prepares dinner and goes off to sleep at midnight after completing all the household chores. She gave up her dreams of working as an HR manager to fulfill the dreams of her new family.
Her parents always encouraged her to study further and carve a niche for herself. They taught her to be independent and live her dreams. But all this was of no use once she got married and was sent off. “There was no question of me continuing work. After all, I have come here to take care of his family. Who cares for dreams here?,” she smiled with sarcasm. This girl, who was working in a reputed firm as an HR manager had to take a call and choose her family and leave her dream job.
Siya, another girl from Bangalore shares a similar story. She came all the way from Delhi to Bangalore just to settle down with her husband who lives there. Siya was a software engineer based in Delhi. Her husband is also a software engineer in Bangalore. But when a question of who will leave the job came up, it was she who had to quit. “People just talk about equality between men and women. But the fact is, if it comes to professional fronts and promotions, it is the women who has to prioritize her family, keeping aside her dreams,” she said with unshed tears in her eyes.
These are the stories representing several other women in India, who had to leave their dream jobs after tying the knot. Several other married women stopped their own promotions because of the fear of getting transferred and going to a different place leaving her family. Some are stopped by their families because they don’t want her to work further. Reasons are many, but the result is one. She has to compromise her work for the family after marriage.
Then how do we say that the differences are reducing?
A girl has been portrayed to bear all the sufferings since the time of epics of Ramayana and Mahabharat. Sita left all the luxuries of her life just to share the hardships of Rama. Now, the situation is no better. A woman leaves her whole family just to join another family. Rather it would be appropriate to put it this way that they are ‘sent off’ from their parent’s home to make a new family of their own. Packing starts months before the wedding so that none of her belongings is left behind after she leaves the house on her wedding day. Bags after bags are packed and luggage is stuffed to take away with her.
She is expected to stay back at home and ‘take care’ of the house of her in-laws. She is always the one to sacrifice her working priorities for the house. It has always been a woman who has to choose between promotions in work and taking care of the baby. Is the baby only a mother’s responsibility? Does she not have a right to choose work and recognize herself? Is she meant to be tagged just as a daughter, sister, wife and then a mother all her life?
She walks away that day. Tears rolling down her cheeks, bidding goodbye to her ‘old’ family and friends, she goes off to her new house. Giving up all her old relations, she moves on to make new ones. Like it is said, “A new life awaits her”. She is expected to adjust to her in-laws’ mindset and catering to their every need. If a girl does not know how to cook or clean, it is told that her parents didn’t teach her anything. It is she who has to start life from the bottom. This is what is called “The bonding in marriage”.
All a man does is to bring his wife from her house to his own. Nowhere is he affected by the problem that he will have to leave his house and go or he will have to leave his family, friends and all the old relations behind to make new ones. He has the mentality that he has to just bring his wife home. After that she’ll be the one to look after his house and family. Never has it been thought what a woman must be going through while passing through this phase of renovating her life. The question still remains. Why does only a woman leave her everything for the man after marriage? Why not the other way round?
Is there a solution?
When this problem of leaving houses arises, how will it be solved? Both the husband and wife are to live together. How is it possible if neither of them compromise with the other? It is only possible when our society moves ahead of the status quo and thinks ahead of times, for the betterment of the couple and the girl. Solution may be anything. But the fact remains that still, even at the times of women being at par with men, it is only she who compromises and sacrifice everything for her new life. Why? The answer is, she is a woman, she is expected to.