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My Apology Letter For Failing to Be The Ideal Bahu/Beti In Our Society

Posted: June 25, 2015

Who is the ideal Indian woman, the ideal bah/beti? This post rips apart the standards Indian women are still held to.

I am sorry for I fail to be the Ideal- Bahu/ Beti (Daughter or Daughter-in-law) as defined by our society.

I salute the ideal woman of our society wherever on earth she exists.

The one who is simple or let’s call her naïve. The one who wakes up before everyone else does. The one who comes home back before sunset or does not go out until some hell has broken loose. The one who speaks less and slowly or does not speak at all until she is asked to. The one who does not sit with her legs apart. The one who walks slowly with eyes fixed only on the ground.

The one who does not have boyfriends. The one who does not live with boys. The one who does not pose for photos with boys. The one who does not touch boys. The one who does not talk to boys.

The one who wears salwar suits/ sarees without revealing any parts of her body other than from where to fit herself in. The one who wears bindi, sindoor, bichhiya, rings, bangles etc 24 X 7 right after she is wed-locked. The one who combs her hair well. The one who keeps her house clean. The one who fasts. The one who keeps her head covered to show respect to her in-laws and relatives.

The one who does not acknowledge her desires – emotional or sexual. The one who does not seem interested in her opposite sex. The one who does not want sex. The one who is a virgin until her first night. The one who bears all the pain without making a sound. The one who sacrifices whenever needed, or voluntarily. The one who is shy; and the one who is almost foolish.

And so on…

Excuse me for being a human being who has all the emotions, just as men. Excuse me for not complying with the hundreds of laws needed to fall under that “Ideal- Bahu/Beti” category. Excuse me for having the very desires that make up the existence of humanity. Excuse me for acknowledging the needs of my brain and body. Excuse me for using my senses in the most natural way it occurs to me. Excuse me for being me!

What provoked me to write such a letter?

On a recent trip to my hometown, I encountered some positive changes in the way women are now dressing up, speaking, going to places, and exploring life in general. But ironically, I also felt that the mindsets of people here have still not changed. With our women empowering themselves, society is putting them into a not-so-ideal bahu or beti category now. We still define the ideal woman as one who is ignorant and cowardly. We still admire women for being inferior, and for accepting this truth happily. We still raise our brows on meeting with modern girls who challenge the system in every possible ways they can. We still expect women to get married off to any well-settled-sophisticated-peter-pan, and bear the baby as soon as she can. We still!

What’s next?

So who can bring the revolution to change the mindsets of one and all? Can it be done by a single brave soul? I am sure we all must agree at this point that we need to change our definitions and rules on the whole. We need to start failing to meet the standards of being the Ideal Bahu/Beti, and at the same time be happy and confident about that. Let’s say “No” to the old customs and expectations that put us on a berth of fire and thorns. Let’s stop pretending to be somebody we are not – both physically and emotionally.

Let’s, for the sake of women, be woman, for once and all!

Thank you for reading till here! I would be very happy to hear your comments, similar or differing viewpoints and experiences, or any feedback. Please share with us here, as they are important for every woman who is reading it!

Indian woman image via Shutterstock

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