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Even if a married Indian woman is an achiever, she is very annoyingly, often considered ‘just a wife’ when she goes out socialising among strangers as part of a couple.
This Diwali, I had the pleasure of being invited to several parties. As a non-resident Indian living in France, being invited to an Indian event is such a pleasure – you connect with people from your country, you get an opportunity to dress up in Indian outfits and to speak your language, you get to eat delicacies from India and you get to live your amazing, colorful, bright culture – it’s all so much fun!
While reminding you of all the great things about the sub-continent, these get-togethers also remind you of the typical Indian mindset towards women – particularly married women.
Let me share with you a fun story here.
We were at a Diwali evening party at the house of an Indian friend – a couple we met at an event a few years ago. It was a lovely evening, and we were welcomed warmly by the hosts. There were a few other Indian origin couples there – some young, some old. There were also a few single men and women – all of Indian origin.
After the initial greetings, everyone dispersed to get into smaller groups with their wine glasses, networking and making new friends.
I was with my husband as he introduced himself to a mid-aged gentleman there. I was standing right next to them, so I too shook hands with the man. He smiled and nodded, but ignored me completely. He chose to speak only with my man.
“What do you do?” “Where do you work?” “Where are you from?” “What do you think of this and that?”
The two men talked, and I was left on the side to listen. I was not asked what I did, where I worked, where I came from – I was just the lucky missus. The man had made up his mind that I was the lucky missus who had come here to enjoy Paris with her hardworking husband. I left them there, and joined the other married ladies around me, and exchanged contact details with a few.
In a few minutes, a slightly younger man approached me and we started talking. I learnt that he was the son of the mid-aged man that my husband was speaking with.
“Your husband has an international MBA, doesn’t he? I would love to speak with him and seek his guidance.” he said.
Now that almost hurt – I too have the very same MBA my dear young man! And I did it with a full scholarship too by the way! I wanted to say that to him. But I stayed quiet and smiled. I thought I’d play lucky missus.
“Sure, I can introduce you to him, and you can ask him all your questions.” I said.
I introduced the young man to my husband, and stood by the side just to listen.
The three of them – the young man, his dad and my husband started talking about the advantages of doing an MBA – how different international programs in the world compared with each other, how the latest Economist rankings had changed, how an MBA remains relevant in today’s economic context etc.
I learnt from the conversation that the young man had taken his GMAT and was going to be interviewed by a few b-school alumni shortly. He took my husband’s card and told him he’d contact him for advice in the following days.
The evening progressed, and I met a lot of great people – men and women. Nobody asked me anything about my work, my education or my career. I don’t mind terribly – I am generally not a talker, and I like to listen. So I did not get bored.
However, what surprised me was how everyone in the room had assumed that I was a dependent wife who had no career, no other interests in life, and who had come there with her husband like an “email attachment”. I had no identity there, other than the Lucky Missus! Another curious observation I made, was that the single women in the room were asked about what they did. A few non-Indian women were also asked about their careers, interests etc. It was only the ‘married Indian’ ones who were blindly labelled Lucky Missuses.
Amidst all that, I did enjoy the evening. It was fun to play Lucky Missus, to be honest with you. We thanked our hosts, and our new “friends” and left.
Now for the funny twist – the young man we met at the party, has received an invite for his interviews with an alumnus. 10 points if you guess who the interviewer is. HAHA, it is the lucky missus!
Image source: shutterstock
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Smruti Shanbhag was born and brought up in India.
She works full time as an
hahahahahha! what an interesting twist!
haha. Now the interview story should be interesting as well.
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