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When we give up on our identities to serve our families, a time comes when we question our self worth. Sima's story shows us this reality.
When we give up on our identities to serve our families, a time comes when we question our self worth. Sima’s story shows us this reality.
Sima has been living at her parents’ home for the past two weeks. Her children are also staying with her. Pranay has not called her yet.
Everyday she hopes that he would call but so far he has not. On the outside, she appears to not care when her mother gives her the questioning look about her beloved son-in-law.
But deep inside, she is drowning in deep water and feeling suffocated.
Sima and Pranay have been married for ten years now. Sima has not looked for a job after she got married.
Why would she anyway? Pranay’s father enjoys rent from two high rise buildings in Mumbai and Pranay runs a consultancy firm; money has never been an issue.
She felt her sole focus should be on her children, their education and taking care of the household.
But today, Sima feels she has lost her own identity in the process of taking care of everyone around her. Who is she?
Her mother-in-law calls her ‘Bahu’, to Pranay’s friends and office staff she is Bhabhi, to her children she is Mummy.
She cannot even claim that her surname belongs to herself only as she used her father’s surname before marriage and now her husband’s after marriage.
Many women like Sima suffer from identity crisis at some point in life after spending years only looking after husband, children and their households.
They do not pursue or complete education, understand the importance of establishing a career or even pick up any hobby because they become so attached to family life which they make their first and only priority.
Some even lose connection with close family members like cousins they grew up with and old school friends.
In the process of focusing so hard and taking care of family only, they find themselves completely lonely, with nothing to do and no one to share their problems or spend time with as their children grow up and leave home.
Women need to realise the importance of pursuing their own interests and balancing other relations alongside performing family responsibilities. It is extremely important for positive mental and physical health as well as to help personal relationships to flourish in the long run.
Most men go to work everyday. They have no restrictions when they want to spend time with male friends or colleagues. Nobody asks them who is going to cook dinner or put the baby to sleep if you are always out.
There is no one to raise finger at a man if he does not share responsibilities at home but we create all these barriers for women if they want to do anything for themselves or invest their time elsewhere.
Unless an individual feels happy with their own identity, they cannot make anyone else happy or feel happy in a relationship.
To achieve that, women need to build our own identity, be allowed and encouraged to do what makes them happy and build their own social circle outside the kitchen and home.
It could be anything from traveling with girlfriends from school/work to taking up a language course or even starting an online boutique business.
Pursuing such interests and doing something for herself can not only help a woman to develop her self esteem but also understand her purpose of existence which is not simply for taking care of her husband and children.
Image source: a still from the film English Vinglish (YouTube)
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Before expecting the daughter in law to love, respect and accept the new family, it is only fair that the family demonstrates all of these first.
If you are a married Indian woman, one of the first words you hear from your in laws is that you are now a daughter of the house. How true is that statement though? Are daughters in law really treated as daughters or is this only lip service?
A friend recently confided how hurt she felt when she wanted to visit her in-laws along with her husband but was told not to, because the in-laws wanted time alone with their son. Naturally, she was taken aback since she had always been fed this trope – that she was the daughter, not the daughter in law. Why then this sudden keeping at arm’s distance? Would a son in law ever be told not to accompany his wife on her visit to her parents because they wanted quality time with their daughter? That is unimaginable in a patriarchal society.
It is ok to want time alone with the married offspring but how does that meld into the Indian family system, where independent choices are less important than the whole family coming together?
Chhorii starring Nushrratt Bharuccha is another horror movie challenging the patriarchal standards that persist in society!
Adding to the list of horror movies that use the genre to challenge patriarchal standards, Chhorii is a scathing look at the so-called moral standards using which women are judged and turned into ‘witches’.
When does a chhorii (girl) become a chudail (witch)? Like the brilliant Bulbul from last year, Chhorii asks this question poignantly, making us search deep within ourselves for the answer. Bulbul becomes a witch in order to protect the women and girls of her village when she dies after suffering patriarchal torture at the hands of her husband and brother-in-law. Why is the witch in Chhorii a witch?
An amazing Nushrratt Bharuccha stars as Sakshi, a pregnant woman who comes to a remote village with her husband to escape loan sharks. But all is not right there, and Sakshi can sense it. The real horror is the patriarchal nature of their hosts, rather than the supernatural beings. Will Sakshi be able to escape with her and her unborn child’s lives? Watch Chhorii (now streaming on Amazon Prime Video) to find out.
The film's writer, trans woman Gazal Dhaliwal feels that with Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga Bollywood has finally stepped out of the closet, and hopes it never has to go back into it again.
The film’s writer, trans woman Gazal Dhaliwal feels that with Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga Bollywood has finally stepped out of the closet, and hopes it never has to go back into it again.
Gazal Dhaliwal came out to her parents as a trans woman when she was 13, when they were as confused as she was about her gender identity, but their whole-hearted support is what drove her to accept herself fully and embrace her identity publicly when she was 25, finally having her gender reassignment surgery in 2007. Today, Gazal is the writer of a few highly acclaimed movies – being either the screenwriter (Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, A Monsoon Date), the dialogues (Lipstick Under My Burkha), or contributing significantly to the screenplay (Qarib Qarib Singlle, Wazir).
A trans woman myself struggling with many things in my life, I came to know her first at a time when I was at the end of my tether. I was hanging from an invisible rope, trying to somehow survive and not take that one decision to end it all once and forever. It took a simple message from her to save me. It reflected everything I had wanted to hear, “hold on for some more time and I’d be there.”
Woman as a mother is a very powerful image in Indian culture, and whether you're the prospective mother in law or the bride decides how you're treated.
Woman as a mother is a very powerful image in Indian culture, and whether you’re the prospective mother in law or the bride decides how you’re treated.
“Arranged marriage is a manual Tinder or Tinder premium with families involved where families also have to swipe right.” – Indian Matchmaking, Netflix
On 16th July 2020, a show called Indian Matchmaking dropped on our Netflix windows. Soon the show was on the no.1 charts across the globe. Presenting a convoluted idea of modernity and tradition, I don’t know at this point what is more unnerving: the show itself or its popularity among the Indian youth. What is more disconcerting is when people are resonating with it on a wide-ranging level!