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Why do Indians, especially husbands, make fun of their wives for having an interest in grooming, dressing up, make-up, etc., once they have kids?
Let me tell you I was deeply hurt.
Agreed that I was 32 and the mother of a three year old daughter. There was nothing to stop me from wearing a stylish new sari, or decking myself up to go to a social-do. Moreover the sari, a lovely jamdaani booti was a gift from my paternal uncle.
But I foolishly asked my husband how I looked. “What looks? You are already a budhhi (old woman)!” he shot back.
My world crumbled; I was woebegone. If he was joking, it was not my kind of humour; I wanted to scream, but desisted.
Such instances are not hard to come by.
My cousin Ruby, in her late 40’s and a mother of two, has begun to bald slightly as it runs in the family; to arrest it she consulted a doctor who suggested a serum plus vitamin tablets.
Hearing of this, her husband mocked her. “What are you up to?’ he queried, “switching husbands or planning to catwalk on the ramp?” he commented sardonically. The poor girl burst into tears.
Tia’s experience is far worse. A buxom 50 year old with sharp features and good complexion, she loves to wear light make-up. But again, her spouse makes caustic remarks comparing her to street-walkers. Ironically she is a working woman earning enough to buy her own stuff.
Her mother-in-law advises her to “stay simple” since (she feels) cosmetics make her look ‘coquettish’ which does not behove a middle-aged bahu. And that too when she has a 25 year old eligible daughter! Obviously the “log kya kahenge” (adverse public opinion) comes to the forefront!
Tia is so disgusted that she has toned down her use of make-up to minimal except on special occasions.
I recall getting tongue lashings from my mother-in-law on two occasions when I had left a sleeping baby and gone for a haircut. The baby woke up and began whining which vexed her no end, and of course she gave a earful to me.
I cannot for dear life figure out as to why married women are expected to put their commonest habits, pastime, and grooming on the back burner once they have had children? Having one child or more does not necessarily mean we’re no longer interested in dressing up.
By the way do kids always prove to be a hindrance in beauty pursuits? Nah. I am sure arrangements can jolly well be made for other adult family members (dad too had better do his part in parenting), or even a domestic help to mind the babies for a while so that the mothers can go ahead with whatever they want to do in their me-time.
And once the children begin to grow up, they may give their moms new ideas and tips, and it can become a way to bond!
Image source: a still from the film Lipstick Under My Burkha
Am a trained and experienced features writer with 25 plus years of experience .My favourite subjects are women's issues, food travel, art,culture ,literature et all.Am a true feminist at heart. An iconoclast read more...
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"There is a story and a vision which makes us gravitate towards cinema. Even as we worked as assistants on ads, we realised that cinema was our true calling," say Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh Raseen.
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Let me introduce to you the talented designer duo who have worked on these, and can be considered today’s upcoming costume designers for the screen. Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh.
Having studied at NIFT, Gunpreet Kaur Mann sent her portfolio out to several designers. Her first gig was as an assistant stylist with Manoshi and Rushi, who also happen to be a designer duo. She worked on an ad film starring Saif Ali Khan and eventually landed a full time job with designer Vikram Phadnis. Years of experience as assistant costume designer followed, which eventually led her to getting a break.
A ‘thank you’ makes a lot of difference in the way any woman in your life sees herself in your eyes. It might even mean the world to her.
I have not received any appreciation in the past. Probably never will. This is the experience of ample women across the globe. The expectation to be thanked for all the sacrifices she makes to keep others happy has faded. Yet the urge to hear few words of acknowledgement always lingers.
There is never a day when she pushes off her own burdens. She knows not to give up on people she loves. Women in general, are givers by nature and hence, give without asking anything in return. They have been the care givers and lovers since centuries however receive no appreciation.
It will mean the world to your mother if you answer her calls. If your sister seems lost give her a hug and assure her about her strengths. Tomorrow, there might come a day when you would have to make your daughter feel empowered with few words of wisdom every now and then. For the children to feel wanted and loved, you must be able to spare some quality time with your wife and be present in the moment.
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