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Interference aka “We Want Only Good For You” In Indian Society

We are made to feel ashamed and think twice about our choices no matter how small they are. 

We are made to feel ashamed and think twice about our choices, no matter how small they are. 

“ do not eat this or you will get fat”

”this colour doesn’t suit you”

”aren’t you feeling cold in shorts”

All this and much more. We are made to feel ashamed and think twice about our choices no matter how small they are. Be it your friends/family/relatives, they make you feel incompetent for even petty choices such as your dress or food.

The inherent need to control the desires and thoughts of women.

One of the most plausible reasons is the inherent need to control the desires and thoughts of women. It becomes imperative for almost everyone to “guide them to the right path”. For example, if you support gay rights, someone in your family is bound to say that it is a “disease” or it is a thing of the “ west” or “ un- Indian”. You can argue, but then even you will be labeled as someone un-Indian.

In order to profess dominance or superiority or to make the other person feel bad for them-self.  This is something most observed among womenfolk. For the price of a bag, they got cheaper, to any such related purchase is a common practice. Although, how does it matter if someone buys an article a little cheaper? How can it make you feel superior? The inherent narrow-mindedness over these petty issues stops your overall growth as a whole.

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 We have a tendency to share stuff and later interfere because maybe we ourselves are going through a similar thing and need an assurance that the other is going on the same path. For example a bad breakup. Although this might be a positive issue, this turns negative soon due to over interference by our peers and it turns to the 2nd reason mentioned i.e. to assert dominance and superiority over the other.

The unconventional family and intertwined relatives!

Judgemental peers and relatives are one very big phenomenon we see around us. Recently, I faced an incident where I was asked “ why do you wear jeans and a scarf when you step outside if you wear such short clothes in your room in Hostel?”. While I immediately called out the hostel mate for such a question, I thought as to why do I have to give any reason regarding my clothes to a random person? Why this undue interference when she wears the same clothes? Moreover, I don’t really care what others wear then why such moral policing?

The unconventional family and intertwined relatives make it almost impossible for people to keep things private. And moreover, there’s a constant presence reminding us of everything wrong with us. Sometimes it may be due to the failure of their own peers or children, and other times it is out of pure spite and hatred.

I remember an incident when a female relative of mine out of nowhere commented on the growing size of my breasts, inside the temple premises, in front of my parents and other relatives, twice as no one noticed, with actions signifying breasts, and yes I was just 14 years old then!

What can we do?

I have seen many of my friends succumb to this undue pressure and are many times letting their life choices be controlled by others. Now this is a very wrong thing and you need to remind yourselves 2 things:

  1. Did I ask for their opinion?
  2. This shall pass.

Until and unless you ask for someone’s opinion or gives someone this right to interfere, no one has a right to indulge in your personal matters, especially those nagging relatives. It’s not wrong to call them out once or twice and break free from your bubble.

Some of my peers who got married in 2018-19, and were in the middle of jobs or studies, recently gave birth. this was not a personal choice but a societal choice to have children. The same goes for marriages.

For such big choices and even for smaller ones, you need to be unapologetic or fierce. How does the choice of a sandwich affect your Neighbor? Or how does the choice to have kids later affect your mother? You might ask for someone’s help, but the final decision should be yours weighing the pros and cons. All of these are related to your body, your sleep and YOU, and only you have the right to make decisions related to them. It’s high time you understood this!

Image Source: Still from Piku

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Dr Arushi

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