Check out these 5 useful tips for a blissful career!
My mother tried hard to dissuade me, but I refused to relent. Our neighbour was then called in, and she appeared even more shocked at the prospect of participating in my Valaikaapu than my mother had been.
When I was expecting my first child, my parents decided they wanted to do a Valaikaapu ceremony to protect me from the evil eye and to ensure the birth of a healthy child. Though I do not believe in rituals, I agreed to let them go ahead with it, because I knew it meant a lot to them, and who doesn’t want to do all they can to ensure a safe pregnancy and a healthy delivery?
The only thing I was worried about was with the glass bangles breaking, but after someone assured me that broken bangles don’t bring bad luck, I even started looking forward to it.
The night before, I casually told my mother that I would like our neighbour to be the first to put the bangles on my wrist. I was totally unprepared for the outburst- she was a widow; while she could be on the fringes, she couldn’t participate in the ceremony.
I made it clear that it was not acceptable to me- since the ceremony was to prepare the way for an uneventful childbirth, who better to bless me than a lady who had given birth to three children, and had six grandchildren?
I stood firm. If she was not going to put bangles on my wrist and bless the child, I would not go through with the ceremony. She tried telling me that her participation is ‘inauspicious’, but I informed her since she had my good at heart, there was no way she could be anything except a blessing.
After a lot of arguments, when they realised that I was not going to budge, our neighbour finally relented.
On the day of the Valaikaapu, she wasn’t the first to put the bangles on my wrist- that honour went to an older lady who had not just grandchildren but also a great grandchild- but she did slip a pair of bangles on my wrist and bless me. A couple of months later, when my baby was born, she was one of the first to know, and she celebrated the hardest.
I had not set out to bring about social change- all I wanted was that someone very dear to me be a part of a day celebrating me. But that brief rebellion clearly got people thinking.
During Navratri that year, a few people invited the women who had lost their husbands to view the golu and participate in the celebrations. Though they were not given manjal kungumam, they got to wear their pattu sarees and sit and chit-chat with the other women.
Over time, in the apartment complex where my mother lived, the participation of widows in social and religious ceremonies got normalised. Nobody batted an eyelid when the groom’s mother draped a bright silk saree and did the aarti to welcome the new bride into her marital home. It was no longer perceived as an act of rebellion when a mother put marutāṇi on her palms and gave her daughter away.
For centuries, women have been conditioned to withdrawing from social life after losing their husband. That attitude has now changed, at least in that small apartment complex, and women continue leading the same life as they did before their official status change from ‘wife’ to ‘widow’.
When I reflect, I realise that had I not thrown my little tantrum when I did, this mainstreaming may not have happened, or may have been delayed.
No, I did not set out to change society, or even a part of it. All I wanted was that someone I cared about be a part of what was an important day for me.
No, she was just not happy when I forced her to participate in the ceremony. Had something gone wrong, I know she would have blamed herself, though in reality it was I who had taken away her choice.
But what did happen was that the traditional way of doing things was questioned, and people gradually decided they wanted to do away with it. That is really the only way to bring about social change- not by forcing big changes, but by gradually chipping away till one day you realise that without you being aware of it, change has come about.
Image source: a still from Bangla film Mukherjee Dar Bou
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views. Individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times. If you have a complementary or differing point of view, sign up and start sharing your views too!
Natasha works in the development sector, where most of her experience has been in Education and Livelihoods. She is passionate about working towards gender equity, sustainability and positive climate action. And avid reader and occasional read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
Neena Gupta’s take on love between a man and woman opens a can of worms. She’s speaking her truth, which is a reality for so many people, but is it universal?
Neena Gupta made a statement in her interview with Humans of Bombay that she doesn’t believe love exists between a man and a woman. She said it starts off with lust, which then changes into affection, and becomes a habit. The only love she’s ever known and felt is for her daughter, Masaba.
Neena is married to Vivek Mehra, a chartered accountant who she first met on a flight. Vivek Mehra has two children, and it’s his second marriage. It’s Neena’s second marriage too. She was earlier married at an early age of 20. She has one child, Masaba, from her previous relationship with the now retired West Indian cricketer, Vivian Richards.
Her statement about love evoked some vehement reactions ranging from she’s not met the right man to “blood runs thicker than water”.
Emotional Eating: the practice of finding comfort in food is common and if unregulated can lead to eating complications. Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can cope up with emotional eating.
Do you find yourself reaching for a bar of chocolate or a bowl of ice cream when you are upset? Well, finding comfort in food is common and is part of a practice called Emotional Eating.
People who emotionally eat are found to do so several times a week to suppress their negative feelings. They may later regret on doing so and this becomes a vicious cycle leading to multiple eating disorders and weight related stress
What causes someone to eat emotionally? Anything from work stress to financial woes, health issues and even relationship struggles can be the root cause of emotional eating. It’s an issue which affects both sexes, but is more common in women than in men.
Please enter your email address