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As they were often seen together in public, our family got more peeved. My grandmother branded her own daughter as a shameless slut. As if she was committing adultery, even though she was a widow with no husband around.
Yes, almost everyone really, including her own mother – my dadi (grandmother). Ditto for her two older sisters and the second brother, who is my dad’s junior.
Despite the fact all the siblings are well educated college graduates and settled in their respective professions, they couldn’t digest the fact that their kid sister was getting married again. Her fault? She had a grown up daughter.
At 21, my aunt Alo married a nuclear scientist attached to Kolkata’s prestigious Bose Institute. A year later they had a bonny baby girl. All was well… till about three years later when my uncle Joy was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Despite prolonged treatment at the reputed Christian Medical College, Vellore, things went downslide and complications developed. Uncle got completely bed-ridden till his death six years later.
Here was a youthful under-30 lady with a 9 year-old daughter! She got a job at the Bose Institute, on compassionate grounds. But a woman in her situation becomes easy prey for prowlers and lascivious men. Some sought physical pleasure, sans any commitment of marriage. Others proposed marriage with a rider: Gublu, my cousin, would be sent to a boarding school.
But Alo would have none of it. Her standpoint: marriage minus Gublu was a no-no.
At this juncture, a Good Samaritan appeared in her life. He was Subinoy, my Uncle Joy’s cousin. Subinoy was a graduate occupying a plum post in a central government ministry. And he was a bachelor.
Subinoy sought no sexual favours. Rather he combined the roles of friend, guardian, and (male) chaperone to the mom daughter duo. He helped Alo to buy a tiny flat for herself and live independently on her own terms. Gublu was admitted into an elite girls’ school. A pragmatic man, he helped Alo to make some sound investments that would see Gublu through college and cover her wedding expenditure.
Years rolled on… Despite impressive matrimonial proposals, Subinoy stayed single. He forged affectionate bonds with the adolescent Gublu. She addressed him as Kaku/uncle, and he was a father figure to her.
Meanwhile my extended family began raising eyebrows regarding the future of Alo-Subinoy relationship.
Sigh! Our society can’t differentiate between an inexperienced teenager and a matured woman! The only silver lining in the clouds was: my father and my pishe (husband of dad’s oldest sister) endorsed the relationship. They encouraged the duo to get hitched, even offering to be witnesses.
Once Gublu was married the duo mulled on getting married. They found themselves in the eye of a storm.
Gublu’s in-laws made vitriolic comments. As did Subinoy’s married nephews and nieces. The duo, (both approaching 50) could not care less; they had been loyal and steadfast friends for decades. So saying “I Do” was a mere formality.
Finally on a sunny day in May a few years ago, the marriage registrar declared them Man & Wife. Trust me they have, since, lived in ample bliss.
Thankfully, too, the tongues have stopped wagging. As a society, we really should stop interfering in such matters!
Image source: a still from the film Listen, Amaya
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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...
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.
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If you want to get back to work after a break, here’s the ultimate guide to return to work programs in India from tech, finance or health sectors - for women just like you!
Last week, I was having a conversation with a friend related to personal financial planning and she shared how she had had fleeting thoughts about joining work but she was apprehensive to take the plunge. She was unaware of return to work programs available in India.
She had taken a 3-year long career break due to child care and the disconnect from the job arena that she spoke about is something several women in the same situation will relate to.
More often than not, women take a break from their careers to devote time to their kids because we still do not have a strong eco-system in place that can support new mothers, even though things are gradually changing on this front.
A married woman has to wear a sari, sindoor, mangalsutra, bangles, anklets, and so much more. What do these ornaments have to do with my love, respect, and commitment to my husband?
They: Are you married?
They: But You don’t look like it
Me: (in my Mind) Why should I?
Why is being married not enough for a woman, and she needs to look married too? I am tired of such comments in the nearly four years of being married.
I believe that anything that is forced is not right. I must have a choice. I am a living human, not a puppet. And I am not stopping anyone by not following any tradition. You are free to do whatever you like to do. But do not force others. It’s depressing.