Starting A New Business? 7 Key Points To Keep In Mind.
Why is the treatment of a widow different from the widower? The bias starts from the day of marriage. The mangal sutra, the vermilion on the forehead and the bright long streak on the partition, the bichiya all scream to say that this woman is married.
Why is the treatment of a widow different from the widower?
The bias starts from the day of marriage. The mangal sutra, the vermilion on the forehead and the bright long streak on the partition, the bichiya all scream to say that this woman is married. The sindoor she applies is “in the name of her husband”
Does he have any monikers for marriage or marital life? He can wander about without any strings, flirting or even promising marriage to other women on the sly without qualms. All because he has no marker.
Sarojini proudly flaunted her marital status with her vermilion and flowers. Every year in March there was a ceremony which required wearing a yellow thread around the neck in the husband’s name.
She would get up early in the morning, bathe and prepare neyvaidyam for the Gods, praying to the Almighty for her husband’s long life.
Sarojini and her husband were considered auspicious, just as Shankar-Parvati, and were invited to every pooja or ceremony as young brides took blessings from them.
With age, Sarojini’s husband started having health issues and was gradually deteriorating, moving inch by inch towards the end. Sarojini dreaded the D word. She had seen her grandmother and her mother suffer in silence when her grandfather and her father had passed away.
“Why, amma?” she would ask her mother, “Why should you wear only white? Why should you not wear a bindi? Why? Why? Why?”
But was always faced with unconvincing answers which only portrayed helplessness or melancholy, suggesting that the rule book was made by males only for females.
Life is just a journey with an inevitable end as the destination, and so was it for Sarojini’s husband.
After a marital life of fifty long years, she had lost her husband, who loved her immensely and always wanted her to wear a big Bindi and tie her tresses into a plait with jasmine flowers.
“Saro! Promise me you’ll never keep your forehead blank…even if I…” And Sarojini had silenced him with her fingers on his lips.
It was the 10th day and Punditji had asked her son to get her a white saree for her which she had to wear. This was to emphasize her widowhood.
Sarojini shivered to imagine how she’d be forced to get her head shaved and her vermilion erased from her forehead. She saw a big trunk and tried to pull it from the wall to hide behind.
No! She will not bow down to these rituals, which would kill her soul while she is still in grief.
“Amma…” her daughter-in-law, Shreya was calling.
“She would take delight in agonizing me” Sarojini was thinking aloud with self-pity.
“Amma…” Shreya had entered the store room. “No one can force you to do anything you dislike, amma! I’m here to see that. I have seen my amma suffering and won’t let my another amma suffer again.”
The daughter-in-law, Shreya proved that a woman can also be a woman’s best friend!
Image source: Still from the documentary: Widows of Vrindavan
Lalita Vaitheeswaran is a gynecologist having a passion for writing in both Hindi and
She has authored 5 books of poetry, both in Hindi and English, and a book of short stories in English, read more...
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There are many mountains I need to climb just to be, just to live my life, just to have my say... because they are mountains you've built to oppress women.
Trigger Warning: This deals with various kinds of violence against women including rape, and may be triggering for survivors.
I haven’t climbed a literal mountain yet
Was busy with the metaphorical ones – born a woman
Fighting for the air that should have come free
And I am one of the privileged ones, I realize that
Yet, if I get passionate, just like you do
I will pay for it – with burden, shame, – and possibly a life to carry
So, my mountains are the laws you overturn
My mountains are the empty shelves where there should have been pills
When people picked my dadi to place her on the floor, the sheet on why she lay tore. The caretaker came to me and said, ‘Just because you touched her, one of the men carrying her lost his balance.’
The death of my grandmother shattered me. We shared a special bond – she made me feel like I was the best in the world, perfect in every respect.
Apart from losing a person who I loved, her death was also a rude awakening for me about the discrimination women face when it comes to performing the last rites of their loved ones.
On January 23 this year, I lost my 95 year old grandmother (dadi) Nirmala Devi to cardiac arrest. She was that one person who unabashedly praised me. The evening before her death she praised the tea I had made and said that I make better tea than my brother (my brother and I are always competing about who makes the best chai).
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