As A Married Woman Did I Have No Freedom To Be Comfortable In My Own Home?!

Can you believe this bloke compelled me to wear only saris - full time at home- till the eighth month of my pregnancy?! The excessive heat coupled with humidity made my life miserable.

Recently when I browsed an interesting post by a fellow author on this very forum I had a sense of déjà  vu. She describes the absolutely unnecessary hullabaloo over ladies donning nighties and /or dupatta –less suits.

I wish to narrate how I was in dire straits so far wearing a ‘nightie’ was concerned.

I lived in my ultra orthodox sasural under constant surveillance of two moral guardians (read Taliban) in the shape of the husband’s mom and dad. The mom was unschooled and dim-witted while the dad was a medical practitioner. But he out-Heroded the Herod in orthodoxy.

None of us married women at home were “allowed” to be comfortable

‘Nightie’ was an eyesore for him (possibly because during his initial years of struggle he couldn’t afford one for his missus. Who knows?) By the way I never saw the matriarch wear any in the current situation either, when she could jolly well afford them.

Looking back, I recall how the three other female inmates (that’s the only word to be used in this situation!) ie.; a sister-in-law plus two aunts-in-law also never wore nighties, for reasons best known to them. I never probed. Couldn’t care less. Come to think of it, they were thus doing me a great favour by allowing me enjoy this privilege.

Back to the point. The moment the patriarch saw me step out of our bed chamber, nightie-clad he would start hollering, his eyes flashing his nostrils flaring. I would dart back to the room only to emerge after a change.

There were days when he was not home and I would be relaxing in a nightie, if he chanced to return before I could change he would chase me around the house (yes, quite like straight out of a Tom & Jerry cartoon, isn’t it?) uttering expletives about my rotten culture, khandaan /clan etc.

Trust me, my nighties were simple, sober in tone. Not those see-through, sensuous, titillating ones. Yet…Forget about maternity gowns – can you believe this bloke compelled me to wear only saris – full time at home- till the eighth month of my pregnancy?! The excessive heat coupled with humidity (I delivered in late September) made my life miserable. Nobody, not even the sasuma dared defy his diktat since he was a ‘Doctor’ and doctors  are ‘honourable’ men!

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But as a man he could be sitting in only his bloomers!

Now the anti-climax! Through the summer months, the venerable gentleman having returned home from the clinic/hospital, would chill out in the living room bare-chested, clad only in bloomers! Thank heavens it was not one of those tight-fitting groin hugging underwear or trunks Otherwise it would have  been a grotesque sight.

I confess, the sight of his sweaty, hairy torso filled me with disgust. But could I complain or pass a remark? Certainly not. For he was a ‘Doctor’ and doctors are ‘honourable’ men!

Beats me, how people can be so ruthless, selfish, and insensitive merely for the sake of convention! HE could relax in comfort because HE was a MAN, but no – women could not claim any sort of comfort. Certainly not a mere daughter in law!

Image source: a still from the film The Lunchbox

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About the Author


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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