Five Handy Tips for an Arranged Marriage

Are you bored?
Need a break?
Boss/Professors giving you a hard time?
Tired of taking a man’s load on your frail feminine shoulders?

 

If you answered yes to those questions, I have the perfect solution for you, sistah!

Get married.

That’s right. Get married.

And don’t bother with the love-shove thingy. An arranged marriage is so much easier. There are so many benefits to it, I won’t even bother listing them out here. From awesomazing Starbucks coffee to getting a truckload of pretty Saris, an arranged marriage has something for everyone. And the best part is, you don’t even have to fall in love.

Of course, anything that good requires a certain amount of work. And since I’m such a great guy, I’m even going to give you some free tips on how to get your dream arranged marriage.

Tip #1: Look like Snow White

When I say Snow White, I mean you should, literally, look as though you were SNOW WHITE. As in, make your skin look freakishly white. This is very important, because as we all know,

Darkness x Desirability = Constant

The Whiter you are, the More is your Desirability.

So if you’re going to be grabbing this opportunity, be about it and go purchase that Fairness Cream right NOW!

Tip#2: Be homely

No, that’s not an insult.

Around here, Homely is a Good Thing. Nobody can quite lay their finger on what it means, exactly, but you’ll know you’re well up on your homeliness quotient when you spend most of your time at home, intensely absorbed in elder-worship and daily soaps, being a general doormat for everyone around you. It may take some time to get to that point, but the aforementioned daily soaps can really help you along, along with affirming your homely credentials.

Believe you me, Homeliness looks very, very good on your Matrimonial Ad.

Tip#3: Be well up in your cooking

No Nice Indian Girl is complete without her cooking skills. Since marrying you would effectively bar you husband from ever entering the kitchen, your cooking skills must be top-notch.

But don’t get too creative! Go with the traditional. Specifically, go with the rotis. Learn to make awesome rotis. Tie in your entire self-esteem with how soft your rotis turn out to be. That is the real test of your womanliness, the agni-pariksha, so to speak. Average won’t cut it. You HAVE to be better than his mother.

If you think that’s too much work, think of the rewards. Giving your husband Gastronomic pleasure is a sure way to keep him happy, which in turn, ensures that you get to buy that pearl choker you always wanted. It all works out to your benefit, in the end. And compliments never hurt.

Tip#4: Brush up on your demureness

A good Indian wife must be properly demure. It’s the basis of our entire culture, after all (if you don’t believe me, you’re obviously an ignorant Westerner).

Many years of education may have robbed you of your demureness, but that’s okay because the entire structure of your arranged marriage will help you get it back. That’s the beauty of it.

Be demure. Be indecisive. Dither on minor decisions. Don’t offer too many opinions. Accept life as it comes.

Tip#5: Ditch the Femi-Nazi crap

Feminism is not for nice Indian girls. It’s an evil invention of weirdo, uncultured Westerners who have no idea how to run a marriage. If you need proof, just look at the divorce rates in countries which have active feminist movements. They don’t even stigmatize divorce! I mean, how sucky is that?

As a good wifey, you must have the proper amount of justified disdain for Indian Feminists. Obviously, these are just bitter, rootless people who mindlessly ape the West. You shouldn’t feel angry at them (anger is unfeminine); rather, you should feel pity. How sad that they couldn’t get their own Arranged Marriage, and their own pearl chokers.

So, with those five hot tips, you’re well on your way. Don’t thank me; I’m just doing my part as a chivalrous protector of our culture.

Just don’t forget to count your blessings when you wake up in the morning, and your amazing husband does something really lovable, like compliment you on the excellent Parantha.

Count your blessings and shake your head, as you think about how wrong those feminists were.

 

 

 

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The Thing With Chivalry

Here’s the sort of thing I run into very often:

Guy: Women are trying to be too much like men these days, man.

Me: Getting your chauv on, are you? 

Guy: What?! Me? A chauvinist? I open doors for my girlfriend. I carry shopping bags for her. I drive her around. I pull out chairs for her at restaurants. I PROTECT her. I do all these things even if she doesn’t ask me to. I RESPECT women. How can you call me a chauvinist?

Me: *shrug*

Guys like the one above are all too common. And they’re not faking it. They really believe that they are not chauvinistic. They really DO respect women in their way. They really, really think they’re doing their bit for the feminist movement. But none of that changes the fact that their views are still pretty chauvinistic.

A lot of people mistake “respect” for empowerment. They mistake the age-old concept of chivalry for feminism. They think that by opening doors for women, they are somehow empowering them.

It does not work like that.

Feminism is not about exaggerated, patronizing “respect” for women as a group. It’s not about opening doors and carrying stuff for them. It’s not about giving them special treatment and “protecting” them.

It’s about EQUALITY, first and foremost.

It’s about understanding that women are individuals.

It’s about realizing that women can open their own doors, can carry their own stuff, and are people who have their own likes and dislikes, their own limits.

It’s about respecting them as much or as less you would respect any other person of your own gender.

It’s about letting go of the group mentality.

It is about unlearning the idea of “we men” and “you women”.

It is about unloading the burden of a society’s perceived honor from women’s backs.

It is about refusing to subscribe to a fake, discriminatory morality.

It is about standing up to the cultural norms that define set places for men and women.

It is about a worldview that is free of the stereotypes and clichés and labels from a bygone era.

 

That’s what MY feminism is about. That’s the kind of society I dream of.

 

Open doors for women if you so wish, but do it WITHOUT the condescension. That’s all I ask.

Darkness

 

They pushed me out,
into the light,
and all I saw was darkness.
Darkness in their faces,
Darkness in their faltering smiles,
Darkness in their unwelcoming gaze.

They did not hug me,
They did not greet me.
Why would they?
Do you hug a curse?
Do you greet a burden?
You do what She did.

You cry,
You lament,
bewail,
your misfortune,
at having borne not a child, but a girl,
at having brought not joy, but a mouth to feed,
not a working hand, but a commodity you do not want.

You do what He did.
You look on,
rage in your eyes,
despairing sadness in your heart,
you shut down,
and you blame her for it

I grew up in their home,
unseen,
unheard,
unneeded,
every morsel begrudged.
Biding time,
eking out the days,
waiting,
until I would be of age,
old enough to dump onto another.

And they did dump me,
dumped on him,
bought and paid for,
to do my duty,
to serve,
as was my destiny in this parched land,
barren from male footfalls,
starving for feminine gait.

Starve on, oh land,
for I will not come.
Dignity holds me here,
honor won’t let me go,
society won’t let me leave,
this cage of conventions,
this prison of a frozen culture,
frozen in time and spirit,
frozen ice cold in its cruelty.

I will stay here,
and wait,
for some little approval thrown my way,
for some scrap of affection,
for some precious moments of attention,
wait,
to bear a child, not a girl,
and dote on him, like no one doted on me

Image courtesy: the-nri.com online magazine

Man’s Man? No thanks.

So I attempted to have a nice, quiet Diwali this time. Without the crackers, you know. I’ve always considered Diwali a great festival for a lot of reasons, but the noise and smoke is not one of them. I dislike crackers with a passion, and I’d be lying if I said Eco-Friendliness is the sole reason. It’s very much personal – I simply don’t like the noise and the burnt-potash smell associated with most consumer grade pyrotechnics. Now, there are many who believe that such views are incongruous with my (perceived) identity as a twenty-one year old up-and-coming whippersnapper, including most of my relatives, some of whom had no qualms about telling me what they thought. They thought it was a girlish opinion.

I, uh, disagreed. Strongly.

I mean, really? Really, people? Why are so many people insecure about their gender identity? Why the hell is it almost compulsory to subscribe to the cheap pop sociology that tells guys they need to be unfeeling macho idiots in order to, I dunno, “earn” their place in the gung-ho male world. Why do they feel the need, the itch, to assert their “maleness” to totally random people who care to look?

News flash: If you have an X chromosome and a Y chromosome and have no issues with that state of affairs, you ARE male. That’s all there is to it. You don’t have to prove it. You don’t have to shout it from rooftops. You won’t get any trophies for it. You are not entitled to any special benefits for being it. You don’t get to order people around. Others don’t get to order you around. You are entitled to emotions. You are entitled to being human. You, sir, are just another self aware organic lump with integrated support systems, cognitive thinking abilities and the potential to do as well and better than any human has done before you. Nothing more and nothing less.

Needless to say, our culture has problems with that kind of thinking. You hear the same old counter-arguments all the time. You hear the same rotten, beaten, broken, anachronistic Victorian era crabshit all around you, every freaking place you go in this broad land. The same torturous definitions of gender turn up again and again AND again, like a bad penny. It’s stupid, it’s false, and most of all, it’s time is OVER. Done and over.

Embrace yourself, for fuck’s sake. Be yourself. Be who you are. You are not a definition. You are not a labelled entity. You are a person with thoughts, emotions, dreams, ambitions, abilities, needs, desires, wants, illicit thoughts, noble thoughts, gentleness, charity, ethical systems, virtues, faults, issues, good bits and so much more. Don’t get crushed under the weight of labels churned out by little minds with little to do other than sitting around in stuffed armchairs, doling out dime-a-dozen social commentary to everyone else with nothing better to do. Screw the images hoisted upon you by TV marketing. Begone with images and labels. Be special, be one hundred percent, be YOU. Because YOU, sir are quite unique in this world.

Losing a Cousin to Society

So, I had a family night yesterday. Went to this marriage ceremony.

The thing with Indian (or at least North Indian) marriage ceremonies is that despite the tremendous efforts of a small army of forced volunteers and the tremendous expenditures, they can end up being so excruciatingly boring for everyone (bride and groom included). There are only three classes of people who seem to enjoy going to Big Fat Indian weddings: foodies, alcoholics and Aunties.

For biological and sociological reasons, I am not an Aunty. Also, while I enjoy Paneer Tikka and the occasional pint of beer, I am not sufficiently monomaniacal about either of those to jump for joy at the thought of the next wedding in town. Company is generally rare. I feel out of place at both the car-o-bar and the food stalls. So I can usually be found sitting around with others of my ilk in one of the numerous chairs scattered around the place, intensely absorbed in a game of Angry Birds or some such.

Maybe I’m too young, or maybe I’m too naïve, but I really don’t see the point of all the showbiz. I don’t see the point of Inviting Three Hundred and Fifty Seven people, not counting kids. I don’t see the point of giving out obscene amounts of food and alcohol, and spending obscene amounts on what’s basically a big party. It’s not just that, though. After all, many Indians are more than rich enough to afford obscenely expensive parties. I may see it as a waste of money, but who’s to say my definition of waste is better than theirs? That’s not what I really want to write about. Last night, I witnessed something much worse than just showbiz.

Last night, I went to a party thrown by parents who pressurized their daughter into marrying a misogynistic moron. These same parents then paid a pundit to chant Sanskrit verses in the background in the hopes of making her married life a happy one. Last night, I went to a party where these parents sold out to social conventions that unilaterally decided their daughter was ready to be married. I saw them surrender to the toxic brew of a fake morality, of a fake culture,of such an…intensely, incorrigibly fake country. I saw them leave someone they surely loved, to the mercy of the winds on the rough seas of life.

I knew this woman, one of my cousins. I say knew, because I no longer know her. She was ambitious and smart, spirited and cultured, happy and vivacious, confident and charming. They took half of her away. I can see only the smartness and the culture, the vivaciousness and the charm .The ambition is gone. The spirit is gone. The happiness is vanished. The confidence is non-existent. All the rest of her is gone, into some deep recess of her conscious mind, some black hole from which there is no possible escape. What’s left is a vast, overpowering, overwhelming darkness around the fake halo of a fake personality. They succeeded in fitting a square peg into a round hole, destroying the peg in the process. They’ve built this sickeningly beautiful porcelain doll that smiles and laughs and cries like a human, but has nothing truly human about it. They did it without turning a hair, in yellow-bellied deference to that cruel mass called society, that terrible force which spares none and takes no prisoners, that horrible agency which makes devils out of loving parents.

I felt nauseated last night. I felt sick. I felt angry. I felt sad. The sort of sadness one feels when looking at a hurt kid.  This cousin is older than me. She is no kid. I should not feel that way, but I do. It’s none of my business, but saying that over and over does not cure the nausea. She’s a grown woman who married a grown man who expects her, in this day and age, to simply give up her career because he says so.  Married a man who talks about treating her like a queen, but orders her around as though she might be a bonded slave.

I felt so completely sick of this nation last night. So sick of it’s perversions. So sick of it’s horrible conventions. Screw you, society.