UBC2: What needs to be done

He zipped his pants; she dressed, looking away from him. He was leaving as she turned. Notes lay on the floor.

She collapsed, sobbing. Why was she doing this!?!

“Mummy…”, a small voice called. “I’ll come in now?”

She looked at the daughter her husband didn’t want and knew. She would do anything for her.

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Things women should know

Being a woman in a world that seems to have lost its sense of humaneness is anything but easy. We have been called the weaker sex for so long that most of us have come to accept it as the truth. But, we are so much stronger than the men who called us weak in the first place. Sure, we might cry at romantic movies and we may struggle to carry heavy things and blink at discussions involving bikes and cars but that doesn’t make us weak…women are the child-bearing gender remember?

Too many men have forgotten that we are amazing beings…but unfortunately, they aren’t the only ones. There are so many women who seem to have forgotten it too… As a result, we end up doing things simply because we think it’s what is expected because we are female. We question everything about ourselves, from our looks to our capabilities and rarely, if ever, take compliments seriously. We even assume that when something bad happens to us, it’s probably because we did something wrong in the first place…how much longer will we treat ourselves like that??

So, I sat myself down, thought about it and figured these are seven things (among others) that I think all women should know:

1. There is nothing wrong with saying NO…in fact, if you are with some one who really loves you, he / she will respect you red-39951_640and your decision. If the other person doesn’t and pressures you into doing something you really aren’t comfortable with, you need to get out that relationship and get yourself away from that person. You always have a choice.

2.  When a person who is physically stronger than you takes advantage of you, it is NOT YOUR FAULT. I hate that politics and our society say different. The way you dress, the food you eat or the way you walk is no reason for anyone to hurt you. It is a shameful thing to happen…but not for you…for him! Remember that if, God forbid, something like that ever happens to you, your world has not ended. If there was any justice in the world…his should.

3. Contrary to what certain products claim, you don’t need to be fair to be considered lovely nor will the use of a particular brand of sanitary napkin guarantee your success in the world. The television airing those advertisements is called an idiot box for a reason. You truly want to make it big in this world and do something that future generations will remember you by? Then go on ahead and do it….nothing and no one can stop you, except you.

4. Learn how to be independent. It is so important to learn how to do things on your own. Learn how to drive, fix small things in your house, go for a movie alone and eat at a restaurant by yourself among other things. You shouldn’t always need someone to look after you…you are stronger than you give yourself credit. But, that being said, we do not live in a secure world so be ever aware of your surroundings and stay safe…which brings me to my next point…

stick-31346_6405. I really really think that every woman needs to learn at least the basics of some form of self-defence. There is no better way of keep safe than by knowing how to kick some ass if you have to. I wish they would make karate/judo classes compulsory for girls in school instead of just dance and music. The art of self-defence is so important given the state of things…

6. Pursue your passions. A lot of women tend to give up things they love to do because their husbands and children consume their lives. Remember, you are just as important as your family is.

7. Finally, ladies, remember that there aren’t a whole lot of men who can do all the things you do each day as efficiently or as well as you do…you are perfect and never let anything convince you otherwise. You are real live “superwomen”…it’s just that your capes are invisible…

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I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013.

Write Tribe

Lessons from my first year of marriage

So, the Monday past, my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. Last night, I asked him if hewedding-cake-toppers-115556_640 could believe we’ve been married for a year already only to have him nodding impatiently. (In his defense, I ask him that question quite often). But, the thing is, sometimes I find it difficult to believe that we have been together for that long. It feels like a couple of months ago at the most that I was sitting nervously in his parents house with my parents trying to decide whether or not I wanted to marry him.  I can’t quite grasp the fact that a whole year ago, I suddenly became a grown up.

Anyhow…

In light of my recent anniversary, I’ve decided to post about what I’ve learnt this past year…my lessons from my first year of marriage:

There is nothing wrong with different:

My husband and I decided to get married the day we met each other (it was an arranged marriage, this is kind of how it works!) and between then and the wedding day we met each other a handful of times at best. We didn’t really have the opportunity to get to know each before we said “I do“. So, it was only after we got married that we had conversations about anything really serious. Initially, it used to bother me that we disagreed on things I considered important. I would spend ages wondering how his ideas, sometimes radically different from mine, would affect our future. But I’ve learnt that just like I am entitled to my opinion…so is he…I am wiser now and therefore no longer worried.

Nobody is perfect:

Why point out the speck in your brother’s eye and ignore the log in your own? I remember reading something like that in the Bible…What I’m getting at is even though my husband is the love-of-my-life, there are things about him that annoy me more and more with each passing day. (I’m pretty sure there are things about me he detests too). But, no one is perfect and it wouldn’t be fair for me to expect him to change since I don’t really think I’ll change that much myself. Over this past one year, I’ve come to terms with the fact that neither one of us is perfect and I’ve accepted his shortcomings, just like he has accepted mine.

Compromise:

Of course I like to have things my own way! I’m only human after all. But, I’ve figured out this past year that sometimes it’s better to give in to my husband and just do what he wants rather than have a huge fight about it. Mind you, I wasn’t born wise and I didn’t arrive at this conclusion very quickly. It’s taken countless hours spent annoyed that my husband won’t do what I want him to do the way I want him to do it to realize that if something can be done another way that won’t cause me too much trouble, by taking a deep breath and doing it his way, it is somehow so much better than brooding. I’m not brilliant at the whole compromise thing yet…but I’m getting there…

In-laws:

A marriage involves the union of two families and not just two people…at least in India anyway. Now I was never naive and did not expect my in-laws to be exactly like my parents. So, I think I always knew that adjusting and learning to do things that the in-laws expect and want is essential to a peaceful marriage. I’ve made adjustments and honestly, so long as meeting their expectations doesn’t require me to change who I am, I’d rather do it than fight about it, because a disagreement with the in-laws means a disagreement between the two of us…which is never something I want so, bottom line, if it will help keep the two of us happy at the end of the day…more often than not, I’ll do whatever.

Men are not mind-readers:

Before I got married, I lived with my best-friend for years and usually, we didn’t have to say anything much to each other to get our point across. Just a gesture here or a frown there or in some cases, merely a hint would send the message very effectively. But then, she is a girl. I’ve learnt such subtleties do not work on men. No, I did not marry a mind reader but fortunately, I married someone who I am very glad can at least tell when I’m angry. I’ve come to learn that nothing beats being absolutely direct with a man. It’s like women and men are wired differently. While we learn to read body language and facial expressions, apparently they do not. Only direct instructions work and after I understood this, I’ve been saved from a lot of frustration…

Not every argument needs to turn into a fight:

man-97976_640I’m sure it’s not just my marriage so I’m going to say this, you are going to disagree with your spouse. But pick what argument needs to turn into a full-blown battle. I still haven’t worked this out entirely, but I’m a lot better today than I was this time last year. I’m trying everyday to let the little things slide…to swallow that irritation and remember that it’s okay to let him win sometimes…It sucks when we are fighting and if just shutting my mouth will save us both from a lot of unpleasantness, I’m willing to sacrifice my pride.

This is probably the most important thing I’ve learnt this past one year.

If you are married, do you relate to any of these things?

What’s in a name?

One of the most serious issues of getting married is deciding whether or not you want to change your name. I chose not to change mine legally and though my husband, fortunately understands that this is a choice I’m at liberty to make, there are others who don’t understand why.

Perhaps it’s because most people still seem to think that changing your name is symbolic of the union of VNY_4999marriage and your commitment to the relationship. Somehow the fact that you probably got married in not the most comfortable outfit in front of thousands of people, took a million pictures together, wear a wedding ring or a mangalsutra or something of that sort and simply cannot imagine life without your husband doesn’t mean anything. Sigh…

It’s hard being the woman who refuses to change her name. It’s a social taboo in India because it’s a done thing. Nearly all of the women who have got married in the last couple of years have changed their names. If you don’t want to, it’s likely you will be met with people who would want to know what makes you so special. Don’t cave! The choice is yours to make! To use something my parents used to use on me, “If everyone jumps off the bridge…would you too?” It’s actually quite pathetic that even in 2013, with so much talk about women’s empowerment, people just assume that after a girl is married she is going to abandon the name that she grew up with and just take a new one…

I’ve made my choice to keep my maiden name not because I’m a feminist trying to defy this patriarchal society we live in. (I mean, I understand their point…since marriage is a coming together of two souls, why should the woman make all the changes? Why is the name change problem gender specific? Why don’t more men change their last names? Why are children given their father’s names when the woman is the one who goes through the pains of labour? If everything was to be fair, children would use their mother’s names…Like I said, I can see where they are coming from)…

I chose not to change my name because I realized that everything around me is identified with a name. So, why should I have to give mine up just because I got married? My surname, “Farias“, was and still is my identity. In India, it’s quite a unique name…even my husband hadn’t heard of it before we met and I’ve spent way too many hours correcting people (almost everyone I know…) when they mispronounce or misspell it to just give it up like that.

Today, I don’t see the need to change my name….maybe one day I will. But, whatever I decide, it’s a personal choice. One that I am free to make as I see fit..

Where do you stand?