This is going to be bit of a rant. Don’t say I didn’t warn. 🙂
So there’s this whatsapp conversation that happened last week that I can’t seem to get over. A very very distant relative living here, whom I have met barely twice in my entire life, had called to invite me to her son’s thread ceremony. I am not a big fan of (mildly saying hate) attending any traditional ceremonies. I don’t understand the purpose of such ceremonies, and I most certainly don’t care about the so called pundits validating anything for me. And I’m not partial…I am disinterested in pujas, thread ceremonies, wedding ceremonies, naming ceremonies…everything that involves another human being coming and saying some mantras and sanctifying some aspect of your life. However, I accepted the invitation anyway. My mother keeps saying that I am asocial, and as I grow older, this very “I-care-a-dam” attitude is going to come and bite me in the ass and leave me without any friends or social life. Lately, I have begun to see the truth of her wise words. After all, everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and opinions, and just because I have different set of beliefs, doesn’t mean I need to eliminate others who are otherwise very nice and loving people. So in the interest of retaining peace and mental sanity in the long run, and not ending up an old scary lady with a house full of cats (although this seems like a much more interesting prospect than attending any ceremonies), I saved the date.
The next day the lady sent me a message apologizing for not knowing my surname when she wanted to send me the invite. Now you see, she actually does know my surname, but she doesn’t know my husband’s surname. And she was being apologetic for not knowing my “new” surname. So I sent a reply back telling her my original name (since I haven’t changed my name), and then telling her my husband’s full name. I told her she could address the card to either one of us. She replied instantly saying she was going to go the traditional way and address it to the head of the family.
I didn’t know what to say. What when this pearl of wisdom is coming from a very well educated and intelligent woman. I would have ignored something like this if it came from an illiterate woman who has had no exposure to any urban setting. Anyway, rational, progressive thinking has got nothing to do with education. I mean look at Bahinabai’s writings. It’s way ahead of what a majority of women aspire for themselves even today. But still, this lady had topped her university, has worked in some top IT companies before, and has been living in a metro for over 10 years. Secondly, she doesn’t even know my husband. She has seen him all of once, but would still rather address the “HEAD”. Thirdly, even if she didn’t want to ignore my husband’s name, how hard is it to address it to the both of us?
I wrote back saying, “Your choice!”. I wish though that I had said, “Our family doesn’t have a head, just two hearts,” t0 sort of drill the point that a relationship is not about power and position, but about love and understanding. But this would probably be too subtle a point for someone like her to understand. The husband suggested that I wrote that we were a headless body. But I doubt if she’d get his wicked sense of humor.
Honestly, dialogues like these make me want to further withdraw in my own cocoon. This is what I get when I finally decide to socialize a bit more outside my comfort zone. I really can’t help blaming women a little for the current state of misogynist patriarchy we live in. If an educated woman who actually even has the choice to not think like this, chooses to be second to her husband in everything, there’s not much left to say. And this is coming from a woman who has a son. If the mother believes in being second to the father, what are the odds of the son’s wife being treated as an equal? Very slim I’d say.