Sunday, April 02, 2006

The working class

What I meant was that waking up to the realities of life would have been a shock for Sleeping Beauty!! After the lovely wedding to the Prince she would have to put up with the royal mom in law and dad in law and the running of the huge castle and the Prince's other wives etc. This is the actual meaning of "Happily Ever After" I think LOL

I am sure after finishing her royal chores, Sleeping Beauty would find your writings and the lovely pictures here a huge relief
:)


This was the comment I left on this post of Mind Curry. There was a whole of things that made me make that comment. From the time I left started summer Interships, I have met and befriended many married colleagues and with the attrition rate in IT cos as they are, met many more during the last few years of my working life. At first it was the usual gang that forms during lunch time. Girls, some married some unmarried who get along well together usually sit together during lunch time and the coffee break time. And we girls tend to talk. There is a bond and an understanding between the female gender. We are like a totally different species that find solace, empathy and sympathy in each other’s company. Many things that happen in our lives whether we are Malayalees, Punjabi’s, Bengali or Andamanese are similar. Talk about Unity in Diversity. The only unity in diversity that I see is in the plight of the womenfolk across the length and breadth of this country.

Thursday was Yugadhi, the New Year for Telugus, Kannadigas and some other States. The holiday was greeted with glee by the single gals and gloom by the married gals. I know by now that these gals will have to get up early and toil in the kitchen preparing the traditional food items for the festival with no help from menfolk while the in-laws will invite all and sundry for the pooja and feasting. Of course all this will be accomplished alone and in some cases without servants by these gals who are software engineers, hardware engineers et al. One such girl is V. She is a techie and takes home a decent pay package much more than her small time businessman husband. She gets up at 5:30 everyday and washes by hand her husbands and brother-in-laws factory clothes as the machine will not remove the stubborn stains. Then she makes breakfast for the family of 10 people and tiffin for the kids, washes up the vessels and cleans the kitchen and then comes to work exhausted. Her sister-in-law makes the lunch and tea and when V gets back from work, she and her sister in law prepare the dinner, wash up ( as the servant left) and then go to sleep around 12. Till now there was pressure from her in laws to resign and stay at home and cook. But she resisted as she went through hell when she was a housewife with no money of her own.

Most of the married girls tell similar tales. After the first flush of marriage ( many were love marriages within their own communities) they realize that they have become cooks, housekeepers and maids. The charming man they married suddenly changes and becomes a task master who expects the girl he wooed and dined and wined to look after him like his mom did. The unified advice that these girls give us single gals?

“ You are a financially independent girl. You don’t need a husband to look after you. If possible don’t get married”.

And after hearing this from almost 100% of the married girls I am now very sure that I do not want to take up the sole resposibility of an adult human being on my head.

What bought on this tirade? The prospect of seeing these girls tomorrow loking tired and exhausted because they were up early cooking and cleaning and will now have to work 9 hours in the office and go back and do the housework all over again. I AM SO MAD!!!!!!!!!

( Guys, spare a thought for your married gal colleagues when they ask for leave or come late to work. These girls have it tough, believe me!)

24 comments:

Mind Curry said...

I am soooo mad too!!

I am at the verge of getting tired speaking out against such pathetic discriminations. I think its max in Kerala, though I am not sure about other states, coz I really cant compare it with Bangalore.

The guys are only to blame for this situation. Their egos or whatever else it is does not allow their wives to earn better or have a better repute in terms of work and position.

Similarly I have heard older people saying present generation girls are arrogant because they earn for themselves.

I think by education and employment, women are doing the best thing possible for themselves. they are gaining financial independence because of which they have a voice and the freedom to choose not to submit themselves to any crap.

i hope more and more women educate and employ themselves. education is not just for the sake of getting a degree so that they can be get a better proposal. it is for us to become better individuals.

gosh...that was not necessary here i guess..anyway..i am just mad!

:) its good to know your comment on my blog sparked off this post :)

silverine said...

@mindcurry, I am so glad that you feel the same way. I am hopping mad here grrr.Why is it that it is the girl who has to take charge of the house and cooking? These are physically exhausting work especially for girls of today who have to put in long hours of work at the office. Being a housewife is not the solution as the men question every expenditure and demean them by not giving them enough money to run the house or even buy things for their persoanl needs. This is what drives these women to work. These girls dont have the choice to divorce their husbands because they dont have a house of their own. Most of these girls just put up with the abuse, sometime fight and come crying to the office....it is so maddening!

A Tech Writer in my office has to serve her husband food and then cut fruits into bite sized pieces after lunch for him and hence has been unable to join us for a Saturday afternoon movie!! Believe it or not.

A husband of a colleague told her that she was the lady of the house and hence had to do the chores. She retorted that if she indeed was the lady of the house then he should treat her like a lady and not like a servant.

Surprisingly there are many girls who have made up their mind not to marry too and are quite happy with their decision. One such person is our Asst. HR Manager a wise gal who saw the upheavels in her married colleagues lives and abstained from the same.

Marriage is beneficial for men only. For the girls it is giving up a carefree life to take up the job of lookin after a house and kitchen and another human being.

Now you know the import behind my comment :)

Mind Curry said...

i totally agree with you on most points, and i think the whole system and concept of marriage is flawed. and it really sucks.

but at the same time, i would like to still believe that marriage is a good thing - WHEN its between two people who can share and love equally.

sadly marriages, particularly arranged, which seem to be "arranged for compromise", are seen as a societal duty and some sort of mandatory thing - which just makes it the saddest event! i keep wondering why people marry..and its gonna be a post soon.

you have opened pandoras box i guess with this post! :)

Mind Curry said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mind Curry said...

also, i hate it when men behave like the way you have described about your friends. its pathetic..and as much as the men are to be blamed, its the society that does the real damage. such practices and mentality is built into the fabric of every guy i guess. i have seen even mothers promote such attitude in their sons when they get married. i dont know what it takes to break free from such "grooming", perhaps its only just basic culture and good upbringing thats needed.

sorry i had to repost this after clearing some typos :)

silverine said...

@mindcurry:True, girls are taught that it is their duty to take charge of the house and cooking and after some time it becomes more important than herself, her career, her aspirations, ambitions etc. etc. As you said, marriage as a system is flawed. I have seen only a few, a miniscule few marriages that are built on love and respect for each other. Most marriages are a convenient excuse for the guy to get a maid servant.And as you rightly pointed out and something I have been saying till I am hoarse, it's the mothers who have to educate their sons and daughters and the society in turn should see that future mothers a.k.a the girl child is educated.

I might just post this at Poomanam and then duck for cover :))

Alexis Leon said...

What you have said is very true. Many men treat their wives as maids and behave as if they are the only people who work, even though their wives are also working women, bringing home half or more of the total family earnings.

It is sad that the society does not see this kind of discrimination and ill treatment as a crime. In fact, if a woman speaks out against this kind of discrimination, then she is considered as a rebel and outcast.

I have seen many educated people mistreating their spouses. Women, even if they are financially independent cannot sever ties once they are married. In love marriages, she in most probability would have alienated her family and living alone is a tough ask. So many women suffer these discriminations and live with their husbands. They also put their children’s interests before theirs. But these children also forget how their mothers have sacrificed the best part of their lives for taking care of them. It is a very sad state of affairs.

Education, empowerment and employment is only a part of the solution. Changing the mindset of people (men and women) and society is more important. I have seen this kind of discrimination in houses were all the members are well educated.

Another area is how the individuals are brought up. If the kids are brought up in an atmosphere where there is no discrimination between boys and girls and where everybody shares the work, take turns in washing and cleaning, then they learn that doing the household chores is not the sole responsibility of women. I think, this is one important lesson that the parents can teach their children. Also in such households the intimacy between the family members will be more as they share the responsibilities and rewards. The kids who grow up in such environments will have more rounded personalities and will be able to appreciate and understand the problems of their partners and will see nothing unusual or special in sharing the work.

There is a flip side of this situation. I have seen many well educated and professionally qualified women not allowed to go to work as their family thinks that it is beneath their social standing or the husbands feel insecure if the wife is employed. These women have a more difficult time as they know they are wasting their lives which could have been utilized better. I have seen women who have completed their engineering / medical degrees staying at home, just because the family won’t allow it or husband doesn’t want it. This is sometimes cruel; as many accompany their husbands to their jobs, say to Bangalore, Chennai or Mumbai. Once the husband goes for work, they don’t have anything to do other than watching TV, reading or sleeping. It is a boring life and such a waste of human resources and denial of a person her right to achieve her self actualization goals.

So either way, it is a ‘lose-lose’ situation for the women. Unless the attitude of people changes, until the society changes, until men shed their complexes, until the parents teach their children the importance of sharing and caring and inspire them by being good role models, the situation is not going to change.

It would be in the best interests of all, that these changes happen sooner than later. Otherwise as we have been seeing recently, the divorce rate will increase exponentially, children will get separated from their parents, family values will change, married life and marital bliss will be only limited to movies, and people will just go through their lives forgetting to live and enjoy.

Mind Curry said...

as the saying goes "educate a woman and you educate a family". lets hope things change.

silverine said...

@Alexis: You have covered the topic so comprehensively with this comment. We have to start mentoring children both male and female at an young age. Girls should be taught that they are not chattels and boys should be taught to share work and respect women. I think this is the only way. Till then there is no hope!
@mindcurry: Let hope, till then the girls will toil :(

Immigrant in Canada said...

After doing 72 hours of duty(fri, sat sun and monday) I was still expected to do house hold chores (cleaning and cooking).. My in laws were educated and well to do.. Somehow they still thought they got a well educated maid as a daughter in law.. I guess nothing would change..Being woman..you are always expected to be a wife, daughter in law and a mother..

Matter of Choice said...

very very interesting point...will be back with a detailed comment soon :)

cheerio
MoC

Dr. Pissed said...

Not that i disagree with you, but from what i've seen, it aint that bad at my place. My sister in law seems to have it pretty easy. She's been in love with my brother for the last 10 years. They cannot be more happier than they already are. For sure. She dont cook. She dont clean. She's just happy. More happier than she could ever be. And we're more than happy to have her.

Jagan said...

my cousin , when she was pregant , cud wake up at 5 AM and do the house hold work , go to office , come back and do a whole lot of more work .I really felt bad about it and aksed her why she has to do all these things .She just smiled and talked some shit philosophy and asked me to take better care of my wife when i get married .
I feel tht this is all bcos she didnt resist or revolt or fight back (am not sure if these are the right words ) .She sud hav raised her voice and she may hav got better treatment .

Matter of Choice said...

hmmmm....

very interesting post!!..i have a different perspective (and probably wrong too!) to offer.

I wonder, are things as bad as you say?. Or let me rephrase it again..are things "generally" as bad as you say?. There is a big difference in this. There would always be lousy husbands (and may i add, lousy wives too!) in the world. But are they representative of all the husbands(or wives)?

If you look around your family/friends you will see some very long and happy marriages. If you dont see any one, then i will agree with you.

Yes there are lousy husbands who continue to remain mamma's boys after marriage. But I have also seen husbands who really do shoulder their portion of work!

Probably, the pressure builds up once kids are born. Lots of career women in India are at a stage of begining their career when they have kids. So they dont have the luxuary of taking a break once career is stabilized to have kids (as women in western world seem to be doing!). This could be due to family pressure or pressure from husband/self.

I believe couples should discuss their work early in the marriage (yeah in the honeymoon period!). If some one gets used to one way of living it is difficult to change expectations later on. If that wasnt done..then the next best thing is to talk today!!..discuss the work schedule that each does and i am sure that most of the men will suddenly realize their fault and try to contribute more.

Having said all this, i know there would be several men who will continue to treat their wives as slaves!!..but i hope soon they will become the minority if not extinct!!. I can already see that happening...more n more gals are saying NO to marriage coz of what they see around them. This will force men to re-think about a more equitable marriage if they want marriage at all!!..

aha...the law of supply n demand has answers to everything. Unfortunately it also says that there will be a painful period of adjustment before equilibrium reigns again

Anish

ps: really really luuuuved the post..very moving!

silverine said...

At long last the much awaited comment :P

I wonder, are things as bad as you say? All these girls across cultures and geographies cannot be telling lies.

There would always be lousy husbands and may i add, lousy wives too! Only the very few women qualify as lousy wives because they are bought up to believe that taking care of the house is her dharma The lousy wife is an exception as the caring and good husband.

But I have also seen husbands who really do shoulder their portion of work! True..but the physically exhausting and menial work of cooking cleaning and child rearing is done by the women most of the time.

Probably, the pressure builds up once kids are born. Most of these gals tell me that they either didn't want kids, or wanted to stabilise in their jobs before having kids or have just one kid. All these options are vetoed by in laws and husbands. She is just the vessel to carry the child for the family.

I believe couples should discuss their work early in the marriage Discussion can never take place when the guy thinks it is the duty of the gal to do the household chores. Such discussions happen only in developed countries.Indian women have no rights once they become wives.

more and more women are saying no to marraiges But only in the Metros. The gals from small towns still suffer.

This is a complicated subject. It is not easy to rebel when you have nowhere to go especially when you are a woman. Our country is a group of islands called the FAMILY and it is very difficult for a gal to survive without a family. We also do not any institutions where a woman can seek refuge except some badly run govt. homes. The woman is effectively trapped.

Thanks for this great comment :)

silverine said...

@IMC: That's exactly what this whole thing is about. Earlier they wanted a maid, now they want an educated maid who will bring in money too. Disgusting!!!!!
@Dr Pissed: You sis in law is very lucky :)
@Jagan: That is so sad. Her advice spoke volumes about her plight :(

Mind Curry said...

She is just the vessel to carry the child for the family.

thats such a strong statement..and it very rightly describes the plight of women in india.

Immigrant in Canada said...

"She is just the vessel to carry the child for the family."
May I add"male child" to the above sentence..
I am a doctor and still was told by my wonderful MIL that it was indeed my fault that I gave birth to a girl child.

quills said...

You know...I have read this post so many times and each time I read I feel so mad at the plight of so many women. I am not generalizing but I swear this is what I hear from many women almost always with only a few exceptions. I don't think the answer is getting women educated. Education is good, but even then unless the society changes (and you need to teach the young and impressionable minds early on and I mean young male minds) I don't think this is a winning battle even for the fairer folk.

And ofcourse as some bloggers have pointed out there are exceptions too and I have seen many myself, but the prevailing attitude is women's role and duty is to serve even it means giving up her own dreams and aspirations.

silverine said...

@quills: You are right. The general attitude is that the woman has to compromise. How many husbands move with the wife if she is transferred? She will most probably have to resign and look for a job where her husband is stationed. And that is because he cannot look after himself. So maddening!!!!

quills said...

yeah..not many unfortunately, I am guessing. But I also know some men who did. :) So there is a glimmer of hope.

Thanu said...

Hey...

I'm a married women who holds a full time job. I do not live with my in laws, but I still do chores around the house. There are some days I come back from work and cook, then there are some days I cook before I go to work. But, I make sure I ask Shekar to help and he does. All it takes is me to as "Can u chop some onions?" "Can u do these dishes?" and he does it willingly. He helps me a great deal with everything around the house.

I think most of the times, these girls don't speak up and they take it as it comes. On the other hand if I was staying with my in-laws, I mite not ask Shekar for help but I would make a stand and say "No I can not do all these.."


Marriage is so much more than chores aroudn the house.

silverine said...

@Thanu: Marriage is so much more than chores around the house Well said. But unfortunately for almost 99% of Indian girls marriage is the inevitable end to carefree days and the beginning of toil and labor :(

fundoome said...

well i have seen both kind of marriages......my own father who is always ready to help my mother with every chores....and there's my brother -in-law......i went to his place and was amazed to see that just after returning from office he went inside kitchen to help my cousin sister who is also working......

then there's my cousin.....he doesn't do anything and his wife is running all around to finish the sundry.....and when it's festive season and when there are so many guests in house...it becomes hell for her.

after seeing both kind of marriages i m still at a loss whether i want to be married or not. i had been thinking of not getting married for long....but then knew the fact that my parents won't ever accept this decision of mine......so not marrying is not a solution for me.....and atleast i have a remote choice of doing that....but what about those gals who don't work???

what i have realised now is that if i am lucky enough i would get a husband who will help me with household things.....like my brother-in-law.....and if it doesn't happen may be i will end up doing a 24 hrs job.....9-5 job in office and 5-9 at home....yeah that's the truth.....even if i am bringing home a good salary....i will have to do that.....the only thing in my hand is that despite doing this i may be successful in not getting my posiion reduced to that of a servant.....and that i still am the decision maker in my house.