Open Letter to The Great Indian Society

Dear Well Meaning Parents, Siblings, Uncles, Aunties, Grandparents, Cousins of Parents, Neighbours of Grandparents, Nosy Well Meaning People Next Door, Old-time Servants, And Other-Assorted-People-I-Forget-Who-You-Are,

Our family right now comprises only two people. Us (the husband and the wife). Everyone else is either a) A relative, b) A friend c) An acquaintance, or d) A very unwelcome intruder. Category (a) has two sub-categories (a1) People who don’t need an invitation to come and live with us and (a2) All Others. I’m sorry to say that most of you to whom this letter is addressed do not fall in category a1. And no, we do not anticipate any openings coming up either.

Now that we’ve established the social hierarchy, let’s talk. Shall we?

One, every couple needs privacy. A safe space where they can lay down their own rules, make their own dinner, watch terrible shows on TV, have loud sex (sometimes not just in the bedroom), fight, make up (or make out), wear tattered shorts and ancient T-shirts and in general just be themselves. It’s bad enough to have to be civilized in the workplace. Please do not intrude into our home (and if you’re category a1, we’ll make an effort so you don’t have to know we have a sex life. But since we do have one, could you not visit us quite so often, please?)

Two, the wife’s career is as important as the husband’s, thank you. She’s worked as hard (or harder) and is as smart (or smarter) than the husband and so, would you kindly stop assuming that the wife will trail along wherever the husband goes? If she does any trailing, she’s doing it because she wants to not because she has to (now, doesn’t that make the husband feel good?)

Three, we only really answer to ourselves. I know you have 35 years of experience and that you wish us well and that someday, we might regret not taking your advise. But really, you must stop expressing yourself now. And let us get on with screwing up our lives and get to the next stage of our fight-make up-make out cycle.

Four, please stop feeling sorry for the husband just because he cooks. He happens to enjoy it. Besides, I know the sambar smells good but I’m sorry, you’re not invited to dinner.

Five, yes, we’re one of those freaks who wish to  have a daughter. I’d like her to grow up as quickly as possible so we can go shopping and my husband would love to spoil her silly. So, while we do appreciate the blessings, we would appreciate it even more if you weren’t quite so sexist about them.

Six, we work hard for our money and we deserve to do what we want with it and how much of it we want. It’s hard enough to get through the workday without having to a) spend our money on people who don’t appreciate it and b) listen to people go on and on about how we should be saving it and c) be reminded of our endless “responsibilities”  (this a, b, c are different from the categories above. But I’m sure you got that, no?) Saar, we do not ask you for your money. Neither do we tell you that you should be paying your son in America (Bay Area) rent for living in his flat and stop pretending that you’re doing him a favour by living in it. Therefore, kindly stop trying to guess how much we make and whether we really only bought just a quarter gram of gold for Akshaya Tritiya.

Seven, The Gods told me the other day that they don’t really care whether or not I wear all the Symbols of Marriedness. My husband knows that I won’t cheat on him just because I prefer not to wear a bindi with jeans. If the only thing preventing you from hitting on me is the fact that I’m married and you would like a constant reminder of it, please have a chat with my karate-brown-belt-husband. If not, it doesn’t really matter to you whether I advertise my married state or not, does it?

Eight, no. My husband and I are not “busy on our own laptops”. We’re actually spending quality time together without having to expend energy talking (me) and listening (him).

Nine, (deep sigh and deep breath). Madam, I do not want to be an “ideal bahu”. I would rather just be a happy wife. I have no interest whatsoever in your opinions of how my maid is overpaid (well, I will employ and overpay a maid soon) and under-worked and how I am neglecting home for the sake of mere career. The fact is, that unlike my maid, I am overworked and underpaid. Therefore, could you please let me just enjoy my suspiciously-alcoholic-looking-icy drink?

Finally, no, we’re not atheist. No, we don’t like religion all that much either. And yes, that will make sense if you think about it a bit…

Much Love,
The Goddess and The Geek

28 Replies to “Open Letter to The Great Indian Society”

    1. @Ani
      More fundamentally. The guardians of our reeti-riwaaj are too busy watching daily evening drama serials to really read open letters

    1. Next time you visit us then. We must talk about this while sipping above mentioned suspicious looking drinks 🙂

  1. So glad I have left all that behind and moved to Singapore. My Chinese neighbours actually looked mortified when they saw me coming home at 5 pm. ‘Work already over lah?’ They exclaimed.

    1. I’m not sure what life in Singapore is like but life in the American suburbs is suspiciously like life in India!

  2. I am going to share this letter with my parents and I have a feeling I won’t be surprised by their opinion. They were raised in Harayana (enough said). Before my sister got married, she was instructed to put her career on hold after two years into marriage to concentrate on family. My family believes career and family life cannot be juggled and woman must pick one over the other, which is usually the latter one. I believe that the couples should make the final decision on that. That was just one incident. We hear these “advices” all the time. I had fun reading the letter.

    1. Isn’t it amazing how everyone is allowed to have an opinion about an Indian couple’s life except themselves?

  3. I double like this ‘in your face’ kinda blog 😀 !! Try hanging out with people who are sailing in same boat as you are and keep nosey (I call them competitors, as they always want to compare on how much we make and how we spend or how we live) people away from you. Then, you won’t find any such irritating characters.Though my experience says, you cannot avoid few such people 😛

    1. Welcome to commenting Rama’s Wife! This post is not as much a vent to my own frustration as it is a composite of everything couples in India put up with.

      It’s the flip side to a great many positive things that come from a society like ours. But that’s the subject of a different post.

  4. Hehehehe, I used to tell my parents to do this as a kid, they might not have, but I am determined to be perceived as anti-social by that steeped in reeti-riwaaj auntie.

    1. I always wonder… If people who just want to live a peaceful, uninterrupted existence are anti-social, then what are terrorists?

      1. Terrorists are the ones who cant stand when others have a peaceful life. people like us certified normal. May be a little self-indulgent, but mostly normal.

  5. LOL 🙂 I am surprised so many of our generation think this way, and so many of the older gen that way. How did we become so different? I guess travel has something to do with it!

    1. MoRS, you’re missing the point here. This letter is clearly the result of liberalization, western clothes, unnecessary education of women, and increasingly henpecked husbands. If we ban all Western influence, girls will also settle down and do what is correct for them. 😛

  6. Drool, drool..I want that suspicious drink on cake..I can’t wait to catch up and add little points.. 😀
    Nodding my head to the privacy thing, kids thing, finance thing- heck everything.. I think, no, I KNOW that I love you.

  7. Nice post ‘the Goddess’! Allow me to send this link to my friends (Female). They need this badly 🙂

    Keep blogging…


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