I grew up in the cosmopolitan, very urban city of Bangalore, India. It has only been a little over five years since I left the city for the US and in this short time the city has become unrecognizable with its swanky clubs, microbreweries and smooth roads (traffic, however continues to make its presence felt with a vengeance). Of course, none of this progress affects or matters to my extended family and the community I belong to (Learn more about the Iyer community here). Even in year 2014, a woman’s motive for existence continues to be considered as being confined to marriage, babies, preparation of food and looking beautiful (of course by very specific and strange standards of beauty set by the community).
In the last seven days I’ve heard the best of well meaning but highly invasive and sometimes downright meddling questions, comments, concerns and advice. Here are my top 10 favorites:
- Why did you quit your job? Are you pregnant? No? When will you have a baby?
- Why did you cut your hair short? It looked better last time. What is this red color on your hair? Henna?
- When are you planning to move back to India?
- Don’t go out late at night.
- Why are you standing? Sit down!
- You must wear a bindi.
- You must wear some jewelry. Married women must not walk around with bare necks and wrists.
- Why are you wearing shorts? Wear something that covers your legs!
- Your cousin refuses to get married. What a tragedy.
- Your husband makes you breakfast on weekends? What a wonderful man he is! (Note: I don’t deny that my husband is the most wonderful man ever but no one would ever say a woman is wonderful for making breakfast would they?)
PS: This post is one in a series of posts that I hereby categorize as “Idle Chatter”.