I’m constantly told by my peers and colleagues, especially the female ones, that I am not like them. They tell me I am from their mothers’ and sometimes grandmothers’ eras. Some snippets from my daily conversations with my friends include:
“Wow, your husband must adore you”. He does.
“You are too sweet. You make him chai every day?” Yes, I do. I make a damn good masala mirchi chai too.
“Do you clean the dishes and cook food every day too?” Yes, mostly on the weekdays, but only because my husband sucks at it, and I don’t trust the household help to cook things the way I like them. My mother and my mother-in-law usually cook for us on the weekends. I use that time to read books and do other hobbies.
“Do you love being a wife?” Hell yes. Who doesn’t like being adored by a man that only wants her?
“How is your relationship with your in-laws?” They love me. I haven’t given them a reason to be upset with me yet, and I don’t plan on losing that love they have for me, ever. I actually pride myself on the fact that I am a great wife. I accompany my mother-in-law every Sunday to yoga class and I’ve developed a really close bond with her. My husband now complains about how unfair it is that both his mom and his wife gang up against him during arguments.
“What are you gonna do once you have a kid? You’ll have no time for yourself.” Honey, once I have a kid, I will be the most prepared mother in the world. I’ve been taking care of everyone in the family. Another addition is easy. And for the first 3-4 years of that kid’s life, he lives on my terms. Ha!
“Can’t believe you got an arranged marriage. I would never let my parents do that for me.” That’s what luck had in store for me, I guess. I did date around, but I never really met the guy who understood me. Most men I dated always pushed me to be more ambitious. I was ambitious. I still am. But my ambition isn’t driven to a career or a job. It’s driving me to be the best wife I can be. I really like the compliments that get showered on me. I love the flattery, but so does everyone else in some way or another. I chose to let my parents find someone because I was always close to them growing up and maybe they knew something I didn’t. Eventually, my mother played the role of matchmaker and here I am today.
“You say you have the perfect marriage but I don’t believe that.” No marriage is perfect. Thinking that it is perfect is a silly way to think. However, there are perfect moments in life, and in marriage, there are a lot more if you are truly in love with your partner. There are some ground rules I don’t let my husband breach. For example, I don’t let my husband comment on the way I look, especially negative comments. He knows now to avoid certain topics about my look, but that doesn’t mean I don’t look good. Nobody has or ever will call me fat. I can look however the way I want to, but I do understand that looking pretty and eating well are important things. I like looking pretty for myself, and I choose to not pig out because it keeps me healthy and keeps me in modeling shape. If I had to work 9-5, I could easily let go of the way I look and feel, and I don’t think that is empowering at all, especially if your goal is to be the best wife ever. To each their own goal, though.
“Do you judge us? Do you think we should be typical “good” wives as well?” First, don’t say that in a condescending tone. Second, is it really that bad to have so much time on your hands to do whatever you wanted to do? I write poems, read books, work out a lot, cook meals both I and my husband enjoy, and spend time with all my loved ones. Yes, I grew up privileged and my husband could never say he was poor. I also went to study abroad and I have the best Westernized education the world has to offer. Given all of this, I am content with the way I am, and more importantly, with the wife I am. I never judge anyone else, especially females. I recognize that for me, being a (somewhat) traditional Indian wife was in many ways, a choice. For many of us females in India, especially those who grow up poor, being a wife isn’t a choice. It’s a way out. It’s a way of life. And in many cases, it is forced. I am lucky because I chose to be a wife and just that. I could’ve pursued a career after my undergrad or I could’ve joined my father in the family business. However, I chose not to. Just because I grew up wealthy and enjoyed a Western education doesn’t obligate me to be a working woman or to push a feminist agenda.