Do you believe in life after love?

I have been thinking a lot about marriages lately. Especially in patriarchal societies where women depend a lot upon their husbands. I know it sounds quite anti-feminist, but hey, thats the truth as I see it. For a woman to make it in the man’s world, she needs to be tough, strong, wise, hard working etc etc. For a man, he just has to be a man – whatever that means. While widows in India are finding re-marriage as a viable option, there is still a lot of resistance in some places.

I lost my father at a pretty young age. Coming from a well-educated family, I expected that my mother will not have to look like the picture of mourning. He who had to leave, did. She who had to live, died. She was forced by her “close family” to take off all the signs of being married, stop wearing bright colors, tabooed at certain auspicious events such as weddings etc. My beautiful mother who loved colors and jewelry was now suddenly reduced to a shadow of her being – forever destined to be hidden in the dark. She mourns his death every single day, why should she have to mourn her life as well? Suddenly, she was no longer “socially acceptable” since she was a lone wheel no matter where she was invited. People didn’t know what to talk to her and in their awkwardness they pushed her further into the corner. I just wanted to ask all those people who had never thought twice about seeking her advice before – was she more wise when my father was alive? Has his death stolen her wisdom?

If there is one thing that I have understood its this – the society doesn’t allow a woman to live without a man. Oh, there may be exceptions, but they are far in between and the words used to describe them aren’t very respectable.

My 6 words story of the day? His heart failed. Her life stopped.

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46 thoughts on “Do you believe in life after love?

    • Yes of course, I don’t deny that there has been improvement. But not at the desired pace. No one thinks twice before looking for a match for a widower. Also, if he gets married to someone who has never been married before, no one bats an eye. However, how often have you heard of a widow getting married? and that too to someone who’s first marriage it would be? Somehow, it is fine for a man to have lost a wife. But if a woman loses her man, she is suddenly shunned like a bane. The wedding events I was talking about, it happened just 2-3 years ago. She was told not to participate in the baraat or even be there in front of the groom when he enters the venue. Why is it unauspicious to be a woman?

      Thank you for your kind words about my six words tale. It’s the first one i have tried my hand at. I wish it came from a happier place.

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      • I can very much understand that! If there is one pointing out, then there would be other 99 who are very much okay to accept and see no difference if its a man or a woman.

        I know its very much easy for me to say things and its very different and difficult to be in that shoes, but what keeps me going is about those who find equality and think logically for the things they experience. Yes, there are people will pin point but that number is decreasing!

        Well, you had an experience which rendered that 6 words in the most beautiful form! I wish and pray for better beautiful days ahead.

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  1. Your take on the prompt hits home. You know I’ve seen such a situation very recently and would like to believe that it is handled in a more mature and respectful manner. I can’t imagine how tough it must be for you to see your mother robbed off her life like that. A woman’s resolve to bring up her children well after her husband passes away becomes stronger, but often her emotions aren’t taken into account.

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  2. Would “you” acquiesce to this sort of treatment too? What “eastern” widows and divorced women need to learn to do is form their own “unofficial” support groups and ignore the patriarchy; refuse to comply to the outward signs of mourning after a decent period of time, say a month, then carry on with their lives. This is pure evil oppression for absolutely no valid reason and it must be fought back against “viciously” – even if it means ostracism for a while. The stupids, once they realize they’re being ignored and have lost their power to oppress will go look for other people to mess with. It’s how every society has had to do it. Western women did it from about 150 years ago and are still doing it. Don’t complain about the situation, fight back against it, as individuals and as women. The only other option is to shut up about it and meekly comply in on-going slavery to the patriarchy.

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    • Ah, if only things were that uncomplicated. In India there are two things that hold true – 1) it is the women who actually suppress the other women. Not the men. In fact, I have often found the men to be actually more open-minded. 2) There are numerous rituals and superstitions in place that makes people think that they have to toe the line or else…and since most of these rituals are followed by the women, often a widow will choose to do it herself without having anyone force it upon her…
      of course people are trying to change the situation. Life happens and everyone moves on. Yet, it is a gradual and really really slow process right now. Would I allow such things to happen? God forbid I ever have to be in a situation like that…but I hope if ever I do, I will still keep my senses about me. I didn’t allow my mother to succumb to all the restrictions etc. In fact I made her break several rules. But what would I do? Time will only tell.

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  3. Okay, I’m a guy here in America. Supposedly at the forefront of societal freedoms of all kinds. After all, didn’t our president give his blessing on gay marriage? It’s a good thing that I’m a very big guy physically, because there have been instances where I know that someone would have liked to beat me up if I was seen flirting with a guy – and I’m 68 years old. (I like women also 🙂 But I’m keeping in perspective that India is oppressively patriarchal, and this isn’t going to change shortly. I remember when Indira Ghandi was assassinated – it was pure patriarchal HATE.

    Fight back, fight back, fight back, women of India, in any way that you can!

    Roy

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  4. Oh, your poor mother. That is so sad.

    I think you are right, though. One of my favorite written genres is “Female Travel Essays.” These solo middle-aged travelers have defied the role they’ve been placed in. Men think those women must be lesbians, because why else would they not have a man with them? Women think those women are crazy, because who would do such a dangerous thing as travel without a man?

    When I got divorced, my couples friends stopped inviting me over, but they didn’t stop inviting my ex-husband. It surprised me, since he had been the one who ran off with another woman, thus ending the marriage. I did what those travel writers did and went abroad alone. It was in doing so that I found true liberty. Liberty came not simply from being alone, but from being precisely who I was without ruminating on the limitations placed by others. I simply didn’t care anymore.

    I’ve remarried since then, but I do believe I’m a lucky one. I’m not with a guy because I have to be, but I find my life enriched by sharing it with a partner. It could have just as easily been a female partner or a transgender partner, but sharing in another life so closely that you can say you are the best of friends can bring fulfillment without defining a person. It is a marriage in a patriarchal society, but nobody “wears the pants” in this house.

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    • This is exactly the thing that I love about you. Life handed you lemons and you had yourself awesome tequila shots. You didnt wait around to do the “decent” thing to do – whatever that means. I wish I were that strong. To know exactly who you are and still love yourself – that’s awesome. Something that I am still trying to do.
      I have been blessed with a wonderful, caring and understanding partner who has fulfilled all the roles in my life and filled all the holes in my heart. But, while my mother shared the same relation with my father, the society sees a lone woman as a threat. Someone to be treated as a pariah. In one of the older regional movies there was a 70 year old man looking for a young 20 something virgin bride saying that a man is like a diamond ring – never gets old or loses its value. Sometimes I think that people still believe that. A single man no matter how old is still looked upon as prime property. A woman on the other hand is an awkward subject….am i just rambling here or does it make any sense?

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      • Awe, you’re sweet. I did indeed take tequila shots, loads of them, haha. It wasn’t strength that sent me off, but desperation. I came back with strength.

        I’m glad you also have a caring partner. You make complete sense in what you are saying, and excellent example too. I was thinking about that exact issue the other day. It was a tangent from a random thought about how Donald Trump would never go for a woman who had a similar body mass index as him. Anyway, this thought led to the tangent about double standards like that.

        My mom was heavily mistreated for 21 years, but when she finally divorced, she lost the respect of others. It’s crazy to see that. The friend she stayed with was “some crazy angry feminist” according to others. Both my mom and her friend are amazing people. My mom also remarried another man, but I could really see what you were saying back when she was single.

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        • It’s so uncanny but i was talking about this with my hubby today. About how some families still treat their daughter after she’s been married off. There’s a common saying that once you cross the guy’s threshold as a bride, only your corpse can leave. No matter how married life treats you, accept it. So a distant cousin of mine got married to a psychopath who made life hell for her. All kinds of mental and physical torture. When she tried to come home, her parents refused to support her. Instead they insisted that she go back lest she bring shame upon her family name! can you believe that? What was more important – her life or their social status? anyways, she got divorced and lived with some other relatives, got a job and started earning. Her parents called her back now that she was no longer a financial burden. AND the society treats her like a pariah. As if she was the one who committed the crime. So while she spends her life as a traumatized person, the guy has remarried and probably creating a new level of hell for someone else. Sometimes i think the biggest crime we ever did was to be born in this body. why is it that the thing that makes us strong is the thing that makes us weak?

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