So I woke early this morning and decided to blow off going to the 5 AM Spin class and 6 AM BootCamp Class and just sat on the couch with my laptop and a cup of chai (no sugar, small concession to no excercise). Will I go to my kick boxing class at 10 AM? Probably not. You see I have a birthday barbeque on the weekend to get ready for. Daughter and Son both had birthdays last week. Like all law abiding American families we reserve all celebrations for the weekend...hehehehehe.
The husband and kids are still sleeping. The house is silent. I can hear the incessant drippy rain. In the dawn light, my plants look sad and drowned. Even the deer that come into the backyard to forage at dawn, looked sad eyed and rain soaked. Sitting here contemplating life and reading blogs. Its been a while!
I read a lot of blogs by men and women in mixed cultural marriages. Desi/desi, desi/nondesi, nondesi/nondesi... the gamut... because I am in a culturally mixed marriage myself. It is very interesting to me, to see how others order and organise thier mixed marriages and lives. There are some blogs by expat men and women who make thier life in India, some of whom are married to desis. It is an eyeopener to read thier thoughts.
You see, I always wonder how my own non desi husband views and experiences desi culture. He can try and explain it to me (Hindi sounds phonetically gutteral to him... HUH?) but there is no way that I will ever see it the way he does. My views are colored by own experience of desi culture. I can never experience seeing my culture through western eyes, never mind how long I live in the west. I would have to negate my entire childhood, and existing ties in India to do that. Do you see why reading these expat blogs is so interesting to me?
There are any number of outstanding blogs in this category. Sharell has a really good one. Do read it.
Anyway, I read an blogpost on this blog about "handfeeding a son". There were many interesting comments all of which must be considered for the cultural context of the commentors. Some very good points were made. A thought provoking post. I have thought long and hard about this one for a very long time. It affects me in very fundamental ways because it says something about where we are as Indian women and where we hope to be in an ever changing world.
Here was my comment on that blogpost. Go on tell me what you think.
"Tradition bound Indian women have had very little decision making power in thier own households especially since they usually also live with thier own traditional inlaws.
The only power they have is perhaps over thier own children and they sure do weild that power robustly. Thier sons have also traditionally been thier long term care insurance. What better way to make sure that insurance is active and well, than to bind the child to them with shows of affection and pampering… hand feeding is just one the symptoms. An overt show of affection. It is something that has become an essential part of the fabric of a traditional Indian womans life. Are the sons totally to blame for becoming despotic, lazy gits? Not entirely. It is a product of thier memories and traditions. It is culture.
Personally I dont expect Indian men to conform to what western men do, when in the Indian cultural context… if they are a product of and still live in that environment. I know that my own mother would like it, if my husband lay around and was subjected to overt displays of fawning attention by me and her… as wife and motherinlaw… when he visits India. However he aint getting any of that buster! Because thats not the way my own household works.
Does all this annoy me? Sure it does, it makes me crazy because I know and have experienced the alternate reality. Is it unfair to expect a woman to labor for a lazy git? Ofcourse it is. However I cannot expect people who have never even imagined another way of life to conform to my expectations of behavior. They will all learn for themselves when thier own shoes bite. It will happen… in centuries perhaps, but change is inevitable.
In the big scheme of things, hand feeding a son, or making him chai (I hate that bed tea thing … stinky breath) is small potatoes, compared to being able to make decisions about killing or keeping thier female children and having access to healthcare and being treated humanely when widowed. If my son will support me in these endevours, I will hand feed you for life and make you a million cups of tea. Those are the real choices many, many Indian women face."