Saturday, March 8, 2014

Pardon Me As I Roll My Eyes At International Women's Day

Guess what ladies!? March 8th marks International Women's Day!!! What does that mean for you!? I'm going out on a limb here and say: Not a damn thing!

Okay, so I'm a bit jaded by this "holiday." The first time I ever heard about International Women's Day was when I came to India and I completely missed the "International" part of it. Living in the US, I had never heard of this day.

The roots of International Women's Day are strong ones and at the time it was instituted, it set out to do a lot of great things. While I appreciate the overall sentiment, I have to laugh when I see it celebrated with such enthusiasm here in India. To me, it's about as effective as present day labour unions. Granted, India might want to look into those too.
How do we celebrate Women's Day here in India? Here's what I've observed:
1. Women get flowers
2. Women get chocolates
3. Every online retailer is offering some discount on women's clothing and accessories
4. Parlours are offering beautifying package deals
5. Bakeries have extra pretty cakes for sale.
Terrific! That's really going to do a lot to advance the cause for women in India. Instead of chocolates and facials, why don't we focus on the following:
1. Preventing Rape
2. Preventing Acid Attacks
3. Preventing Dowry Killings
4. Eliminating the Caste System
5. Ending Female Infanticide
I am disgusted by the fact that women can be celebrated one day in a year and gang raped and murdered the rest of the year, and yet for that one day we think we've made so much progress.
And if you do wish to celebrate, here is a quote from the above clip that will provide suggestions for celebrating in style and do as much to advance the cause for women in India as the current Women's Day celebrations "Well, yeah, you know, 'cause 'cause he never appreciated you anyway. In fact, you know what - you kicked HIM out! And now that he's gone you're gonna go into town, you go to Bloomingdale's and find some nice dresses, get yourself some shoes, you know, find somewhere, maybe you can get a facial. And, uh, oh - hire a decorator to come in here quick, 'cause... DAMN."

Sunday, January 26, 2014

What I Wish Every Indian Parent Would Consider

I came across this coincidentally while in the middle of my arranged marriage series. I felt it was not only timely, but presented a very compassionate view on not only marriage, but life in general including the relationships and responsibilities between parents and their children, addressing who is in control and who is not.
About the speaker: Ismail Musa Menk was born in Harare, Zimbabwe. He was tutored by his father who is a well known scholar and Da’ee. He completed his hifz and recitation courses at an early age and learnt the Arabic and Urdu languages whilst studying Shariah under his father. At the same time he attended an Academic College in Harare where he completed his secondary secular education. He then attained a degree in Shariah from the University of Madinah and later specialised in Iftaa at Darul Uloom Kantharia in Gujarat. - See more on his fan page.

I wish every parent in India would view this, religious affiliation aside. I think there's some valuable lessons not only about marriage, but about relationships in general.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Girl Shopping Part 3: Follow Up Interview(s)

In my experience, families don't entertain more then one possible match a time. After the first interview, they'll take some time to decide whether they want to pursue the match they most recently met, and if the answer is no, then they'll look for another match. They don't generally have multiple first meetings before deciding on the follow up meetings.
Once they decide that they'd like to meet a girl and her family for a second time, meetings will take place usually in both the grooms and brides homes. Generally additional extended family members will be invited to help size up the situation. Sometimes the bride or groom will be part of the meeting as well.
These meetings are a bit more laid back, unscripted, and less formal. Although you're still expected to wear a fancy dress, because impressions are still being made and it's important that the entire family presents well (remember What Not To Wear).
Generally after this second and third visit (one to each household) a decision will be made. It's quite likely that the bride and groom still haven't been alone together to talk. We tried this with the family I was with, and after a few minutes, the sister of the bride went into the room with the bride and groom, and, worried that the groom was out numbered, I asked for permission to join them. Naturally the bride's sister was the one doing all the talking and the  bride and groom were just sitting there silent. So it ended up with just the brides sister and I talking.
I tried sharing some information about the groom, like about what kinds of things he was good at, what dishes he prepared well, thinking talking him up was a benefit at that point. After I got a sharp look from him, I realized it was better to keep my mouth shut. Then it got awkward, so I left them to their own devices. What do I know?
After we left, I asked the groom if he was upset with me for saying so much. He said not everything needed to be revealed before the wedding and that there should be some surprises for afterwards. I'm thinking that you'd want to put your strengths out there to help in the decision making, especially if you're interested in the other person. Don't you want to sell yourself a little? Again, what do I know?