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How Did This Happen?

When I was a single girl, I always swore, that should marriage happen to me, I would never be one of those 'smug married' types.  As a single woman whose boyfriend was living in a different continent, I didn't get the opportunity to flaunt my status as others were doing.  St. Valentines Day was particularly tedious as I had to put up with the girls in my office flaunting their roses and Valentine cards.  I wouldn't like to be a person who would put another poor soul through that type of misery.

Well, I couldn't have done it even if I wanted to.  My husband Yash has never showered me with roses nor Valentine cards.  If I ever complain about this matter he says "at least you have me!"  Flawless logic, I suppose.

One of the Hindu marriage symbols is 'sindoor' or red/maroon/orange powder worn in the hair parting (maang).  This is usually applied for the first time on the wife by the husband  during the marriage ceremony.  But to tell the truth, I only usually wear sindoor when I'm attending some function like a wedding, and usually dressed up in a sari. I am very partial to my glass bangles and silver toe rings, which are also marriage symbols and wear them all the time.  Unless I'm in western dress, I wear bindis (dots on the forehead - they come in sticker form)  but I wear the sindoor only occasionally. 

So imagine my surprise when I got up one morning recently and found freshly applied sindoor glowing on my forehead.  I couldn't believe it.  I had no idea how it got there.  The next morning it was the same.  I was very surprised.  Like I said, I'm not one to go around flaunting my marital status.  I like to keep quiet about things like that.  I think that women should build their own lives and not live through their husbands.  This is a deeply held principle of mine and I have no intention of changing it any time soon.

Yesterday morning, when I was just coming to awareness out of sleep, I saw my fourteen year old son Neil coming towards me with a pencil in his hand.  I saw him apply red powder on my forehead and I sat bolt upright in the bed.

"What are you doing, Neil?" I asked him.

"I'm trying to make you look like a married woman!" he replied.  Well there's no answer to that is there?  I suppose it's a bit of a problem explaining feminist principles to a fourteen year old boy.


  1. You mention many times the bangles and the toe rings. Do you wear a wedding ring like we do in the west?

    Maybe now is the time to broach your views on feminism to Neil, it can be easier when they are young, so long as the explanation is simple.


  2. Awwww....... I can understand both sides of the story!
    You sound a bit like me, wanting to be your own self and Neil wanting to have a Mum like all the other Mums. I think compromise is what is needed!
    I love the exotic symbols of marriage in India but not the ownership.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  3. What an amazing ending to that story. It makes me curious how you went from there.

  4. Gaelikaa, I wouldn't be surprised if Neil is being asked about it by his peers, whose mothers routinely wear the sindoor. It might be a good idea to inform Neil that sindoor is not applied by sons to their mothers as the symbolism needs to be understood by him.

  5. Uh oh! Looks like you got a little boy struggling to come to terms between societal traditions. I guess he must have seen other women wear that and questioned why. Instead of asking you why you don't wear it, he took it upon himself to make you wear it. Do you think he is trying to take over as the dominant male?


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