Monday, 12 January 2015

Behind those closed doors.

Bengaluru - a city where thousands of young ones come every day either to enroll in a course that will give them a good looking degree to flaunt or to get their dream job. I hear people calling my hometown, Kolkata “Bridha Ashram” (Old age home) because mostly you’ll see retired people in the Verandah sipping tea or coffee from their cups. Almost everyone’s daughters or sons had migrated to Bengaluru in search of a better life. I hear those parents to say that Bengaluru is more advanced than Kolkata in every sense. 

When I first came here in 2005, I was awestruck by it beautiful, clean places and stylish young girls and boys. I loved Bengaluru so much that I told my sister, “I would like to settle here someday”. She laughed and said, “For that you’ll have to earn at least 40,000 bucks per month.” It was a great figure that time and I gave up the idea. 

Whenever I used to take my sister to the happening places in Kolkata, she used to say, “Oh! This is nothing! Bangalore is so much better . They have lots of shopping malls and bigger than this. Girls wear fashionable dresses and much more “modern” than the Kolkata girls.” 

When she used this word “modern” I assumed that she is talking about all the girls including locals also and I thought modern means they enjoy more freedom than us. So, I had this idea that Bangalore is a place where girls are modern and enjoys more freedom.

But do you know what really happens inside those closed doors? After marriage when I came here in 2013, I had completely different viewpoints about Bengaluru. One of the reasons for that might be because I had no exposure to the outside world. I live in quite a good complex and I only visited the posh areas on weekend.  I enjoy my freedom here. We live here the way we want to live. Nobody is interested in our life. They are not interested when and where we’re going or at what time we’re coming back, who are visiting us on weekend and what we’re wearing and I like it that way. 

Literacy rate in Bangalore is around 80% which is higher than the other states in India. And here you’ll find more working women than in other states. What would you think after knowing this?  Girls enjoy more freedom here and are independent? I was shocked when I found out that this was not the case actually.

Bengaluru is a paradise for those who are looking for “Sushil Bahus”. Four months back, I started working in a Montessori school. I was very happy as this  my was second job after the long gap of 4 years. I felt this job will earn me the tag of an “independent and confident” woman. Moreover, I wanted to go out and see the real world. While working there I got opportunity to interact with lots of local women for the first time and I came across some shocking things about them which I am sharing with you in today’s post.

I used to work with all the ladies staffs. Two things were common in all of them. They all were frustrated and they couldn’t tolerate their mother in laws. Initially, I used to think it’s a typical women thing and ignored. But gradually I started understanding the reasons for their frustration when I started mixing with them on personal level. 

Life of local married women in Bengaluru is really tough. They are not allowed to marry anyone outside their community and caste. They have no right to marry the person of their own choice even if the guy is good. And I thought this only happens in North India where the literacy rate is quite low.

One day I was talking with one of the teacher after the class. I asked her, “Are you married?”

She replied, “Yes”,

“Arranged or love marriage?” 

She looked shocked, “of course, Arranged marriage”.

I asked, “Why arranged marriage is so obvious?” 

“Because we’re not allowed to do love marriage”,

“So, how your parents found out your man”? , I asked 

“He was my cousin brother.” She replied in a matter of fact tone.

I was so shocked to hear this but I used my journalistic skills here and didn’t show anything on my face. I wanted to make her feel comfortable so that she would share more information with me. My intention was to know about the life of these women. I was quite successful in my mission as gradually she started sharing her story with me.

I further asked her, “How many brothers and sisters you have”.

She took out a picture and said showing me, “I have four sisters and one brother. My brother is youngest among us and he is studying engineering.”  I could sense the proud in her voice while giving me the last piece of information.”

I looked at the picture again. A boy was sitting in the middle of the girls. A slight hint of smile in the corner of his lips told me that he was well aware about the importance of minority of his gender among the majority. I started counting the heads of the girls and there was one extra head. Showing the picture to her, I asked, 

“Who is she?”

She said, “She is my brother’s wife.”

“But you just now told me that he is a college student.”?

“Yes, he is a college student. He fell in love with this girl and told my father that he wants to marry this girl and that’s how they got married.” She replied.

Keeping a straight face, I asked (even though inside my mouth was wide open with shock) her, “but you told me that love marriages are not allowed.” 

She looked irritated with this question as if I was asking her something very obvious. She replied, “Of course, love marriages are not allowed.  But he is a boy! Papa allowed him to choose his own partner because he is a boy!” I was looking for betrayal in her tone. But she looked okay with this. 

I said, “So, if a girl choose her own partner then she become characterless and if a boy marry that same girl then society will not point figure at the boy? Your father is okay with your brother’s choice even though he had no job and is still a student but on the other hand, you, a teacher have no right to decide who you want to spend your life with?” 

She thought for few seconds and replied, “This is how things work in our village you know.” Her reaction told me that she had never thought about it this way before. She was accepting everything unquestioningly and I don’t think she is ever going to change that in her life. 

I know this mindset is very common especially in north India but I didn’t expect this here in Bengaluru.

That’s not all actually. I have many more incidents to share but today I don’t have time and also this post has already crossed 1200 words. So, I will write more on it in my upcoming posts!

I always love to read your feedback and opinion :)


  1. I wonder why so many societies are built around depriving women of independence and freedom of choice under the guise of protecting them. How did you manage to gain your freedom from these kind of restraints.

  2. I guess this is not just about Bengaluru or North India. It’s ‘India’ in general. The rules are meant for gurls and bent for guys :) I am glad that the educated younger lot of the country are rebellious enough to initiate changes…

  3. Being brought up here i would only say Bengaluru is mix of cultures and people. There is no stereotypes, everyone differ in attitude and culture...