April 01, 2012

My cousin got married few months back and since then I have become marriage phobic. My parents keep on telling me that I am the next in line. Thank god! My boyfriend (let’s call him X) just went abroad for his further studies and I do not have to worry for the next three years (he would have divorced me before marriage if he were to know this; thank god, yet again that he won’t be able to read this). 

I am a pampered child who knows how to eat the prepared food, put on the ironed clothes, complain about the sunny days and romanticize the rainy ones. “I know you are working now but you have to take care of the pots and pans too once you get married,” warns my mother and I always shoo the topic off by declaring that I’ll marry a chef. X would not have been happy with that remark I guess. 

Seriously, I am not a cooking enthusiast and I do not desire to be one; yet, I cook when I’m hungry and home alone. Whenever the cooking issue arises, I remember the forwarded email I once received. It said, “Your girlfriend does not know how to cook because her mom asked her to stay out of kitchen to prepare for the exams that you had too.” Okay, I’m not trying to justify myself for not being able to interest myself in the kitchen. I am simply saying it because many guys (not all) think that a girl should, by any means, know how to handle the responsibilities of the kitchen; even some of my girl friends have the same perception. 

If I wake up in someone else’s territory in the future, I would want him to understand that I am the one who has left my home for his, and it is his and his family’s responsibility to bear my awkwardness and oddities. “Where’s X? Why isn’t he helping you with the kitchen work?” How I wish my to-be-mother in-law would ask me that someday. A woman has already given up her home to be with her husband but she is again expected to give up all her freedom to adjust in the new home with new set of rules.

I don’t know if it is just I who is marriage phobic but seriously, I listen to women talk and it horrifies me to think of myself in their shoes. My parents’ friends came over yesterday for dinner and while the men sat in the living room enjoying the cricket match, the women gathered in the kitchen and prepared half food and the rest gossip. It is easier to see these old generation do what they have been doing for a very long time but equally difficult to imagine yourself right in their shoes. I would have killed my husband if he were to enjoy all my labor and I were supposed to look after him like a baby. 

Oh! The baby reminds me of something equally important now. Why is it that women look after the child sole handedly after marriage? There are some exceptions though. My mom was reporting just few days back how our tenant husband came home during the office hours to prepare lactogen for their infant son. The wife works in a bank and her husband is a lecturer in a college. This is a successful marriage story and I want mine to be the same. 

I know that I am an inexperienced observer but “what if” haunts me all the time. What if I get married and my life turns out to be endless cyclic routines of chores inside home and office. What if I get married and still I have to fight with my husband over and over again for trivial issues like who gets the laundry done or who is supposed to look after the groceries. What if I get married and later I am asked by my husband’s family to adopt their last name and drop my own. Marriage sounds like a synonym for compromises to me. I want my marriage to be a new chapter of fresh hopes and achievements, of love and about love. 

Maybe in three years time, I will manage to impress a bigger and better perspective about marriage. Let’s hope I will and say I do!

Madhuri Rana Singh
AID Development Program Specialist

People know me as Madhuri whether as Rana or Singh, it does not make any difference to me. When I see myself, I am simply Madhuri, the individual but I am sure it does not apply to a lot of people who are seeking their own individual identity. I believe that the patience we have, perseverance and ability to work hard are our strengths.
There are men who ask why they are burdened with the financial support in the family. We need to try to create equilibrium. We have to have the distribution of labor and enhance our capabilities. Once we are capable, we get the confidence to make an individual stand in the society and change the existing roles of women for a better change.

Ujwal Thapa

I don’t believe in a system that creates division in any way. Patriarchal ideology is going to be less relevant in Nepal soon. The roles of men and women in a family will be inter-changeable and relationships shall flourish with mutual-dependence and mutual-responsibility.

I recommend women not to change their surname, and husbands and others in the family not to insist on changing them. If men don’t want to change their identity, why should women? 

Let men do their dishes. As women play more powerful roles in public, the “ideal wife” concept will fade away. Be involved in nation building tasks. Start following your own vision; be the change you seek in the world today.

Shrijana Singh Yonjan
Women are subjugated to secondary roles whose main objective in life is to be a dutiful wife and live her life praying for the well being of her husband. I especially find the discrimination in the conditions set for widowed men and women most atrocious. If the husband dies, the wife is expected to mourn the death of her husband for a long time if not for her whole lifetime but if the wife dies, the husband’s relatives start planning his next marriage even as the wife is being cremated. 

In the case of uncooperative family members: Dare to leave clothes unwashed, rooms un-swept and meals uncooked. As the famous saying goes, ’housework is something that a woman does which nobody notices until she doesn’t do it.’

Asha Dangol
Visual Artist/Founder Member
Kasthamandap Art Studio
E-Arts Nepal

I agree that after marriage there are certain dos and don’ts for both men and women. And of course, women are expected to be more conscious about these dos and don’ts. But in my opinion, after marriage both the husband and wife should share equal responsibilities in household chores since almost all women are career-oriented these days and it should not be categorized as a woman’s job.

Asking women to change their surname after marriage is completely unnecessary. Besides being a mother, wife or daughter, it is necessary for women to have a separate identity and ideology of their own. Having mutual understanding with her husband, clear vision with creative thinking are the strengths of the present women and I consider them the ideal wife (same goes with the ideal husband).


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