Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Woh ladki hai kahaan Part 2

All men are born equal, it has been said - but some are more equal than others. On a similar note I would say that all women are born unequal, but some are more unequal than others.

I am looking chiefly at equality in terms of opportunity to pursue the education of one's choice and subsequently a career and lifestyle as per one's own free will.

The pecking order goes something like this.

a) Lowest rung
Girls from poor urban and rural households
If the family can afford to send just one of its kids to school, it will always choose the boy child. While most can now see the merit of studying at least upto class 4 or 5, beyond that the question is 'kya fayda'? (what's the additional gain?)

The girl is anyways expected to settle down and become a homemaker. Or, do menial jobs to supplement her income. So she is more usful to the parents as an extra hand to look after younger siblings, help the mother doing jhaadu-pocha in other people's homes, helping with family chores like cooking.

Lower middle class households
Here the girl will probably study upto class X or XII definitely. If she insists or has a parent who is progressive and family circumstances which allow, she may complete graduation. If lucky, she may even take up a low level clerical type job.

But at a fundamental level, this young woman does not believe she can aspire for or ask for more. She does not have the confidence, she has never been made to feel her own self worth.

She will marry in her early 20s and happily settle down to a domestic life - completing adjusting to the husband and family's needs even if she has a job. In many cases, she has little say in how what she earns is spent - it's all simply handed over.

In the worst case scenario, her education may prove to be an impediment. According to a recent newspaper report, young Muslim girls are pursuing education more keenly than boys who prefer to drop out after class 10 and become mechanics/ shopkeepers.

So Muslim women who complete college find they can't get a suitable match. One such young woman recently agreed to marry a rickshaw driver who is not even matriculate after her family failed to locate a boy who was a graduate.

b) Medium rung
Middle and upper class girls from small towns
These girls invariably complete college - in some cases even a professional education like medicine or engineering. But the parents never fail to remind the girls that 'marriage comes first'.

So, a young engineer I know from a reputed college in Punjab rejects an offer from a Delhi-based IT firm, instead doing a Master's. The ultimate aim is to become a college lecturer which her parents feel is a 'good job for girls even after marriage'.

Some young women will not acquiesce to their parents' wishes so easily and may go for the jobs. In which case they may also go on to become career-oriented, marry someone of their own choice or in the rare case not marry at all.

The only hope for this independence lies in escaping the small town where there are no opportunities for educated young people - men or women. That's why we are currently seeing an exodus of small townies to call centres (the most easily available job). And also to seek their fortunes in the media, glamour world.

Metro girls from conservative families
They do exist. These girls complete their education, then and get married as per parents' wishes. They may pursue a vocation as a hobby. A serious career is not forbidden per se but it is understood that it's not required because the husband earns enough is liye zaroorat kya hai (where is the need?).

Later in life, these women may work from home or do a part time job to 'keep busy'.

c) Higher Rung
Metro girls who choose marriage as a career
Yes, these girls could have gone for careers but they just did not have the ambition. So lack of career is a personal choice. They wish to marry a well settled (preferably rich!) guy and be his glamourous biwi.

Life as a memsaab is quite happy and comfortable, as long as the husband and in laws aren't dominating or stingy. Servant, car with driver, annual foreign trip keep these women happy. And they aren't behenji types either - these are in fact the young women who join gyms, get their hair coloured and shop at Phoenix mills in the daytime, splurge on designer clothing.

These young women do occassionally feel a pang of jealousy/ insecurity when they bump into a former classmate who has gone the career way. On the other hand, career oriented women sometimes feel the same pangs of jealousy when they note the aaram ki zindagi (easy life) these less ambitious women lead.

The solution: Memsaab joins a fashion designing/ interior design course so she can claim to be doing something other than being a housewife next time she meets Career Girl. Career Girl recalls her last 3 day weekend spent at home and thanks God she doesn't have to undergo such torture every day of the year!

Career oriented girls with middle class values
These are the girls for whom working is really important - they derive their sense of self worth from their careers. They also enjoy the independence an income brings.

Like boys, these metro girls from middle class families have had equal access to an education of their choice and believe it would be a waste to not make use of their qualifications. Their families have encouraged them to achieve, and also to take up demanding careers.

Yet, these girls are quite traditional at heart and wish to settle down 'at the right time'. And although they often marry for love (batchmates/ workmates) they are not averse to arranged marriages.

Career Girls believe in 'equality' of the sexes and find to their grief that in the real world it isn't always so. The first few years usually go fine. The husband is adjusting, accomodating, both work long and hard at their careers.

As time goes by (esp. once kids come into the picture) Career Girl finds it is she who has to make more compromises. In some cases, to an extent, maternal instincts take over and she willingly becomes a stay at home mom/memsaab . In others, practical considerations (lack of parents/ in laws/ maid to look after baby) mean she unwillingly quits the job.

Even if she continues working full time, her middle class value system and the her desire to excel at work are incompatible and create stress. The guilt of neglecting the child and the pressures of juggling both responsobilities takes its toll and these women feel unhappy despite having the 'best of both worlds'.

d) Highest rung
Girls who have REALLY chosen to live life their own way
If they don't want to do something - they don't. And then live with the consequences. This could mean having a great career but choosing to remain single because they never did find the right guy. Or they may marry but can walk out of the relationship if it doesn't go too well or interferes in their careers.

These girls don't care as much as their more conventional counterparts about 'log kya kahenge' (what will people say). They don't have kids because ab shaadi ko paanch saal ho gaya hain (now it's five years since we've been married) but when they feel ready to be mothers.

More than MBAs/ engineers I find these are usually girls in professions like media (journalism, advertising, TV) and glamour (acting, fashion, ). The poster girl for this species is Sushmita Sen, who after several well publicised romances chose to become a single mother by adopting a child.

Glamorous as it may sound, not all these women are necessarily happy. You have to be very strong to stick by an unconventional choice and as these women get older they do feel lonely or feel the need to marry/ have children. But while a man may find he can possibly marry at 35, or 40, women at that age rarely find a suitable partner.

So there is a broad spectrum of 'choices' for the naye zamaane ki ladki.

Conclusion: I think many more young women secretly desire option d) ie REALLY living life their own way but settle for being Memsaabs/ Career Girls. And I think that will continue to be the case.

So, parents, sit back and relax. We aren't going to tear apart the fabric of Indian society. Not just yet.


  1. Phew!! so much of matter in one really are an editor..excellent classification of the girls in India from the societal view..

    Wanted to comment a few things more but i can smell that you are a hard i better dont write..
    good luck
    keep blogging..

  2. Oops!!! you are 'RB' from BusinessWorld ...Can i edit my previous comment...:)

    Well had read your that story..infact i used to read each and everyline of BW online untill they decieded to make it paid..

    Nice stumbling on your blog...

  3. Anonymous2:27 AM

    I agree, broadly, with your classifications. But I want to add a sub-class. In the last class, 'women who are truly liberated and only do what they want to do' there is a sub-class of women who find men who ensure that at least in the relationship space, the compromises are equal. So these women, in a sense, have their cake and eat it too. Of course, everyone's life has problems but we tend to share our problems equally with our extremely supportive husbands. In my group of 40 close friends and acquaintances, male and female, about 85% lie in this sub-class. I believe the key to getting women out of the previous class (where she gives up her career due to family pressures) and into this one is educating men's attitudes and ideas regarding what 'women's sphere' is ... that to begin with they must identify any woman as a human being who has many desires, most of them similar to his and only then think of her as a woman.

  4. That article speaks a lot about your writing abilities, I feel that you could write good non fiction (may fiction also).

    Hats off to you,

    Dr V

  5. Once again, nothing we don't already know!

  6. I'm finishing up college and wanted to make some spending money, but do to my hectic study time and class time schedule I didn't want a job flipping burgers or something. I finally found a way to make $200 - $300 poer month in just a few hours. Don't let them make you think you're gonna make piles of money because you won't, but a couple hundred per month was easy enough and worth it for me. Here's the link if you want it - college money

  7. 减速机 齿轮减速机 SEW减速机 摆线针轮减速机 蜗轮蜗杆减速机 interlining
    明星代言 明星经纪公司
    制动单元 铝壳电阻
    modern abstract art sofa manufacturer
    净水器 开水器 净水机 净水 软水机 软水 直饮机 家用净水 家用净水器 家用净水机 中央净水 中央净水器 水家装 水家电 水卫士 混合机
    过滤机 DHL快递 俄罗斯签证 回转支承 Laser marking
    保险箱 法兰 法兰标准
    polycarbonate sheet 回流焊 波峰焊
    压球机 注册上海公司 儿童摄影
    牛皮癣 皮肤病 制氮机
    食堂售餐机 校园一卡通
    学校一卡通 ic卡售饭机
    食堂售饭机 深圳一卡通
    广东售饭机 机电设备安装
    北京发票 代开发票
    餐饮发票 住宿发票
    网络电话 免费网络电话
    假发 补发
    织发 植发
    压滤机 板框压滤机
    蒸馏水机 纯蒸气发生器
    上海搬家公司 上海搬场公司
    大众搬家 大众搬场
    张家界旅游 香港旅游
    深圳旅行社 打包机
    收缩机 对讲机 电源模块
    售饭机 水控机 水控器
    萎缩性胃炎 neoprene laptop bags
    SEO优化 计量泵
    胃炎 胃病
    冷水机 冰水机
    北京特价机票 北京打折计票 北京国际机票
    北京机票预定 北京飞机票
    北京订机票 北京机票查询 饮料机械
    银杏 水培花卉 企业宣传片 空分设备
    化工泵 离心机
    电话交换机 程控交换机 集团电话 集装袋
    混合机 混合机
    混合机捏合机 捏合机
    捏合机导热油炉 导热油炉
    导热油炉 反应釜 反应釜
    反应釜 spherical roller bearing
    搬运车 搬运车 电动搬运车 油桶搬运车 堆高车 电动堆高车 半电动堆高车 堆垛车
    高空作业平台车 电动叉车 平衡重叉车 前移叉车 电瓶叉车
    韩国饰品批发 模块电源
    X架 超薄灯箱> 易拉宝 展柜制作
    代理服务器 游戏加速器 网络加速器
    网通加速器 电信加速器 电信网通转换器
    电信网通加速器 网通电信互转
    网通电信互通 网络游戏加速器
    美国VPN代理 美国独享VPN 美国独享IP
    pvc ceiling panel Spherical roller bearings
    安全鞋 劳保鞋 防砸鞋 电绝缘鞋 上海安全鞋 上海劳保鞋 江苏劳保鞋
    服装软件 服装管理软件 进销存软件
    进销存管理软件 服装管理系统 服装进销存软件
    进销存系统 进销存管理系统 免费进销存软件
    吉林中医 东北特产
    阳痿 阴茎短小 阴茎增大
    早泄 前列腺炎 阴茎增粗 阴茎延长
    国际机票 上海国际机票
    国际特价机票 国际打折机票
    砂磨机 砂磨机
    砂磨机 卧式砂磨机
    卧式砂磨机 卧式砂磨机
    三辊研磨机 三辊研磨机
    三辊研磨机 混合机 混合机
    混合机 锥形混合机 锥形混合机 锥形混合机 行星动力混合机 行星动力混合机 行星动力混合机 无重力混合机 无重力混合机 无重力混合机
    干粉砂浆设备 干粉砂浆设备
    干粉砂浆设备 捏合机 捏合机 捏合机 导热油炉 导热油炉 导热油炉 反应釜 反应釜 反应釜 搪玻璃反应釜 搪玻璃反应釜 搪玻璃反应釜
    乳化机 涂料设备 干混砂浆设备 无重力混合机 胶体磨 涂料成套设备 双螺旋混合机
    北京婚庆 北京婚庆公司
    办证 呼吸机 制氧机
    亚都 亚都加湿器 亚都净化器
    饰品批发 小饰品批发 韩国饰品 韩国饰品批发 premature ejaculation penis enlargement
    安利产品 马来西亚留学
    网站优化 网站推广
    论文代写 代写论文
    拖链 防护罩 排屑机 塑料拖链 钢铝拖链
    深圳装饰 深圳装饰公司 深圳装修公司
    特价机票 打折机票 国际机票
    新风换气机 换气机 立式新风换气机 风机箱 新风系统 能量回收机
    搅拌机 混合机 乳化机
    毛刷 毛刷辊 工业毛刷 刷子 钢丝刷
    涂层测厚仪 硬度计
    兆欧表 激光测距仪
    测振仪 转速表
    温湿度计 风速仪
    噪音计 红外测温仪
    硬度计 万用表
    美容院 美容加盟
    澳洲留学 澳大利亚留学
    酒店预定 北京酒店预定 北京酒店
    nail equipment nail products nail product nail uv lamp nail uv lamp nail uv lamps uv nail lamp nail brush
    nail file nail tool nail tip nail gel curing uv lamps lights
    万用表 风速仪
    红外测温仪 噪音计
    苗木价格 苗木信息 标牌制作 深圳标牌 北京儿童摄影 防静电鞋 淘宝刷信誉
    威海凤凰湖 威海海景房 大庆密封件
    打标机 淘宝刷信誉 TESOL/TEFL国际英语教师证书 英语教师进修及培训 北京快递公司 北京国际快递


Disqus for Youth Curry - Insight on Indian Youth