A virgin: a person (male or female) who hasn’t had sexual intercourse. It depends on culture and personal belief whether this includes oral or anal sex.
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When Nakshatra goes out for a coffee with his mother, they’re both on the look-out for cute men. “Do you fancy that guy?” she’ll say.
Things haven’t always been this way. Growing up in a village, he became aware of his feelings aged 16. A year later, after a move to Mumbai, he told his parents he was gay. His mum said she wished he was dead.
As expected, I had the most exciting bachelor party. Yes, it was full of good looking women. Being in the middle of Delhi summer, they were scantily clad too.
But almost all of them were married and most of the talk was around evil mother-in-laws. With the hidden subtext, the sacrifices women make when they get married.
At the party, my women friends competed for the title of the most tortured soul. Men just heard in awe, totally disbelieving. After my recent nuptials, I am now worried for the sanity of my dear mother. Because it seems like there are no normal mum-in-laws left in this world. Definitely seems to be the devil’s work as at least two of them have been known to be able to see behind their backs.
The stories ranged from eye opening to bone chilling. Old adventures in dowry demanding and bride burning are thankfully over in most of India. But emotional cat-fights to assert control and dominance are getting wilder.
The matriarch needs to mark her territory even as the new entrant charts her domain. Blaming, taunting and gift returning are amongst the most successful tactics.
The reasons are but obvious. I sincerely believe in the classic cliché of son-worshipping mothers because that's all I've seen around me. Even our dear old Auntyji agrees that for an average mother, no one can ever be good enough for her gloried son or love them as much as they do. Though well intended, these loving mothers only compound the anxiety of the darling sons.
May I humbly propose that the men are the ultimate stress-carrying losers in the entire marriage equation? Because we have this great albatross hanging around our necks of our wives' sacrifices.
Our wives have left behind parents, friends, siblings and in my case a rather devoted servant too. And a brilliant career too (blamed on geographical movement not my chauvinism). Constant reminders from her family to be xxxtra-caring have made me an overprotective slob. There are subliminal but clear pressures on us.
While some of us daydream of a married life where one doesn't have to use one’s hands, at least for my wife it's actually coming true. Now don't get me wrong. I do have an extremely caring and responsible wife (yes, her brother still reads this blog), it's just that my family is an extremely feminist, guilt-ridden bunch who're out to prove their 'open-mindedness'.
So my dear mother and father are making constant trips to the jeweller and the kitchen, respectively, to pamper the bahu. I, ahem, work hard on taking care of all other needs. And she's just taking it all in. And no, I don't blame her. It's not her, it's definitely us.
No gifts, no pampering
The neo-liberal Indians have to assert their cool factor by turning around rules of marriage. Net losers are the grooms. My dear wife's a Stones fan so I'm afraid of the I-can't-get-no-satisfaction declaration. While I get no gifts, no pampering and no loving parents either.
At least in my case the evilness of in-laws hasn't come through. In fact, my once perfect mum seems to have happily replaced me from being the centre of universe. So maybe I don't need to look for the exorcist's number but work hard on winning my parents back. Welcome to the world of married guy next door.
By Kuber Sharma
Photo: Kuber Sharma, © Love Matters/RNW
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