About a mama’s boy 29 Aug 2014
She’s a broomstick wielding dominatrix, he’s a heartbreaker
A few weeks ago a friend told me a story about her 25 year old niece who had just ended 2 year relationship with a boyfriend and was heartbroken over it. Apparently the boyfriend’s mother, despite knowing that her son was in a relationship, had arranged a marriage for him with a more suitable girl, and by suitable I mean wealthy. The boy having been raised to be completely dependent on his family was in no position to argue and so he went ahead and married a woman he did not love thus making sure to screw not just one but two women. Talk about efficiency. Now, what struck me about this was how this story was neither new nor uncommon.
And it’s not always about money of course; many times it’s about caste, religion or, in one particular acquaintance’s case, nationality. A man I know started up a relationship with a woman from Denmark, they were introduced by common friend and so despite the fact that she had just moved to India the woman trusted him. A few months into the relationship the man just stopped calling and the common friends now had the unenviable job of letting the girl know that he had just gotten engaged to an Indian woman handpicked by, no points for guessing, his mummy. He had known all along that his family was frantically scouring the region for a bride but he never let on, he just went into a relationship assuming everything would sort itself out. The only silver lining to this particular story is that he accidentally left his Rolex watch at her place that she then gifted to her dhobi.
Having been raised to think they were special, both men behaved in an entitled, self-centered, and in my mind cowardly manner, thus disappointing everyone but their mothers. Does it come as any surprise then that Indian men have a world-renowned reputation for being namby-pamby mamas’ boy and that the Indian mama in turn has the reputation of a broomstick wielding dominatrix? Her goal it appears is to control the male offspring and by allowing her control is how he shows her lover. Last week, on Independence Day, the Prime Minister asked Indians to ‘correct sons and not question daughters’. He was saying this in context of the issue of rape but it seems to me that it could become a mantra that Indian parents adopt with regard to every aspect of their sons’ lives. India, like it or not, is a patriarchal mess and people who allow their sons to think they can treat a woman like disposable tissue are responsible for it. The whole country is up in arms about rape, physical rape that is, and we should be, but what of emotional rape? What of the battering a young woman’s self –esteem takes when her boyfriend of several years leaves her without a backward glance all because his mother said so?
I just read that a study by Dr Mary John of the Center for Women’s Development Studies has found that between 1951 and 2011, the child sex ratio dropped from 983 to 918 women per 1000 men. According to the researcher, “The life chances of women are decreasing even with the onset of development,” which is about the scariest thing I have heard in a while; that said I am not entirely surprised. A few years ago when I was seriously considering having a baby I recall thinking to myself, well I hope I have a boy, because quite frankly I just don’t have the stomach to watch my little girl put up with all this nonsense. When are Indian men going to find other ways to show love and respect to their families that don’t include this lily-livered behavior? More to the point when are you guys going to grow a pair?
As narrated by Radhika Vaz, TOI 19 Aug 2014