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Last night, I was chatting with my cousins after a long long time.We are 5 of us.....spent out childhood together.....almost the same age.We were reminiscing our summer holidays when we used to get together at the same place and have loads of fun n masti.Then studies, marriage and life took over our carefree days and here we were stealing out time after putting our kids and husbands to rest.
"You girls are lucky, you go out of the confines of your house to work, you earn And have the liberty to spend your own money.Good......you have worked hard for it.",whined my eldest cousin.She was married off early into a reasonably wealthy business family.I had not expected her to complain.Her husband was rich and she was forever in expensive outfits and jewellery.She had fulltime maids at her disposal.
Her words hit me hard.You see, I am working....I am a dentist by profession.I got married into a family of dentists.I independently manage my clinic......or is it mine??? The clinic in question was established by my in laws....now that my father in law is no more, I handle it.But it still remains his clinic.....not that I have some issue with it but inspite of all the hard work I put , it's His.Since the first day of my work, it was clear that at the end of the day I had to give whatever the earnings to my in laws and husband.
I do not have the right to spend whatever I 'earn'.The last major argument we had was when he suspected I had gifted my mom 'something' on her birthday without him knowing.I am supposed to take his approval before getting any gifts for my younger sister.That's supposedly joint decision making and my respect for him and our relationship.I am at a loss to understand where all these perfect relationship standards go when he gives expensive gifts to his sister without my knowledge.I have no issues whatever with his care for his sister but why these double standards???
Why can't I care and spend for myself, parents , my sister , my friend without his approval?
My sister works in a private company and earns well.She gets to keep her salary (WOW!).She gives a part of her expense towards household expenses (ok. ....reasonable) and has to pay a part of loan her husband has taken against property (fine...gender equality).It is perfectly ok if she wants to gift something to her husband , in laws. But when it comes to spending on her parents or siblings, sorry.......joint decisions only.
I am completely supportive of mutual decision making in a relationship especially that of marriage but one sided.....why is it so? If it's husband's Masi, Bua, sister,friend.....it's ok But for the female's relations ......all roleplays come into consideration.A consent is required which even if given, is given as if a difficult wish is granted.
My parents have worked hard to give me the kind of education and upbringing I have.I put my sweat and blood into making an earning and a name for myself.Don't I deserve the right to spend a little on my family?Don't I deserve the right to spend my earnings without being accountable?
My cousin who is a housewife, me who's in a family business and my sister who's in a job are all sailing in the same boat.It doesn't matter if I can manage a business or my work independently, it doesn't matter if I can bring up kids nicely, it doesn't matter if can take care of home, I am not capable of taking my own financial decisions even if the finances are mine!
It doesn't matter if we work at home or out of it.....its just that we don't earn.I have heard it umpteen number of times that "ladkion ko apne pairon pe khada hona chahiye' but curtailing the decision making rights is just one of the ways the society has devised to bind us to chains of oppression.
If you want an earning life partner, give her financial independence too.Don't take pride in giving her 'permission' to work or go out...Take pride in having a financially independent, decision making life partner.