In the Indian arranged marriage scene, there is no place for a woman with a distinct personality. Matrimonial ads on websites, newspapers and other media want only one kind of woman. Someone homely, god-fearing, fair and a slim image of perfection. Someone who has long hair and can cook. The more ‘liberal’ ones require a ‘modern girl with traditional values,’ which essentially means the same kind, only with a high-paying job. ‘She must be able to go to work and take care of the family,’ they say.
In a traditional patriarchal household, a woman’s job is to keep the men in the family happy. Cook for them, clean up after them, have their babies and then spend the rest of her life raising them. Even today, in most parts of the country, a girl is raised to be submissive, obedient and timid. And when she hits the age of 20, her parents and the society in general gets antsy. She is married off at the earliest amid much fanfare, and in most cases, it’s almost as if the groom’s family is being paid -- in gold, cash and expensive gifts -- to accept the girl.
The minute she shows signs of wanting to live her own life, patriarchy gets after her with hammer and tongs. She is shamed for not caring about her family’s honour or shunning her loved ones. She is called names and told that she is crossing the line. She encounters men who wish to ‘teach her a lesson.’
The fact that a woman has a mind of her own and has the right to do as she pleases is inconceivable to the men in a patriarchal society. And that is what happened to 24-year-old Indhuja Pillai when she decided to deal with her parents’ impatience to get her married, in an unusual way.
The young techie created her own personal ‘matrimonial’ website (marry.indhuja.com) to deter men who may mistake her to be ‘marriage material.’ On the website, she says, she ‘won’t grow long hair ever’ and admits that she’s not a womanly woman. Her bio also states that she is an atheist.
And after urging anyone who might be interested in her to think twice, she talks about what she looks for in a partner. “A man, preferably bearded, who is passionate about seeing the world. Someone who earns for himself and does NOT hate his job. Extra points to the one who hates kids,” she writes. Well, who wouldn’t want a life of travel and adventure with a like-minded partner? Like it or not, these inconvenient thoughts and desires are entertained by many young women today. And by saying it all out aloud, Indhuja has won many hearts and become an overnight celebrity.
And as always, the chauvinist brigade arrived just on time at the comments section to call her an unattractive fatty who just wants attention. It’s safe to say that a lot of the commentators were just irate men whining about losing their male privilege.
Of course. If all women start going on world tours, who will make the sandwiches?