Or, the Lamentations of a Bhartiya Naari
How much does being a model of Indian Womanhood suck? Dulhan counts the ways!
Thou shalt not read novels:
Lest thy mind become corrupted:
yea and also verily sons, sons-in-law, nephews, or any other person with a penis:
When thou snarest thyself a groom using thy virtues, thou shalt forgive him anything though he maketh thy life miserable and e’en misseth the birth of the firstborn son (as thou well knows, thou must not give birth first to a daughter).
Thou shalt tolerate all transgressions of thy husband, which includeth sins of which even the second-lowliest member of the household (behind thee) cannot approve:
When thy husband, in his despair at gambling away the family fortune, confideth in thee, thou must bow to his superior judgment rather than remonstrate with him.
If thou dost insist on argument, and he hitteth thee in anger, then it is surely no more than thou deserves.
When thy young sister-in-law, who loveth thee, ratteth on him to their father, then thou must diminish thy husband’s deeds and take the blame for his misbehavior.
If she followeth not your example, but insists upon the truth:
thou must placate thy father-in-law, and speak of honour, so that he sayeth of thee with goodly praise: “Wah! An Indian woman is great!”
And thou must teach thy young sister-in-law that it is better to keep the peace, though the tension simmering beneath the surface of thy household threatens to blow it to smithereens, so that thy home will come to resemble Hiroshima or Nagasaki.
Neither must thou turn away thy husband’s former fiancee, characterless though she may be, when she seeketh refuge in thy house, having been driven from her own marital home for refusing to massage her mother-in-law’s head.
Though she enticeth thy faithful dog Tommy with liquor, and striketh him twice when he sensibly refuseth; and though she appeareth to be tempting thy husband, thou must bear it all.
If need be thou must cover these miscreants with heavy drapes torn from thy window, to hide them from thy father-in-law’s eyes and spare them his wrath. And yea a side benefit will be that thy father-in-law’s head may remain firmly in the sand; and that thy young sister-in-law may be further inculcated into the ways of Indian Womanhood.
In truth, she needeth these lessons for when she speaketh to her sahelis—who includeth Bela Bose!—yea, when she speaketh of marriage, she soundeth dangerously like a man.
When it comes to pass, as thou hast foreseen but done nothing to prevent, that thy household is ruined, she shall be sacrificed to the old man who hath led thy husband astray as vengeance for thy perfidy in rejecting him earlier:
But thou can hold to thy bosom the knowledge that thou hast selflessly taught her in turn to bear all; for the old man may mistreat her hideously but she shall never leave her home, no not even at the behest of her father, when he raiseth his head finally from the sand.
Thou only hast shown her the true path, though she be wedded to this spiteful and greedy creature:
and fall ill and die because of it.
And though she be dead at the tender age of fourteen or thereabouts, thou can take comfort knowing as thou dost that she was not denied that greatest prize of a woman’s life.
Though she may be forgotten immediately and never mentioned again, thou may rest assured that thine own steadfast loyalty and purity shall be rewarded when thy husband returneth to thy loving embrace, having learned his lessons mostly at everyone else’s expense, although I cannot screencap thy blissful reunion for mine own stomach churns.