One fine evening, I was talking to my sister on a phone call. We were chitchatting about household stuff and a girl’s life before and after marriage.
“Look, sister, all these years, what I have realized is- a woman never really has her home,” in the course of the chat, my sister said.
Her voice seemed very emotional and weary with this saying. At first, I was not able to understand what she meant. I thought silently, “may it be something she is saying related to marital life, which, of course, she has experienced, and I have not.”
But later, I could not control myself from gaining empathy and feeling myself in her shoes when I realized what she meant to say.
She continued. “We girls, from our birth, are taught that one day we have to leave the house and yard of the birthplace and parents and go to our husband’s home. The place where we spend our entire childhood will be labeled as so-called maternal home.”
She further added, “After getting married, we are not expected to leave our husband and come back to our birth home. If we did so, society and our own parents would panic and feel insecure about our future life. They continuously try to persuade us to r back to our husband’s place. They say that we girls should not come to maternal homes frequently just because some minor quarrels and misunderstandings happen with husbands and other in-laws. We should learn to endure and compromise.
Sometimes, for the sake of our loved ones, we have to bow in front of them, and it’s okay because they are our family. Sometimes, they might be angry, yell at us, and speak words that hurt us, but that does not mean that one should walk away from their own home.
Stereotype such as “Things should be handled wisely by women and this is their specialty” is everywhere to beat and hammer down women’s spirit.
But little did they know that the people whom my parents call ‘my family’ had kicked me out, saying, “This is not your father’s home; go back to where you came from.”
The place where I was farewelled by my parents to go and flourish after my marriage now seems a place where I am hired as a maid. Yes, there is no doubt that my husband loves me, shows care, and even my family do the same. However, I often wonder if that is the love they actually feel or show when I obey them.
There were times when I used to get ill when I did not have the energy to wake up in the morning and make breakfast, dinner, wash dishes, and do other chores. I had to listen to their taunts in those times instead of getting some love, care, and attention. Either they would ignore my presence or scold me for not doing my work.
Situations in many times have left me thinking, “Am I really a member of this family? Is this my home?”
We, women, spend our whole life fearing that if we raise our voice on things we want and do not want, we would be deemed inappropriate daughter-in-law. If we wear our favorite jeans or modern dresses, society will judge us on our character. Not only that, despite being a loyal and dutiful wife, that person to whom we devote our whole life sometimes happens to bring other women as his wife in the house.
At that time, what are we supposed to do? Where should we go? And if we start to argue about it to them, we have to hear, “This is not your father’s home to raise your voice. If you can sit quietly, then do so, or no one stops you from going to your father’s home.”
Even his parents don’t say anything to him but stay quiet and act like their son has done nothing wrong.
I have heard a lot of people saying, “You, women are so lucky. You have two homes and two parents.” But until any of them accept and give us the right to be as their part of the family, we have no homes.
People might argue, saying that we have our home. Independent women earn money and obviously can buy their own house. But dear, that house becomes home only by the care, love, and affection among the family members who live together. That house can never be our home until we are accepted as blessings rather than a burden by any set of parents.
But I doubt that that is ever going to happen. Maybe our fate is not that strong to turn tables down. All, for now, we can do about this is to talk and share our heavy hearts with other women. Nothing more!
The writer is Sunita Bohara, resident of Kathmandu, Nepal, is an undergrad student doing Business Administration at Westcliff University. She has interest in arts, philosophy, writing and rational thinking.