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“… A tall, dark, handsome guy earning a six-digit salary. Should have the qualities of ‘Lord Rama’ because my parents have trained me to be like the goddess Sita.”

Apparently, an ideal wife looks best when paired with an ideal husband! But Tanushree Sharma Sandhu believes the ideal daughter should be assured of an equally good husband, on her own terms.

The married Indian woman should take a cue from goddess Sita, who left everything and followed her husband Lord Rama to a forest and stayed there for 14 years. This candid observation was made by a Mumbai High court judge, while hearing a divorce case. The wife, in this particular case, was not willing to shift with her husband to another city, where he had shifted for work. The court’s statement sent shock waves across India and was perceived as being very regressive. But I believe if “marriage is an institution” then it should have some terms and conditions too. And here they are!

The right to reject or accept

Picture this. A prospective bride, impeccably dressed and very docile in her appearance, enters a room filled with around 10 strangers and offers them tea. One of them is possibly her future husband. The proud, yet seemingly submissive, parents have already mentioned her qualities to the prospective groom’s family.

Her entry stirs curiosity in the groom’s family. “Do you know how to cook?” “Can you sing?” “Do you know sewing and knitting?” Guidelines are laid down, for example, “Hope you are not interested in working after marriage because our son earns enough.” Some eager parents even ask prospective brides for their sons to walk about the room so they know she doesn’t have physical deformities.

The prospective bride and groom steal glances at each other and may probably get a chance to speak privately. Things seem to work out. Both parties seem happy and the final approval is left to be announced later. But the proposal is called off stating the girl does not have a sharp nose and is not tall enough. She is ‘rejected’.

Meeting the demands of wives

I think women today should take a cue from Goddess Sita’s Swayamvar (an arrangement which allows the girl to select her future husband from a line-up of men interested in her. Even men should realize how it feels to be ‘rejected.’

Now, all men who complain about the never-ending shopping lists and demands of their wives, criticizing them as useless should think twice.  Remember, Goddess Sita saw a golden deer and begged (or bugged) Lord Rama to get it for her. He tried to convince her that it may be a mirage or a conspiracy, but it was of no avail. He had to succumb to her persistent demands and ran to chase it. So all husbands out there, here is another cue for you- whenever your wife comes up with a demand, be like Lord Rama and get her the golden deer.

Place unreasonable demands and we will walk away

On the accusations of a washer-man, the goddess had to go through the ‘fire-test’ (Agni Pariksha) to prove her loyalty towards her husband, Lord Rama. Her integrity was questioned, since she stayed for a long time in Ravana’s kingdom after he abducted her. Sita walked out of her marriage, probably because she knew the seed of suspicion is hard to uproot.

Single mother, Single Soul

From giving birth to a baby to bringing it up, today’s woman can responsibly essay both these roles. And if she has to pass through the furnace of a complicated married life, she usually has the means and confidence to step out of it. People might pity her, but Sita was a single mother of two sons- enough cues for today’s woman.

In the epic a lot was said and done, but epitomizing the epic to bring in a radical change in the society simply seems too patronizing. So dear judges, we Indian women are quite happy to be like the Goddess Sita, as long as our husbands turn out to be gods!

Author: Tanushree Sharma Sandhu

Editor: Manasi Gopalakrishnan


24.09.2012 | 12:07