This morning, since I chose to have a relaxing day after having an almost sleepless night after a long and hardworking day at home with lots of food to cook, lots of house chores to deal with and so many reproaches I accumulated with my husband for silly matters, I seized the opportunity to watch an interesting Hindi Short Movie, “Teaspoon“.
The cover image of the movie says it all, showing a tearful housewife who was crying out of her nerves because she was fed up. The story, which is in Hindi language but translated in English, relates the life of Kavita, a housewife whose life is balanced between her house chores, her cooking, her husband who works in an Insurance company but who needs to travel all the time, and her sick father-in-law who is sick and bedridden, and who always calls for his daughter-in-law’s assistance by hitting a teaspoon with the wooden bed or with a porcelain cup next to him. One evening, during dinner time, Kavita was talking to her husband Rajiv and wanted to go somewhere for a short holiday, but within the condition that her father-in-law would be placed in a home temporarily until they come back. But Rajiv categorically refuses that his father is placed in a home, which he estimates as costly, and prefers that he stays at home under his wife’s supervision. The days go by and Kavita’s father-in-law is becoming more and more exigent by asking after her through his teaspoon. The irony in all that is that he teases Kavita only when Rajiv is away from home, but doesn’t bother her when Rajiv is back home. Maybe because he knows that Kavita is busy with Rajiv… or that he pretends to act smart with her only to please his son? Only God knows! But the more time goes by, the more Kavita suffers from that situation since she feels abused by her father-in-law and completely misunderstood by Rajiv, who defends his father more than he does for his wife, who does everything for him and even for his father. Also, further to a huge fight between Kavita and Rajiv during dinner one evening, the morning after, Rajiv rushes to work without having his breakfast, since he doesn’t want to stay at home to avoid another fight with Kavita, since he cannot stand to fight against her each time she tries to complain with him about how his father acts towards her in and out of Rajiv’s presence. On that same morning, Kavita avoids her father-in-law during almost all the day, trying to cope with her other activities and with her work from home… Until at a moment, when her father-in-law asks her again for assistance, her nerves let go and she kills her father-in-law by accident by stifling him on the face with his pillow! When Kavita realizes what she did, she is under shock, and during the funeral ceremony during which everyone is quiet, she provokes noises in front of everyone by heavily bursting in tears, and she keeps on crying every day in presence of her husband. Rajiv, who doesn’t understand the strangeness of Kavita’s behaviour, asks her to stop that comedy since, according to him, she shouldn’t have cried so heavily since his father represented a burden for her and since she wanted to get rid of him for a couple of days by sending him in a home while they would go on holidays. Kavita wanted to tell the truth about what she did to her father-in-law, but she lacked courage and then sentenced to silence. Her husband then asked her to prepare his breakfast quickly otherwise he would be late at office. While she was preparing the chapatis in the kitchen, she suddenly heard again the famous teaspoon, but there was no one in her father-in-law’s bedroom… And then she came to discover that it was Rajiv himself who was making the sound with the teaspoon! Was Rajiv conscious that he was repeating the same gesture as his father? Was Rajiv aware that Kavita killed his father, and is doing again this disturbing sound to take revenge of her? Or was it the father-in-law’s spirit who came to haunt Rajiv to punish Kavita and turn her mad?
Only God knows about what was in Rajiv’s mind in that movie, and that movie inspired me because it was exactly the same type of situation I have been facing recently. We are actually renting a fully furnished apartment in Seychelles. But as I related to you in my blog post “Too Much of Heaven Can Bring You Underground“, where I mentioned about some serious problems my husband had to face because of the landlord of another house we were renting before in the North of the country, I have to be very precautions on the way I need to keep the apartment clean. And on that day, I had a lot of food to cook since the day after we are used to fasting by only eating vegetarian food, I had some deep cleaning to do in the whole place since after only two days, the apartment turned dirty and dusty again, and I had a lot of laundry to do, especially since there were some white tissues which accidentally accumulated red stains after washing, and which I had to restore with some special products I could purchase especially for that in a supermarket in UAE, since those products weren’t available in Seychelles. I could earn a lot of time fortunately since my son was very tired after having waken up so early and then could do a 2-hour nap, but after such a hard day, I was so tired that I was feeling lots of back, feet and shoulder pains during the whole evening and that I was feeling very weak. But what pricked me was that, despite all the efforts that I did for all those chores, my husband kept on yelling in the house for some nasty details and each time our little one was misbehaving, without trying to understand that he was in good shape since he could rest for two hours to recuperate, and he even indirectly accused me of lacking discipline when it came on his education! At a moment I was so much fed up that I kept on yelling on my husband to make him shutting his mouth, and I felt completely demotivated and discouraged in front of such arrogance and ingratitude from my husband! Also today, because of that demotivation, I did almost nothing today apart some light chores and looking after my son since he came back from school. And again, my husband, whose mood unfortunately didn’t improve at all, kept on accumulating on me his moral lessons when he noticed some tasks not properly done, or things going wrong with our son, etc. At a moment I couldn’t bear it anymore for having so many moral lessons and reproaches from him, and while I brought the little one to the playroom after his dinner, since there was a playroom in the residential area which was kept open until quite late in the evening, my nerves went on and I heavily burst in tears, exactly in the same situation in which Kavita was retrieving herself in “Teaspoon”. I even have the sensation that, though my husband pretends that he understands me, in reality it’s not the case at all and I felt that I retrieved myself in front of a brick of wall exactly like Kavita felt with husband Rajiv.
In such a moment of despair, I confided into a common good friend of ours, who is known for being a hardworker, regarding my situation, but she was categorical with me as a purely traditional Hindu woman: We, Hindu women, should be able to bear the burden of the whole world over our shoulders without complaining, even though we are sick, and we should always manage on our own and represent a rock on which our husband and children should always rely on through both thick and thin. She herself was an oppressed daughter-in-law when her children were still small, and had to face the burden of being always isolated by her mother-in-law and her sisters-in-law, and she even never had any encouragement nor support from her husband during those moments of struggles. But contrary to Kavita, she never gave up and kept on persevering without asking anyone’s help, and when her elder daughter got married, it was only at that moment that her husband really started to understand her and to recognize her values and how his own family were completely wrong about his wife. It’s in that purpose that she always encourages me to cultivate that fighting spirit that all Hindu women should always have within them, even in the worst cases. I remember that on my Google+ profile, I once posted a picture of several women who had to participate into a house construction, by carrying tons of heavy bricks over their head, since they were working to earn a living to help their husband with poor working revenue, so that they could fulfill their house hold. And after work, they had to continue working for the children, the family, the food and the housekeeping at home and had very few time to rest, but they never complained and always bore the burden of their responsibilities in silence, at the image of Mother India.
I never complained so far since there are still a lot of married Indo-Mauritian women like me, who may be either younger or older than me, who continue to cultivate the tradition of being submitted spouses and mothers for their family, and who are always judged through their behaviour and through their clothing, appearance and daily responsibilities each and every day. Even though I have been raised within a half Creole, half Indian family, and that my mother mostly showed the glance of the Creole woman who was authoritarian, lived her womanhood fully despite her responsibilities and who always had her word to say and her presence to impose wherever she was going, I married a Hindu man and had to change myself drastically from the Creole education I received from my mother to the submitted spouse and mother I had to become, since all women and spouses in my family-in-law should always dress and behave respectfully, and be totally submitted under their husbands’ authority, though their husbands give them everything they need materially and financially, and though they have the right, especially during family meetings, to express themselves and to have an identity to show. For years, I haven’t been like that since I was always surrounded with maids around me like in my mother’s place, but when I stepped back into my native Mauritius after having spent the first years of my marriage life in Madagascar, I had to start everything from scratch and learn the hard responsibilities that every Hindu spouse should learn to do. It was very hard because I was always pressurised by my in-laws, and all the time compared to my sister-in-law, who had a child before me and who was more experimented than I was. But what pricked me the most was that during so many years, my in-laws considered her as the perfect daughter-in-law, whereas I have been considered as the incomplete daughter-in-law, which is the reason behind which one day, in a moment of despair after the huge fight I had with my father-in-law and which, I hope, put a final full stop to all those comparisons between us, I wrote “Sleeping Tablets“, a short story ending with suicide… whereas in real life, I am still alive and fighting, contrary to my fictional character Sapna in the story. And in addition to all that, I had no help from my parents, since I was and am still in bad terms with them, like I explained in all my other previous blog posts. But even though I was very harsh and cruel with my father-in-law during that fight, after which he had a very high blood pressure because of me, thing for which I never apologised though I was worried about his state of health (Hell yeah, I can be extremely cruel when I am angry, including against my elders, because when I have my points to defend, I never keep silent!), my father-in-law stopped comparing me with my sister-in-law, not because he understood my situation, how it was frustrating for me and how it made me sick, but rather because he was mostly scared of my overreactions and that he preferred shutting his mouth to avoid another argument with me.
I don’t complain about the way I am leading my life as a housewife, mother and spouse, and I am very thankful that my husband gives me of everything and that I improved a lot the way I manage my daily responsibilities at home. I am also thankful that despite the struggle, my husband respects the fact that I need to cultivate my passion for literature, creative writing and blogging, since it helps me being better balanced in life and better managing my struggles, frustrations and moments of stress through expressing the voice of my heart through written words. But what I am facing, and what lots of Indo-Mauritians face again, even though the Indo-Mauritian society drastically emancipated through the years, resembles exactly the situation that still so many women face in India, since most of Mauritians have their inheritance within their Indian ancestors’ roots, and since Indo-Mauritians represent about 81% of the Mauritian population. There was another video which I loved watching from Bollywood actress Kalki Koechlin, a satiric video regarding rape, where she and another Bollywood star named Juhi Pandey ironically replied to what so many Indian women (and even Mauritian women) face as a critic when they are victims of abuse and rape, “RAPE: It’s Your Fault” which followed the numerous series of sexual assaults which had been filed since the famous 2012 Delhi Gang Rape which savagely shook the Indian society, especially women. In that satiric video, the kind of moral lesson that unfortunately too many women hear, in India like in Mauritius, is that one:
This is exactly the kind of summon that women hear from men to be “respected” in society, and it doesn’t only concerns India but even Mauritius. Even though I have had toxic parents, the kind of education that they gave me was exactly what I obtained as per that picture, and I keep on practising that type of educational manner passively since I married a man with strict manners and am now part of a strict family-in-law who exegeses that every spouse should behave properly, not showing off in public, doing their house chores properly and wearing decent clothes. Myself, I do it every day, though I still have that rebellious voice within me which speaks when it has to, and though there is nonetheless a certain freedom of expression between me and my husband, even though there are still so many things that I keep untold and that I prefer writing in my blog instead. I even remember having watched a sort of short film that a good friend of mine once realised on his Facebook account, where men kept on being accused because of the Delhi gang rape, where he showed also the medal reverse that women aren’t that innocent either because they don’t behave as decently nor as respectively as before, especially since they are more and more caught on cheating, exposing their assets publicly, talking about their sexual life more and more openly with strangers, etc. And, of course, that it’s one of the reasons why they attract men to rape them… Another type of classical male accusation that I have heard that women are mostly responsible of their own rapes, which has nonetheless a part of truth especially on cheating. I remember having had so many male friends who faced hard heart breaks and relationship endings, since their girlfriends preferred lust and money with rich and wealthy men than true love they could receive from my friends, and on that purpose, with the education I have been brainwashed with, I found those girls really cheap and heartless, being myself a woman, and I gave my full support to my male friends.
But there was a comment which I really loved reading in reply to the short movie “Teaspoon”, which stipulated that, I quote, “Wife should not be treated as a machine. A machine does not need any appreciation for the work it does. But, the wife expects some appreciation for the work she does. For that matter, even husband likes if he is appreciated for the job he does. In this short film, the husband never tries to understand the problem she faces in his absence at home. If he would have appreciated his wife for all the care she takes for his father other than doing house hold work, his wife would have felt happy and such ending would not have taken place. His wife was not bad in nature. Let all the husband learn to appreciate their wife for their contribution in running the family, to have a happy and peaceful family.” That should have been a good response to all what I have written previously, that if women became so bad and cheap, it wasn’t totally their fault, but especially because they had been victim of bad treatments in the past because of men, and mostly after having escaped from forceful marriages, at the example of late Bandit Queen Phoolan Devi, who was forced to marry an elder cousin whereas she was still a teenager, or of late Pakistani model Qandeel Baloch, who posted provocative pictures and videos of her years after having escaped a forced marriage, before she was killed by her brother “in honor for the family”! I also invite you to pay attention to Kalki Koechlin’s poem “Dear Men“, which perfectly depicts on how men are hypocrite towards women, and dare claiming once per year the International Women’s Day, and which is a strong slap about disrespect of womanhood. And finally regarding the rapists, I found something very interesting on a blog, where there was a review about the short video “RAPE: It’s Your Fault”, the kind of message that women dream men should read carefully so that they take conscious that it’s unfair of putting 90% of the blame over women, and only 10% on men:
But after all what I wrote previously, as per whatever a good friend of mine, Indian author Pratap DivyeshPratap Divyesh, wrote in his book “A Responsible Confession“, Pratap perfectly depicts who should be blamed in the Delhi Gang Rape… I started reading the book, and the answer I obtained was that all started with OURSELVES… That before blaming the victim for having gone out late, before blaming the rapist for his irresponsible and monstrous action against an innocent girl, we should first have a look at our inner self before judging anyone… And he was right about it. It’s not the man or the woman who is responsible of the rape… It all starts with our minds first. And the extract of that article perfectly concludes about who is guilty in rape and we will see that both sexes are concerned:
As per my consideration the responsibility lies equally between both sexes because without a small mislead both sexes cannot cross the limits. In western countries there is a lot of reports on “Date Rape”which is a girl getting raped when she is going for a dating with a guy. If we analyse the situation there may be a little clue of what triggered the Rape situation and what may have been done to avoid that. In India this is now becoming a big problem since we have reports on this type of rape. In this both victim and the accused is known to each other. The situation created the problem.
If the girl is little bit cautious about her surroundings this may not have happened. If the guy is little cautious about the values of the friendship/love of that Girl then this may have been avoided. Recently there was a report which involves Rakhi Sawant and popular pop singer. When we saw the pictures of Rakhi Sawant it was just a piece of cloth which was tied just by two knots near her breast. If we untie the knots then her dress will fall and she will be undressed. This kind of dresses will change a good mind to bad. We must know what to wear where. Yes there may be a little conditioned freedom is needed when we go to public because not all eyes and minds are same.