Leaving your home and settling into a new home is always one of the most intimidating parts of an Indian marriage. And if getting used to a new set of rules and sharing space with a new family is not stressful enough, there are many who have to deal with a level of control they are unused to. Like having to seek permission to visit your own parents. Now, as a woman shared such fears, thousands of women joined in to start an important conversation about the power dynamics that exist in our society.
It all started when Twitter user Neeru Nagarajan recalled how she always used to get stressed seeking permission over trivial things in her previous marriage. “‘My cousin’s visiting the US, can I go meet her?’ ‘A family member’s getting married, would you come to the wedding?’ Everything involved ego-stroking, begging, pleading,” Nagarajan tweeted.
“Too many Indian men and their families like to make all these tiny things a matter of pride. There’s nothing to be proud of if you’re controlling a person and stressing them out over inconsequential things,” she wrote in a follow-up tweet.
Too many Indian men and their families like to make all these tiny things a matter of pride. There’s nothing to be proud of if you’re controlling a person and stressing them out over inconsequential things.
— Neeru Nagarajan (@poonaikaari) June 15, 2022
Nagarajan’s post resonated with many desi women online who spoke about similar experiences, a constant reminder that made them feel like an “outsider in their own house”. While few dubbed these as manipulation, others shared how they have regretted their choices later in life “realising all adjustments went in vain”, making them question their own self-worth.
The ‘regrets’ of those initial days adjustments, just because you’re a nice person, never go away. Because once you realise it was all in vain, its yourself you get angry with. “why did I let that happen to me? ” is a very tough question to answer.
— Ravia (@Quaintrelle21) June 17, 2022
Yes. This common practice in India to control a daughter in law. I was not allowed to meet my friends or Sister living near my home.
My father in law said, “Shadi k baad friendship nahi hoti hai”.
— Pratibha Singh (@Pratibha24singh) June 18, 2022
I understand all this too well, having seen it as a kid. I am so glad that as an adult I found a partnership where we don’t need permission to do anything. I can’t imagine attending any weddings anymore though, weddings themselves give me ptsd.
— Gowri Thampi 🏳️⚧️🏳️🌈 (@gowri_thampi) June 16, 2022
It took very long time for me to ask something I wanted, even silly things like going for a walking at park (which i need not to ask with anyone) out of a bad boy friend. Trauma is not that simple to get over with
— Nithya (@pranuma) June 17, 2022
I’ve faced so much trauma and gaslighting that I didn’t even know that was what was happening, until I messed up every subsequent relationship.
Of course, that also made me choose the wrong relationships😑
— punam mohandas (@PunamMohandas) June 17, 2022
literally so true…marriage just takes away your sense of individuality and control.. it’s like it’s not ur life but your husbands and your in-laws’ life..the fact that they even have to ask about meeting their parents..staying a few days more with their mother .. https://t.co/YZK1RlC2f1
— spri di’s bbb. (@literaldrama) June 17, 2022
i’ve seen this thing happen way too many times.. my aunt wasn’t “allowed” to meet her grandmother who was dying and so much more.. it was such a shock to me when i heard people talk so casually about how her in laws didn’t let her come.. but slowly i realized how common it is 🙁 https://t.co/k3wv6wqibU
— deanehoe• ॐⓋ (@saarhairadha) June 17, 2022
Pakistan and India are divided by borders and united by toxic husbands. This is literally what more than 90% women face in all of our families https://t.co/TFst2ZhEgR
— Syed Zain Raza (@SydZainRaza) June 16, 2022
Omg the way I witnessed my mom doing this with my dad and his family. She couldn’t do anything unless it benefitted him in one way or another. The idea of a woman just enjoying herself is somehow very threatening to most desi husbands. https://t.co/fqKTODe1he
— s (@ranaslander) June 16, 2022
As more and more women joined the conversation, Nagarajan shared how overwhelmed she was with all the messages and said that it breaks her heart that so many women can relate to her. “No one should have to live like this,” she added.
She also highlighted how giving the best that one can is essential for any relationship, for the people we love. However, what hurts is not meeting the other person on the same plane. “I’d give anything just because a loved one wants it. Hurting them hurts me. All we want is for this to be reciprocated,” she added.
When you love someone, it makes sense to do anything they want as long as it’s in your power to do it. I’d give anything just because a loved one wants it. Hurting them hurts me. All we want is for this to be reciprocated.
— Neeru Nagarajan (@poonaikaari) June 16, 2022
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As the conversation grew deeper, many hoped that young women reading the tweets could learn from their mistakes and experiences and start their married life on a happy note.