Auntyji says.. ‘Oye hoye Puttar’ This modern vs. traditional na puttar, is like do nau mein sawaar situation – both boats are rocky!
Cling on to it
Puttar Gunjan...zamana is going on a jetspeed mode and some of us are still riding a bail gaadi – no fun in that ji. Beta, do you know why we cling on to these traditions and cultural stereotypes? Because it gives us a sense of belonging beta. Holding on to our culture and tradition makes us feel we belong to our roots. Ironically, on some days it seems as if those same very roots have become a noose around our neck – don’t they?
List them out
Chalo, let’s list a few of these ‘suffocating’ traditions and see if they make any sense, theek hai? You have already mentioned don’t touch the pickles one – that’s my all time favorite stereotype. Why? Because the period blood will send some negative vibes to the achaar and the achaar, as a display of anger and resentment, will go bad – never to be consumed by human again. How true is it? Try touching a pickle next time you have your periods and let your Auntyji know what happens. Pakka?
Same for the Tulsi plant. Should a girl in her periods go past the humble plant, it will wither and die! Hence if any of these ‘massive tragedies’ happen, we blame it on the girls of the house.
Have you ever thought about sex during periods? No one will question a man if he wants it. But if she agrees to have it, or wants it, all hell breaks loose. The common misconception is that if a girl wants to have sex during periods, it will make her partner crazy! So what do we conclude? Sex during periods – if the girl wants it = partner goes mad. So she must say no if she wants it and yes if he wants to have sex. Does it even make any sense to you, no na?
Fasts and feasts
And there’s the one big debate that’s in the air at the moment with Karwa Chauth coming up – fasts. We keep fasts for everything – house, money, kid’s education and of course – to get a good life partner. Who are the fast keepers for the latter? Girls of course. Rarely heard of a man keeping a fast for a wonderful wife – and when they do it becomes the talk of the town. Same for mothers of sons who are told to observe the fast of ‘Ahoi Ashtmi’. Hey, where’s the fast for girls? Beta, I am not against fasts, though you can see with my curves that I like feasting more. But it shouldn't be a burden for anyone, one to struggle with.
Develop a sense of humour
Beta Gunjan, so here’s the thing. It’s very difficult to break cultural mores beta and we probably don’t need to. Many of our cultural traditions bring us warmth and happiness – don’t we just love the dandiya, the puja feasting and look forward to lighting up for Diwali. It is the few tricky ones that we need to gradually tackle. You know what, strategize and choose your battles. Keep at it slowly but surely – not surly! Handle whatever your family comes up with some humor, some laughter and some teasing. No need to get furious, angry and frustrated each time.
Give in to their demands too sometimes – let them have some small victories. Don’t touch the family Tulsi plant when menstruating, let’s say. But demonstrate what you believe in. Get a Tulsi plant for yourself. No one else is allowed to touch it. It’s your baby. Water it every day, even when you are menstruating. And when you next hear any hearsay, proudly show off your prized possession – green and blooming! You will get to a good place soon and it will all be worth it. Keep at it Gunjan!