There you go, I not only commit the sin of traveling alone despite being a “married Indian woman” but also shamelessly come and brag about it and by doing so I not only bring shame upon my family but also on my country and its rich culture and heritage.
As a good Indian wife to my husband my sole responsibility is to serve him and his family and I should be eternally grateful to him and basically just worship him. So obviously when I don’t do that and leave my home and husband and set out I attract a lot of attention from all and sundry. Now this would have never bothered me had I garnered all this “fame and attention” in India from my fellow country mates but it surprises me when every single time I am questioned and interrogated about my marital status by so called “progressive” women from “developed western countries”!!!
On my most recent trip, I was traveling alone as usual and had a layover of 3 hrs but did not have to change planes, so while the rest of the passengers disembarked, I quietly sat down in my seat and was ready to take a nap when the air hostess came up to me and started chatting with me. She asked me where I was going, what my plans were and the usual stuff, then she told me how lucky I was to travel and that it was only possible because I was not married and had no responsibilities. I immediately told her that I was very much a married woman and that I had a home, husband and all the responsibilities that come with it. To say that she was shocked is an understatement, she was totally silent for a full 10 minutes and then she went on to ask me if I was telling the truth..
I chose not to answer further but she would not stop. She confirmed if I was Indian and then proceeded to ask me how my husband allowed me to travel and if my family knew about it and why I did not have any signs of marriage aka a marriage ring on my finger!!! It did not stop there, she then asked me if everything was fine between us and if I was on talking terms with my husband!!!
Now, I am no stranger to people asking me questions about my personal life but this was going out of way and I was shocked. I just ignored everything and slept but I was so disturbed that I kept thinking about this conversation.
So I decided to solve this riddle once for all!! I am a woman in my 30’s married to an amazing man and we have a beautiful marriage!!! My husband and I take vacations every year and beyond that I choose to travel alone or with friends because I enjoy it. As much as I enjoy my husband’s company I also love my solo journeys and enjoy traveling with friends!!
To everyone who thinks that a married Indian woman “does not travel alone” or “cannot travel alone” or “should not travel alone” below are a few clarifications:
1.I must have had a love marriage and that is the reason why my husband allows all my traveling.
Answer: I had an “arranged marriage”!!! A typical Indian style arranged marriage where I spoke to my husband for exactly 20 minutes that too in front of our families and we got engaged within a fortnight of our first meeting and were married within 3 months. So, yes I did not have a love marriage and I did not know anything about my husband or his family before marriage!!!
2.How is my husband going to manage the house and kitchen while I am away?
Answer: My husband is a fully functional man in his 30’s and is very much capable of handling tasks such as vacuuming the house, doing the laundry,cooking meals and cleaning the kitchen.. Oh he also knows how to clean the toilets!! Bonus, I know 🙂 Maybe I am lucky that I am married to a responsible man and not to an adult still in diapers 🙂 So yes my home is always clean and welcoming and my husband does an awesome job 🙂
3.Does my mother in law approve of all my travel? Does she not complain to my parents about my irresponsible behavior?
Answer: I am blessed to have a mother in law who absolutely loves me and in fact loves my attitude towards life. She encourages me to travel and explore new places and is always waiting for pictures and stories from my travels. She welcomes me home with hot Indian food and lots of love and affection!!!
4.Do we both enjoy each other’s company or are we just married and stuck to each other for the sake of society?
Answer: Yes, we absolutely enjoy each other’s company and have the most amazing time. No, we are not stuck to each other and consider ourselves extremely lucky to have found each other. So, we are not in this marriage just for society!!!
5.Was I born and brought up in America or somewhere else in the West? Because a girl born, brought up and married in India can never do this!!
Answer: No, I was not born, brought up and married in America or anywhere else for that matter!!! I spent my entire life in India, got married in India to a man born and brought up in India.
6.I must be married to a rich man and he must be funding all my trips!!
Answer: No, my husband does not fund my trips!!! I have paid for every single trip out of my own pocket and I manage my own expenses!! I work hard in my job, save up and travel.
I love my job and also love to travel and hence I work hard, plan my vacations meticulously.
The reason I took the pains to even clarify is that I realized during my travels that there are a lot of misconceptions about Indians and especially Indian women. There is a strange sense of belief that all Indian women are in abusive marriages, are forced to live a horrible life, lack independence and education. The majority of people I met were shocked to know about my life and while some appreciated my husband and were happy for me there were also some people who said my husband was not “man enough” and that I was an irresponsible wife and careless. A lot of people who criticized me were women who themselves had jobs like the air hostess I mentioned in the above paragraphs.
Through this post I want to tell the world that their assumptions are not always true!!!
Ladies, have you faced similar situations? How do you handle them?