“Ek chutki sindoor ke keemat tum kya jano, Ramesh babu? Eshwar ka aasirwad hota hai ek chutki sindoor, suhagan sir ka taj hota hai, ek chutki sindoor, har aurat ka khawb hota hai ek chutki sindoor…”
Excuse me! I Beg To Differ. This is Crap.
“Why haven’t you applied sindoor*?” was the first thing my ex colleague and friend (A) asked after seeing me for the first time since my marriage.
“Congrats Madame.” says a lady from Chemistry Department while her eyes take a swift glance at my forehead.
“Now that you are married, there ought to be a change in your appearance” says another.
“When is your marriage” another ex-colleague asked. When I said that I got married in Feb, the response is “Oh!!! No sindoor??”
These are some of the questions and advice I have to bear for not applying sindoor, for not decking up like a newly wedded, for going to work dressed in salwar suit just like before and for not being traditional.
I had replied to A that why should I only adorn signs of being married and hence a sort of warning to other men – “back off! I am married and unavailable” when there is no such married sign on my husband? Later I learned that A had commented to another friend that I have become arrogant after marriage!!! To others I replied – “I just don’t like applying it”.
Firstly, call it one of my quirks but I just don’t like applying any sort of powder material on my face. I don’t get a tilak applied to my forehead when I visit a temple. I don’t play Holi..the last time I celebrated the festival was in class 2. Similarly, I don’t apply sindoor. Second is the reason I mentioned earlier. In my opinion, I see this custom as illogical, unscientific and an inequality among Indian men and women. Not to mention toxic and carcinogenic.
“Why have you not worn the white bangle**? Wear it at least for 6 months.” advises my friend A.
“Wear the iron bangle***. It is for the welfare of husband” pleads my mother.
What will happen after 6 months? What difference does it make if I wear only the red one and not the white one which by the way is a fragile thing? What about the welfare of the wife in Indian customs? I refuse to do something out of such beliefs.
I wear only the red bangles because one bangle in each hand is the limit of my comfort. I have writing work to do in my job – both at desk and on blackboard. I don’t like bangles making sound while I do that.
“Now that you are married, you can wear saree. Why don’t you?” is another question,though not that frequent.
First of all I think salwar kameez is the most “decent” dress of all. Also I feel the most comfortable in it. Saree is a graceful dress but I am against it being labeled as a compulsory dress for married women. Any woman can wear it when and if SHE likes.
This reminds me of a recent incident. A good friend of mine got engaged recently for arranged marriage. Her fiancé told her that she will have to wear only sari after marriage. Few days later, she discussed with him after which he gave her the “permission” to wear salwar suits but only after 2-3 months of marriage.
This friend of mine has no problems with words like “allow” or “permission” with reference to personal decisions as to what to wear. She doesn’t have any problem with wearing various “symbols of marriage”..in fact she wants to do all that. A lady has written in a post “The vermilion powder, commonly known as ‘sindoor’ is used by married Indian women not only because of the traditional values and honour attached with it, but also because it adds a certain glow to the face.”
Many other women hold the same view,but I don’t. My friend likes being the “typical married Indian woman” but I don’t .And that is my point in this post. I am not here to give reasons or explanations of my acts. My point is that if someone likes to follow some custom, they should by all means!! But they should never try to impose their beliefs on others who don’t agree with such traditions and customs, without any solid reason. Not wearing symbols of marriage doesn’t mean that I believe in the “westernized way of living”. Questioning beliefs on grounds of logic and equality is a part of who I am. I can not follow or believe blindly anything.
For me, being married is something you feel from heart. The commitment marriage symbolizes should be deep-seated in one’s conscience and should not depend on external “reminders” like sindoor, bangles, bichiya etc. And if these ornaments serve the purpose of protecting a woman and sending warning signals to other men, then that is a shameful and ridiculous (not mention futile) reason to wear them.I don’t agree with the need to prove/show to everyone that I am married.
Above all, live and let live. As simple as that.
*Sindoor (Vermilion)- It is a red powder which is traditionally applied at the beginning or completely along the parting-line of a woman’s hair or as a dot on the forehead. Sindoor is the mark of a married woman in Hinduism.
**Married Bengali women wear a pair of shankha pola in each hand — white bangles made from conch shells and red ones made from acrylic.
***Married Bengali women also wear an iron bangle (sometimes covered with gold) in left hand.
P.S. Thats me in the first photo and my wrist in the second.