Read this disturbing and ridiculous article in the newspaper this morning

“Malay women start obedient wives club, urging women to be whores in bed and obey their husbands to curb social ills like divorce and domestic violence’

Islamic group Global Ikhwan held the clubs inaugural meeting in Kuala Lampur, giving women tips on how to keep their men satisfied and prevent them from straying

‘A good wife is perceived to be prim and proper-you just take care of the children-but not much is emphasized on fulfilling sexual needs of the husband. If he needs sex obey him!! Rohaya Mohammad the clubs vice president said

‘You must satisfy your husband. A good wife should be a whore in bed-said the 46 year old doctor whose husband has three other wives!

Over 1000 guests turned up for the event

It also states that the club is magnanimous enough to admit non Muslim members

I couldn’t believe what I was reading-are we really living in 2011?

Bought back memories. I remember not so long ago a prominent Mumbai socialite urging me to stay put in my marriage and not rock the boat. I wasn’t exactly asking for advice but she had insisted -as an elder and a well-wisher. We were lunching at a fine south Mumbai restaurant- her 5 inch crimson painted nails drumming gratingly on the desk as we waited to be seated

‘You’re young you’re attractive -you have everything going for you-why have you become so careless about your appearance. Even your nails are not painted’ Madam Socialite scolded even before we sat down

‘I’m an artist-cant have long nails. Paint gets stuck in the crevices’

“Ok whatever’ she dismissed with another wave of her crimson talons

‘Artist singer what does it matter? Get real. You have to look perfectly turned out at all times-otherwise naturally a man’s eyes will wander. Look at me -you think looking this way happens without effort?

She looked like she hadn’t eaten in a year and her face had the startled pinched lifted eyebrow expression that came from too much Botox, but I refrained from telling her that.

‘Suchitra-Stop being silly and put all this divorce nonsense out of your head- you are a FIRST CLASS WIFE!!! (Huge emphasis on the phrase -smug smile in place) and you deserve to be one forever. Value yourself more and stop being childish’

Rather flattered by her concern and praise of my fine qualities lauding me as ‘first class’ inspire of the earlier rebuke on my unpainted nails and shabby appearance,  I asked her to elaborate, a tentative smile forming on my unsure lips. My morale was low-my confidence had taken a battering-any praise was welcome. Needed it real bad “you really think I’m first class?’

“Of course darling’ Madam Socialite purred ‘ I care about you and that’s why I insisted on meeting you for lunch today and why I am telling you all this. Look at the scandal your already causing with your radical rebellion…what are you going to achieve? You will be finished-completely finished. I told Reno the same thing but she went ahead and got a divorce and look at where she is now-finished. Completely finished. Nobody even invites her to their parties anymore!

“I don’t care about party invitations’

‘Oh ho-again your being childish. So forget party invitations. You think you will be able to afford First class airfares, private jets and living in the finest hotels and spas around the world? You haven’t worked in ages -ever since your child was born-how on earth do you think you will be able to maintain your lifestyle. You won’t even be able to afford air-conditioning!

‘I married for love-not lifestyle-besides I am still very middle class. Can’t sleep with the AC on-I didn’t have one when I was growing up either’

‘Oh ho-again your being silly. Stop it Suchitra. You think all of us don’t put up with all this? Look at how wonderful and glamorous your life is -you deserve to be  first class wife and stop being so emotional and sentimental and hot headed-you have no idea how difficult life can be. Listen to my advise-just ignore everything and be sweet and understanding. Men want sweetness, not someone who points out their flaws to them. -Just agree with everything for now and see how your life will turn around in no time’

But…”

‘No but…just listen to me. You are a first class wife and you will be stupid to give this all up.

OMG- so this is what she meant as ‘first class? ‘Ouch! Startled and quite revolted by her definition I bid her a hasty goodbye.

That afternoon I asked my driver to head back home alone without me and I took a non air-conditioned cab back (I hadn’t sat in a cab or a rickshaw for over a decade) Soon I was sweating (it was summer) and choking on the traffic exhaust fumes but focused instead on the jhankaar beat cheap remixes blaring out of the cab stereo, the socialites definition of ‘First class wife’ swishing about in my head.

I gave the cabbie a handsome tip, grinning and holding back my tears at the same time. Today had been a revelation in many many ways-it was overwhelming. The cabbie refused the tip-I insisted

“Thanks for a lovely ride home ‘ I told him ‘ your taxi is really first class-just like me 🙂

5th June 2011

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