My Grandmother Life and How She Used to Live It
We are going to talk about and a little bit compare, the condition of women in India.
For a girl, what is being a bride today? Perhaps there is not much difference these days being a bride and being a girl before being a bride. Girls are demanding these days. They have their conditions when they want to marry.
And nowadays girls marry the guy of their choice instead of what their parents suggest or other relatives suggest. They have the "Choice" today; in everything, especially in India, where if we go a long time back, the word "Choice" was not available to them. Or perhaps they don't know the meaning of this word.
We are going to talk about and a little bit compare the condition of women in India. It is the comparison between today's women and women of my grandmother's time. She is now 120 years old. So you can imagine of the time, of what she has talked about. It is going to be from the conversation between me and her, and how at that time she lived her life.
We are not going to disclose the name of my grandmother and the places or names where she has spent all her life. She has told me this not to.
In her words as she told me:
Her life before marriage
Her childhood was not that playful. At the mere age of 15 she had to do all the household works, whether it is about cleaning the house, helping in cooking, and herding the goats. As she told we had some in the village. Village life was playful but not for her and her types of girls. Only boys, she said, she saw in the fields.
Even she was not allowed to get off from the house without her parents' permission. Whole day she spent in the house; only used to watch sun rising going on the house's terrace. She told me she wanted to play with other girls for a little time if her parents allowed. Some parents in the village, out of emotion for their daughters, allowed them to play for a while but not my grandmother.
She said she only wore a dress for six months, and after six months changed it and wore another. But it doesn't mean she didn't wash the dress. Every week she did. No lipstick, no makeup, no cream or other material for beautifying the face. In the name of makeup, only a red dot is painted on the forehead, made of wet vermillion.
Her life after marriage
At 16 she got married to a 17-year-old boy. As she told a normal wedding, her life didn't change much. In her husband's house she used to do the same work as she used to do in her parents' house. In her husband's house, it was more. Though she very joyously tells me that her boy-husband was supportive, he used to tell her to study. At that time he was also studying and worked in the fields with his father. He was not forceful as she says.
Her life didn't change much but she found a friend, her husband's sister, with whom she used to pass time playing games. The most amazing thing for her was that she found someone to whom she could say her heart's talk.
And this was enough for her to soothe herself until she got married. After some years my grandmother had children and her life got busy into that.
Today she is around 120, and she tells time has changed a lot. Girls and women have choice now and they can do whatever they want to do, whatever they wish to do. No bounds and they can fly as they want to. She is happy that she has seen this time, the time of freedom and choice for girls.
Her marriage lasted long. Her husband, my grandfather, died earlier than her, which she regretted and wished should not have happened.
Her life changed when...
There was not all lameness, work and daily chores in my grandmother's life. There was joy too, and it was the joy of learning. Her husband used to teach her what he got taught in school, and it was the best moments for her of her life. Every day it was the schedule for her when he returned home. And night time was study time for her. Gradually they got near, and how they developed love for each other.
As she says she had learned enough to read, it was enough learning for her. She couldn't further her study with her husband because of children. When I asked her what she used to read when she had learned to read? She says it was inspirational quotes messages and letters written on the village's walls.