Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Are you a wife or a slave?

A girl I work with recently got married. She is 30 years old and her family never thought it would happen for her. Her marriage was arranged and she met the guy a few times before the wedding. Before I go on to tell you the story, I want to say she is very very happy, mostly to be married, but she also seems to care about the man she married, and perhaps soon she will come to love him.
But with arranged marriages, communication can be a problem, there are so many expectations, and getting to know each other, and trying to please one another. This girl Celine, has taken a liking to me, she always asks for my advice, and it's probably because I tell it to her like it is (for me from a westerners perspective). Here is a conversation I had with her recently:

Me: So once you get home from work what do you do? (she would get home around 10:30pm)
Celine: I have to cook for my husband, he waits for me to get home from work.
Me: Oh, OK, do you have to cook every night?
Celine: (looking puzzled) of course, don't you cook for your husband everyday?
Me: (laughing) No, I don't cook for my husband everyday, when i cook it's for me AND my husband and I do it when I have the time and when I feel like it.
Celine: Oh, that's sweet
Me: So what time do you sleep and get up?
Celine: I sleep around 1am and, well my husband gets up at 5am to go to the gym and he likes it when I get up with him to make him his tea.
Me: At 5am??
Celine: Yes, he says I should get used to getting up early to get my work done around the house.
Me: Man, I feel so lucky. My husband gets up before me and always tells me to go back to sleep and rest.
Celine: it's probably because of your condition
Me: My condition?
Celine: You know you're pregnant
Me: No, no, no, it's just I'm not a slave. Sweetie, when you got married did you become a wife or a slave?
Celine: (laughing) it's just Indian culture
Me: No it isn't. My father-in-law gets up for 4:30 am prayers and makes his own tea, so I know wit's not all culture.

So that was my conversation with Celine, but guess what? She told her husband about our conversation, and her husband told her she didn't have to get up, he thought she liked getting up and making his tea (duh). So when i saw her the next day she said to me that she felt so fresh because she had slept for 7 hours and didn't have to get up to make tea. I told her arranged marriages were the same as "love" marriages in that you needed to have communication and understanding, so that she should speak to her husband if something makes her uncomfortable
Marriage really is the same no matter where in the world you are!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The baby belly

Here is me pregnant at 24 weeks preggo!!! The first trimester was one of the worst things I've ever been through, no throwing up, but constant 24/7 nausea! The 2nd trimester has been a wonderful experience, and now that I am feeling the baby kick and can even see it outside of my belly, I am just amazed at the life growing inside me and super excited.
The best was when my husband finally felt our little one kick. I think it definitely helped him to bond with our baby!!

So here I am!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Need a spouse: Look no further than the classifieds!

Now that I live in the apartment on top of my in-laws I have access to all their newspapers subscriptions. It's nice to be able to keep up with the Bollywood scene and the news scene. However, one day I was going through the newspaper and came across a 2 page spread of " the matrimonial section." One page was girl looking for guy, and the other page was guy looking for girl. But you see, it's not what you'd expect. The main points of interest are the colour of the girls or guy's skin (fair skinned girl seeking fair skinned guy) or (wheat-ish skin boy seeks fair skin girl). Marrying someone fair is important here, so I guess my husband did well, you can't get much fairer than me! HAHA.

Anyway, yesterday, my husband was on the computer typing something out and i asked him what he was typing and he said that his uncle has been trying to find a husband for his daughter for the last year, and so he was typing up her matrimonial bio to give to potential suitors. Muscles cousin is 19 years old and the father is starting to feel desperate that he won't find a husband for her. Geesh!
So I wanted to share with you what a matrimonial bio looks like. I asked Muscles if I could post it, and he thought it would be funny to share.

Matrimonial Bio-Data

Name:- Salma Begum

Age:- 19 Years (1990)

Height:- 5’ 5’’

Complexion:- Fair

Religion:- Islam (Sunni Muslim)

Qualification:- B. Com (Final Year)

Madina Degree College


Fathers Name:- Esa Khan


Pharmacare Laboratories P.Ltd

Pattedar Village Akhunchaguda Dist. Medak

Grand Father:- Late Mohammed Khan Sahab

(Paternal) Ex-Pattedar Village Akhunchaguda Dist. Medak

Grand Father:- Late Mohammed Abdul Wahab Sahab

(Maternal) Retd. Deputy Collector

Uncles:- Mehmood Khan

(Paternal) Pattedar Village Akhunchaguda Dist. Medak

Yahya Khan

Pattedar Village Akhunchaguda Dist. Medak

Uncles:- Ahmed Abdul Waheed

(Maternal) Retd. Deputy Director,

Directorate of Geology and Mining,


Ahmed Abdul Rasheed

Retd. Field Manager,



Khaja Ismail Ahmed

Managing Director,

Pharmacare Laboratories P.Ltd


Sheik Ishaq Ahmed

Sr. Executive Manager,

Haji-Hussain Ali-Reza,


Rafat Siddiqui


S.B.I (Head Office)

Saleem Qureshi

Branch Manager,

S.B.H (Masab Tank)

Brother:- Adil Mohammed Khan

B.Tech (Completed)

Al Habeeb College of Engg. & Tech.

Interesting to note that Muscles cousin isn't really that fair, but putting that she is will increase her suitors. And also, see that there is very little written about her, and more about the kind of family she comes from and the jobs that the men in her family have or have had. Also notice that there is no information about her mother, or her sister, just her uncles, father and brother.
I`m really open to cultures, and I try my best to understand and accept, but arranged marriages and misogyny is still very very hard for me to wrap my head around.
For instance, one of Muscles friends (who really isn`t his friend anymore) told me he knew my baby was a boy. (note: We are not finding out the sex and keeping it a surprise) I replied, why does it matter? And he said well prophets are men, and so it does matter. So I told him I was going home to pray for a girl. Seriously, I can`t handle stuff like that. Muscles and I just hope and pray for a healthy baby, whatever the sex.

So there you have it, if you are looking for a spouse in India, just open up with The Indian Times, you'll have loads of people to select from!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Baby Shower pics

When I visited home my mom along with my aunts and cousins threw me a baby shower, since I would be having the baby in India and not coming back to Canada until months after the baby is born. Everyone was really gracious and I got a lot of clothes for the baby but also money to buy the things I need here in India.

Here are a few pics of that wonderful day!!

NB: Also the most amazing, and crazy thing of all, is that my sister and her husband are also expecting... 3 weeks after me!!! My parents are in a wonderland of grandchildren, and couldn't be happier. In early Feb they had no grandchildren then by March they were expecting 2!!! Amazing!!! it's amazing going through this at the same time as my sister who is 20 weeks along now. It's just too bad I am so far away. Thank you VIDEO SKYPE!!!

My sister (who is beside me) and her husband bought this for the baby. How appropriate!

My cloth diapers (which is so much more environmentally friendly)

My amazing grandmother!! Who is 85, can you believe it!

My two long time friends Kim and Shelley who is pregnant with her third!

My cousins Sydney who made me a special collage of pictures and bought me my baby book along with my two other cousins Summer and Taylor (not pictured)

My amazing friends Amanda, Kim, my wonderful mom and cousin Sheila

I'm BACK!!!

It's been way way too long since I last posted, but for obvious reasons! I got married, went back to Canada for the a too short visit. Came back to India and had to set up our new apartment. Muscles and I had to buy everything for our place, so between working, and shopping and bartering so we were quite busy. Plus, I didn't have Internet until late last week.

I'll post some pictures of my wedding and my baby shower, YES that's right I'm pregnant. Most of you know this by now and others who I know in the blog world (my dear blogger friends Amy, Amanda and Jen) this will be news to you. I started my 6th month yesterday and all is well. I'm due October 4th!!

So I'll leave you with some pics of my wedding and baby shower, then I'll just pick up from where I left off, and tell you about married life in India while expecting a baby. Still adventures of a wanderlust, but more like a wanderlust mommy!!

I'm glad to be back!!!

Getting Mehendi done the day before the ceremony

My Mehendi

My sister-in-law helping to get me dressed

Karen, Laurie and my mehendi and bangles. Mine is the arm with the copper bangles

Karen and I
Little Ayesha (a friend of the family and me)

Exchanging our rings

My dear friend Laurie who came to India for the wedding (with Karen) and also to see India too ;)

On our throne

My lovely friends and new husband

My new family (little Ayesha just wanted to be in the pic and the lady in white is my father-in laws sister)My

My mother-in-law (the day after ceremony called the valima (pronounced walima)