I have a peculiar thing about going to doctors that I have known since childhood! Having serious trust issues, I have just never been able to trust doctors in Bangalore or any of the major cities because all they do is suggest expensive treatments for minuscule things. I have developed pimples after having spot free skin for close to 28 years and I see my small town skin specialist because he is brilliant. For a follow up visit, his receptionist asked me details like name, contact number and a few more things. I responded to all questions including the one if I am married. I said yes and she asked me my husband’s name. That is a problem for me – not my husband, neither his name but the validation of my existence with my father’s or my husband’s name. Do not judge me for this – but I get to judge the receptionist totally for a regular process that they follow. Prior to me, an uncle came and she just asked him his name & contact number & address. No questions on his marital status or his mother/ father/ wife’s name. No questions at all. He was allowed, accepted & eligible to see the doctor without anyone asking or knowing his wife’s name. Mangal Singh uncle enjoys that status of independence of existence while I am supposed to face an existential crisis. She might have totally judged me for my relationship with my husband and I am OK with that. These things do not define my relationship including many other things that I am regularly judged for, by my own kith & kin.
I do not wear a mangalsutra, lipcolor, bindi, sindoor (vermilion), engagement ring, chudi (bangles- gold/ glass), payal (anklet), bichua (toe ring), any kind of makeup regularly or even occasionally. It is neither my expression of rebellion nor my independence. I just do not like to wear it. I will wear some for a special occasion depending upon what I feel like wearing at that moment or maybe most of them if it’s a wedding in the family. I do not have anything against all these adornments or people who may use them regularly. I respect your or anyone’s wish to put these on, I am happy for you. Personally, I am just too influenced by my daadi (grandmother) not wearing any of the aforementioned items- absolutely none of these. That’s how I saw her while I was growing up. She would look stunning in her white suits & sarees. She was married for 59 years & my grandfather just lived 13 days less than her despite her not observing any of those “being married” regulations during her lifetime. My husband doesn’t mind my expression of living with or without the adornments either.
An instance: While I had my right arm fractured & left wrist broken, someone in my family asked me why I was not putting on a bindi, now that I am married. I was very upset & crossed at that moment and I said point blank- I will think of wearing it when I will be able to eat with my own hands. But what I failed to understand is how my decorative items reflect my love for my husband for this society? I used to wear a small dot like bindi while I was in kolkata and then I didn’t wish to wear it. Does it make me any less married if I do not wear a mangalsutra. On a funny note, it makes me feel like – If someone wishes to hide their relationship status, all they would have to do is to hide their mangalsutra. And Boom, you are free! At the same time, what is the proof of a man being married by the looks of it? NONE.
A marriage is not defined by all these items or by putting my husband’s name on the doctor’s prescription slip unless only the medicines starting from letter “V” will give me relief since my husband’s name starts from V. I have existed as Ana and there are people who know me without knowing my family name, background, marital status and will continue to interact with me despite any changes in my details on those fronts. For that matter, my husband goes around the world with me as my fellow traveller – we still don’t have each other’s names on our passports or any legal document. We are still married to each other for over 2 years now and he has seen the worst what most of the people see after turning 60/70 or maybe even never – cleaning my shit, standing beside me while I take a dump, brush my teeth, wash my face & hands, making me pee, making me take a shower, changing my undergarments & sanitary napkins. The boy has done it all along with my mom, dad, sister & bhua. And it’s been a long journey for me getting back on my feet. So yes, marriage isn’t about wearing his name on my hand or wearing adornments.
I would love to hear inputs from people who want to talk about it, share their stories of such incidents or just rant about it- all doors open for all of you. I am also open to all your criticism because it is totally cool to think with your own mind and have an opinion about it.
I do have a problem when someone tries to impose their belief system on me! Thank you for understanding!