Haseen Dillruba! They Are Just Another Married Couple After All1

I was not interested in watching this movie. From the trailers and name, I felt like it was some idiotic movie justifying an extra marital affair, with an unnecessarily sensational murder plot. The negative reviews didn’t help either. Never had I imagined that this movie would touch me. The suspense or the crime part of it is not the highlight of the movie for me, although the film is completely gripping and you will not get bored at any point.   To me, this was a story about just another newly married, arranged marriage couple, and I have never seen a more realistic portrayal.

Spoiler alert: I will not disclose anything related to the ‘murder’ but will include descriptions of the lead couple’s marriage in this blog. So, if have not watched the movie and you don’t want to know anything about it then don’t read further. Please come back once you watch it.

Simple boy ‘gets’ hot girl thanks to arranged marriage

Rani is the good-looking girl from Delhi. Reeshu is the average looking boy from Jwalapur. Rani may have had hotter boyfriends before with whom it not work out. Reeshu probably never had access to such a good-looking woman. Rani knows that she needs stability in her life now, and commitment phobic boyfriends will not provide that to her. Reeshu is on cloud nine to find such a pretty girl. Rani is well aware that she is way out of his league. She knows that he got her without any efforts, and therefore takes her for granted. Reeshu knows in his heart he loves her so much and will take care of her. What else could possibly matter?

But is love ever enough?

Sex life

Psychologists say that sex is 70% of the marriage. Which means that if your sex life is good, you may still have a lot of problems. However, if your sex life is not good, it becomes 70% of the problem right there! But what happens in an arranged marriage? How easy is it to build chemistry with someone who you barely know? What if the wife is far more attractive than the husband and he is fully aware of it? How difficult is it for him to initiate things? What if something breaks his confidence? What if he feels that his inner doubts and insecurity which he had locked up somewhere at the back of his head may actually be real and true?

Is it so easy to recover from something like this so early on in the marriage?

Bahurani is not (never) good enough!

In case you are thinking based on the above point that if everything is good in the bedroom, things will be fine, you are wrong! Rani is not just a wife, but a daughter-in-law and from the moment she wakes up, her entire lifestyle and habits is under scrutiny!

Subtle details in the movie – such as the mother-in-law chopping vegetables and frowning because Rani gets up late, Rani’s lack of interest in the kitchen causing further resentment to her husband, Rishu’s friend telling him, ‘Thoda raub lo Bhabhi par, routine set karo – itne baje breakfast, itne baje chai’ is all way too real in the Indian marriage set-up.

The problem with arranged marriages is that there is a lot of focus on finding the ‘right person’. But people have no idea what should happen once the marriage is solemnized.

What is marriage anyway?

Most people get married believing a myth.
They believe that marriage is a beautiful box full of things they have longed for… companionship, intimacy, friendship, etc.

The truth is that marriage at the start is an empty box.
You must put something in before you can take anything out.

There is no love in marriage.
Love is in people. And people put love in marriage.
There is no romance in marriage. You have to infuse it into your marriage.

A couple must learn the art and form the habit of giving, loving, serving, praising, of keeping the box full.
If you take out more than you put in, the box will be empty.

(Written by Dr J Allan Peterson)

So, what do you put in this box?

This is a tricky question for Indian women. I have written a book called, ‘Marriages are made in kitchen’. Most women do not think that men want them to cook all day. Most men are also not aware that this is their expectation, until they get married and they see that the wife does not cook (enough). Rani doesn’t really cook anything or have interest in housework. She doesn’t think much of it either. In a scene which I found cute, she politely smiles and nods at her parents-in-law, tries to pour tea from the empty kettle, and fetches bread and jam from the kitchen. She does not realize that she has committed a sin while the mother-in-law all the while stares at her as if she is unbelievable! Reeshu’s friend also convinces him to assert his wife into falling into a ‘routine’ where she should run after him providing his breakfast, lunch and dinner at a certain time.  

No wonder, Rani says, ‘Pehle batana tha na, Bawarchi chahiye’.

Though no one responded to her in this movie, typical response to this question would be, ‘Shadi kyun ki,?’  

Family dynamics

 Reeshu lives with his parents, and his bride Rani joins him after marriage. Reeshu’s mother is quite obvious about her disapproval for Rani’s habits and lack of participation in housework. She is vocal about it too. However, what truly breaks Reeshu’s confidence and heart is that Rani speaks to her mother about their relationship!

Again, very typical of Indian men. Their parents, their sisters, their brothers, their side of the family can poke their nose and ‘advise’ them on their marriage and criticize the wife from head to toe, morning till night. But the wife’s call to the mother is always the deal breaker for them!

Again, very realistic portrayal. 

So what is Rani supposed to do?

 The moment Rani shows interest in the kitchen, Reeshu’s heart melts. There is a scene in which Reeshu sees that Rani is doing a facial for his mother. So far in the movie, Reeshu’s mother is least interested in Rani’s ‘parlor’ skills. Yet, when Reeshu sees that his wife and his mother have finally got some common ground, and are bonding over something, his face immediately lights up. This is the level of detailing in the movie!  

This is how men are! Don’t ask me why but this is how it is. They want you to cook. They want you to take care of their mothers. And when you do it, they reward you with their love! You might think you are doing other things right, but these two things mean a lot to them!  

Practically impossible marriage?  

An unconsummated marriage. An affair. Wife is far from being an ‘ideal bahu’ by mother-in-law’s standards. Husband has started hating her. He is mean to her. Awful to say the least. The marriage is practically impossible. But you know what makes marriages survive?

People stay. It is as simple as that. (A line I have used in my book, ‘Marriages are made in moments’).

Kitne bhi tu kar le sitam, has has ke sahenge hum. Yeh pyaar na hoga kum.

Despite it all, Rani stays. ‘Love and hate are two sides of the same coin’. And who knows it better than a married couple! My heart breaks for Reeshu. A good guy who was happy to find a pretty girl, and he had thought he could keep her happy. He was not a good-looking guy. But he loved her. Or at least he thought he did. My heart breaks for Rani. She feels rejected by Reeshu. But it was Reeshu who felt rejected first.   Again, something only married couples know. Who did what first? Who initiated it? Who carried it forward? No one knows. What is left at the end is anger, hurt, distance, and more distance.

Hazaar rahein mud ke dekhi, Kahin se koi sada na aayi

Badi wafa se nibhayi tumne hamari those si bewafai

Bad boys versus good boys

I have been watching ‘Sex life’ on Netflix. Have not yet completed it. But one thing is clear. Whether it is Bollywood or Hollywood, men are compartmentalized as ‘good boys’ or ‘bad boys’. The average looking man who wears a shirt and pants and goes to office is considered good. The heroine’s ex-boyfriend with six-packs and a bike is always the bad guy.

This is not necessarily true, ladies. Please don’t think there are any ‘good guys’ just because they look ‘simple’.  All men are capable of being good or bad. All men have the potential of breaking you. There is no ‘good guy’ who will love you unconditionally. Other than parents, nobody will love you unconditionally. More importantly, I think the distinction instead of ‘good boy vs bad boy’ should be of husband vs boyfriend. Totally different expectations, and not at all comparable!

Janmon ke saathi, hum saath saath hain

 I know, cheesy line. But the only thing that matters, at the end of the day. The ‘saat pheras’, the ‘ek chutki sindoor’, it has some power after all. Believe it or not. All marriages seem impossible at some point, but you can still make it work. A lesson for anyone struggling in a marriage and wanting to make it work. No third person can break your marriage, remember that.

Reeshu and Rani were just another married couple, who got married thinking it will just work out naturally (it is supposed to), realized that it doesn’t work that way, doubted each other, doubted themselves, had their hearts broken, made mistakes, treated each other like ****, had themselves trampled over, yet in the end they survived it.

That pretty much summarizes marriage!




Married Daughters Want Rights In Property, But What About Their Responsibilities?

In a significant judgment, the Supreme Court Tuesday ruled that daughters will have equal right in the parental property as son even if their father died before the Hindu Succession (amendment) Act 2005 came into force.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said, “Daughters must be given equal rights as sons. Daughter remains a loving daughter throughout life. The daughter shall remain a coparcener throughout life, irrespective of whether her father is alive or not.”


A random discussion on the above judgment led to a debate. A friend of mine said that women want ‘equality’ in everything that benefits them, yet when it comes to their duties they ‘conveniently take a step back.’

When I asked him to explain further, he told me that his sister does not ‘keep’ their parents with her ever.  Except for someone occasional visits, the maintenance of parents is his sole responsibility.

Why should she get a right in the property, when she does not have any responsibilities? He asked.

I happen to know his sister too. The sister says that her husband ‘does not like’ her parents living with them. He also says, ‘Aise thode hi na hota hai!’

The sister is not in any way a weak person. She puts up a good fight with her husband. However, when things worsen with her husband, the people to get the most affected are her own parents. Like most parents of Indian daughters, they say:

Beti damaad khush to hum khush. Hamari wajah se jhagda nahi hona chahiye

So many married women tolerate a lot in their marriage because they feel the stress will affect their parents.

I am not surprised since most Indian husbands and their families retain the rights to ‘allow’ the wife / daughter-in-law to see her parents .   On the other hand,  the husband’s parents are naturally expected to be living with the son and his wife. I recently watched the movie, ‘Shankuntala Devi’ in which the late Shankuntala Devi’s character asks her daughter and son-in-law to live with her after marriage.  The son-in-law is shocked at this proposal.   She then asks him would this be such a preposterous expectation had she been the mother of a son?

Has the family of a boy ever said:

Beta bahu khush to hum khush. Hamari wajah se jhagda nahi hona chahiye!

I have seen ‘progressive’ families have very hypocrite thoughts. They like to flaunt how magnanimous they are that they ‘allow’ their daughters-in-law to visit their parents without any restrictions. Some families do not forbid, however they frown upon how the bahu is not ‘samajhdar’ enough to understand her responsibilities because she is still so attached to her parents’ home. The same people praise their own daughter for being so loving and caring towards them.

When a woman marries into a family, the family does not become her owner. It is silly of them to expect that she will stop visiting her parents because now she has a new family.  When a husband stops his wife from meeting her parents, he should remember that the wife may comply because she does not want to ruin her marriage, but she will not respect him for trying to disconnect her with the people she loves.

Instead of comparing how much the wife does for her parents vs. her in-laws, how about we for a change ask the same question to the husband?

Yes, rights vs responsibilities is a very good question. And to answer my friend, yes, I agree that married daughters should take the responsibility of her parents.  I think there was a Mumbai high court ruling also which held that a married woman must take care of maintenance of her parents. I agree that equality in rights means equality in responsibilities as well.

The only unfortunate part is that we not only have to fight for our rights, but for our responsibilities also.






Some Thoughts On My First Anniversary

Last year this day my husband and I tied the knot.   I was 30.  He was a few years older.  We were not too young.  We were expected to be mature. Experienced. Wise. Both had lived alone. Both had managed a household before.  Both were comfortable professionally.

But we defied age.  We fought like little kids.   We fought for who does how much work in the house. We fought for sharing the cupboard space.  We fought about who never gets up to answer the door for the maid.  We fought about who sleeps more!

We were not the couple who would post ‘Aww! Sweetie, you complete me! How did I ever live without you!’

We were very much complete and alive before meeting each other!

We were not the couple who others looked at said,  ‘Oh my you two! You make us believe in love!’

We were the couple to whom people said, ‘Are fir se jhagda kar liya!’

What kind of a couple are we?

I guess… The real type!!

Fresh off The Other  Side

When you marry early, you have something to fear. It is the fear of ending up alone.  But when you marry late, you have already overcome that fear.  You have survived break-ups. You have learnt to live alone. You have fallen down, reached rock bottom and risen.  You have watched your friends post Hallmark photos with their spouses and toddlers.  Seeing their content faces, you have wished, ‘Why could I not have that!’  But then you see your life, happy and peaceful, and you have said to yourself ‘That would have been nice. But this is good too. It is nice actually!’

The one thing you teach yourself is that you do not need anyone.  You have made yourself so independent. You are better off alone.

How do you unlearn all of that? 

The man I married

Last year, probably a week away from today, my husband and I were on our honeymoon in Switzerland.   We were travelling in a train.  A lady (reasonably older) had got on with a lot of luggage.  She was struggling with it to get on.  With great difficulty she managed to find herself a spot to stand with her three suitcases.  The way she was struggling with them,  they seemed bulky and heavy. She had barely given a sigh of relief as people started getting down at the next stop and she spotted a sight to sit. The problem was to reach the seat she had to pass through the stairs.   She started dragging all her three suitcases  towards the empty seat up the stairs.  Other people were looking at her and trying to give her space to move.  My husband walked up to her and offered to move her luggage for her.  He did it for her. One by one while she looked at him gratefully. She said to my husband, “You are very kind, gentleman”. 

I was smiling in pride.

There are so many other things he has done.

When he was unwell, but he still volunteered to drop my sister to the airport.

When I was buying a doll for my niece in Paris, and looked at the price, and he told me not to think about it. And went ahead and paid.

When he gets chicken momos for me on his way back from office.

When he tells my Maa-in-law to get my favorite peda from our hometown!

When he makes Maggi with pyaaz on Sundays!

But the problem is when the daily grind gets to us, the atta, chawal, maid, loan instalments, we stop seeing the bigger picture. We forget the person we married. We forget the good in them.

My Life Now

Few days ago, I had gone to the mall to shop for an upcoming vacation. My husband was also at the same mall but he had to buy electronics, so he was shopping separately.  I was searching for clothes, trying them out but I had no clue what I liked.  I would try on something, but without his approving nod and smile, I had no idea if I looked good. I bought nothing.

Another day,  I called him to ask what time he would be coming home. He said he would be late.  Disappointed, I ate alone.  I put on Netflix.   I felt tempted to watch the next episode of Delhi Crime.   But I ended up watching something else.   Something I do not care about. Not because I cannot watch it without him. But because what is the fun watching without us commenting on it together!

On my first anniversary

Marriage requires a lot of effort. And since it is such a life term project, it gets exhausting! What is good and what is bad? I guess it is like that day in the mall. Or the day alone at home.   The home and the outside world suddenly becomes weird without the one person you did not know until a couple of years back. And you feel lost. 

Some gyaan

To all those couples like me in a new marriage, hang in there!   Perfect couples are fictional! Remember the movie, Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd! Half of our problems exist because we feel that others have it easier.

Never ever feel put down or disheartened with rough patches.  It is all part and parcel of the package deal!

Remember, for better or for worse!

In sickness, and in health!

To love and to cherish!

And last but not the least, remember the person you married. 

Cheers to all the real couples out there!

Haste haste (Ladte Ladte) Kat Jayein Raste, Zindagi Yoon Hi Chalti Rahe,

Khushi mile ya ghum, badleinge na hum, duniya chahe badalti rahe!




Father of A Daughter Manages To Let Go After Marriage… But Mother Of The Son Cannot?

Father of A Daughter Manages To Let Go After Marriage… But Mother Of The Son Cannot?

There are umpteen stories of mother in law – daughter in law problems. Why is this so when there aren’t so many stories of father in law – son in law issues? The answer will surprise you.

Is the Hallmark Card Dream Killing Women?

I cannot get the following headlines off my mind:

“I am going to kill myself today bcoz Mayank has driven me to it. He finally let me out but I can’t repair what he has done,her last words read.

“Delhi Air Hostess Learnt About Husband’s First Marriage Month Ago.”

Her family claimed that Mr Singhvi used to physically abuse her and they also accused his parents of harassing her for dowry.

I don’t want to specifically write about Anissia because it is still too early. We do not know if it is a murder or suicide. I don’t want to judge a woman I did not know. Especially a woman who was cremated two days ago.  I also do not wish to scrutinize the life of a woman who died. Still, writing this article in the hope that it may help someone.

I read an article this morning on about how parents should support their daughters and make them get out of abusive marriages and not give dowry. I also read comments (probably from Anissia’s friends) getting defensive saying that she was very strong, and had supportive parents. Her father was in the Army.   She was financially independent and it seems that money was no motivator was her to get stuck in the marriage.

 Then what happened? Why is she dead?

Why are so many intelligent, financially independent women in our society preferring to jump or hang themselves rather than being called the D word?

A friend of mine updates her whatsapp display picture every other day with a smiling photo of her husband and herself.  What you cannot see is the bruises on her body which are concealed in her DP.  Messages are sent to friends asking for helpline numbers. What is more regular? The injury or the status updates?

Friends try to convince her to get out. She says that there are happy times too. She is not willing to leave him.

Is it our fault that she is still with him? Are we not doing enough?

If you see Anissia’s social media profile, there are so many happy, couple photos. A good-looking couple posing and holidaying at beautiful locations.

This is common.  Friends posting pictures with their husbands. Beautiful, happy pictures. People commenting:

Lovely couple!

Hottest couple!

Stay blessed!

Smileys. Emojis. Likes. Comments. Social approval.

What lies beneath?

We love the life we wish to project to the world. We are in love. We are in a blissful marriage. We are happy. We try hard to make our lives close to what we like to portray. Sometimes we believe it too.

In contrast, I have friends who are divorced or never married. They are into their 30’s, 40’s. Some of them want to get married. Others are okay being single. To the world, they may be “unmarried.”

Poor girl. She must find someone soon. Time is running out.

Bechari divorce ke baad decide ki shadi nahi karegi dobara.

Some of these women are actually living quite peaceful and joyous lives. Marital bliss is not the only bliss the universe has to offer. They may not get to flaunt holiday, couple pictures. They may not have done pre-wedding, pregnancy photoshoots. They do not get to add statuses like ‘Aww! Feeling loved with so and so!’ or ‘Woke up to this surprise from my sweetheart’. But they are still leading good lives. Every day that they wake up they don’t have somebody who makes them feel like filth. Yes, occasionally they do feel left out at family functions and weddings. But it is still better than being treated badly every day.

What am I trying to prove?

We all fall for social pressure. We envy people who seem to have love and money. We create a lie and then spend the rest of our life miserable trying to live up to it.

Don’t fall for the trap. Nobody, nobody has everything in life.  You don’t have to have everything either. It is okay to not have a partner to flaunt. It is okay to not have a vacation in Europe. It is okay to be not earning a lot of money. It is okay to be not married. It is okay to not have children. It is okay to be divorced.

What is not okay is to be dead at 39 after jumping off the terrace. What is not okay is leaving behind old parents and a brother who will spend the rest of their life attending court hearings and running ‘Justice for Anissia’ campaigns wishing they were dead too.

And what justice will they get? Even if the husband and his family get punished (which I doubt) will this woman come back?

The society does not care about you. They don’t care if you are happy or sad or rich or poor or married or single.  At least not for long.  Please do not waste your life for the society. The only thing that matters is you. Please do what is right for yourself.  I have written about this so many times before.  Please, please be strong. Please do not commit suicide for such idiots. And please do not stay with them to test how much more you can suffer.

Yes, every marriage has good days and bad days.  But if for you the bad days means getting hit and thinking about hanging yourself then it is not worth it.

Image source

Related articles link:

The Intelligent, Young Woman – Wasted In Marriage

She saved her marriage. But what about her life?






Break-Up Of Bromance – The Latest Fault Of The Indian Wife

Break-Up Of Bromance – The Latest Fault Of The Indian Wife

Wives have traditionally been put second by husbands, after their in laws and his extended family, and now after a bromance too?

Year 2011: A movie titled ‘Pyaar ka punchnama’ had released. After watching it, I had told a male friend how I did not like the portrayal of women.

“Why don’t you protest when all movies show men as villains? Haan? This movie shows the reality of women!”

Read more.

Is Marriage Considered “Free Rehabilitation Facility” By Indian Parents And Their “Problematic” Sons?

Is Marriage Considered “Free Rehabilitation Facility” By Indian Parents And Their “Problematic” Sons?

Why do Indian families feel that if a man has lost his purpose in life, is abusive, or suffers from any addictions, the best thing to do for him would be to get him married?

Is it a reasonable expectation? Is it fair? Is it not outright deceitful and selfish?

Click on the link above to read the full article on Women’s Web.