Friday, June 17, 2011

So what makes an Ideal Indian wife, anyway ?

There's a famous sanskrit shloka , presumably from one of the vedas (presumably, coz I have zero knowledge of the vedas), it lists the qualities an ideal Indian wife should possess, and goes like this :

" Karyeshu Dasi, Karaneshu Manthri,
  Bhojeshu Mata, Shayaneshu Rambha,
  Roopeshu Lakshmi, Kshamayeshu Dharitri,
  Satkarma Nari, Kuladharma Patni "

Allow me to elaborate on it's meaning, for your enlightenment :)

 Line for line, it means :
"Works hard (as a slave) , Gives smart advice (like a minister),
Feeds and cares (like a mother) , Is a sex-goddess in bed (like the apsara Rambha) ,
Is beautiful (like goddess lakshmi), Is forgiving (like mother earth),
These are the ideal qualities (and duties) of a wife "

If the above sounds at all made up or exaggerated, rest assured it's not, this is an actual shloka (verse), meant as a guideline for women (or men..I'm not sure) to live up to in their married life .
Gimme a minute to pick myself off the floor, from laughing so hard....Okay, I'm back, I dunno who came up with this , but that guy must be the most brilliant guy ever to have walked this planet, he has embodied every single man's dream woman since time immemorial, and the best part is it's timeless, in any time in the past, present or future, this list can be referred to as bible of a man's desired woman, and it would still be true !!

So, to be an ideal indian wife, all i have to do, is be a mom in the kitchen, a slut in the bedroom, a maid in the living room, all while looking like a bombshell, and not to mention, forgive any of his 'little' slipups, like ohhh, I don't know...forgetting our anniversary !!! or leaving his underwear on the bathroom floor !!! (which he really has done today...yikesss), ok....thanks, got it, check...Now that I know all this, what's stopping me from being an ideal wife.....ohh, I know, my BRAIN !!!

I mean , come on here, I don't know whether to be mad or amused, it's ridiculous to the point of hilarity . If women are gonna be fed this impossible benchmark, how will they ever feel like they measure up ???
In truth, no girl is gonna take such a hilarious verse seriously, but still to have such an impossible benchmark out there, is not helping the cause of Indian women trying to get a more equal position within the household.

Also, please note that there is no such verse for the ideal husband, because logically, the guy could be any schmuck out there, but since he's married to the ideal wife, he isn't required to be any more than a schmuck .
It sounds like right out the manual of the stepford wives, to be honest . I'm gonna work on a shloka for the guys as well...but don't hold your breath for it, it's gonna be a long one...
Just to get the ball rolling, I'd say :
" Roopeshu Hrithik Roshan, Dhanyeshu Bill gates or Mukesh Ambani "  ( looks like Hrithik Roshan  and is rich like Bill gates  or Mukesh Ambani )  is surely a good start . Feel free to add your own ideal husband qualites to the list, in your comments . A girl can atleast dream can't she.


  1. The Bible didn't mention being a slut in the bedroom, but it's quite specific about everything else. I like your paraphrase -- especially the "little slip-ups" part. Today I handed A the receipts and coupon print-outs from Target so he could put them in the bag, which he was carrying. Instead he crumpled them into his pocket. "Oh good, more things for me to find on the bedroom floor!" He at least acknowledged the problem as we approached the car and he said, "I can't find the keys,I have too many receipts in my pocket!"

    So now for what I grew up with:

    A Wife of Noble Character (from Proverbs 31, New Living Translation)

    10 [b]Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
    She is more precious than rubies.
    11 Her husband can trust her,
    and she will greatly enrich his life.
    12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
    13 She finds wool and flax
    and busily spins it.
    14 She is like a merchant’s ship,
    bringing her food from afar.
    15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
    and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.

    16 She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
    with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
    17 She is energetic and strong,
    a hard worker.
    18 She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
    her lamp burns late into the night.

    19 Her hands are busy spinning thread,
    her fingers twisting fiber.
    20 She extends a helping hand to the poor
    and opens her arms to the needy.
    21 She has no fear of winter for her household,
    for everyone has warm[c] clothes.

    22 She makes her own bedspreads.
    She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
    23 Her husband is well known at the city gates,
    where he sits with the other civic leaders.
    24 She makes belted linen garments
    and sashes to sell to the merchants.

    25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
    and she laughs without fear of the future.
    26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
    and she gives instructions with kindness.
    27 She carefully watches everything in her household
    and suffers nothing from laziness.

    28 Her children stand and bless her.
    Her husband praises her:
    29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
    but you surpass them all!”

    30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
    but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
    31 Reward her for all she has done.
    Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

  2. Hmmm, interesting how there isn't much cultural difference when it comes to telling women what they're supposed to do ...huh...:)
    What amuses me is , how most cultures/religions think that women need to be instructed in detail, as though women aren't capable for figuring out what works for their marriage themselves .
    The bible version isn't as bad as the shloka though, IMO, atleast it doesn't have impossible to match role models explicitly mentioned, like rambha and lakshmi...right ??
    The merchant ship's bringing food from afar made me giggle...does that mean that getting take out food is an acceptable substitute for cooking as per the bible ???
    Does the bible say anything about husbands??

  3. I'm not a morning person, so that early part about rising before dawn always gets me. :) I agree that the Shokla sets a high standard -- I'm not as familiar with the role models' stories (although I know Ram's wife got ripped off and my MIL usually gives up halfway through trying to explain to us what the story was meant to teach).

    The Bible references marriage in a few places. Ruth is often referred to as the perfect daughter-in-law (the story really takes off after her husband dies and her MIL says she can return to her family, but Ruth chooses instead to stick with her MIL). A whole book is devoted to her, but it's quite short and could be skimmed in 10-20 minutes.

    Ephesians 5 refers to both husbands and wives.

    Spirit-Guided Relationships: Wives and Husbands

    21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
    22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.

    25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.[b] 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. 30 And we are members of his body.

    31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”[c] 32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. 33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

  4. It also always struck me that the woman was working incredibly hard with little sleep while the husband was hanging out with his buddies, "being important." Bah humbug!

    (Luckily my husband doesn't read these blogs, I don't need him to know what's there.)

  5. your so called quote from veda gave 8 results when googled with quotes.& none of the result were from hindu religious site all 8 r probably picked it from there & not the vedas.

  6. Anonymous, I already made it clear, that it was just my presumption, I have no knowledge of the vedas, if anything I'm glad that it's not something from the vedas, atleast it's not that important and not sanctioned by the religious texts then, right ???
    I didn't pick it from a blog, it's a famous shloka, and have known it always, just thought I'd blog about it, that's all.

  7. Sara, good to know that bible atleast has some references to the husband as well..:)
    I totally hear you on hubby not reading these blogs, my hubby doesn't either, and I'm glad it's that way !

  8. LOL :) @" Roopeshu Hrithik Roshan, Dhanyeshu Bill gates or Mukesh Ambani"
    But we do have guidelines/role-models for men too.

    " Karyeshu Shravana Kumar (obedient, devoted son)/Ram/Yushishthir (gamble your wife), Karaneshu Raja Dhashrath/Dhritrashtra,
    Bhojeshu Durvasa (Revered despite being difficult to please, short tempered, thaali throwing tempers) , Shayaneshu Khumbhakaran,
    Roopeshu Vishvamitra (age, looks no bar, to get a partner like Menaka) , Kshamayeshu Sri Ram (exile your pregnant wife),
    Satkarma Nar, Kuldeepak Pati "

  9. Hi IHM,

    Nice verse there....and kinda true too...:)

  10. Does this theme has to do with your working position or maybe is it mostly about your hobbies and free time?


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