“Not Just a Widow” – Shefali Gupta on How Society Treats Women As Per Their Marital Status AND Unsolicited Advice

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Before I share my story, let me introduce myself to you. I am a 28 year old INDIAN female born and brought up in Delhi. I have a Masters in HR & another Masters in Fashion Management. I have some other professional courses under my hat as well. I have my startup too. But, to our Indian society I am just a WIDOW.

I was 22 years old when I got married, to my kind of imperfect yet perfect man that I never believed existed. It was such a perfect dream. I joined their family business immediately, and was handling domestic side of trade.

In the years that followed I and my husband were targeted with questions such as why are you not planning a pregnancy? Why do you guys go for clubbing so frequently? Why so many holidays? Basically, why you guys are still in love and remember you were married to have kids plainly. Gladly our respective parents were extremely supportive and honeymoon period never went off.

All was going well both at personal & professional level. It was our engagement anniversary, just two days before our 3rd wedding anniversary when he had a heart attack and he passed away in my arms, in my lap. Today, it’s been 3 years 10 months, all of us still struggle at times to live with it.

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Our good Indian society has tried hard enough to dictate my parents on how should they treat me and literally forced them to marry me off to a man double my age with two kids, and always send me a reminder of the same as if I will ever forget.

During these years, I have met two sets of people, one who are full of sympathies, condolences and others that give me full-on advice, how I should never ever mention my late husband, should not meet my in-laws, thank God that I don’t have an issue (a baby, they call it an issue if your spouse dies) out of my wedlock. This set takes it in their stride to comment on my clothing, number of times I should laugh, how many times should I go out with my friends, and even how wide should my grin be, now she has to compromise on her life partner & everything that comes in life, widow hai na bechari. Like, really?

And, then the others who simply loathe me for being a curse or some kind of misfortune who killed her own husband. I have come to a conclusion, that cases like mine are yet another perfect example of victim shaming. Like, we really pray to have this called upon ourselves and we were dying to live this living hell (created by society).

If all this attitude would have been restricted to only me, I might have ignored this. But, society doesn’t spare my parents as well. Me, and my both set of parents don’t want any form of shoulder to cry on, and certainly don’t want people to sympathize with us. All we want is that people treat as normal human beings who had a tough luck.

Since last 3 years, my parents & in-laws are finding new prospects for me so that they all can get me married. People reject me, and so do I. But, what hurts the most is, the parameter I am rejected on, my marital status – WIDOW. I was shocked when this happened first and now it’s a routine. Sometimes, I wonder there must be numerous girls facing this issue, considering the current death rate of men in our country.

My qualification, talent, upbringing, qualities, suddenly nothing matters. All that matters to this bloody fucking so-called 21st century Indian society is that my marital status is Widow. Sometimes, I feel glad that they did us a favor by blurting out their shit directly, but majorly it kills me even more to see those tears, anger & frustration in my parent’s eyes, when they feel helpless.

I often hear them saying, “log samajhte kyun nhe, ismein iski kya galti ha”? It further scratches their wounds when people choose this course of action to reject me. I mean, they can say anything, body-shaming (another society favorite), horoscope and what not!

To all such people I would want to say, reject me all you can, I don’t care but have little compassion for parents of many girls like me. Nobody wants to send their daughters to such homes where people think like this. I wonder where is this so called new generation in this family, who are unable to talk sense in them. Are people completely out of sync with humanity? Nobody can understand, or can lessen the grief that we have already ensued, don’t alleviate it further.

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Over this course of time we have met families where their own sons are divorced or getting divorced and they want a girl who is FRESH! I mean what does it even mean? FRESH? They are like we would marry our son to a poor girl, or a fresh girl only. The naïve me, always thought that the society is changing, but it has not changed, not for girls. And, I don’t know when it will. But, I will not bend down to its filthy, cheap and patriarchal mindset.

Why can’t we treat us girls normally? Beyond our marital status?? Why??? I am blessed that I have two beautiful families, who have always supported me and still do. But there are many many girls who are looking for support, who are looking for someone who can just tell them to walk and look beyond all the darkness that they are surrounded in.

That someone can be you, your friend, your family, or anyone. I urge everyone to treat us, girls who lost their partners to something or other and our families with the same respect as you would treat anyone else and have some compassion for us.

We girls can be anything and everything that we wish for. With the support of my parents & in-laws, I completed one of my MBAs, one professional course, my solo Europe trip, and much more after all this.

Society was all big-mouthed, but with all the support that I have, I rose and I am still rising.

Get up girls, choose what’s best for you. Stand up, try and fall again, only to rise even brighter. Marriage, career, trips, whatever it is, don’t let society or your marital status hold you back. We get only one life and we ought to live it full. Who knows, kal ho na ho? Guys, please be there for someone who is in need and bring them to light. And if you cannot do that, then don’t hurt them as well. Let them be!

And for once and all, I want to settle this also (because judgment and all is getting too much). Yes, I want to re-marry, but only if someone is able to look at me beyond my marital status. Yes, I do love my late husband and thankfully, I am at peace now, and I believe with right person I can be in love again too. Rest assured, whatever society say, what was his, will always be his. And what happens next, will always be for my yet to come man.

P.S. Re-marriage means, marrying the SAME person again. So, it’s not a re-marriage for people who are either Divorced/Widowed and wants to marry another person now. It’s also called only, “MARRIAGE” and, it must be more fun, happening and mind blowing than the first one. Let’s create bundles of new memories to cherish as long as we shall live.

 

——-  LET US LIVE  ——–

Dear PM Narendra Modi – 10,000 Widows of India Appeal For Their Basic Rights

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  • shefali-gupta_oowomaniya
  • Shefali   Gupta
    Entrepreneur

    Shefali has her own venture named “Blue Riband” providing gift packing solutions to all. Currently, she is focusing on her work, learning guitar, planning multiple weddings and planning to further expand my business.

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