Essay, Pages 5 (1028 words)
Ananda forces Nina to change her dressing sense and eating habits in order to mingle with the Canadian culture. When they both decide to meet Gary Nina told that she likes to wear sari, but Ananda shows negative sign to her dress.
– My God, they’ll think I’ve married a Christmas tree.
– Isn’t it a party?’
– It’s a barbecue. People will be wearing jeans and t-shirts.
– I didn’t bring ordinary saris’
– Here all saris are extraordinary. Wear your salwar kameez.
Nina put the brocade away and wore one of the five salwar kamzees she had been living in since she came. (144)
In the male-oriented society man has no concern for his in-laws. Even though Ananda is in Canada he never leaves his patriarchal attitude. That is why sometimes his behaviour becomes inhuman and abusive in their relationship it leads to psychological torture on his wife. Nina informs Ananda that his mother-in-law keeps on asking about their family expansion, he talks cruelly about his mother-in-law and making his wife a prey of emotional violence.
He said all kinds of unreasonable things such as: if there was anyone she shed left out of her discussions, please to let him know, he would fill that person in also, he hadn’t realized getting married was such a violation of privacy, and maybe if children were so important to her, she should have suggested a fertility test before the engagement. Back and forth, back and forth, the anger mounting, the words meaningless, expect to wound.
A man is the one who controls economic power within his family. Being head of his family he is not bothering about his own expenditure but he has a patriarchal check on his wife expenses. Nina is heavily dependent on her husband financially because she has no proper income. After getting sex therapy Ananda has an illegal affair with a white Canadian girl Mandy, and spends a lot of dollars for her. But when once her wife purchases a sweater for three hundred dollars, on seeing the receipt of the bill he scolds for her extravagance. Even though he is free to squander money, he tries to exercise his dominate power over her expenditure.
– Three hundred dollars! You spent three hundred dollars on your clothes? Why my most expensive suit is a hundred and fifty.’
– You could have brought an ordinary sweater. Why do you have to dress in cashmere?’
– I should have come with you. You go alone, you lose your head. (274)
When Nina comes to Canada, he encourages her to wear western clothes, but now he is not ready to spend a lot of dollars for his wife. Indirectly he makes her feel to guilty for spending his dollars. Again Desiree Lydia Gomes remarks that
Financial control over women is one of the main acts of patriarchy by men. This is especially true if the woman is not working and/or is financially dependent on the man who is earning. In this way, if a woman does not have any money of her own, it then curtails various other aspects of her life that involves certain expenses. She cannot socialize, buy herself necessities, have an emergency fund, pay for health needs, or even something paying for transportation. She thus can be confined physically and financially. (21)
In the patriarchal society where women are not free to spend money for themselves, he never curtail his expenses but he advices his wife to curtail her expenses. Ananda does not share his income to his wife. When she asserts that she does not know how much he is earning, he replies that it is very difficult to tell because he does not earn any fixed amount. Moreover, when she asks, he shows the list of his debt. He argues with Nina:
– Who knows what you earn, you never tell me, never share, how am I supposed to know?
– I’m self-employed,’ he shouted. I don’t earn one fixed amount, is that so difficult for you to understand?’
– You never even give me a basic idea. (274)
A couple is supposed to share everything with each other. When one partner hides something, the other loses faith in him or it leads to conflict circumstances, and it is what happens in the life of Ananda and Nina. She understands the circumstances that she is emotionally, financially and socially heavily dependent on him. Now she determines to be independent economically “From now on, I will only buy clothes when I have money of my own” (274).
Nina feels that her marriage life is meaningless because she cannot get the fulfilment of her emotions and desires because of his patriarchal behavior. An education of Nina liberates her suffering and it is her education gives the boldness and assertiveness that enables her to fight back against her husband and the age-old patriarchal ideology. Nina is not willing to surrender herself in the marriage world.
Nina wants to get rid out from the clutches of his patriarchal attitude. Nahal says, “A woman should be aware, self-controlled, strong-willed, self-reliant, and rational having faith in the inner strength of womanhood. A meaningful change can be brought only from within by being free in the deeper psychic sense” (17). As a modern woman she does not want to be subordinate to her husband. She thinks that no one can control her body and life. Finally, Nina is strong-willed, self-reliant and she brings a new change by completely erasing the image of sacrificial and traditional wife.
Like Simon de Beauvoir Manju Kapur wants the Indian society to view every woman as a human being. Kapur condemns the institution of traditional marriage where woman is viewed as a reproductive machine and procreative device only, and devaluing her individual self. In the traditional framework, the discourse of maternity is both viewed as a site of power for woman, as well as a site of exploitation and victimization. As the novelist, Kapur is well aware of the marginalization of Indian women even in an independent India, she outwardly expresses her feminist vision by raising her voice against the Indian patriarchal system.