10 Things Indian Mothers Did Not Let Their Daughters Do!

Shunali Shroff , 14 May 2015
Kirron Kher
Courtesy: Gifsoup.com

Mothers are the most amazing creation of God. Regardless of their worldview, mothers are the reason that we can go on from one day to the next, through sunshine and rain, through happiness and pain. Before I get too mawkish, let me explain.

I always find mothers from my generation tell their children about the things they were not allowed to do when they were young and although some of our mothers were modern and permissive, by and large, the warp and weft of our lives back then was determined more by the things we were not allowed while growing up than what we were permitted.

1. Allow them to wax at thirteen

Source: Tumblr
Source: Tumblr

For some reason waxing was not about hygiene back then but about fashion and therefore it was deemed a distraction from your academic pursuits. Waxing at the onset of your teenage years was the one thing that would come in the way of you becoming gold medalist doctors or engineers, or so our mothers believed.

2. Allow or encourage crushes

Source: Tumblr
Source: Tumblr

If you liked a boy who was an actual living person and not just a character in a book, you were considered a girl of questionable character not only in the eyes of the aunty from next door but also in the eyes of the woman who brought you into this world. It was most unnatural to like a person of the opposite sex. Hanging out with girls was considered safe and no lessons on good touch or bad touch were imparted for such interactions because lesbians, like gnomes, were mythical creatures.

3. Encourage questions about the birds and the bees

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Source: Tumblr

Sex education was taboo and something that mothers hoped you would receive as a broadcast from the skies when you turned 21. Any curiosity on part of the child about this subject was considered reprehensible.

4. Give the option of marrying late

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Source: Tumblr

If you were 24 and still unmarried, you were a spinster and if you were unmarried even at 27, you were an old maid and looked at with part sympathy part disdain.

5. Encourage calorie counting

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Source: Tumblr

If you were caught counting your calories, you were warned that you face would stop glowing and that you would be drained of your natural charm. Glow and charm were considered key attributes required to find a good husband back then.

6. Encourage gregarious behaviour

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Source: Tumblr

Because that made you unfeminine and no one wanted to marry a girl who was not soft spoken or coy.

7. Encourage romantic novels or any kind of literature that suggested physical intimacy in the house

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Source: Tumblr

Because this lead to bad character. [Ditto for movies]

8. Allow dates

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Source: Tumblr

Are you kidding me? You had their disapproval if a boy who was not your brother so much as called you on the one family owned landline with many extensions to talk nothing of dating. This was strictly never an option. Not even if you died and left your mortal coil could you think of dating.

9. Wear clothes shorter than knee length after the age of twelve

Source: Tumblr
Source: Tumblr

Because bad character.

10. Do a sleepover

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Source: Tumblr

Because good girls did not stay in other people’s houses, not before their marriage at any rate.

Shunali Khullar Shroff is a blogger, a columnist for Conde Nast Traveller and author of the recently published book titled Battle Hymn of a Bewildered Mother. Her book is available on Amazon.

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