How are widows treated in modern India?

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We lost our beloved son in law in 2008.

He had brain tumor and he was in the hospital for 45 days. During those entire period of forty five days my daughter stayed entirely in the hospital.

As soon as we admitted him in the hospital, the doctors told that there are little chances of survival.

In spite of doctor’s prognosis, she was still hopeful that he would survive.

We were mentally prepared for son in law’s demise, but we were worried much about our daughter.

How will she react on that day? Can we control her? What if she tries to do some undesired sad things?

Finally after doctor’s word of death, we all gathered and gave her as much confidence and as much courage as we could give.

For the sake of her two children she could somehow maintain her composure.

I took one month leave and during the entire month gave her as much confidence as I could. Finally all of us came to a decision and I returned to the work in Bhubaneswar.

The true story begins here.

During her stay in the hospital, our daughter lost much weight and all her dresses became very loose and she was really looking old in those dresses.

I pestered her to buy new clothes. After I had returned to Bhubaneswar, that is nearly four months after the demise of our son in law, she along with one of her cousins went to market and bought 3–4 dresses.

She did not feel any thing unusual to show her new dresses to neighbors and relatives.

This resulted in a huge hue and cry among relatives.

“She has purchased new clothes!”

This remark was made even by youngsters (Who consider themselves modern) and old people as well, in a satirical way.

One lady who is in her forties advised our daughter not to buy new clothes for one year and even if she bought, not show them to others.

My daughter called me over telephone and told every thing, crying in agony.

All the confidence, all the courage, we gave her for one whole month was shattered in few minutes.

The next morning I went to Vizag and met that lady and asked her about her advice to my daughter.

“I advised her like that because I wanted to protect her from nasty remarks made by others”, she said.

“See I appreciate your concern for her. But to protect her you should have said, ‘You go and purchase whatever you need. Don’t be afraid of those people who make nasty remarks’. That way you could have built more confidence in her and reduce her grief and your protection would have been more effective”

Next time when you meet a woman who lost her husband, I think you know how to behave.

Please see also this post of my daughter trying to rebuild her life.

The Power of Beginnings.

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