The story of Gurdeepak Kaur is a story that should inspire all women who are strong and capable of being emotionally and intellectually independent, but simply don’t think it that way.
South Asian women despite being educated, professionals and even financially independent somehow still happen to fail when it comes to being thinkers and do-ers independent of their husbands. Tagging along to their whiny husband and following his choices rather than both following their own. It is not a rocket science to honor each other’s likes or even give space to each other and pursuing independent activities including travel.
I have seen my White and Black lady friends travelling with ‘girl friends’ to far off destinations, but one hardly finds desi women who are willing to travel with girl friends. It has to be a family affair, which is certainly a beautiful idea. But if the husband is not a keen traveller, or busier and does not have time, why can’t women travel as a group or solo?
A decade ago, a cousin of my husband told me she was fond of camping in the jungles and other sites, while her husband was not. Each time she took him, he would end up spoiling his mood and that of his wife. So this cousin remarked, “I stopped asking XYZ( husband’s name) to come along with me to the camping. He got upset again, “So you will go without me?”
Her: “You do not like camping. But I do. So we have two choices: Either you enjoy going together or I go alone with my friends.”
With a lot of whining, he agreed he will prefer to not go rather than not whine on a trip he doesn’t like.
So after an initial bitterness, he ultimately got used to his wife enjoying her camping time and coming home happy, rather than them fighting on the way.
This story struck a cord with me. My bucket list and Fasih’s were different. So we also sat down and asked if we wanted to do like the cousin or just enjoy each other’s interests. Luckily Fasih and I agreed that we will happily take tours without whining.
Both of us were road riders, and loved driving. So we took turns to drive. While going to Key West, my interest was to see the Earnest Hemingway home and spend a few hours there, while Fasih preferred to stay at the beach.
Similarly Fasih wanted to go to Las Vegas, while I had no interest in seeing replica Malls or gambling slots. And instead would prefer to go to Grand Canyons nearby. So we combined both in a trip and we both accompanied each other’s places of interest. Another on my bucket list was to watch the Cirque De Soleil theatre presentation “O” in Vegas, which Fasih was not keen on. But when we watched it from the first row, in the middle, he ended up loving it too, and was glad I pushed him to watch it. Sometimes, experiences with open mind make us learn a lot.
We had become great travel buddies, but even then there were certain interests which did not intersect. And in those areas, we preferred to give each other space. I never forced my husband to tag along with me to a dosa shop, and when he wanted to eat Sajji or Butt Karahi, I told him, I will prefer to stay home with a my coffee and laptop, as he went out with friends or family.
Desi women take it for granted that they have to give space to their husbands to let them enjoy their interests like sports, but they are given little or no space for stuff that interests them. Women also need to realize they have their own lives too, beyond their Zee or Hum TV Soap Serials at home or beyond kitty parties outside their homes.
The secret is that men treat well the women who are emotionally, intellectually and financially independent. So it is a Win-Win situation and one just has to step out of one’s self imposed Laxman rekha to experience that liberation first hand.
With this rant in the background, do carefully listen to this beautiful story of Gurdeepak Kaur in her own words. Another thing, age is just a number. Nothing can reaffirm than this story of a septuagenarian woman. Hats off to Gurdeepak Kaur and her adventurous spirit.