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12 rules and regulations for an Indian woman

Luckily, I wasn’t brought up in a neighbourhood where we are given free advice, by all the elders around, right from when we begin to understand things. My mother was a pretty cool parent who concentrated on disciplining us and protecting us. She never really stressed on the fact that our main aim should be marriage, for either my brother or me. While some of my friends got married in the 10th grade, I was still learning about life and having a good time with friends.

Eventually, I found someone to marry and shifted base to India. But, life here turned out to be totally different for me. I found it hard to connect with the lives of many wives. As I was a woman with a mind of my own, I couldn’t relate to or understand many rules. As time went by, I found my tribe of womenfolk and learnt a lot of things, about this topic, from them.

After pondering upon it for years, I finally concluded that these are the 12 rules and regulations for an Indian woman:

  1. MARRY BEFORE YOU’RE 25: Several Indian women are not allowed to have any freedom, especially if they are single. It is very common for old Indian women to pester younger ones until they marry and leave their mother’s homes. Many of you would have been hounded, or are still being hounded, by the she-wolves in your lives. Not that the hounding will stop once you enter your ‘sasuraal’.
  2. GET READY FOR SACRIFICE: Just how a goat is fed and taken care of prior to its slaughter for the festival of sacrifice (Eid-al-Adha), likewise, some of us are elaborately decorated and pampered just before we are sent off to a place where most of our dreams are shattered. It is drilled into our heads that we have to sacrifice our aspirations for the well-being of our families. Perhaps, a little of our goals are unachievable after marriage but do they all have to be crushed? Have any of you felt this way? Were you forced to abandon your ambitions?
  3. PASS THE VIRGINITY TEST: One of my friends told me that, on her wedding night, she was made to consummate her marriage on a bright white bed-sheet in order to prove to society that she was a virgin. Okay, what’s with informing the world every time the first blood comes out of us? (Puberty, Virginity, Delivery)? And how is the man’s virginity established?
  4. ALWAYS BE DRESSED & AVAILABLE: Once you are married, you are not allowed to take a nap or even sit and read or work whenever you please. You are supposed to be dressed up with bangles and bindi at all times, even if you are unwell. You are supposed to be available for your in-laws and husband whenever they are awake because they may need a glass of water or faint, who knows?
  5. DISCIPLINE HIM: Some parents think that it is a good idea to get their ill-mannered sons married to a ‘nice’ woman so that she can discipline him. Don’t we women have our own kids to take care of or more interesting things to do with our lives? Are we rehabilitation centers for their half-done parenting jobs? Even if some of us do succeed in sudrofying (improving behaviour or habits of) our husbands, I dread to think of those who don’t. God bless those women!
  6. WAKE UP EARLY: You are supposed to go to sleep when your husband is ready to go to bed. But you have to wake up before everyone in the house, so that all the housework is done and dusted and the house is ready to be used and dirtied again. How many of you have the weekends off from this rule?
  7. KEEP HIM AWAY FROM HOUSEWORK: If by any chance you ask your husband to wash the dishes, the ‘saas’ (mother-in-law) will look at you bewildered because you have committed a sin by asking her precious son to do a little housework. Is it written somewhere that men are not supposed to help with any housework even though it is we who have the manicured nails?
  8. SERVE & ACCEPT HIM: With a ‘pallu’ covering your head, you should serve your man and his family all day. Even if they yell at you, neglect your feelings or make fun of you, you are supposed to respect them as long as you live. Only after your man eats are you supposed to satisfy your hunger. If your man wants to go astray, swallow your pride and accept him the way he is. Also, you should keep your vagina tight and exclusively for him. Oh and don’t forget to serve him a glass of milk in hopes for a pleasurable night. So, a question here. Do we serve them milk every night or only when we are in the mood? Who decides that?
  9. KEEP COOKING: I have often heard that the way to a man’s heart is his stomach, but I didn’t know that we, Indians, take this very seriously. Besides, I definitely wasn’t aware that this included the father-in-law and the mother-in-law and all the other in-laws too. And even though some of us try our best to cook despite our overwhelming culinary skills, the ‘rotis’ are thrown aside if they are a tad bit cool. More than respecting us, I think some people need to be taught to respect the food they get to eat.
  10. TAKE PERMISSION: This is one awful rule that most of my girlfriends have complained about. Taking permissions to go shopping or on a date with the husband or to their own parent’s house (maiyka). How can a woman feel at home if she has to take permission every time she wants to get out of the house? And why does she need permission to check on her own parents?
  11. WEAR A SAREE TO THE IN-LAWS: In case some of us live in a nuclear family, we can wear whatever we want at home, on the streets or on social media. But, while visiting the in-laws house, we should wear a saree whether we are comfortable in it or not. A simple top and denims, that cover us almost completely, WILL NOT DO, but wearing a waist revealing traditional outfit is the law.
  12. GET PREGNANT ASAP: Firstly, you will be told to have a child immediately as the in-laws need a boy child to take the family’s name forward. It doesn’t matter if you are ready or not. After having a child, you will be harassed to give that child a sibling. And then there is a whole new chapter of rules for during pregnancy and after delivery for Indian women. While you are pregnant, there are several rules I couldn’t figure out; Don’t sit on the floor, eat foods that will let your child become fair with thick hair on the head, look at pretty baby pictures, eat lots of ghee, you have to have a normal delivery otherwise you are not a real mother, etc. And then rules continue after delivery too. Don’t eat foods you love, eat for two people, stay at home for 40 days, pinch the water out of your baby’s nipples, don’t sleep with your husband, don’t sleep while feeding your baby, wake your baby up to feed him, caesarean section is not a real birth, etc. and the list goes on and never ends. Post-Partum Depression is not even on this list.

While many of us follow the above faithfully, the rest of us choose not to. Personally, I believe that a woman should carry out her duties according to her comfort and happiness. She should not be forced to do anything she isn’t ready to do. Even if she is interested in learning certain things that she isn’t good at, she should not be looked down upon or abused mentally or physically for it.

After all, we are partners and mothers, not doormats which are stepped on and crushed. We are women and human too, not slaves to be treated with disrespect all our lives.

What do you think of these rules and regulations? Are you a victim to any of the above rules?

12 rules and regulations for an Indian woman
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This blog is a part of #LBWP #LetsBlogWithPri Season 2. You can read about 5 lessons we learn from our kids in Hansa’s Blog here and Development Milestones for Toddlers in Disha’s Blog here.

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Cindy D'Silva
Cindy D'Silva
Cindy D'Silva, besides being a mother of two angels, is a belly dancer, writer and photographer. She loves partying, bowling and eating sushi. There is a detailed biography about her on the ABOUT ME page in case you would like to know more. :)You can like and follow her Facebook page to get all updates on the latest blogs and more:


  1. Hilda says:

    This is a great post. The pressure on women is certainly huge. I humbly invite you to my blog
    I have written a post about India and Ghana. I hope you enjoy reading it.

  2. Tina Basu says:

    I think this is relatable to every Indian woman. And if you have not gotten pregnant in two years then you need turn deaf or listen to way too un-solicited advice from family and even doctors!!!!!

  3. These cringe worthy rules have been a part of the Indian society for the longest time! Things are gradually getting better and many of us might not have been subjected to such rules and regulations. But still in many parts of the country they are thriving! Financial independence is essential for a girl to come out of the clutches of such dogmatic rules!

  4. Jayanthi says:

    Thankfully, I haven’t encountered any of these 12 points in my life or it was just subtle thing here and there..but I made sure to wipe it out before they enlarged! 🙂

  5. vartika says:

    This post made me smile and cringe both at the same time, indeed these are certain rules laid down for the women of our society which they expect us to follow however times are changing but yes this is still the reality of many and there is a long way to go.

  6. Point no 5 is what I here often about. Absolutely frankly put down, this is a great list of rules .

  7. Disha says:

    With each point, I was getting disappointed and a bit angry too. Marriage, Virginity test and Pregnancy rules are the bitter truth of our society and we can only eradicate them, with more focus on women Empowerement and education.

  8. Mrinal Kiran says:

    I am 22… Just finished my graduation… To be honest, I am so happy to see a post that speaks nothing but the truth! My mom was forced to marry, wasn’t allowed to work because the in laws said that she was there only to have kids and manage the household… She has a masters degree but all her dreams were crushed.. She was having severe dysentery but had to wear saree with pallu because of in laws… I can go on… But these are some reasons that made me hate the whole marriage thing since childhood…
    I am happy for people who are happy or have decided to accept the norms, but it’s not for me!

  9. Amrit Kaur says:

    Luckily no such rules and regulations are imposed in our families. Our parents treat boys and girls in the same way as we all should know everything

  10. Siddhi says:

    Another one that resonates. I married into a conservative household. I belonged to a liberal family. And everything changed thereafter. All your points bare 💯 true

  11. Snigdha says:

    This is so true.. you have covered all the points so beautifully. There are these set of rules for women but not a single rule for men. That’s how are society is ..

  12. Neha Jain says:

    Your post shows a mirror for our society…and this is not limited to only Indian society..we all have gone through it and have deal in our way

  13. I think that these unwritten rules too need to change with the times. The situation is no longer what it was a generation or two ago. Now both men and women march shoulder to shoulder and share the work, whether it is earning or housework. So if there are any rules, they should apply to both men and women.

  14. Judy Morris says:

    Thankfully I never got subjected to most.. these are blasphemously patriarchal in nature.. simply meant to control and put down women. but personally I condemn them and if at all subjected with any of this, bull shit! I will always stand for myself!

  15. Jhilmil Bhansali says:

    I can so relate to your post and agree your post actually shows a mirror to our society.. I am sharing this with my friends too.

  16. Ishieta says:

    Interesting article and you have articulated very when the restriction that women have to endure in our country. I am surprised to read that girls used to get married as young as when they were in 10th standard what is that about?

  17. Ruchi Verma says:

    You banged with these 12 pointers I think no 4 is really valid, but after 13 years I make sure to take a nap when I wish but then I have to answer so many questions whether I am not well or something else.

  18. Shreemayee Chattopadhyay says:

    Perfect write up. You have talked about all the points here. I follow some of them according to my own wish. But, if anyone force me, I don’t. Lol!

  19. It is hard hitting fact that despite being upwardly mobile , lot of Indian women and households face these challenges of what a proper “bahu” should be !

  20. Woman keeping own point of view towards the world is baffling the people around. If you respect a lady and let her do what she wishes then all these silly things can wait.

  21. Surbhi says:

    Well, I think a lot of things you have pointed here are globally true. It’s just not Indian women, the pressures of married women are same in every culture. You blog throws light on the societal norms but not on the culture, per sé. While I agree with most of them, it’s time that women should start taking a stand for themselves.

  22. Education doesn’t change everything after all not the mindset atleast. Thank fully I can deny most of these things.

  23. Varsh says:

    People expect women to behave a certain way and I faced some issues as well. However, I was clear as to how I want to live my life and ignored them. Why bother? They don’t give up.

  24. […] I would be selfish if I don’t share this with you all. this gratitude is to show how we all can grow together by supporting each other. The fight and race to reach the top is anyways done quite wonderfully by animals. The urge to succeed is always there in all of us but keeping the purpose at a higher pedestal we all raise ourselves to be a better version and eventually we grow and succeed together. This blog chain will enter into the third month of this season and would create more awareness of our blogs. I wish all my fellow blogger to have higher page views and million ideas for content creations. Here is a link of some posts from this weeks blog hop. Three super products from our kitchen to be used as hair conditioner by Avin on Five serious life lessons we all can learn from our kids by Hansa on and my favourite is this piece from Cindy about the 12 unsaid rules for women in Indian Society on […]

  25. Urvashi says:

    This is bang on true Cindy. Sadly in a well educated world like mine too. This stand true. . I wish when we become the saas it changes for the women of my house, oops not my house women of the house. 😆😆😆😁. Who cares. I want freedom.

  26. You had said it all. Indeed all these things are present in our culture and so called morden society
    Sometimes all these feel so suffocating that women didn’t have a right to live their lives as per their choices.

    • Arulmozhi N says:

      The sarcasm in your words is ripe. These are points that make me cringe too. To think the advancements in the world around us and to imagine how oppressed some women still live. It’s pathetic and needs change

  27. SwatiMathur says:

    So true.. You haven’t missed even one. I do follow few but not because someone forces me but I like doing it. I think it’s high time women should stand up for what is right for her.

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