In her regular blog, H4 Visa Wife, Minakshi Shekar documents the move to United States and the judging she is subject to, for being a wife who chose to travel with her engineer husband. In her own way, she shatters stereotypes and questions the questions ‘they’ pose at her all the time.

In my early 20’s, I did everything to avoid conversations that revolved around my marriage. My mom has been relatively liberal and always said, “First they’ll ask you to get married and no one will help, then they’ll ask you to have kids and you’ll be stuck with kids and no help!” I’m guessing she was talking from experience. So the topic of marriage never came from her but random relatives who I hadn’t seen in years. I’ve met all sorts of guys – the chauvinists, the hot tempered, the kind who body shamed and even the kind who had their own Wikipedia pages written out because they thought they were the real deal. This put me off marriage and its attachments and especially stayed away from the kind of conversations that started with a, “He’s a very nice Brahmin boy, an engineer in Silicon Valley earning in dollars!”

He’s a very nice Brahmin boy, an engineer in Silicon Valley earning in dollars – Minakshi Shekar on ‘those’ conversations about marriage

Yet, here I am at 31 years old married to a Brahmin boy, an engineer earning in dollars! And believe me, I’m not complaining because guys like my husband are rare these days. I never thought I would be the girl who quit a good job to move across the world for her husband.

I never thought I would be the girl who quit a good job to move across the world for her husband – Minakshi Shekar

Now that I was married, there was other nagging I had to deal with, “You better learn how to cook!”, “You will get so bored in the US”, “have kids, at least it’ll keep you occupied”. Ummm, why is having kids the solution to every problem?, My husband makes a pretty mean biryani and when you live in a city like Denver, Colorado, you’re anything but bored. Also the last I remember, it’s 2017 and not the 1700’s.

We’ve lived here for a little over a year and I do not want to move back to India. The air is cleaner, the people are nicer, no leering men at the gym (that’s a post for another day) and the opportunities are endless. I may not be allowed to work as an H4 visa holder but I walk dogs, I write, I hike, I work out, I explore, I travel, I experiment with food and I have so much more ‘ME’ time.

We have rarely seen them on hikes of the beautiful Colorado Rockies, don’t see them at the gym and definitely don’t see them enjoying a beer

I’m lucky to have been brought up in a liberal home, I’ve travelled and been exposed to many cultures. Sadly, even in today’s world I’ve heard of H4 visa wives who are victims of domestic violence, are abandoned and even murdered, all while probably living outside India for the first time in their lives. I see a lot of women in my own gated community who don’t drive, who sit around and gossip while handling rambunctious babies and have absolutely no time for themselves. I am not judging them because I want kids of my own some day but I just wish women, for once put themselves first- make their husbands baby sit, take a dip in the hot tub if they wanted to, go have a beer if they felt like it. My husband and I always talk about how we know where to find majority of the Indians – the grocery store, IKEA, the Indian grocery store, Indian restaurants, etc. We have rarely seen them on hikes of the beautiful Colorado Rockies, don’t see them at the gym and definitely don’t see them enjoying a beer. I feel like Indian women in India are way more liberated than the ones living in the US.

I see a lot of women in my own gated community who don’t drive, who sit around and gossip while handling rambunctious babies and have absolutely no time for themselves. I am not judging them – Minakshi Shekar

My mom often jokes with my husband about how he better not turn out to be like those husbands who beat and abandon their wives in the US and his standard reply every single time is, “Aunty, if anything, my parents should be worried about Minakshi beating me up!” And boy, has he got that right – I may be an H4 visa wife, but I’m the weightlifting, beer drinking, dog walking kind.

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