I truly wish the newlyweds Alia and Ranbir Kapoor a very happy married life. Though they were the centre of attention and rightly so, my eyes always looked for the groom’s mom Neetu Singh.
I have always been a big fan of hers and love the way she carries herself so elegantly and with dignity, after her husband Rishi Kapoor passed away two years ago. But during her son’s wedding yesterday she gave us both mom and mom-in-law goals and in the process shattered some taboos.
Was a part of every ceremony
One could see her and her daughter Riddhima Saini attending all the pre-wedding ceremonies like the Mehendi and Haldi rasams. So what, you might ask? Well, she is a widow and in India, there is a taboo for widowed women to not be part of auspicious ceremonies especially marriage ceremonies but Neetu Kapoor by participating in both has shattered these taboos. She even shared her Mehendi applied palm where she had got written ‘Rishi’ on her forefinger. I am sure this is going to trend soon.
Wore the brightest of colours and prints
If you follow her wardrobe for her son’s wedding you will see her wearing the brightest of colours and prints that are again another taboo she broke. Well, in India it’s customary for widows to wear ‘white’ or dull colours for the rest of their lives. The reasoning is beyond me. When my father passed away, we did not let our mother wear ‘white’. So, kudos to Neetu Kapoor for proving that the passing away of one’s husband doesn’t mean a woman should stop living.
Priyanka Chopra’s mom broke taboos too!
Who doesn’t remember Madhu Chopra walking her daughter Priyanka Chopra down the aisle! It was a beautiful sight, but I loved it because of many reasons. Firstly, traditionally, fathers give away the bride here it was the mother. Secondly, she didn’t look like the sad grieving widow in that outfit, she was a confident mom of a confident star daughter. Other than that she too had been part of all the wedding ceremonies of her daughter, which included the Haldi ceremony.
Position of widows in Indian society
The grief and pain a person feels when he or she loses a spouse cannot be expressed in words. Only the concerned person knows how he or she is dealing with it. And when they especially women are subjected to rituals and customs following widowhood, it becomes very daunting. Such was the condition of women in India a few decades back that being a widow was no less than the death of two persons—and I am not talking about the custom of burning themselves on the pyres of their husbands (sati).
A widow is expected to lead a life of abstinence. The stigma attached to widowhood is so deep in our society that in some places widows are prohibited from attending auspicious ceremonies like marriages. When they become widows, a woman is forced to give up everything that is associated with marriage like sindoor, mangalsutra and in some cases even jewellery. A widow should look unattractive and any form and colour of clothing that makes her look otherwise should have no place in her life. A widow should also give up non-vegetarian food and if she is a vegetarian, then she is expected to eat food that does not have spice, onion and garlic. The absurd reason behind this belief is that non-vegetarian food or spices are aphrodisiacs in nature and since a widow had to lead an austere life, she was not allowed to eat such food.
Why celebrities who break taboos are looked up at
Reading the above don’t you think it’s important for ‘woke’ women and the new generation to break such orthodox beliefs? Who will dare to do this, not women from the common middle class, or lower classes for sure but people from privileged classes who can dare to look the other way when it comes to following such outdated customs. This is where the stand of widowed mothers like Neetu Kapoor and Madhu Chopra gain importance. They are celebrities themselves other than being mothers of star kids. There are lakhs of fans who are following every step they take. Wouldn’t it be lovely for women and girls to learn from them that life doesn’t end with the death of a spouse, that you are now master of your own destiny!
The views expressed are the author’s own.
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