Saturday, September 3, 2011

Punjab's Dirty Little Secrets

Nope, this is nothing like wiki leaks so if you're looking for government intel, you've come to the wrong place. ;)

I'm just exposing some unreality that I've noticed since being here. Things that make you go 'hmmm.' Things that make you wonder how out of touch with reality some people in this world really are. Now, I noticed these in Punjab and not anywhere else I've been. However, I'm sure there are other cultures out there that do some of the same things and pretend they don't just like Punjab does.

Sadly, most of these secrets are about women. Being a woman, I don't hate women but I'm confident that these women know exactly what they are doing, know exactly what society says about it, knows it doesn't fit in with what they preach/teach/believe and yet, they still do it. What I don't understand is how so few men seem to realize what is going on under their noses.

First I want to address the issue of women's clothing. Now, women here profess to their virtue and guard their bodies closely. They cover up well including double and triple layers over areas that seem to draw the most attention from the opposite sex. This is a good thing. Before coming here I had a good sense of respect for these women because I had an idea how hot it got here and how much discipline it must take to wear all those layers and all that fabric, etc. After moving here I noticed how wrong I was. Yes, they wear the layers but many women are far from covered.

The majority of the suits they wear are see through. As I ride along on the bike I can see through their clothes, which I don't really appreciate, and can make out each layer of skin, the full outline of their undergarments and even the tags on their bra. I was shocked to see just how thin the fabrics really are. Now, I turn my head because I really don't appreciate nudity the way the next perv might. But what baffles my mind is how it seems like none of the men here even notice. I can't believe a husband would let his wife out of the house with everything showing the way it does. Especially not when so many of them talk about how western women dress provocatively. At least the majority of our clothing isn't see-through. (That's by no way an indication that western clothing is better because I'm not stupid enough to say that lol. I know what kind of clothes some girls wear and they have their own issues.)

This brings me to my next point. How few women here don't wear bras, whether they need them or not, and they still run around in the streets with their headlights on. Only once in America did I ever see a woman out in public with no bra on (once in my entire life). Here I see it frequently. Where are the husbands and the dads???? I know that people here can be a little naive, but seriously someone has to notice -like her mother if she's young - that these girls don't have a bra on. I don't care about their age, if they have headlights, put a bra on. PLEASE! Because if you don't notice, I guarantee you the young boys down the street do and you are only inviting harassment. Regardless of whether or not women's liberation has allowed for the freedom and right to run around this way, it doesn't mean it's smart to do in a male dominated society. You are asking for trouble, from girls and boys that notice, when you walk around in daylight with your headlights shining bright.

Now, I said something to my husband and I know he led a sheltered life growing up but, he still swears this doesn't happen in Punjab. He swears no one would let a girl leave the house that way. Ummm...sorry baby, you're WRONG! And how can I point that out to him lol, I don't want him learning to notice shiny new headlights hahaha. I'm just leaving this one to the blog world I guess.

Also, as an added note. It's not fashionable in any society to let your teenage daughter run the streets with her friends wearing high heels, extremely tight jeans and a t-shirt with her headlights on. I was a teenager once and I guarantee you there is nothing innocent about the way she is dressing. She is asking for attention and she knows she will get it. The problem is, she doesn't realize this is the wrong kind of attention and she's playing a dangerous game. Yep, American girls do this trash too and their momma's need to bust their behinds just the same. If you don't teach your child what's going on when she's young she will either A.) find out the hard way -which no one wants OR B.) grow up ashamed of what she did and resent you for not being the parent she needed you to be. OR C.) Both. I could have missed an option, but anyone intelligent can figure out where I'm heading with that. There's nothing wrong with free expression, but for the Love of God, teach your child how to protect themselves first and not walk themselves right into trouble.

The streets of Punjab are not safe for women. If you're a small child and you want to play in the streets naked and jump in front of traffic then by all means go ahead. No one will bother you and traffic will make provisions to make sure they don't get in your way. Just stay close to the house. (That's true, I'm not being sarcastic I promise.) However, if you're a woman it's not safe to walk to the store 3 houses down because some man may try to hassle you or come onto you or worse, he may touch you inappropriately. Who the F**K makes these rules?

I swear this seems unreal and like complete BS but that is how people seem to believe here. Not everyone, but the vast majority. It is extremely rare to see a grown woman in these streets alone and even more rare she is going to the store 3 houses down from us. Even MIL and Chachi don't go down there by themselves because of this mentality. Instead they send the 12 year old niece who goes without any problem at all. When I do look out into the streets, I do see men sometimes harass the ladies. And the only women I see out after dark are the much older ladies who look like they could seriously destroy you with their evil eye.

Maybe it's the westerner or the stubbornness in me but I want to walk to this store just once lol. Let someone mess with me. I don't do it though because I have no idea what to buy there and I don't want to look stupid hahaha. They don't sell anything I like and they only have a few snacks, all with hot spices that I can't eat. I could get a Coke but then I don't know how to say 'screw you, I know it only costs 22 INR yet' so if they tried to rip me off I'd be stuck. What's the fun of being a pain in the a** if you can't even have a good Punjabi swearing war? So, I will just watch from my terrace and see this unreality continue to exist before me.


  1. you have exposed the other side of the coin.
    the real respect for culture is very less.

  2. Wow really does sound like Punjab has a bit of an unacknowledged underbelly!
    Do you think people would notice if a foreign female walked around dressed in a see-through salwar and no bra?

  3. While I can't say for sure if they would notice because of how she was dressed, I'm dead certain they would notice lol. They would start out looking because she was foreign, then as they stared they would see and then would stare because of it. I know that's how I did when I saw that one woman in the US that time lol. (She wasn't foreign though.) Me and my friends were staring trying to be sure we were right because we were shocked lol. I don't come from the Hollywood/beach towns of America. Where I come from we are every bit as conservative as Indians are portrayed to be, possibly more lol.

  4. Its strange to see this comment coming from a westerner and a woman.
    Yes you exposed the underbelly. I know exactly what you are talking about, I have seen it in Delhi and know its for real.

    I do hope you learn your punjabi real quick. The shouting war is gonna be tough if its with the shopkeeper woman :P.. The punjabi women are known for their sharp tongue. Some of them are pure frightening.

    Really enjoyed your blog. .. would definitely come back for more !!
    Keep the chin up.


  5. Lol, I just call it as I see it. I was surprised to see these things here. Even more surprised hubby had never seemed to notice lol. Some day I will tackle the Punjabi swearing lol. It's just not my thing, but I know it will come in handy to have the knowledge. I'm going to remember the sharp tongue thing, that means I need to be well prepared. ;) Glad you liked my blog!