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Jayati Godhawat

JWB Blogger

Gurgaon’s Puja Wahi Tells Why It Is Okay For The New Bahus To Say “No”

  • JWB Post
  •  November 8, 2016


Know the feeling when you read a comment and feel that Whoa! she’s speaking my mind? Well, the same thing happened when I read a comment by the Gurgaon-based Puja Wahi on one of the posts by JWB.

Puja’s comment on our which was about the expectations of the in-laws from a new bride was so courageous, apt and yet, simple that we knew there’s a story of a strong woman which we needed to explore.

While on the call with Puja, she couldn’t stop giggling and when she told me she grew up in Jaipur and studied in MGD, I perfectly understood the incessant laughter. (That’s a very typical trait of an MGDian, and if you know one, you’ll know what I am talking about)

“Tell us more about yourself,” I started off.

“I am based in Gurgaon and I am an Instructional Designer. I design instructions for the MNC’s and corporates….,” told Puja.

I interrupted, “Is that another name for the corporate trainer?”

“Many people get confused between an instructor and an instructional Designer. In layman’s lingo, I develop training solutions for the corporates. I design courses, content, and train the corporate trainers on speech and delivery of the training course,” she explained.

“That sounds interesting,” I said.

“I have been into this for 15 years, and then there comes one point where I wanted to try out something different. I like to experiment and so I came up with ‘.’ It’s just a public group on Facebook right now, and I still have to figure out the technicalities and design a feasibility plan,” she told.

“The name is intriguing. So, what’s a closet?” I joined in the giggling, too.

“The idea actually came up when I saw my wardrobe. I am a working woman and travel a lot. And, I love shopping. But, 90% of the things I buy don’t appeal to me after coming back (I can so relate to this). And, it’s the same with most working or traveling women. And, when you get married, the new bride will have like zillion clothes, purses, shoes and you’ll soon outgrow most of them.  So, with What a closet I wanted to build a platform where you can resell the things you haven’t used. It will help in putting these things to use and you can also recover some part of the expense you made on the product,” explained Puja.

“Wow! The idea is fabulous.” I exclaimed.

“So, about the comment that you wrote on one of the JWB’s post. We think it was a very strong and empowering message for the girls. Have you followed the same in your personal life?” I continued.

“For me, I had an advantage that I got married in my early 30’s. In fact, I got married just a couple of years ago. Also, I am an army kid and so is my husband. So, there were a lot of similarities But, I have seen my mother, my friends struggle to “adjust” to the new surroundings. And, I truly believe that it is difficult for men, too,” discussed Puja.

Puja with her husband

Marriage changes everything. However, I feel that we Indian girls are brought up to please everyone, and we take up the pressure of being a “good bahu.” And, that’s wrong. It’s same as the first month of your new job. You don’t say no to anything because you want to be the best employee. And, slowly you learn to assert yourself and say ‘no’ to things. ‘Saying No’ is one life skill we all should learn and teach our daughters. After marriage, it’s important to set the right expectations or the in-laws would feel that in the beginning, she was so polite and now what has entered into her that she has become like this. But the truth is that every family is different. Their version or right and your version of right may be different, so it is important to discuss things,” she added.

“Couldn’t agree more! BTW! You mentioned that you married in your 30’s. In India, and especially in cities like Jaipur, 23-25 is considered the “right” age for the girls to get married. Did you also feel the pressure to get married?” I asked, curiously.

She laughed, “Luckily, my parents are very progressive. They always told me, ‘Get married when you are convinced that he’s the right guy and don’t just do it for the sake of it.’ So, there was never a pressure from the immediate family.”

“This being said, I cannot deny that the biological clock is a real thing. Also, when I saw my friends getting married and the couples around me, I felt the need for a companion, too. However, I have seen so many couples who are unhappy in their marriage and are just carrying on because of the societal pressure or for the sake of their kids. So, I feel that it’s better to take your time or not do it at all.”

To conclude, Puja wanted to give out a message to the women who feel, “Oh we are too old to do this now. Marriage and now kids, our life is over!”

“When we become older we become wiser. But, most of us also put ourselves in a box. We think, “We are not 20 anymore, and our life is over.” In my view, the feeling of “being settled” is very dangerous for us. And, we should lose our fear and find new things to do: things that we couldn’t do before, hobbies which we couldn’t pursue, etc. You may be not 20 but don’t give up on the excitement that you felt when you were in you 20’s.”

Talking to Puja was like a rush of fresh air which filled me with positivity. It was a conversation I would ponder upon for long.


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