Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Yes Dear

I am in the Scarborough Town Centre last night, looking for a new pair of shoes. As I wander into Walmart, I observe a Bengali couple. They looked to be in their late 30s, and have a daughter called Munmun. How do I know? Here:

Husband: I hate coming to this mall. It's always crowded.
Wife: Oh, Munmun's father! Look at this clock. It's what we need in our kitchen.
Husband: Isn't there a clock on the microwave? Why do you want another clock?
Wife: C'mon Munmun's father! Sometimes we need to tell the time quickly.
Husband: Don't we already have a clock in the next room? How many clocks do we need?
Wife: Oh don't be so cheap.
Husband: This is what is wrong with Bangladesh. People don't know how to budget.
[Wife mumbles under her breath. Husband shakes head.]
Husband: Well, I suppose we could get a clock for the kitchen.
Wife: Thank you Munmun's father.

I think it's a dying tradition amongst Bengali women now not to call husbands by their names. I never understood the reason for it though. Amongst all my older uncle and aunts, and even my parents, no woman would call her husband by his name. It was usually 'Father of [insert first born's name here]' and so on. Which leads to the interesting question as to what do you call when you are yet to have a kid.

I think when I am married I would want my wife to call me by my name. "♪Mezba♫". That sounds more sexy that "Ei!" which is what most Bengali wives call their husbands - and could be loosely translated to "Yo!".

I don't think I need to worry though, most of my cousins who are now married get called by name by their wives. Sometimes their wives even call them names. "Ei - tumi ekta gadha!"

Ofcourse nowadays we get the reverse culture of husbands not calling their wives by their names.
"Darling." "Shona". "Baaaaby!"

Yes, nowadays men can do anything a woman can do.

Interestingly if you are man who wants to marry a strict Muslim wife because you are of the false assumption she will be more submissive - just make sure she doesn't know her Islam fully. Because - and ducking brickbats here - it is sunnah for the groom to wash the feet of his new wife.

Ok, that is also so not happening. I think I prefer our macho desi culture of "Yo!"



'liya said...

That's quite interesting, I didn't know that about Bangledeshi culture. I wonder how the not calling the name thing started. I'm wondering wouldn't it be confusing for a new married couple though?

Anonymous said...

Well....You are talking about the tradition about marriage on my parents time.....My Mom still didn't call my Dad with his name....She called Esha's Abbu...hehe...And Guess what My Younger Brother And Sister always complained My Mom why she didn't call my Dad as Bushra N labib's Abbu....hehe...:)

Actually This system changed cause Love marriages Increased....that's the main reason about the change....:)

And Its totally Upto You What You wanna call Your better half...hehe....:)

anyways Best of Luck...:)

By the By, Mezba Bhaia I don't understand Why you compare everything in Religion Perspective ??? Is there any reason....did you complete Reading the meaning of Whole Quran ??

Never mind just being Curious..:)

okaaay.....Bye For now...:)

Advance Eid Mubarak...:)

Samiha Esha :)

Anonymous said...

"♪Mezba♫". That sounds more sexy that "Ei!"



history_lover said...

I think this tradition (of munnay ka abba ;-) ) was prevalent In North India too.
By the way this is the first I got to know about the Sunnah about washing feet ? I am curious about the textual evidence for this.

Anonymous said...

My God! Mezba I'm rolling with laughter. Pick me up from the floor! This is a GREAT post!

mezba said...

Liya: This practice is very common in Bengalis, especially 'old-stock' Bengalis from back home. Must be confusing to newlyweds - what do you call your husband? Thankfully I am a guy and I don't need to worry about that - just call the wifey by name. Yes some aspects of desi culture you don't question *wink*

Samiha: I think you are right, greater number of love marriages is the reason this system is dying. After all you wouldn't call your boyfriend 'o father of my yet to be born' when you are out dating - would totally freak the guy out.

It's Ramdan so I think more of religion in this month - but sometimes I find it interesting to compare what aspects of our "rules" came form religion and what from culture.

SH - it does, does it not? Although I added the 'music' part, hopefully that's how it will be in reality.;-)

Hlover: Well the washing feet seems to be more of a Shia thing - it was reported that the Prophet advised Ali "After the bride enters your room and sits down, take off her shoes and wash her feet and pour the water (from this washing) to the furthest point of your house. For if you do that, Allah will drive away seventy kinds of poverty from your house, and He will enter into your house seventy types of riches, and seventy kinds of blessings, and He will descend seventy kinds *of mercy upon you, which will hover over your bride’s head until every corner of your house is filled with blessings. And in doing so the bride shall be immune from mental illness and leprosy as long as she is in that house."

I don't know if it's authentic Shia and I would have to search if Sunnis believe the same thing (it's on the zawaj website too I believe).

As an aside I would let you know I discover these things during my leisurely peruse of the internet and did not google for 'things to do on your wedding night'. No siree bob.

Suroor: :-)

Ek Umeed said...

(Lights up.) Mezba, is this another subtle reference to you finding your you-know-who? Yes; yes, (happily blurts), I think it is. Somehow, I think I do not need a little birdie to tell me that "someone" is coming to terms with the idea of becoming "halal" you-know-where. (Laughs.) Mezba, I am (clears throat) looking forward to your dissertation on "desi" woman (rolls eyes); it should make for some great fodder for posts on the blog! ;)

Okay, now coming back to the post... Okay, this is kind of embarassing, but... But my parents have wierd and funny nicknames for each other. My father calls my mother, "Cow." And my mother in return calls my dad, "Fatty." (Mezba, I mean it--stop laughing!) Okay; okay, I know you're curious how this started. (Smiles.) So, let me tell you: Apparently, my parents were newlyweds at the time. My father started teasing my mom with the nickname "Cow" as she was really meek; later on, he used the nickname to poke fun at the weight she had gained after giving birth to two healthy babies. So, my mother in retaliation and annoyance started calling my father "Fatty" to get him to stop calling her a "Cow." However, my father thought the matter a challenge and remained firm in calling my mom his "Cow." Somehow, the nicknames stuck, and they continued to call each other those nicknames even as they matured enough to realize how silly their behavior with this "nicknames business" (or rather name calling) was.

And oy-ve! Sometimes, they even call each other those nicknames when they forget they are among company and being observed! And while my mom says it on a loving, singsong note, my father says it on a rather matter-of-fact note! (Shakes head and laughs.) Having learned a lesson from their goofiness in nickname business, I have come to this realization: If and when I do get married, I definitely want to be called by my name too! No nicknames, thank you! Not even "sweetheart" or any variance thereof! (Snorts.)

(Oh, note to self: Future husband should wash my feet and really well and long too--no missed spots!) :D

mezba said...

Ek Umeed: *lights off* no no, nothing like that. I am just getting my dissertation ready, really!

Cow and Fatty eh? We had a Sri Lankan couple on our last apartment complex. The husband used to call his wife 'imsy' and wife used to call her husband 'fatsy'. Later on I found out 'imsy' meant 'slimsy' and the wife was slim while 'fatsy' referred her husband who was a plump! lol.

Anonymous said...

I would so call my husband by his name - if a guy wants to get in my pants it's gonna be my rules and my way.
- Farah.

Anonymous said...

"Ogo, shunecho..."
And "Ei" to me are kinda sweet, its like, i am too shy to call your name.

But its annoying if you are quarreling
"Ei sagol"
"Ogo bandor"


Anonymous said...

Okay, I have never heard of this before! My parents call each other by their names and "Ei" or "Bengali Fob's Dad", etc. And I definitely haven't met any other folks (couples) who don't call each other by their names. Maybe this is just for Toronto Bengalis? Cuz you know, Torontorians are weird. hehe JK

But seriously, I've no clue what you are talking about.