“What does your husband do?” is a question that Indian women are often asked by everyone. Whether it’s someone you’ve just met or someone you haven’t met in years, people don’t view you as a complete woman till you have an answer to that question.
Geeta Pandey remembers the time when a stranger on an overnight train asked her what her husband did. That incident prompted her to turn the tables and go around asking strangers (men) what their wives did.
1. Mohammad Mohsin
With a shy smile, this 27-year-old informs her that he is not married and will only marry after he settles his business. He also lets her know that he’s been asked many strange questions by random people, but not this one.
2. Prabhu Mishra
Mishra’s wife runs a successful boutique. He admits that he has never been asked this question, though his wife has been questioned about him. He theorizes that only unsuccessful people in unhappy marriages would be unwilling to talk about their spouses.
3. Sandeep Yadav
This 53-year-old has been working as a auto driver in Delhi while his wife looks after their four children, land and cattle back in U.P. He tells Geeta that that he doesn’t mind talking about his wife as she is too far away for her to be harmed.
4. Jagdish Singh Kaira
Jagdish, whose wife is a college student, admits that though he gets asked if he is married, he has never been asked what his wife does. He thinks that the question can work as an icebreaker between people. He blames people asking women what their husbands do on their inability to accept that a woman is not married.
5. Anubhav Raj
This 30-year-old engineer got visibly offended when asked the question and demanded to know why it was being asked. When he was explained the reason, he said that though initially he was annoyed, it is not that strange a question to ask.
6. Manoj Singh Rathor
This 28-year-old informs Geeta that he isn’t married though his parents ask him all the time when will he get married. He says that people ask this question because Indians are jovial, friendly people who are trying to connect with you.
7. Dhruv Khosla
Manager in an engineering firm, 31-year-old Dhruv says he doesn’t ask personal questions because he doesn’t like being asked personal questions. He states that strangers should not ask such questions of people and admits that he has felt like hitting people who do so.
8. Dr Vijay Goel
Geeta met this man on the Delhi metro and he reacted with visible anger to the question. He informed her that she had no business asking him the question. When she pointed out that she had been asked the question several times, he said that it is okay for men to ask the question if they’ve been talking to you for half an hour.
For more on this story visit this BBC page.