One morning I received a phone call from a friend who said, ‘Arre yaar, Mummy pagal ho rahi hai’ (Mom is going mad). My mind instantly raced back to last year, when the same friend had lost her Father. His death had taken everyone by surprise and most of all Aunty (friend’s mother). Aunty had been dependent on Uncle for everything and I assumed the loss may have disturbed her to the extent that she must be suffering mentally, hence my friend declaring – Mummy Pagal ho rahi hai.
My friend urged me to call her Mom and I did so. Aunty answered my call in a very chirpy voice. When I politely asked her how she was doing, she told me she had never felt better. I was taken aback. She laughed and asked if her daughter had made me call her and I sheepishly admitted with the affirmative.
Aunty asked me to cut the call as she would call me again immediately. She did, and it was a video call! I was surprised as Aunty used to own the oldest model of a mobile phone and it wasn’t even a smartphone! I accepted the call, and when I saw Aunty on screen I couldn’t recognize her at all. She was glowing! She had cut her hair, colored it, and was wearing a pretty salwar Kameez! I had only ever seen her draped in crumpled cotton sarees all these years!
Seeing my shocked expression she let out a gleeful chortle! ‘Tumhein bhi khabar mil gayi ki main pagal ho gayi hoon’ (have you been told that I have gone mad?) Aunty asked. I nodded dumbly.
Aunty started talking and I listened. Ever since Aunty has got married to Uncle he controlled everything. She never had any money of her own, never ate what she liked, never had a say in any matter, and couldn’t visit her home when she wanted. Slowly she got cut off from her side of the family and found herself spending all her time in the kitchen, the only place no one laid claim to.
When Uncle passed away last year, Aunty was left shell-shocked, wondering how she would cope. Relatives left after a while, the children got back to their lives in other cities and Aunty was left alone. She didn’t even know how to order a Gas Cylinder she told me, grief flitting across her face.
That’s when she decided she would learn, everything. And she did. ‘Beta, my children gifted me this smartphone and this phone became my best friend. My neighbor’s daughter taught me to use it and now there is nothing I cannot do.’ ‘Uncle’s death also reminded me how fleeting life can be, so I decided to do all that I have always wanted to. I gave away my sarees and brought Salwar Kameezes. I cut and colored my hair and changed my kitchen into a modern one. I have always loved cooking, so now I take orders from others. I am going to learn to drive next year. I don’t know how long I have on earth, but whatever time I have I want to live it to the fullest.’
I couldn’t stop thinking of what I learned from this priceless and enlightening conversation with Aunty. I understood that not only are most people unnerved by change but are also uncomfortable when people begin to think for themselves, giving no prominence to what others think of them.
When you liberate yourself from the shackles of others’ opinions, views, and judgments chances are you could be labeled ‘Mad’. When you decide to live your life your way, without being answerable to ‘society’, you could be called ‘Mad’. When you make decisions that go against what ‘society’ deems right, you are probably ‘mad’. When others can’t make sense of what makes sense to you, you are probably ‘Mad’.
Are you a ‘Mad Woman’? I know I am!
50 thoughts on “How to identify a ‘Mad Woman’ #BlogaberryDazzle”
Simply put and thought provoking
Thank you for reading, Samreedhi.
I could feel aunty’s sense of freedom. I have seen ladies around me who have gone through this phase. Some became the free bird some gave their control from one man ‘their husband’ to another man ‘their son’ (and some surprisingly to their son-in-laws). I would loved to be termed as a Mad woman than be a caged woman.
Thank you, Drepti. I loved your thought, ‘I would love to be termed as Mad Woman than be a Caged Woman’.
Such a beautiful article ! The society is quick to judge the moment we want to live life in our terms. It’s okay if we have to be a little mad if it means we live life our way
Thank you for reading, and I am so glad it resonated with you, Preethi.
This happens with me and also my mom. Often we are labelled as mad. My mom had a tremendous phase of anxiety disorders and I know how our neighbors were calling her behind us. Also for my mood swings and unparalleled choices, I am often labelled as mad. But I love to embrace this beautiful adjective for me. I know madness is wilderness and this is beautiful.
Sorry to hear about the insensitivity of your neighbors, Swarnali. What people don’t understand they label. Glad you liked reading this.
How many women have had to destroy their potential for the sake of family! This post is sad, thought-provoking, and inspiring at the same time.
Only when the oppressive factor is removed does one realize how much one was missing. “Mummy paagal ho rahi hai” sort of reactions show that we expect older women to behave and dress in a certain way. We are ageist in addition to being sexist and misogynist.
I am happy you picked that point of my friend saying, Mummy pagal ho raho hai. That line triggered me to write this. It’s high time people realize that not every expectation can or must be fulfilled. Thanks for reading, Satabdi.
Awesome so well written as I’m already a Mad woman and can completely relate to this as I love living my life on my own terms and conditions.Mayuri you continue to write and we shall continue to enjoy reading
You are awesome, Dr Preeti! Thanks so much for reading.
Totally relatable. As I saw my mother used to be like this. Everything of her life is controlled by my father. But still she is happy. We are now teaching her everything.
Love the point you mention in your post. Hope every woman have this kind of freedom.
Thank you, Neeta. Glad you’ll are teaching your Mom a new way of life.
Hahahaha! Good one! I was always mad because I could never talk or behave according to society’s norms! Now, I’m used to it! I think some of us just think differently and take the positivity and live instead of brooding over what others think.
More power to you, Cindy! May your tribe increase!
Such a heart touching tale , sadly in our society many women go through this, no choice of their own and when they do they are labelled as Mad .
Thank you, Ghazala.
This madness resonates so much with my life. I started working after my husband. I was 40 and stepped out to support my kids. I was labelled mad for everything I did after that. Especially for cooking and sharing my recipes….Pagal ho gayi hai ye…pata nahi kyun khaana bana bana ke fotu lagati rehti hai..khaane wala bhi koi nahi hai. Now, after my son’s demise, I couldn’t live through this again and I have started living with my daughter.
You’ve had to face some very tough situations, Harjeet. My deepest condolences. Wishing you peace.
One part of the post is happy that a woman found her happiness in life while the other part is a sad reality. In fact, both types of people exist around us. The best is to keep learning, keep smiling.
Well said, Mehul. Keep learning, keep smiling.
Actually in our society women are always treated this way. They’re taught to suppress all her emotions, passions for the sake of family. They shouldn’t have no choice of their own and if they start to live their own way, people started telling them mad. Love the positive end of your article. At last the lady has gained courage to live in her own terms.
True that, Shreemayee. Thanks for reading.
This post brought tears to my eyes! It’s so inspiring to see aunty standing up for herself and practicing self-love and self-care. Thank you for writing this post, it reminded me of how important it was to take care of myself.
Glad it resonated with you, Mayura. Thanks for reading.
The post is relatable, Mayuri. It’s a common scenario in our society that the man controls important verdicts in the house and the woman is supposed to do the relatively ‘minor’ jobs.
You have set an alarm with your article.
Thank you, Aditi. I hope this alarm wakes many slumbering minds up.
Such an awesome post…if I start to think of my happiness or myself… I am labelled as ‘MAD’. Why? And you know what I feel so bad when a woman judges or label another woman…I mean seriously if a woman can’t understand another then how on earth men will understand? I am a ‘MAD’ woman too and keep myself on priority, I love myself and ‘so many’ are there to label me with ‘mad’, ‘selfish’ etc etc but now I just don’t care. I am a happy soul and loving my life.
You are so right when you say, ‘I feel so bad when a woman judges or labels another woman’. More power to you, Smita!
This is something a lot of Indian women can relate to, Mayuri. People have this image of widowed elderly women. How they should dress up, how they should behave. We have been blessed with an amazing family. Septuagenarians, octogenarians, and some nonagenarians too who refuse to follow that diktat and totally living it up. Touch wood.
So glad that you are part of such a progressive family, Ritu.
What a thought-provoking article. Look at aunty the way she stayed for a long long time without asking anything in return because her husband instructed her to do so, he did not allow her to chill, hang out, enjoy her own freedom but now she is free. She freed herself from the control and she wants to live her life. Is she mad? Most of the women are mad in this case, even the Afgan women too..
Thank you for reading, Pamela.
This was very relatable. Society has set rules. If the women do not follow it, they are called mad. My family supported me when I started blogging at 70+. Not everyone is so lucky.
Wow, it’s a great article. I really like your style of writing. it to my favorites blog.
Very thought provoking post. That aunty has taken life into her control and she started living it to the fullest. I wish to pass this message to at least the ones who are close to me. But I do know, they wouldn’t even entertain talking about it.
I’ve come across many such women who were controlled by their men and had no clue how to do things other than run a family. One such women, had to learn everything from scratch just like your Aunt. It’s a wonder what life can teach us at what point…
When you stop behaving in the way people expect you people become judgemental and say what not. I only wish that more of us become mad and live our life to the fullest.
I love this ‘madness’….hope many women go mad like this. It is a blessing if you can be yourself and do things that bring you joy and if your partner supports this. I feel this is something basic that we need to do as humans and not try to control others just to enforce our rules. There are many women who are completely dependant on their husbands and left lost when they lose them. This could be to control the women or done out of an overdose of love (I know a few like too) where the men want to do everything for them. I know of a woman who is doing very well at work and handles so much responsibility. But she was clueless about so many things when it came to running her home or even her bank accounts (she was never denied anything or the money. infact always had excess. she never wanted the responsibility and was thankful that her husband handled it all). Unfortunately, he passed away recently very unexpectedly. So she is having to learn everything now.
After reading this I can say that I’m mad. It’s saddening to see women adjusting and letting go. Of what they like for the partner. I’m glad that she chose go live life as she wished.
Such an inspiration Aunty is! In our society many women go through this on their lives, frankly it’s the same here with my mother in-law her food, clothes everything is decided by the male members of the family. Thankfully, my husband is very supportive and I have my own say in everything which is often seen as wrong behaviour or as labelled “Mad”. I hope one day all women will be labelled “Mad” and will be liberated.
This kind of madness that I love. I am a madwoman and it’s true sometimes being yourself comes with a price. Loved how you presented your thoughts.
You have no idea how relatable is this post. Madness is a societal construct. Who draws the line anyway? And if it’s as liberating as this, then yes, everyone should be mad!
This is such a thought provoking Post with the message to live your life until you can. The most powerful lines in this post is -“When you decide to live your life your way, without being answerable to ‘society’, you could be called ‘Mad’. “
That’s a lovely story! I believe as writers, all of us are at least slightly mad!
This is not just a story but a real life phase of many women. But it’s a learning that without any thought of society we should live our life on our own rules.
This is such an endearing story. No wonder an unleashed woman is often termed as a ‘mad’ woman. Beautifully written.