Mangalsutra as annoyance repellent?
sixrivets
India > India Travel Basics > India Travel > Scams and Annoyances in India
#1
| Senior Member

Mangalsutra as annoyance repellent?

Okay, I'm past my prime, but I am a woman traveling alone, and I'd like to temper my irrepressible gregariousness with some outward sign that I'm not to be messed with. I am, effectively, married, so I suppose I'm entitled to wear a mangalsutra. If anybody's tried this, has it had any effect other than decorative?

22 Replies

#2
| Maha Guru Member
As far as I am aware the mangalasutra is restricted to the South and West of India. In the North sindoor in the hair-parting is the sign of being married.
And as for persisitent annoyers - they won't be repelled by any such symbols. You have to carry a spiked umbrella wherever you go.
#3
| What, me worry?
How about a plain old (fake) wedding ring? I think most people in India would recognize that as a sign of being married.
It's always darkest before it goes completely black.
#4
| Loud Noisy Bird
mangalsutra, is often worn hidden inside the clothing anyway, although the string to which it is attached can still be a give-away. Other indicators of marriage include, but are not limited to... toe rings, wedding rings, kumkum (red powder) applied in the central parting of the hair or at the top of the forehead.
Okay, I'm past my prime...

Not according to your avatar picture
...I'm not to be messed with.

Oh right... forget I said that then :laugh:
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#5
| Clueless

Originally posted by: Nick-H View Post


Not according to your avatar picture


Tsk Task How fast people forget .... Remember sub prime :D
#6
| In Dog I Trust

Originally posted by: nadreg View Post

How about a plain old (fake) wedding ring? I think most people in India would recognize that as a sign of being married.



I wonder what fraction of Indians would even know what a wedding ring is!


Be that as it may, I concur with Golghar:

... as for persisitent annoyers - they won't be repelled by any such symbols.

.
#7
| Senior Member
As others already pointed out, mangalsutra is only worn in certain parts of India, not very visible, and married women are supposed to wear other signs / ornaments too, so at the end of the day, it will not really 'help'. On the other hand, if you like wearing it, why not? Mind you, some mangalsutras are very expensive, so be careful not to draw the attention of potential criminals.

As a woman who travelled a lot in India on my own, I can tell you that men who try to 'bother' you do not care whether you are married or not. Also, most Indian women in your (and my) age group are married, so people are likely to automatically assume you are, but might bother you anyway. What would help: if you had a male standing right next to you, especially if the person is 6" tall and scary looking! Otherwise, annoying men will not worry about you having a husband somewhere far away.

After a while, you are likely to develop a way of walking / facial expression that will indicate that you are not to be messed with. This will work better than any sindoor, mangalsutra, toering, bindhi, wedding ring etc.
'Enlightenment is not a matter of having answers, but a matter of having no questions.' (I.D. Garuda)
#8
| Senior Member
Ah, Nick, you made me blush.

As a big-city girl I developed the don't-mess-with-me walk and look early, and it's quite effective. My problem is that I love to talk to (actually, listen to) strangers. Anybody and everybody. Waiting for traffic lights, in the supermarket line, you name it.

Anyhow, I didn't realize that mangalsutra were pretty much hidden. So there goes that idea. Guess I will have to rely on my little bitty Ka-Bar LDK...
#9
| Miles to Travel Before I Die

Originally posted by: Golghar View Post


And as for persisitent annoyers - they won't be repelled by any such symbols. You have to carry a spiked umbrella wherever you go.


:D:D :cool:
[/FONT][FONT="Century Gothic"]| One Night at Punyalakshmi |
#10
| Senior Member

Originally posted by: sixrivets View Post

As a big-city girl I developed the don't-mess-with-me walk and look early, and it's quite effective. My problem is that I love to talk to (actually, listen to) strangers.


Big-city walk and look will be more than enough. When you talk to people, men or women, they are very likely to ask if you are married; this is a standard question. Then they might ask where is your husband etc. So if you wish, you can say you are married and, if you are talking to a man who makes you feel uncomfortable, you can also say your husband is in the next shop and just coming etc., or he is in the hotel and you need to go because he is waiting for you. This worked for me in the past, if I did not want to be rude to people but wanted to get out of an uncomfortable situation.
'Enlightenment is not a matter of having answers, but a matter of having no questions.' (I.D. Garuda)
#11
| Senior Member
I wore a fake wedding band and no one seemed to notice it (other than fellow tourists). I was hit on daily,and for the most part it wasn't a big deal. There was a couple times it was over the top,like being offered a masage with a "happy ending ":rolleyes: or rude comments while eating a banana. [whoa]

Otherwise it was simple dinner invites,and nice compliments like how beautiful I looked in my Indian clothes,or a nice compliment on my smile.

I would point to my ring and say "married". I would often hear,well your husband is not here,or if I had a happy marriage why would he let me go to India alone.:rolleyes: There was also a hotel boy who dropped to his knees and with such desperation professed his love for me.:confused:

I had one occassion when my gut was telling me "something is very wrong " so I faked a call with my "husband" and told him where I was and pretended he was on his way. Sunglasses are fabulous to hide behind when you feel uncomfortable.

Oh,by the way,you are not anywhere near past your prime. Your just beautiful Sixrivets. :)
#12
| Humble servant of the self
None whatsoever! Though as a negative, it may also attract the chain snatchers. There is nothing that will stop such annoyances, apart from the attitude one carries.
If you find my posts confrontationist, please bear, I am an old frustrated guy who has nothing better to do than sit on rocking chair and curse the world whole day
#13
| Maha Guru Member
Yes, as Jitu points out it may well attract the wrong attention. My spouse had hers snatched in a Goan rail station. After a few seconds we roared with laughter as she belongs to a weirdo (for India) sect that doesn't like expensive jewelry. The loss of a fake mangalsutra put us back 40 Rupes. On a foren lady I think, if it is noticed at all, it will just be taken as a hippie affectation, pagul videshi, etc. Its culturally dissonant..
#14
| Maha Guru Member

Originally posted by: sixrivets View Post

Okay, I'm past my prime, but I am a woman traveling alone, and I'd like to temper my irrepressible gregariousness with some outward sign that I'm not to be messed with.


Do not try to "make friends" with the run-of-the-mill Indian man, don't smile at men on the street (in fact, don't smile on the street), and if you are having a conversation (like on the train), don't look men in the eye. Hang out with the women whenever possible.
The map is not the territory. --Alfred Korzybski
#15
| Member

Originally posted by: wonderwomanusa View Post

Do not try to "make friends" with the run-of-the-mill Indian man, don't smile at men on the street (in fact, don't smile on the street), and if you are having a conversation (like on the train), don't look men in the eye. Hang out with the women whenever possible.


It is true. don't smile or try to talk to any man - Most of them, feel you are interested in them. They try to help you/ talk to you more than you expect but be careful, there 'll be bad intention more. It may be inevitable some times, but do not continue or prolong the conversation and do not let them follow you to help except giving information.