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New Wives’ Tales

Non-resident Indian wives are feeling the pressure too. It’s not easy to be a trailing spouse - loneliness, lack of a career and general loss of purpose take a toll on your relationships

2/2/2016 2:52:29 PM
written By : Nithya Subramanian Print

Life was a bed of roses or so thought Rupika (44), who had been living in Singapore for over 10 years now. Her husband, Shitij (47) was pursuing a dream career, head of a world-renowned brand, with an income and bonus enabling them to lead a life of luxury – a splendid apartment in one of the city’s posh enclaves, top-of-the line car, international schooling for their children and lavish holidays – things that they perhaps would not have enjoyed had they lived in India.

But often things don’t seem as they are seen. A chance glance at Shitij’s mobile phone when he left it unattended sowed the seed of suspicion. Rupika started examining her relationship closely. While apparently things had not changed – her husband continued to maintain his jovial self, occasionally showering expensive gifts on his ‘dedicated’ wife, little did the wife know that these were being bought in ‘pairs’. But the nagging suspicion didn’t leave Rupika and she decided to hire a private eye to check on her husband’s movements. Within a fortnight, her fears were confirmed – Shitij was cheating on her, even taking a pretty young junior colleague on his “working trips”.

Stories such as these are not new in the expat community and are becoming increasingly common among the Non-resident Indians (NRIs) who have moved in droves to Singapore in the last 10-12 years. According to data available with India Se, nearly half of the Indians living in Singapore are expats and the combined NRI wealth is estimated to be US$25 billion. 

The profile of the expat Indian wife may be slightly different from that of their western counterpart. Though many of them come from a middle class background, there was always a focus on education. According to Jayati Bhattacharya, Lecturer, South Asian Studies Programme, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore. “It may be difficult to quantify the degree holders, but most of the wives who accompany their husbands to Singapore have graduate, masters and /or other professional degrees.”

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