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You CAN check my e-mail: New relationship rules!

Last updated on: March 7, 2011 19:06 IST
Gone are the days when the man of the house was in charge of the car

From cradle snatching to teenage sex, this new generation of Indians doesn't mind letting the girl be in charge.

As India is swiftly embracing the West in every possible way it was only a matter of time that the rules of modern-day relationships and marriages would change forever.

So, the right-wing brigade notwithstanding, here's how many young Indian couples choose to live their lives -- rewriting old norms and sticking a thumb up the noses of those who refuse to change.

Getting your girlfriend to drive you somewhere

Gone are the days of chunnu de munnu de puppa di gaddi when the man of the house was in control of the car as the wife sat next to him demurely with a pallu over her head.

Cut to present where our hero quite willingly settles into the navigator's seat as his girl gets behind the wheel and decides venue for the dinner.

Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh

Women can earn more and it's not a problem

Last updated on: March 7, 2011 19:06 IST
If your wife earns more than you, be proud of it

Last year in the US, women overtook men as the dominant workforce. And in a matter of a couple of decades, janitor and IT engineers would be the only jobs that men would dominate.

While a similar scenario may not occur in India anytime soon thanks to our sex ratio -- 913 girls for 1000 boys -- it isn't blasphemy anymore for the lady of the house to earn more than her husband!

After all, with girls scoring more than boys in practically every exam, every single year, it'd be a surprise if she'd stay back and let the man struggle with his finances!
And given how lazy Indian men are, we suppose many of us wouldn't even mind giving up our jobs to 'support' our wives, wouldn't we? Wink wink

Women also pay bills and foot the tab for nights out

Last updated on: March 7, 2011 19:06 IST
Waiters know who wears the pants in the house

Some may call it the end of chivalry as we read in books and watched in the movies, others may say it's blasphemy but a woman footing the tab for a night out with a guy isn't abnormal.

With women earning more than men, it isn't unusual for the waiter -- believe us they know who wears the pants -- to leave the check on her side of the table rather than yours.

Feminism surely has its plus points, especially when it's the last week of the month.

Women make the first move

Last updated on: March 7, 2011 19:06 IST
Women won't mind making the first move even as we hang around like dodos by the bar

Let's face it, despite all our bravado most of us are such sissies, the best we can do is wring our hands and watch the girl being swept away by some lousy competition.

Women on the other hand won't mind walking up to you and quite simply asking you out. Chances are we'd be so tongue-tied they'd have us at 'hello' any way.

She's older to you... by a decade!

Last updated on: March 7, 2011 19:06 IST
Crade snatching is not uncommon among women these days

Madonna's latest toyboy is Brahim Zaibat -- 20 years her junior. The 24-year-old dancer shocked his mother when he revealed to her that his girlfriend was in fact older than her by eight full years!

Madonna isn't alone Demi Moore is older than Ashton Kutcher by over 16 years!

Sure you may say it only happens in the West but with the centre of power slowly but surely shifting towards the fairer sex, cougars are more common than ever before.

And while the age difference in today's Indian couples may not be as drastic as in the West an older woman-younger man relationship isn't necessarily frowned upon. Example? Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan, Shilpa Shetty and Raj Kundra, Anjali Tendulkar and Sachin Tendulkar, Farah Khan and Shirish Kunder do you even want us to go on?

Women's careers are not necessarily secondary to their partner's anymore

Last updated on: March 7, 2011 19:06 IST
The career graph of a woman is as important as that of her man

Wall Street Journal writer Geeta Anand had an understanding with her husband. As a family, their first two moves would be for his career and their next two for hers.

While it isn't always a norm here, many men are now willing to take a step back so their wives can take centre stage and bask in the glory they deserve.

Geeta Anand for instance went on to write The Cure, a book that was later made into a major film starring Brendan Fraser and Harrison Ford.

Kitchen and housework no longer off limits for men

Last updated on: March 7, 2011 19:06 IST
Get ready to roll your sleeves and get into the kitchen too

Needless to say this comes as a by-product of the previous two points.

With women taking more responsibilities outside of the house kitchen is no longer a woman's territory so much so that even advertisements featuring men wearing a chef's cap aren't very rare these days.

So don't be surprised if your daughter-in-law tells your son to toss up dinner over the weekend or asks him to sew the button of her shirt.

Children are as much the husband's responsibility

Last updated on: March 7, 2011 19:06 IST
Wham, bam thank you ma'm... erm... not really

Just because she's carried the little one for nine months doesn't mean she has to take care of it for the rest of her life!

What holds true for the general mess in the house holds true for the kids too -- you take charge of what you create.

DINKS are becoming more of a norm than exceptions

Last updated on: March 7, 2011 19:06 IST
Life can be so peaceful without kids

Family planning slogans in India over the years are telling examples about the changing Indian mindset.

For those of you old enough to remember the popular slogan 'Do ya teen bachche hote hain ghar mein achche' might quite simply be aghast by the idea of DINK or Double Income No Kids couples.

Then again with growing inflation and in times when your net worth is measured by the amount of onions you own, even 'hum do hamare do' is becoming a laughable idea too.

As a poet quite eloquently put it:

Man hands on misery to man. / It deepens like a coastal shelf. / Get out as early as you can, / And don't have any kids yourself.

It's okay to move out of your parents' home after marriage

Last updated on: March 7, 2011 19:06 IST
Imagine doing it being fully aware that your bro-in-law is wide awake in the next room

Imagine sharing a three-room apartment with seven strange people you've never met before and probably will never get along with!

It never ceases to amaze many of us how our mothers coped with their husband's family and possibly that is one of the major reasons why we insist on making our own nest before or soon after we tie the knot.

C'mon can you ever be able to have sex knowing that someone strange you've just met is sitting in the next room watching television?!?

Couples' therapy is no longer only for fruitloops

Last updated on: March 7, 2011 19:06 IST
It's okay to visit a counsellor

Sure its fun to make love on the kitchen floor but going solo comes with its share of issues -- there's no one to talk to, no elder to seek advice from and no real support system.

So don't be surprised if your kids and their spouses are seeking professional help to sort out issues in their marriage.

After all despite all you believe no relative or friend can ever be as objective as a counselor, isn't it?

Joint bank accounts are a big no-no

Last updated on: March 7, 2011 19:06 IST
Never, ever invest jointly. You never know where life will take you

Call it trust issue or plain pragmatism. Fact remains that modern couples are so fiercely independent they also like to keep their money that way.

Joint accounts often lead to fights when one withdraws money without letting the other person know. Everyone knows money breeds discontent so why get the green stuff become a bone of contention in a perfectly happy situation?

Checking each other's e-mail accounts is no longer a breach of privacy

What holds true for bank accounts, doesn't hold true for email accounts.

With couples being fairly open to each other about their past flings and financial transactions, it's perfectly fine to share your email password with your partner and request him/her to access when you cannot!

It is however downright cheap to access it behind his/her back. If you do, there's something not right with you or the relationship.

In which case, refer to point number 11 and hit a search for a counselor.

Teenage sex is no longer a taboo

Last updated on: March 7, 2011 19:06 IST
Chances are your kid has gone the whole hog. So be prepared

If the Ministry of Women and Child Development has its way 12-year-old children will be legally permitted to have non-penetrative sex with children their age.

While the bill hasn't as yet been passed, just the fact that it has been introduced and sent to the states for their views says much about where India as a society is heading.

The truth is that teenage sex is no longer a taboo with boys and girls barely out of school openly experimenting with their sexuality.

Sure this must get the hackles of a lot of you up. But hey, haven't you heard about changing times?

Let us both please get an AIDS test done

Last updated on: March 7, 2011 19:06 IST
Skeletons have a nasty habit of tumbling out of the closet

You go to a bar, get sloshed, get drunk and wake up the next morning next to a stranger.

This might have seemed like a scene from a Hollywood movie up until a few years ago. Not any longer though.

With more young women and men willing to have one-night stands and getting into relationships of convenience, it makes immense sense to undergo and more importantly get your partner to undergo an AIDS.

After, all ghosts of the past -- especially promiscuous ones -- do have a way of catching up with you, don't they?

Okay for a girl to wear revealing clothes even after she's married

Last updated on: March 7, 2011 19:06 IST
Many of us don't mind being seen next to our scantily clad girlfriends

Remember how Fatakdi Firoza whose never-ending legs always made even the longest skirts look short suddenly turned demure damsel the moment she got married?

Too bad for Firoza because had she been born in the right decade she'd probably be making you weak in your knees right into her 50s!

Unlike our parents' generation that believed marriage was a way to tame wild girls many of us on the other hand don't mind being seen next to our scantily clad girlfriends some of us even encourage them.

Why? Maybe it is our desire to be seen as 'modern' or -- and this is more likely -- we simply enjoy the attention we get when we walk into the room with a hottie as our arm candy. No?

Besides, who knows maybe some hot girl friend of hers might just walk up to the two of you in the bar and then :-)