Suddenly I hear all this talk about how I am ‘bad girl” and a disgrace to my family b/c I am not married.

Another email… and this one is from Australia. 

Dear Indian Homemaker,

I am long time lurker and reader (not a contributor)  I read your blog and thank you for helping me understand the Indian pyche.
A bit about me- I am a 3rd generation Indian Australian. My parents are from the UK originally. So the links to the ‘motherland’ are a not really that strong as to be expected.
I have spent all my life outside India, wasn’t even born there.
Yet as I am now in my 30s (the horror) and unmarried my parents have become almost strangers. Suddenly I hear all this talk about how I am ‘bad girl” and a disgrace to my family b/c I am not married. Not to mention what a bad example I am for other members of my extended family and my sisters.

The interesting part is that I have always thought I was a good person. I hold masters level qualifications in my field, have a good job, donate to charity, pay my taxes and am kind to animals. That is something I like about your blog btw the pictures of animals.🙂

I was wondering whether any of your readers could give me some suggestions on how to deal with the constant pressure. It’s not to say I havent tried. I joined matrimonial sites. But to date nothing. In fact I have been rejected by a number of men because I am not “indian” enough. It is very strange.  My mum’s latest line is to tell me that ‘if i was a proper indian‘ I wouldnt be in this mess.

I am not sure what ‘proper indian’ means. But I guess I am a disgrace to my family. That is a bitter pill to swallow. My immediate family members can’t understand  why am I not interested in marrying ‘someone from India’ usually on a student visa whose visa is running out. There are unfortunately a lot of them around.

So, does any one have ideas for me? I am loathe to think that this is the be all and end all for me. But everyday I lose a bit more hope.

Thanks ever so much and I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,
Not Indian Enough

63 thoughts on “Suddenly I hear all this talk about how I am ‘bad girl” and a disgrace to my family b/c I am not married.

  1. The problem is not yours, its your parents problem they cant understand… Marriage is not the do all end all in this world… I wouldn’t listen to my parents and carry on my merry way… the day I feel I have found someone worth to marry I wouldnt back out but till then I might as well live the way I like… Since you are independent in most regards it should be easy to do as well…

    Be stubborn about what is right…

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      • Honestly, THIS is the best idea- IT’S NOT YOUR PROBLEM what your parents think of you. Repeat it to yourself daily.

        Try explaining your point of view/show them the email you sent.

        Do you live with them? If you don’t , getting rid of their constant guilt-tripping is easy, just keep interaction to a minimum, and don’t react to anything they say- and end the conversations politely but quickly.
        If you live with them, I would suggest moving out. If that’s not possible, then try and stay out of the house for as long as is possible.

        And finally, quit looking for a guy if the only reason you’re doing so is to please them.
        If you are in fact interested finding someone,then it’s all the MORE important to tune them out- you’re more likely to ‘settle’ or pick the wrong guy when you are so stressed!
        And finally, if I may say so, don’t take their help to pick your partner. They are inherently biased as they have a a. a huge difference in thinking and b. conflict of interest- the ‘right’ guy v/s the ‘first’ guy.

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  2. i think there will be many men who would not be indian enuf, i m sure you will find one soon enuf.
    May b IHM can make a matrimonial section on this site, lot of singles here

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  3. Education and financial independence is supposed to offer a hedge against these situations in the sense that you have an escape route if you need one. It is always hard when people you love and who you expect to love you unconditionally suddenly turn against you. But at least, practically if not emotionally, you’re in a position to tell them to take a hike. So do that. Have one conversation where you explain your point of view and make it clear that irrational taunts will not be tolerated. You could also explain that the India they left is not the same today and that there plenty of girls happily unmarried at 30, who do find someone later or sometimes don’t. Also that if someone rejects you for not being Indian enough – which really means conservative enough – you’re better off than with being with someone who will make you unhappy. You may also ask your parents whether they are interested in your happiness or their own, and that as adult who has been raised well by then, you are capable of judging now what will make you happy though their input, if it is constructed, will always be considered. I don’t think you even need to be on marriage websites if you don’t want to be, just because of pressure from parents. Like the slogan for drugs – just say no!

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  4. It is sad that women are not considered human by majority of Indians, whether local or ‘phoren’. That they should be considered a commodity, a burden that has to be carried until they can be ‘married off’ for after all, they ‘belong to someone else’. Please, THINGS belong to someone, human beings don’t. They are their own person, with as much of a right to think for themselves as those who are actually considered human- the privileged males! It is this pressure by society and parents that finally makes women cave in get married to someone totally unsuitable. And then regret it for the rest of their lives.

    When will parents stop perpetuating the same vicious cycle that they too have been victims of?😦

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  5. Dear LW,

    Having your parents call you a disgrace is hard, but having your husband’s parents call you a disgrace is even harder.

    If you really are a long time lurker of this blog, you probably should know the kind of mess you could have been in if you were a “proper” Indian.

    Thank your stars, tune out your mom /family members who think they know what’s best for you and never settle for less.

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  6. Dear LW

    You are not a disgrace to your family. Your family is a disgrace to you. They are putting social status over your well being, even suggesting you marry someone who wants to marry you mostly for visa issues.

    You could sit down and talk to them about your well being and how rushing into marriage with anyone just because you hit 30 can be extremely harmful to your future. But also realize that they may not understand. In that case you would have to take a tough decision and cut them off from your circle of advisers because obviously they do not have your well being at heart.

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  7. you are not disgrace to your family.

    Your family is disgrace to you because they cant understand and support you and your example just proves that how it is so difficult for any Indian to not be hypocrite and live life peacefully.

    When people talk about pressure here, I don’t understand why they feel so helpless and frustrated, because you some body piece of your mind. Along with asking immediate family too to convey that “Bad notion” about concept of marriage and arranged marriage, extended family’s open talks will become murmurs.

    Now if someone is so sensitive about even for murmurs then better they get married according to others so called guidelines.

    Everyone loves their family but one need to identify when this love get lost in this kind of so called “pressures”

    My wishes for your survival.

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  8. Hiya OP,

    I wanted to delurk and comment here because it struck a chord with me – I’m 29 and live in Aus too and was brought up here in Melbourne. I guess you could say I’m not traditionally “Indian” as well, despite my parents clinging to the traditions and culture they were brought up with. It’s not an uncommon thing given we have lived our lives in a different way.

    I married a non-Indian with a different culture/religion too because I knew that I couldn’t/wouldn’t do the arranged marriage thing or even really consider the boys that were touted to me from various “well-meaning” family friends. I made it very clear to my parents that I wouldn’t and trust me, I was also subjected to the “disgrace” and “not proper Indian” guilt-trip as well (not hugely instigated by my parents but extended family and snide family friends which in turn influenced my family). But I have found as I have moved out, and gotten older my relationship with my parents has changed – they respect and love my husband (at times more than me it seems!!) and also my opinions/ideals – even when it clashes with their own (e.g. I refuse to do karvachauth, look “married” haha and drink like a fish :P)

    I agree with The Bride’s comment and I might sound biased, but as you sound like an independent, educated woman – so why is one) getting married such a big deal given it sounds like you have a happy and fulfilling life and two) why only Indians? In fact, more and more of the Indian women (friends, family friends etc) I know have married non-Indians. If you are looking for someone, isn’t a suitable, compatible person to you matter the most??

    I’d suggest talking to your parents about this – you are an ADULT and entitled to live your own life. Woman – if you haven’t left home by now – do it!! Having your own space and independence makes all the difference and allows you to focus on your life.

    If the ties to tradition haven’t been that strong, so why are they expecting to go down the traditional matrimonial route? It seems that they are pushing you in a more of a “what will society say”, and I am sure deep down they know you are fine and are happy they way you are.

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  9. Do tell your parents that the India of their imagination doesn’t exist – or at least – is not the only reality. There are plenty of us even in India, who get married in their 30s, marry out of caste/religion/community/even nationality, and a small number who choose not to get married too. Luckily for you, you are financially independent and don’t need to listen to them with any level of seriousness. Even if it is your parents, don’t let them put you down.

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    • Indian of her parents imagination exists! Much worse then anyone can imagine.. I believe only a few % of the girls are coming out..but joint the bandwagon and add to the number, we definitely don’t need that India !

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  10. Indians play the “bad child” “disgrace on family” cards for everything:

    a) bad grades in school
    b) not taking up a viable socially acceptable major in college
    c) drinking/smoking
    d) living in with opposite sex
    e) not getting married, getting married to someone your parents dont approve
    f) not staying married
    g) not adjusting after marriage
    h) not being straight
    i) being a victim of sexual violence
    j) moving out

    Bottom line: Grow a thicker skin. When you arent affected by what they say, the disparaging comments will disappear in time

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    • Also, being 3rd generation Australian,means you will never be a ‘proper Indian’.
      You’re Australian for Pete’s sake.

      I grew up in the Middle East and now live in the US, if my parents ever played the ‘not Indian enough’ card, I’d ask them why they left their motherland and made me grow up in a foreign environment if they wanted me to be more Indian.

      And your parents are from the UK… If they cant assimilate, doesnt mean you shouldnt.

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  11. //I am not sure what ‘proper indian’ means
    Behave submissive and maybe wear a sari with your pallu reaching your knees.

    Just stop listening to everyone around you. If your parents are troubling you too much, just have a heart to heart with them and let them know that you will not listen to all this anymore. And why don’t you just date and find a guy yourself (if you want to get married)? Arranged marrige should not even exist in the dictionary of a 3rd generation Indian Australian. That too is ‘proper Indian’.🙂

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  12. Dear “Not Indian Enough”
    I was born in India, and grew up here mostly. I wore salwar suits and touched my elders feet and all the general stuff Indian girls are supposed to do – albeit after questioning why only I’m required to, and not my brother…

    And I faced the same kinda rap from my folks when I was 28 and still single. Thankfully for them and for me, I met a guy I liked and fell head over heels for (via a matrimonial site) and married him at 29. They were so “grateful” to the guy for ‘agreeing to marry’ me .. they actually thanked him!!! Seriously!

    I dont think it has anything to do with your “Indianness”.. More to the do with your being a well educated, independent, thinking woman. You see, that’s not acceptable in Indian culture.

    I’d say just hang in there. Grow a thick skin. Stand up for yourself. Live life the way you want. Yes, it comes at price. You’ll have to choose what you value more – your parents/society’s approval by marrying who-ever comes along; or living life on your own terms.

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  13. “My immediate family members can’t understand why am I not interested in marrying ‘someone from India’ usually on a student visa whose visa is running out. There are unfortunately a lot of them around.”
    That very line rang fire alarms in my head for this is something I will STRONGLY discourage you to do. I have lived in Australia and I am very well aware of the (i mean, most NOT all) people on temporary visas (including student visa) who marry people with permanent visas or citizenship of Aus only for the sake getting a permanent visa. It is a BIG trap and I personally know people who have suffered miserably cause of it.

    As far your family’s pressure on marrying an Indian I’d suggest, not to pay any heed to them and please don’t yield under any form of emotional blackmail. It is your life and it should totally be your decision whom you wish to spend your life with when you want to get married.

    When people who have lived all their lives in India find it impossible to decide on their prospective spouses in an arranged marriage setup, I can only hint you the infinite difficulties you are trying to get yourself into by finding a life partner from this kind of arrangement.

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    • Yes,they will only marry you for the residence permit and as soon as they can recieve permenant one and no longer need you they will dump and divorce you. Either your family members are looking to recieve money from them for getting to stay in australia or they are really dangerously naive. Please do not even for a second consider marrying someone because of their visa problems!

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  14. There is a very simple solution. Since you are independent in every way just continue doing what you like to do, live your life the way it makes you happy. Getting married to make your parents and relatives happy will only leave you to deal with it. Incase you get holed into guilt trips and get married to someone you are not happy with , only you will be left to deal with it. If you plan to get out of the marriage thesame relatives will label you unindian again. Your parents will ask to adjust. So just stay away from that road. Don’t even bother listening to or putting your views across to relatives. Live your life the way you want to. You can talk to your parents. If they understand your point of view then its well and good, if they don’t then there is nothing you can do about it so don’t ever let that make you feel guilty. Get married if only u want to, when you want to whom who you want to. If you feel you are happy in your life and don’t need marriage then just continue with your life. Do whatever makes you happy.

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  15. Dear bad girl,
    if you married into a traditional Indian family, if you chose to cloister yourself in a sari, flank jewellery and adopted the sindoor-bindi-choodi routine, if you made endless meals and served them yourself to your family that ate before you, if home and domestic chores came first and foremost to you, if you woke up before everyone and slept after everyone did, served your hubby as and when he pleases, if you learnt to be apologetic for your every need and problem, if you learnt to deal with all unwelcome family talks/comments/jibes aimed at you and your family with equanimity, if you did all of this and more, would you be happy?
    Would it make the woman in you (competent, independent, liberated among many other fab things) feel more accepted?
    If society sees your happiness as a burden, will you walk with it?
    Your parents, I am sorry to say, are looking to unburden their misery, the source of which is misplaced truths about the society. They can walk away from their responsibility by marrying you off. Can you? If any of the above stands true of your marital life, who will you blame? And, will it be enough? Will that make you happy? Don’t think it won’t happen to you in a family that endorses its ‘modern’ thinking. Society has given us no reason to believe those claims.
    Luv, Be yourself. Make mistakes, but make your own mistakes. The kind that are easier to own up.

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  16. Dear “Not Indian Enough”

    I would first congratulate you- for not getting married out of ur family or parents pressure!! Seriously, am happy for you. Bcoz me being 23, an Indian, got married recently and can you believe it? This marriage sucks big time!! Be happy that you are not in India- this tormenting would have started from the age of 23-24 only.

    And please do not fall for this Indian thing. There’s nothing like Indian or Australian marriage- Its all about two hearts falling in love and willing to stay together🙂 My sincere advise- Wait for that guy- Who sweeps you off your feet and makes you feel special-treats you like a princess. Trust me- Surely you will find out- Might be an Indian or a non-Indian. No big deal.

    Explain your parents that you are not a child and that if at all you had found that heart by now, you would have long back got married. So still being single clearly shows that you are waiting for him🙂 Convince them not to worry about your life as you can take care.

    Being an Indian and married to an Indian, what did it leave me with? Nothing- I had to leave my job to join my husband, sit at home and get bored, more than that- bear with a suspicious guy- and do you think your so called Indian parents will understand your problem? No-Never- all they say is this-adjust, compromise.. Society wont treat you well if you leave your husband, no respect for you-sacrifice your life for your parents. Huh.. so please do things according to your wish and will.

    All the best🙂 Hope you meet your Prince soon and have a wonderful life ahead🙂

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    • The bit about society not treating you well if you’re divorced — I’ve found that people treat you the way you treat yourself. If they see that you value and respect yourself, they’ll mostly treat you the same way.

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      • Absolutely biwo. Couldn’t agree more. There is no need to be apologetic about being a divorcee nor hide the fact for fear of social repercussion. Can you believe, I get envied at, because I told a so called ‘brave’ decision of divorcing my ex? You are what you are. Period.

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      • Exactly Nitwick. I’ve never understood why divorce is considered so revolutionary or “brave”. For me, the choice was between divorce and gradual depression/eventual suicide. The choice was a no-brainer really.

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  17. hey not so Indian….don’t worry, its not a disgrace at all because its not your fault that you were brought up in a different environment and expecting you to conform to things you haven’t ever understood is wrong….I can relate in part to your circumstance but you are right about not getting married to guys and let them reject you. you anyways don’t want someone who would not accept you entirely for what you are!!!

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  18. If you value yourself, there should be no one who lets you down.! Just the same story had started here, even though I just crossed my mid twenties.! I explained to mom and dad, how a traditional marriage and for that matter marriage did not figure in my list at this time.! Initially there were a lot of “ifs” and “buts” then they understood me.! We are a rigidly patriarchal society where girls must be married by 26 or 27.! And I am on my way to break that rule.! I believe no matter what, your parents are your own, if you sit with them and talk peacefully, they surely will understand.! Mine did.! Yours will someday.! Don’t disgrace yourself and demean yourself to feel worthless.! If you are not there for yourself, there will be no one.! TAKE CARE.! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL THE WAY YOU ARE, WHETHER YOU MARRY OR NOT.!

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  19. All my thoughts have already been expressed by others.
    I won’t repeat.
    If I were your parent, I would be proud of you.
    You would certainly not be a disgrace.
    Marriage will/may happen when the time comes.
    It can happen suddenly or it may take years.
    Either way, as long as you are gainfully occupied, financially independent and happy with yourself, you have no problem.
    As some others said, it is your parents who have a problem.
    Talk to them and convince them not to worry about you.
    So cheer up and simply be yourself and have no regrets.
    I wish you all the best and a proper and happy marriage in due course to the right person.
    I suggest that, (since your links to India are now rather weak), you don’t limit yourself to Indians while looking for a partner.
    Once you remove this nationality or race preference you will find it easier to find the right person.

    Regards
    GV

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  20. Dear Not Indian Enough,

    Hugs to you and I can totally dig (well almost) the situation you are in. It is sad how even 3rd gen Indians are hell bent upon retaining their identity as Indians and do not merge and become progressive in the society they live in😦

    It does not matter if you are Indian or not. I have lived most of my life in India and my parents all their life in India and still I am not at all Indian in my ideology.

    You are independent and do not fall into emotional blackmail.

    I have started experiencing this too and I am pissed off having to hear bullshit like:

    ” you are expected to get married”,
    “behave like you are from a respectable family”,
    “you have to get married”,
    “of course it is a person you choose and we are giving you freedom ( freedom my ass, what is choice in you have to get married? It is not choice, it is choice like multiple choice questions, few guys we choose according to nationality, state, caste, sub caste, sub sub caste, horoscope match, family match, income and age matching and we will let him talk to you to choose),
    “we gave you so much freedom and now you misuse it” (again excuse me? I am an adult. You need not give me any freedom. I have it. Yes you have not given me enough, I do not have freedom from your emotional drama, your snide comments and indirect pressure (just out of concern and love for me) to get married
    “we give you time till 2014, then you have to get married” – really, you give me time from my own life?!
    ” Look, dad will start crying if you do not marry”
    “We have known you all your life. I know how to blackmail you and make you do what i want when time comes.” – Knowing does not mean acceptance of who I truly am. Trust me, you do not even know me completely.
    “you have to convince us if you want to get married to someone you like and we may think about it” (unsaid but implied – he has to be of same race, nationality, state, caste, sub caste, sub sub caste as before)
    which again completely rules out existence of homosexuality
    “We do not care if you want a simple wedding, it depends on what the guy wants, not you.He may not be like you and he might be someone who respects his parents desires unlike you will have a grand wedding if they want”
    ” Look, all your friends are getting married”
    “Even I got married at your age. Your best friend got married. Because we had to. You cannot escape this”
    ” we are family you are answerable to us. you cannot do what you want”
    “be responsible and listen to us. get married”
    ” your parents were worried about your marriage since the day you were born”
    ” you cannot stop us worrying about your marriage. we are concerned. we love you. we are so worried. get married and we will be happy” – why hinge your happiness on my marriage
    ” arranged marriage is good. See, so and so is happy. why can’t you” – because it DOES NOT SUIT ME
    ” we know you are not ready to get married now, that is why we discussed and decided to give you 1 year time, so that you can mentally get you ready.” – Oh we are so nice to give you time unlike others
    ” do not marry some foreigner. as it is population of our caste is less. Do not marry out of caste” – well i am not responsible for my caste population problems. If you feel so strongly about it then who told you not to have 12 kids to increase population. And do you know genetics? Inbreeding leads to loss of health and strength of genes!
    ” how can you be so antimarriage?!” I am not anti marriage, I am pro choice I am not anti arranged marraige, suits you, go ahead and do it but that is not who I am or what i can live with

    But then all this in the name of progress is actually not real freedom. TO me, it is not accepting who I am, what I want, when I want. It is only one thing – you have to get married and marry among the guys we choose for you. We let you choose but we decide where you choose from.
    It is perpetuation of caste/religion/ traditions none of which I care about. All this from my close family, apart from all the stuff I need to hear from “well meaning” extended family and friends.

    So best thing is be financially independent, stay away from family and these Indian social circles and refuse to be emotionally blackmailed.

    Yes I am grateful and love my family and all but I did not sign a contract for life long slavery. I did not ask to be born. I am an adult to get married and have kids but not old enough to decide who when where if I want to marry?

    I see so many of my peer going through similar situations. Most bow into the pressure. Then they are used as good daughter examples, while I am disrespectful and bring dishonour. I refuse to give into emotional blackmail.

    Everytime I am troubled by this I meditate, imagine cutting off all connections with them energetically and ask myself:

    Do I love myself? Yes, then why should I do anything that makes me unhappy or for something I do not feel like doing at that point of time or that is not me? Why should I sacrifice my happiness forever to shut up some people however I may love them.

    Do I respect myself? – Yes, if I cannot stand for what I am and what I believe in, then why expect someone else.

    Am I honouring myself if I am doing what they want me to?

    Am I giving up who i am to please people? Am I allowing others to treat me disrespectfully? Are they honouring who i am or what they want me to be?

    Does all this mean they love who I really am or what they wish I was?

    Am I what they wish I was or something different? If I am different, 2 choices – give up who i am and marry from the guys they choose. Do not stop being who I am.

    What are the consequences of this? I give up who I am, I will be unhappy. I will be mighty angry. Depressed. I have lived with enough anger for not being to be open about who I really am or what I really think for years. Am I interested in repeating that? NO way.

    There answer clear. If someone cannot accept and love you for who you are, does not matter family or not, their problem, not mine.

    BECAUSE I AM NOT APOLOGETIC FOR WHO I AM. I DO NOT STEAL, I DO NOT BREAK THE LAW, I DO NOT KILL, I AM MORAL FOR MY STANDARDS. If that is not good enough for society, then problem with your hypocritical standards. Not mine. I HAVE NOTHING TO APOLOGIZE FOR.

    Why not try dating outside your race (if you are interest in marriage or dating, again your choice). That ensures that atleast your kids ( if you want them) can get rid of this social system coz getting married to an Indian ensures this bloody cycle perpetuates.

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    • Applause SoS. You know, meditation is the only way I have found out of this rotten, hyprocritical mode of living and thinking.

      I wish I could pass a law to force everybody to meditate, half our problems would be solved with just this one thing.🙂

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      • Apart from meditation, I find staying away from these circles makes you feel so much better. Get rid of anything toxic (relationships, people, things). If it hurts you why keep on being with them?

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    • Awesome!!!!!!!

      I am starting to hear some of this already though I am only 20! :O
      Bravo to you! I hope I can manage to be as strong when the pressure gets really strong!

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    • Your list of comments made me giggle. Been there, done that. I did exactly the same and cut those people off my life. I have even gone to the lengths of hanging up rudely on people when the M-word makes an appearance. If this continues any longer, one day I might actually slap someone for invading my privacy. That should be fun.

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  21. Dear ‘not Indian enough’,

    I stumbled upon this blog four days ago and I have not stopped reading it since then. I am finding it very therapeutic. I am in a similar situation to yours. I hit 30 this year and I am not married. The family (especially my mother) is driving me crazy with all the taunts.

    I have been working and living in UK for more than 10 years but my family lives in a metro city in India. I share your sentiments word for word. Every holiday in the last 2-3 years spent at my parents house has been a nightmare. I dread calling home every weekend now because I am scared about what new taunt I will hear this time.

    Having born in India and being bought up there for the first 19 years of my life, I am still not very Indian. I get the shock horror looks for example when I say things like ‘I don’t want to live with in-laws’ or ‘I don’t care who my kids marry as long as my kids are happy’. No one seems to understand how hard it is to move to another country alone, settle and do well. Instead of being proud of what I have achieved, I am getting abuse for being ‘too career minded’ from both my family and prospective grooms they have been suggesting. My mum has even said to me that ‘ if you were a guy, you would have married by now’ and ‘ if I was in India, they would have married me off by now.’

    I spoke to a guy two days ago, who was suggested by family. Even though right from the beginning I knew this would not work out, I felt emotionally bullied in to speaking with him as I have been for the last 4-5 years (of course family doesn’t understand they are pressurizing me). The guy was so awful that he ended up making cry on the phone for ‘not being Indian enough’ (at one point he said to me don’t forget you have a Hindu name and your are not ‘Rachael’!).He was 36, born in UK and had never been a relationship. It was so traumatic speaking to him that I didn’t sleep that night. I kept berating myself for not believing in my convictions and being strong enough to stand up to my family to let them know that I will marry who I want.

    For the last 4-5 years, I have been trying to find a guy who will fit with my family’s expectations (caste, religion etc etc) and in the process have missed some wonderful opportunities. Now when I am 30 they are blaming me for being picky and what not. I finally plucked some courage, after reading this blog, to say to my mother that I will find my own man as I don’t think my family will be able to find one I like. Needless to say, my mother went livid and started asking me ‘how many guys have I found myself that are suitable to day and I am extremely incapable of doing this’. Yes, she missed the irony, that out fear of being ‘a disgrace to my family’ I have been relying on them and so No- till now I have not found any.

    It breaks my heart to say that my once wonderful relationship with my parents is slowly disintegrating in front my eyes over this issue. I am dreading the day already when I will be introducing my prospective husband (if I ever find one) to them for the first time (especially if he turns out to be non-Indian!)

    Best wishes.
    SW.

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    • SW, perhaps meditation and yoga will help your parents. It has helped mine tremendously. Especially the technique of Vipassana.

      My mother began meditating a few years ago and it has transformed her. The same woman who had a major meltdown when my first long-term relationship ended accepted my divorce last year with near equanimity and loving compassion.

      I feared her earlier, I now turn to her for solace, comfort and support. Perhaps you could ask your parents to try meditation.

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    • On the other hand, they might decide to be happy that you are happy once they are done with the initial tantrums! Parents are strange animals – trust me, I am one myself😉

      I’d say you should totally find someone yourself. However long it takes.

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    • I dont really understand why parents go crazy about their daughter’s marriage. I do agree that its their precious little one’s life- accepted. But when they are planning to get her married, why dont they realize that their little one has grown old and matured enough to take her life further without them worrying? Fact remains same- They always feel she’s not capable enough to take care of her life- Which i totally disagree!!

      Like

      • Thanks so much GK, N, BWIO and SOS for your very helpful suggestions and support. Thanks to those too who read my post and liked it. I am so grateful that I have found some support system in wonderful members of this blog. I was nearly in tears when I was reading your responses. It can get very lonely out there sometimes – dealing with family on all this !

        Like

    • You are not alone, SW. My relationship with my parents was awesome at one point. But now, it is practically non-existent. It is not our fault. It is theirs for caring more about ‘log’ than their own daughters. It is very sad, but I have come to terms with it. You have too as well. This phase will pass too.

      Like

  22. It takes time to change, especially for parents in india and imersed in the society there. but not at this slow pace. we are not too bright and our generation needs to buck up and change things. We need to teach our kids that happiness is most important.

    Even my parents long long ago opposed my choice, i thnk it was initially shock, then fear of what people will say and when i refused to listen, it was anger at being defied. they were taught to blindly obey and having done that they expected us to do the same when time came, so my rebelling was a shock – a major shock and one that i have no doubt bought a lot of grief to my parents. I hate that i hurt them but at the same time i realised that their happiness cannot come at my expense .

    that’s what you have to understand. and slowly your parents will change. mine did not towards me. we never kept contact i actually saw them after 19 yrs – laid eyes on them at my brothers wedding surrunded by my sons and husband ( who was worried about the natak) cousins came over to say hi, 1 uncle apologized for not stopping the tamasha long ago and the entire hall couldn’t understand why my parents and extended family rejected my husband when they couldn’t find a match like that even in a million yrs???? seee memory of society is short, the same people who blamed me long ago seemed to think my parents were wrong now.
    it is not a question of who is right or wrong, every person is responsible for his/her own happiness.
    This situation will only change when we as parents change and teach our kids to value happiness and allow them to make choices befitting adults, basically it comes to trusting them, losing our own fears and insecurities and mostly not treating kids as our retirement plans.

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  23. Dear Not Indian Enough, you are better off not being Indian enough because if you were, you would have been married off long back into a patriarchal family. In the Indian society anyone’s business is everyone’s business. People here can rest in peace only when they know you are married. The next question that follows after this is “how many kids?”. You wait some more time and other personal questions will follow. All this is part of being Indian. It is difficult to find an Indian who will not come with his family baggage and conditioning.

    Refuse to buckle under societal pressure and marry only if, when and who you wish to. The choice should be yours. But be sure you do your homework well for there are many wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    Like

  24. What really strikes me is how powerful the Indian society and the psyche can affect you, no matter how far removed you are from it geographically or culturally. Here is an independent girl who was raised outside of India with all the exposure in the world, still feeling bad about her situation. You would think the single status wont affect a woman of today, especially one raised completely outside India. But it does. Or they make sure she feels it. I have known many single women in India who are single but dont feel the sting of society because they are raised in a family who doesn’t attach importance to your marital status. Hence they grow up to be happy individuals who also dont attach importance to marital status. So it seems it doesn’t matter where you were born and where you grew up, what really matters is the way your parents raise you, how much confidence they instill in you and how much their “values” affect you.

    My point is there are tons of women like “Not Indian Enough” (including myself) who truly are independent, exposed and love the lives we live. But we truly are NOT liberated emotionally because in some way the “being indian” crap does get to you. No matter how much you dont want it to affect you, it does. It makes you question yourself, your lifestyle, your values, etc, ect. I wonder how many more generations it will take to switch this around or if it ever will. If I ever have a kid, what I would want most is the ability to love and raise them as an individual who is happy and who does not have to second guess the way they live. And most importantly I wouldnt want my Indianess messing up the way they perceive themselves – weighing their life is a success or failure. I wouldn’t want my emotional inadequacies (wanting to constantly reach that unattainable standard the Indian society sets for you) to affect the way my child takes on life. It is so vicious.

    Like

    • “But we truly are NOT liberated emotionally because in some way the “being indian” crap does get to you. No matter how much you dont want it to affect you, it does. It makes you question yourself, your lifestyle, your values, etc,”

      – Excellent point. It is not being an Indian per se , but the imposition of values based upon what Indian culture is (well half the things we believe are indian are not true blue Indian, they are moghul invasion/british invasion leftovers like victorian morality) by people who have been conditioned into the system and all pervasive values imposed by society which fucks us up.

      Like

    • I often think of Indian society as a giant cyclone that sucks people in and spits them out, all bruised and broken.

      So many people waste precious time and energy feeling misreable because they’ve broken some unwritten social rule and therefore feel censured.

      Like

  25. @Not Indian Enough – What a sucky situation to be in (trust me, I know only too well)!! You’ll have to say no, put your foot down, and draw boundaries. Sometimes day after day. They’ll come around in the face of your relentlessness. If you show the slightest sign that they’re getting to you, they’ll use it to their advantage and play on your vulnerabilities. It sucks that FAMILY – a bunch of people you expect will love your unconditionally and be supportive of your choices – would do this to you, but such is the world. They’d rather control you than love you, except they SEE IT as love.

    It would be easier on you if you acted like the topic wasn’t even up for discussion. You’ve made up your mind, they can’t make you change it, and you wouldn’t like to waste your time talking about it. Act like it’s no big deal. And like it’s totally none of their business. WITHOUT getting angry and emotional. I know, it’s not easy. Just be completely dismissive of them.

    @IHM – Unrelated but v interesting article: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-06-21/divorce-lowers-risk-of-suicide-for-women-in-india-and-china

    Like

    • Well, it’s not surprising that divorced women are less likely to commit suicide. Living in an abusive or bad marriage can be extremely traumatic and is way more difficult compared to life as a divorced women, even with all the stigma and social censure attached to it.

      Like

  26. Dear Not Indian Enough,

    you are under absolutely no obligation to marry just to please your parents. You are responsible for your own happiness. They are responsible for their happiness. If they think they have to hinge their happiness to your marriage, it’s not your fault. It is their attitude and their mentality, nothing you ever forced on them. Don’t let them bully you into marriage if you don’t want it. You have just one life, so don’t throw it away. You are not a disgrace to your family. The disgrace is with the people who don’t respect you enough to let you make your own choices.

    Like

  27. Dear Not So Indian Enough,

    I am a 32 year old Indian woman living in Australia. I grew up in a small part of India and moved away and have lived and traveled abroad for a few years now. I am married to a man of my choice and thankfully never faced any pressure to get married from my parents because they never had the money to afford a marriage for me. Also I was extremely independent right from a very young age so made my own decisions.

    Moving to Australia has shown me how a lot of second/third generation kids here are confused about their Indianness. Indian parents move abroad and then force their kids to have an Indian life when the world outside that the kids see is anything but.

    We have a friend here who belongs to a caste where they don’t drink, eat non veg and even Garlic and Onions. He is 32 and was born here and there is extreme pressure from his parents to get him married. He meets girls from matrimonial sites that his parents think are Indian enough but when he finally meets the girl he finds that the Indian girls now a days to be too forward and progressive in their Indianess. Most girls do not want to live with the in laws, enjoy drinking and do not want so many restrictions on food.

    He still lives with his parents which means none of the local girls here want to date him as most kids move out of their parent’s home by the time they are 18. All his friends are Australians (non Indians) and drink, smoke and are independent and have girl friends or are married. He drinks, smokes and eats non veg which his parents don’t know about. A few months ago they found out that he eats Onion and Garlic and they pressurized him so much to give it up the poor guy almost lost his mind. His sister is the perfect daughter and he is the black sheep.

    He is confused because he does not want a typical Indian girl and has this image of the girl his parents want him to marry but then he never finds her. He must have seen around 400 – 500 girls in the past few years. Every time his family goes to India well meaning friends, relatives and wedding agents line up girls for him. He spends days of his precious holidays sitting in someone’s living room asking questions to girls who he says wear bad make up and only want to marry him for the visa.

    We see his facebook updates where he parties every weekend, crawls home at 4 – 5 am and then goes and does pooja, kirtan with his parents. And he still is looking for the right Indian girl.

    So please do not feel that you are the only one. Most kids born to Indian parents are confused and guilt ridden. If you do manage to find an Indian guy he would probably have the same issues as you do.

    All I would want my kids to do if I have them is just know their heritage and culture. They will live the Australian life because that is the life we have chosen for us and our family. I don’t want to have my Indianness forced on my child.

    I actually know someone young Indian parents here who do not eat beef/pork etc and nor does their 2 years old. So when the poor kid goes to a kinder garden where he is served food, he refuses to eat and throws tantrums because kids are served all kinds of meat here unless they are allergic. So the mother goes everyday with Tiffin in the afternoon for the child so the child eats PURE INDIAN food.

    I am sorry for this long rant but I hate this whole cycle. Why do people move abroad if you so value your indianness? And why the hell do you force it on your kids? And what Indianness do we talk about? The India were we burn our daughter in laws or molest young girls in public.
    So please do not let anyone emotionally bully you to do something you do not want. IT IS YOUR LIFE AND YOUR LIFE ALONE. NO ONE CAN LIVE IT FOR YOU. Put your foot down and tell your family to back off. Start dating so you can find someone you like. You seem like a smart and intelligent girl, sooner or later the right man would find the perfect girl that you are. And that would be your decision.

    Like

    • I get the confusion – it’s the bane of being ABCD’s haha. We’ve grown up with this haloed image of the motherland fed to us by our parents and the way they remember it. Then growing up in a society that clashes quite loudly with their ideals causes an immense amount of grief and confusion.

      I think traditions are fine and somewhere like Aus, these differences are generally accepted. Parents are only trying to do what they know and naturally look back onto the way they were raised – hence the ‘forcing’ of Indianness. In the end though, yes you have chosen a country that is broad in its ideals and standards. Heritage and culture is important but not at the cost of misery.

      I know so many people my age and younger who do the ‘perfect Indian child’ act in front of their parents and society and get up to no good behind their backs. So whenever my parents tried to pull that on me, I just gave them a raised eyebrow and asked them if they were being serious if they wanted me to consider these people my role models😛. It’s different with everyone, but I’ve seen my parents gradually accept this new way of living (which still can be shocked since I have a 17 year old brother and THAT generation is something else lol and makes me seem like I was an angel).

      I’m actually quite curious to see how the people of my generation will raise their kids given they all went through this guilt and confusion themselves.

      Like

      • Honestly speaking as I mentioned above the only Indianness my children will know is the heritage and maybe the food. Me and my husband are not the Typical Indian couple. One thing we are clear about is the life our child will have. We are not really religious although his parents are very very religious. Our child can decide if he wants to believe in god or not. Both of us drink and eat everything and we do not mix with the typical Indian crowd here in OZ either.

        They only have to respect people if those people treat them well not because they are related to them. And whether it is a boy or girl they need to know how to cook, clean, iron and look after themselves. I will never be the mother who will wait hand and foot for her children. My mom in law still does it. She gets
        shocked when my husband washes utensils.

        So yeah my kids would live the ozy life and be Australians not confused Indians born in Australia. And they will get sex education as soon as they can grasp it. No birds and bee shit. I would want them to make informed decisions for themselves. And they can marry anyone they want to ….

        Like

        • Ha exactly. Indian or not, isn’t that what we should be doing with our kids anyways? Being in a mixed faith relationship and not particularly religious anyways, it’s more important for me anyways, that the kids are good people. I think hopefully this generation will sort it out😀

          Like

  28. Not Indian enough son I was too when I didn’t take dowry, or fought for the rights of my sisters or didn’t socialize with people and don’t conform to their myriads of traditions which only meant exchange of money etc..and now not entertaining family/relatives in the way most of the sons in the family do. I forced my parents to marry of my sisters in inter-cultural weddings.. and at places tell them – you need to stop all this – just for the sake of the society.. and yet I know I was the only one who had done this in the last 20 years and rest of them continue with their feeble resolve to make any change, but always continue doing long discussion on how the world is changing and one needs to bring change to the social order. Often, I am told that your parents have done so much to you, why would you make them go through all this.

    However, I know I have bought lot of pains to my parents, but I also know that from my generation I have to stop this – else it will not change.. In the same way you have a responsibility to better life of future women who choose to be independent. You can maybe think of that as a small sacrifice you are making to hurt your parents. So, live your life!

    Take care

    Like

  29. I’m in more or less the same situation. My relationship with my parents and extended family are strained because according to them ” I refuse to marry”. How can I, when i only meet men like the ones mentioned on this blog?
    When i try to explain there aren’t any men, they obviously don’t believe me or see my point.
    I’ve stopped trying. I think “being Indian” according to them means a woman has to be submissive and ” adjusting” and “compromising”. All these are relevant to any relationship. One DOES need to adjust and compromise with another person. But in India, a woman is expected to strip off her whole identity, change everything she used to be until she got married, and ingratiate herself into another family, no matter what.

    If THAT is being Indian, then yeah, I’m not.
    If that means I have to be single all my life, well, so be it. I prefer that to ending up on a ditch somewhere for not having ironed the husband’s shirt to perfection or for not giving enough dowry to the boy’s family.

    Like

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