Sharing an email.
I follow your blog religiously, in fact it’s the one huge saucer from which i can quench my thirst of my deeply feminist sentiments. Everyday.
I am 25 years old, a doctor pursuing my MD. Apart from that, (coz i m quite bright!!), i have a lot of hobbies and am passionate about a lot of things. I dream about my future, opening a clinic, travelling the world, buying a car, helping the needy…….So…err….. what’s my problem…??
I don’t dream of a relationship….I never dream of marriage…
It’s not like I think of these as a ‘MUST HAVE’ in my life, or anybody else’s.. for that matter. but it’s only human and normal to want that. My problem is, I know that deep down i want that, but i shrink away from it, i block it out. and finally i have figured out why.
The most important reason is the dynamics i have seen at play while growing up, in the marriage that created me. My mom (a doctor) left her MD midway because my dad and his parents wanted her to ‘come and be their bahu’. My mom is a superlatively intelligent woman, soon after, she began her practice as an MBBS doctor in the tiny town we live in (as opposed to a big city she always lived in), and naturally, her kindness and brilliance paid off, her practice began flourishing.
My dad, on the other hand, became distracted with politics and other stuff, even with an MD, his wife earned more, became more popular. He being a typical Indian Male chauvinist could not absorb this, and so began the endless emotional abuse that haunts me even today.
He’d pick a fight without any reason with mom. he’d taunt her with ‘bahut kamati ho, iska matlab ye nahi mujhe daba sakti ho. mujhe jahan jaana hai, jo karna hai, karoonga, samjhi’. He’d yell at her if she asked why he was so late to dinner. he’d spend the entire day outside and expect her to not ask where he was. he’d yell saying how atrocious the food was and what a bad cook she was. he screamed if she asked for groceries for home, medicines and stuff for clinic, saying there was no money for ‘all this stuff’. He kept all the money she earned and gave her monthly pocket money. if we went out shopping and my mom forgot her mobile or purse, he’d scream at her and her irresponsibility, of course, it was perfectly ok for him to have forgotten any damn thing. when he entered the house, there was a silence of apprehension, of an upcoming war, yet again. When he was out, I would cry, only because my mom was being hurt everyday.
She could not go out when she wanted to. Her social circle shrank every day because of him. She could hardly ever visit her own parents. he’d roam all over the place, but she had to ‘see patients and earn money and look after the house’. Her 25th college re-union happened. She really really wanted to go and all uncles and aunts requested my dad to come with her. But HE was adamant, and SHE COULD NOT go.
He never cared about her happiness. He wanted her to find all happiness in him. He hated seeing her happy with her own family, friends or colleagues. he had a short temper, a sharp tongue, and a way with taunts. and of course, he had the moral police attitude. TYPICAL.
It tore my heart to see my mom. It was good I studied in a boarding school and college. That put me off-scene, but it was worse to imagine her alone with him. She could have been anything she wanted, she could have had it all. She is the kindest, nicest, most amazing and brilliant person. not just me, a lot of people around her confer to that.
In the past few years, things at home have gotten better. Much better. but that cannot make up for all those horrible years of torture. I always wanted my mom to get out of her marriage. I still believe she shud have. but, as we know, getting out is never really an option for the ‘married Indian woman’. Stupid, mean, cruel world.
Anyway, it’s evident now why I don’t fancy marriage very much. What I saw, what I went through, it twisted something inside me, it probably broke something within me. I am actually quite an open-hearted, happy, warm person. Just like my mom. she has survived all of this because of her amazing strength. SO HAVE I. But along with inheriting that, I’m afraid i have also inherited a little cowardly and (forgive my use of the word) doormat-ish attitude. sometimes I m extremely accommodating, eager-to-please and a bit of a pushover. I know my weaknesses, and work on them.
But I’ve never mustered the courage to think of having a relationship, let alone get married. I’ve built a hard stone wall around me. I WILL NEVER GO THROUGH WHAT MY MOM DID. I know of a lot of great, equal relationships and marriages. I know a lot (or atleast a few) men out there will be progressive, romantic and nice. I know I can find a good guy. Problem is, I m too afraid to attempt to even look for one. It’s always like ‘what if he turns out to be a jerk?’, and that ‘WHAT IF’ chills me, stones me, denies me. It’s paranoia, and i know it. Inwardly I love romantic movies and books (am even writing one) but I am afraid of letting love, (paranoid it will be coupled with misogyny) into my life. Lest it ruins my freedom, my aspirations, my dreams, my identity, and ME.
I know i will have all other forms of happiness and adventure in my life. WILL I HAVE THIS TOO? I know it’s my own battle, and only I can fight it, and hopefully one day, win it.
Sorry for the LOOOOOONG mail.
Cheers for all the good work,
My mother’s daughter.
Related emails – from and about children who have grown up with abusive and violent fathers.