“I don’t want such education… I want no career… I want to be loved.”

Another email from the small town girl ‘married off’ into a village in Rajasthan. Do you think this is one rare case?

How fair is it to have to choose between being ‘loved’ and being happy? What would you say to her so that she does not give up on her life, happiness and dreams?

I asked my mother and she recommended the email writer watches Diya Aur Baati Hum  – I watched some episodes on the link above and it seems to be a TV serial about a man struggling to grow out of being a Shravan Kumar without being tagged a Joru Ka Ghulaam. And supporting his wife in fulfilling her dreams of education and a career.


I think I should accept defeat now. I have become totally alone. Everybody is cursing only me. They are saying I am wrong. Nobody talks to me nicely/affectionately.


Today was the limit…. In the evening Papa came home… he brought some fast food for me… I said I don’t feel like eating it.. then suddenly he got so angry that he first raised his hand on me and then started hitting his own head on the wall…. I tried to calm him down… then Mummy reached there… she pushed me away from Papa… and looked at me as if I am to be blamed for everything. …. everybody is unhappy because of me…. everybody is cursing me…


I don’t want such education…. I want no career… I want to be loved… I have become so alone… am I so bad? What have I asked for that’s so bad?… Is it bad to study after getting married? I am very tired. I can’t take this any more.

In response to my email.

I have attempted to start classes at home… I love art and craft… paiting, sewing, diy crafts… I can do all this… so I asked about starting these classes at home… but FIL did not agree for that either, he says if women from the village come home every day then they will go and talk about us to the entire village.
…. (rest in Hindi)
FIL ko samjhana to deewar p sar fodne k baraabar h…wo bahut ajeeb h…bahut andhvishvasi bhi h….pata nahi unhe koi maansik bimari h ya kya h bhagwan jaane per bahut ajeeb ajeeb baate karte h…kahte h me poorvjanm me saadhu baba tha..meri beti mera chela thi…meri wife mere aashram ki gaay(cow) thi…kahte h k mere sapno me mere poorvajanm k maharaj aate h aur mujhe duniya bhar ki khabar dete h…kon kaha kya kar raha h mujhe sab pata hota h ( ek din mene pooch liya k papa batao me abhi room me kya kar rahi thi to baat ko mazak me taal diya)…kahte h agar me kisi nayi jagah p raat me ruk jau to us jagah k saare bhoot mere paas aake apna dhukh mujhe sunate h…kahte h me kisi bhi bimari ka ilaaz kar sakta hu..example bhi dete h k Delhi k aiims hospital k docter ko ek jeanetic bimari thi , jiski wajah se unka ek haath anytime hilta (vibrate) rahta tha, mene uske haath bhaboot lagayi aur wo theek ho gaya (meri MIL 20 saal se aurthritis ki mareez h unhe to aaj tah theek kar nahi paye)…kahte h jab bhi me koi khaali zameen dekhta hu to mujhe neeche pataal (hell) tak sab kuch dikhta h…

Ab aap hi bataeeye IHM kya ese insaan se samajhdaari ki umeed ki ja sakti h kya.

Sabse bade aashcharya ki baat h ki mere pati itne padhe likhe hoke bhi unki baato p yakeen karte h…kahte h mujhe to papa se bahut dar lagta h…kabhi unhe gussa aa jaye to wo shrap de sakte h…aur wo jise shrap de dete h us insaan ki zindagi to tabaah ho jaati h…

Ab aap hi batayeeye IHM…kya esi maansikta wale logo ko convince kiya ja sakta h kya?


The last line:


“Now you only tell me IHM… can anybody convince someone with such a mindset?”

Isn’t there anything positive we can say?




70 thoughts on ““I don’t want such education… I want no career… I want to be loved.”

  1. I dont know wat to say 😦
    n this is not a rare case.Its general norm in small towns a villages.Cant think of a solution right now….will come back to it later


  2. Dear LW, what I would like to tell you is that it is highly unlikely that a dil is going to be loved, no matter how much you bends backwards to please. A dil is finally a dil. (At least in families subscribing to old social norms). When even your own parents are not standing by you, how does one ever expect the ILs to do so? First of all you need to love yourself. Do what makes you happy. They are going to be disapproving any way. It is not as if they are showering you with love and affection just because you are currently toeing their line.

    Besides how do you define “love”? Is it being very loving just feeding you and making you dance to all their tunes, no matter how unhappy you are?

    The fil is clearly not all there. But who is going to agree to take him to a shrink? Certainly not the son who thinks the world of his father, no matter what. In those circumstances, there seems only two options left – get help from an NGO, (police are most unlikely to help and I don’t think that is the best source of help in this case) / move out on your own and follow your dreams, no matter how tough it is or grit your teeth and bear it. Definitely neither option is very palatable, but I seriously do not see any third option.


  3. I can offhand think of a number of educated people who believe in such nonsense. In fact I remember once a lady had complained to me saying someone had encircled her home with sindoor and ashes to curse her. When I pooh-paah-ed the suggestion she said- I know you are educated and do not believe such things but it is a common practise in our village and it is effective. She cleansed the place with Ganga-jal borrowed from a friend! Apparently if she had crossed the sindoor line many ills would have befallen her! The exchange of Ganga water was done across the line!
    So there is really nothing much that I can say to the email writer because her husband seems to have been indoctrinated by her FIL since childhood and such deep seated prejudices and beliefs are difficult to eradicate. Arguments with her FIL too will not serve any purpose. Maybe humouring him in his fancies and working on the hubby to recognize the ridiculousness of the claims with examples ( Like how her MIL still has arthritis) will work.


  4. Total loss of words…. 😦
    First you should try to speak to husband about his superstitious behavior. I am sure You have tried that already but May be talk these points where you speak about your MIL having Arthritis and he not being able to cure that to your husband or similar examples?
    And this kind of raising hand is completely unacceptable. You should seriously tell your FIL that you can take legal actions against him doing that and no bhoot or bhagwan from any patal lok is goin to help him get away from the law :/

    And Dear please don’t blame yourself for anything. Its just a sab thing that your family doesnt appreciate your talent. You are NOT BAD. It is thier flaw not urs.
    This is just off the top of my head solution but i will think about this more.


  5. Absolutely sad situation. But I am sure commentators would have some constructive suggestions. I need to think more on this. For now I have three suggestions which are temporary.

    1.Keep doing something you like art and craft by yourself. Creative work will make you feel better about yourself considering the passive aggressive behavior you have to face from everybody around you.

    2.Keep telling yourself that you are a good person who loves herself and loves to accept herself the way she is. Others might not see you as that but that is nothing to do with you and not your problem but theirs.

    3. I would suggest you to not consider having children right now. Its not a good place for a child to be born where family members exercise violence on themselves and you.

    This is for now till we all hit on something do able.

    Liked by 1 person

    • One more point came to my mind.might seem unimportant but do follow it. Its harmless.
      4. Have plenty of water even if your mind is on other things. And please do eat well. Walks or yoga would be a good idea as well. First and foremost take care of your physical well being.


  6. Solution toh hai heavy risky hai. Start with, unke maharaj tumhare sapne mein aye. Pretend you got a devi inside you (its easy just role your eyes and move your head). In that state tell your FIL that devi wants him to move to big city. ONce out of comfort zone apne aap utar jayega bhoot. Period.
    These cases are common in urban as well as villiage. People who stay in comfort zone like to pretend whatever they can. Just push them away from their comfort zone and they are back to normal.


    • I burst out laughing when I read this. But the irony is – ITS TRUE. Once people are moved from their comfort zone, they do open up. My sister and I were often taunted by our relative, when we were younger for not wearing bindi and bangles. Today the relative’s sons are happily married and stand by their non bindi wearing wives. Now its all okay because -“time has changed, girls are not like before”. It was only once the relative had the realization that they can no longer impose silly rules on other people and other people around them are not loathing the non bindi wearing girls did they open up. Moving away from judgmental social circle definitely helps. May be in a big city the FIL wont care as much about gossip and he certainly wont have huge empty plots to watch pataaal! (Divine)Power to you girl. Stay strong.


    • This is the oldest trick in the book of the oppressed dismantle master’s house with master’s tools.
      “…If one is a true devotee they can get possessed and the Goddess can play through them to beget what ever they want or get even with someone you don’t like or have a grudge against; beat them black and blue no questions asked rather one is worshipped and offered gifts. Then some can do a scary dance and show off their powers to create a fear and reverence in the hearts of their detractors. The important thing to note is that the woman possessed is always the one who is either lowest in the female familial hierarchy or otherwise oppressed young mother. ”


      • Arey India has suffered in silence for 6000 years. The comfort zone is built based on that experience. Miracles, chamatkar are words spoken by those who wish to explore but are stuck in a comfort zone.


  7. Oh my God ! This is a tough one! Agree with Neha.
    I too need to scratch my head some more, before I can react.

    To the letter writer:
    हर समस्या का हल होता है।
    बस किसी तरह उस हल को ढूँढकर निकालना होगा।
    हम मानते हैं कि यह पेचीदा मामला है।
    कुछ सोच-विचार करके, यदि कुछ मनमे सूझता है तो लिखेंगे।
    धीरज रखो।

    Every problem has a solution.
    Somehow we need to search and find it.
    We admit, this is a complex case.
    After some thinking, if something comes to mind, I will write.
    Hang on.
    Best wishes


    • आपकी समस्या गम्भीर है।
      मुझे सन्देह है कि इस मंच के लोग आपको कोई उपयोगी या क्रियात्मक सुझाव दे सकेंगे।
      यहाँ सभी अव्यवसायी और अप्रवीण लोग हैं जो केवल सहानुभूति जता सकते हैं
      आपको कोई पेशेवर सलाहकार की जरूरत है।
      बेहतर यही होगा कि आप किसी महिला संघटन से सम्पर्क करें।
      अवश्य वे लोग आपकी मदद कर सकेंगे या किसी सक्षम और निपुण विशेषज्ञ से सम्पर्क करा सकेंगे।
      सोच विचार करने पर भी हमें आपको बताने के लिए कुछ नहीं सूझता।
      हमें खेद है कि हम आपके कोई काम नहीं आ सके।
      हमारी सहानुभूति आपके साथ हैं

      Your problem is serious.
      I have a doubt that people on this forum can give you any useful or practical suggestion.
      Everyone here is an amateur and unskilled and can only express sympathy.
      You need a professional counselor.
      It would be better if you got in touch with a some women’s organisation.
      They will definitely be able to help you or put you in touch with a competent and expert specialist.
      Even after thinking I am unable to suggest anything.
      I regret that I have not been of any use to you.
      You have my sympathies.

      Liked by 1 person

      • GV,
        Thank you for this sane message, not that other messages are insane. Leaving home is no solution rather if it is recommended in this case then it is a slap in the face of DG and friends who worked at the grassroots to keep women in the homes and make homes a safer for their survival.

        As the LW writer has voiced her resistance now all types of manipulation and emotional and mental abuse will escalate and she will be further isolated from any help she can get. DG is amazed how she is even able to use internet.

        The need of the hour is to get her in touch with women who are working at grassroots in her community and who are able to exert influence in the community for social change, like a pracheta or a block officer, a respected teacher in the community.
        Desi Girl


  8. This is not uncommon. I don’t know what to say. Sometimes, you need to make choices on what you can live with and what you cannot. But please stop calling behavior like this as love. Anyone who loves you, wants you to be happy. This is control


  9. LW,
    I have been thinking about your problem and you have reached the point where I worried you would. I understand how this must be a total burden to you, just wanting to study.
    But I will ask you to hold on to your hopes. May be there is a way to work things out. Is it only BEd, that you are interested in?
    Also, I read that your education is in the field of Computer Science. Would you like to do projects from home? There is a website Elance and many more like that where you can post your Bio and get projects depending on your skill set. The only thing you require then would be a very good internet connection and a laptop/desktop. ( The concept is people post their short-term projects online and then ask people to bid a price for that work. If the job-poster accepts your bid, you get the contract to work on it.)

    Will they agree to getting very good internet connection at your home? Is this possible for you? Will they make a big deal about it? May be we can look for online courses for you with the help of people visiting IHM’s blog?
    There is this edx service from Harvard where you can follow courses and learn and even earn diplomas. These are high quality courses. While this alternative will not lead to a career right now, it will help in developing your CV and self esteem. However, you would not have the social aspect of going to school to learn something.
    I would normally ask you to fight this really hard and get out of the family and house. But I can see that is very very difficult for you. So as an alternative, these are the solutions that come to my mind.
    Also, can you get a smartphone/tablet? you can listen to audio courses on audible ( these are expensive, but will cater to your intellectual curiosity. For example, you can follow courses on English writing.

    You can ask me more questions about any of these alternatives. Would be glad to help you set all these things up.
    With lots of regard for your hope and despair.


  10. To give this poor girl advices we should know her family’s background. It looks like she is the only child of her parents. I might be wrong, but it seems like that. Her parents love her, but they seem to be annoyed that their own daugher has no goals in life at all. Marriage shouldn’t be the person’s only goal!!!! She should understand this too. It’s stupid to rely on husband’s family to support you, especially when there were cases DIL being kicked from PIL houses.

    I live in society, where women usually can gain a lot of success and fame due to their career oriented nature.In my country sometimes women can be even more successful than a lot of men and that’s how they get respect. I would have to say, such kind of women usually are the most desireable objects for marriage. Men are just chasing them to make them their wives. If a man ever to choose someone, it wouldn’t be some one who is un-educated, has no job and any goals in life at all, accept of getting married. Men tend to run from such females, knowing that if such ladies have no hobbies, no job, no work, their marriage would be toxic, because then she will annoyingly cling to him and never let him be in peace. Author of the letter mentioned she didn’t want education and career, but being married. But what she is going to do after the marriage? Nag her husband all day long? Demand love and attention from him all day long? She should think of that!


    • aobeamber I think you didn’t read her earlier mails:


      This LW does not see getting married and staying married as the end objective in life. She has a strong will to do something beyond that in life, and is trying every option possible. But her family is not letting her work, thereby cutting off any possibility of her ever becoming independent.

      I think you need to read the whole post and her earlier mail carefully, not going by the title. She is saying this now out of despair because she doesn’t she any hope of realizing her goals.


      • Yes, I didnt see the other letter in the old posts, because not always im reading this blog. My apologies. It was difficult to understand that it was the same person’s story.


    • In India women being housewives is the norm. Tradition decides that women should learn to cook, clean and serve members of the husband’s family. They are brought up that way even as kids. Women do not have a say over their lives. They are supposed to toe the line prescribed by the elders of the family. In such a set up, it is common to find women struggling with various issues with no support from any quarters, no finances and no freedom of any sort. With hands and legs tied up, it is not easy to liberate themselves.

      Women having careers/jobs and enjoying freedom are exceptions and come from a different background enjoying full support from their family. They are a tiny percentage of the female population.


      • I know how Indian traditions are. And I think the only reason it remains the same it’s because of women’s perception not to work and earn money. I respect that minority of Indian women who decide to work though. Here in my country women manage to be an awesome housewives, mothers, wives and remain successful in career. I guess people should leave accuses and work.


  11. Shraap??? Too much hai…Aisi maanasikta ka koi ilaaj nahi…I wish he is able to put some baboot or whatever bhoot to cure himself. But then this definitely happens in a lot of houses…not just in small towns but also in our very own metro cities. Stay safe and sane lady, that’s all I can wish for.


  12. Pardon my long comment IHM. To the letter writer:

    You’ve suffered enough. It is great that you aspire to do something in life. The first step towards solving a problem is accepting that there is a problem.

    1) The most important thing for you is to not lose hope. Don’t give up on your dreams. Don’t let anyone break your confidence. Sometimes all the people around us make us think we are wrong even when we are right. IT IS IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE NOT WRONG. Your rights are being denied.

    2) It is your right to earn if you have the capabilities. Nobody should force you and stop you from earning.

    3) Your father is completely wrong in raising hand against you. You are NOT responsible for this. If he is hitting himself like a mad person because you want to study and be independent, it is his problem. You are not responsible.

    4) Your mother is wrong in blaming you for your father’s actions. It is your rights which are being denied. YOU are suffering because of your parents and in-laws. They have no right to ask you to give up on your financial independence because of ‘samaaj’. If they care more about ‘samaaj’ than you, you don’t need to care for them too. You should care only for yourself.

    5) Your husband is wrong in asking you to give up on your dreams because of your FIL. How can he stop you from earning? Do you really think he is not wrong? Try to make him understand that it is not correct on FIL’s part to stop you from earning. Explain that both of you will have a better future if you are also earning. Tell him that he is doing the right thing if he supports you.

    6) Your FIL, husband or anyone else has no right to control you. You shouldn’t care for them, or for ‘samaaj’. Your life is about your choices.

    7) Your future will be better if you are independent and earning, than being controlled by your family like this.

    8) You are NOT alone. There are lakhs of women who have the same story to tell. Some of them gave up, some of them remain an inspiration to others by breaking free. You need to choose whether you want to break free or remain caged at your marital home for the rest of your life.

    9) Being loved means someone caring for your happiness. Even if you give up on your career, and if your husband talks to you nicely, it is NOT love. When you want to do anything else your FIL doesn’t approve of, your husband will again blame you. Please understand that this is NOT love.

    10) Nobody loves you, because nobody cares for your happiness. Your husband does NOT love you. He only wants you to serve his in-laws. When you love someone, you want that person to be really happy. Your husband doesn’t care whether you are happy or not.

    11) If nobody is still supporting you, you need to make a choice, for a better future. I will not lie to you. Moving out of your marital home without parental support is a big risk. But you have to choose: Do you want to be a life-long slave at your marital home, where nobody cares about your happiness or do you want to fulfil your dreams?

    12) The big question is how you will manage outside your marital home. Can you manage with your savings on your own for a few months? If you have decided to move out, you can let us know. We will be in a better position to offer practical advice on that then.


  13. Hindi translation:

    Meri Hindi itni acchi nahi hai. Main phir bhi koshish karoongi aapko meri salaah dene ki.
    Aap ne bahut kuch seh liya. Yeh bahut achchi baat hai ki aapko zindagi mein kuch karne ki tamannah hai.

    1) Kisi bhi problem to solve karne ke liye sab se pehle yeh baat sweekar karna padta hai ke problem hai. Abhi aap ke liye yeh sab se zaroori hai ki aap umeed na kho de aur apne sapnon par asha ko na chode. Aap kisi ko bhi apne himmat todne na dijiye. Kabhi kabhi hamare samaaj ki baaten sun kar hame bhi aisa lagta hai ki ham galat hai, jab ki sach mein hamari koi galti nahi hai. Aap ko yeh samajhna bahut zaroori hai ki is mein aap ki koi galti nahin hai. Aapko apni haq dene se mana kar rahe hain.

    2) Aapko apni kaabiliyat ke hisaab se kamaane ka poora haq hai. Kisi ko bhi aapko kamaane se rukna nahi chahiye.

    3) Aap ke papa ne aap ke oopar haath utha kar sahi nahi kiya. Aap iske liye apne aap ko dosh mat deejiye. Agar aapke papa is baat par paagal ki tarah apne aap ko dard de rahe hain ki unki beti padhna chahti hain aur apne pair par khade hona chahti hai, to woh unki galti hai. Aap iske liye zimmedar nahin hain.

    4) Aap ki mamma bhi galat hain kyun ki woh aapke papa ki kiye ke liye aap ko doshi maan rahin hain. Aap sirf apna haq maang rahi hain, aur aapko woh nahin diye jaa rahe hain. Aap apni parivar ki vajah se dukhi hain. Unhe koi haq nahin hai, ‘samaaj’ ke liye aapko apni pairon par khada hone se mana karna ka. Agar unhe aap se zyada samaaj ki parwah hai, toh aapko unki parwah karne ki zaroorat nahin hai. Aap sirf apni parwah kijiye.

    5) Aapke pati aapke FIL ke baate maan kar aapki sapnon ko daba kar galat kar rahe hain. Woh aapko apne pairon par khada hone se kaise rok sakte hain? Kya aap ko sach mein lagta hai ki who galat nahin hain? Aap unhe samjhane ki koshish kijiye. Pata deejiye ki aapke FIL aapko is tarah control karne se galat kar rahe hain. Samjhayiye ki aap ki future aap ki career se better ho sakti hai. Kahiye ki agar who aapko support karenge, toh woh sahi kar rahe hain.

    6) Aap ke FIL, pati ya kisi ko bhi aap ko control karne ka haq nahi hai. Aap ko unki aur samaaj ki parwah nahin karni chahiye. Aap ki zindagi aap ki ichcha se honi chahiye.

    7) Aap ki future apne pairon par khade hone se, aur apni khud ki kamaayi hone se better hogi. Aapke pati ko yeh bhi samajhna chahiye ki aapke bachchon ki future be isse better ho sakti hai.

    8) Aap akeli NAHI hain. Laakhon auraton ki yehi kahani yeh. Kuch aurton ne haar maan liya. Kuch aurtein ne swatantra ho kar sab ko prerna di. Aapko decide karna padega: Aapko swatantra hona hai ya baaki zindagi sasural mein bandhe rehna hai.

    9) Agar koi hum se pyar karta hai, toh iska yeh matlab hota hai ki unhe hamari khushi ki parwah hai. Agar aap apne career ki sapnon ko bhool jayengi aur aapke pati aap se achche se baat karne lag jaayenge, toh yeh pyar NAHI hota hai. Jab aapko kuch bhi aisa karne ki ichcha hogi jo aap ke FIL ko manjoor nahin hai, toh phir se aap ke pati aapka saath chod denge. Please is baat ko samjhiye ki pyar aisa NAHI hota hai.

    10) Aap se koi pyar nahin karta hai, kyun ki kisi ko aapki khushi ki parwah nahi hai. Aapke pati aapse pyaar nahi karte. Woh sirf yeh chahte hain ki aap apne FIL aur MIL ki seva karti rahe. Agar koi kisi se pyar karta hai, toh use doosre ki khushi ki parwah hoti hai. Aapke pati ko aapki khushi ki parwah nahin hai. Aap ko apni khushi ki parwah karni padegi, aur kisi ki nahi.

    11) Agar samjhane ke baad bhi aapke parivar mein koi bhi aapko support nahi kar raha hai, toh aapko apni future behtar karne ke liye decision leni padegi. Main jhooth nahin boloongi: Aapko parents ki support ke bina sasural chodna badi mushkil hogi. Lekin aap ko choose karna hai: Kya aap zindagi bhar sasural mein bandhe rehna chahti hai, jahan kisi ko bhi aapki khushi ki parwah nahin hai, ya aap apne sapnon ko sach karna chahti hain?

    12) Sawaal yeh hai ki aap sasural chod kar kaise manage karengi. Kya aapke savings kuch maheenon tak kaam ayengi? Agar aap sasural chodna chahti hain, toh hame batayiye. Hum aapko kuch kaam ki salaah dene ki koshish karenge.


  14. How sad is this. Her father raises his hand on an adult daughter, back in the day person became adult only when they got married by that yard stick it is even sadder. What does this tell us about this young woman’s future. Her husband is terrorized by his father so is her father, physical violence has started in the natal home and sooner or later marital home is going to become a living hell. And once that happens who is she suppose to confide and seek help from definitely not her birth family.
    It is these kind of parents who complain about dead daughters but take no action when they come to them for help.
    Need of the hour is to help this woman understand not to get pregnant at this time and start getting her ducks in row. Will have to think hard and fast how we can support. IHM, she is from Rajasthan ask her to get in touch with DG we’ll arrange for her to get in touch with some supportive local people.
    Desi Girl


  15. Agar abhi bhi aap maike mein hain, toh saural wapas jaane se mana kar do.
    Apne mummy papa ko bata do ki tum khush nahi ho wahan.
    Apne husband ko bhi bata do ki tum dukhi ho sab ke rukavat se.
    Agar sab phir negotiate karna chahte hain toh phir tum apni dil ki baat (padhai) ki baare mein bo do.

    (If you are still at your parent’s place, refuse to go back to your in-laws place. Tell your parents and husband that you are very unhappy. If they are willing to talk about this further, tell them you will only be happy if allowed to study further.)

    Agar yeh bahut extreme lag raha hai toh please ignore my advice. Apki judgement par proceed kijiye.


  16. Dear LW,

    I am not sure what to advise you but I will tell you this. You need to first of all get an understanding of your situation and decide on where you stand.

    1) If your father is so volatile and can blow his top at even simple things like you refusing fast food, then he is very liable to turn violent very fast. If he has hit you today, anything can happen tomorrow. So you need to find a way to get out of this situation and keep yourself safe. Try seeking the help of your husband. Traditionally, now that you are married, your father has no rights over you (according to tradition). Make use of this now (but don’t believe it). No one has any rights over you except yourself.

    2) Education and careers are not ends in themselves – they are the means for us to achieve a better life and to negotiate our life on our own terms. Think about your future and understand what a job can do for you in terms of freedom and independence.

    3) You cannot force love from anyone. Bending backwards and trying to please your family will not get them to love you. What it will do however, is to make them take you for granted and treat you more like a slave.

    4) Your life is in danger. I don’t know what your financial situation is, but if you have the funds, try to move out with or without your husband. It is one thing to put up with restrictions, quite another to have to deal with a madman like your FIL.

    5) Consult a NGO in your town who deals with such issues before moving out. I am giving you links to two of them who operate in Rajasthan. They will guide you when you provide them with more personal and exact details.
    http://www.prayatn.org/ and http://www.hdncs.org/

    6) I am sorry, but you really need to be self-sufficient so put away this thought of love before self. This kind of thinking will only make you more and more unhappy until you come to terms with your constant unhappiness and look upon it as a way of life. Please don’t go there. If someone loves you, they will love you unconditionally, otherwise it is not love at all.

    As I have said before, the first step is the hardest step. Then it becomes easier. Good luck!


    • Regarding the ‘your life is in danger’ comment, it is true for every female who lives in India without exception. No country for women, this.


      • Mine isn’t. I understand the dangers of living in India, but please let us focus on this person’s cry for help. HER life is in danger because her family is violent, because she lives in a place where there is no support system and because it is difficult for her to move out. None of this applies to me, so I will not compare myself or many others in similar positions with her.


      • I think we should try to focus on the LW. I think we can agree that most of the commenters on this blog do not face immediate danger, so to suggest that “all indian women are in danger” is exaggeration.


      • I live in a city in the US which has some of the highest crime rate and domestic violence cases that I did not even hear off while I was growing up in India. So this generalization is what bothers me.
        This girl is in big trouble and if possible we need to help her as she does not have the resources.


        • Hmm. You do know that domestic violence in India usually happens behind closed doors and that MANY Indian women, including educated, independent ones, choose to keep it a secret.

          Sexual abuse of children is rarely reported in India. Does that mean that it never happens at all?


  17. Others have said it already, but I will say it too, since this makes me sad at so many levels. I am sorry, there is no way this has a happy ending without *someone* changing. It is VERY hard to alienate your family for you for something you want, and to remain sane and happy through that process. It is even harder when you have no support at all other than that family – no other relatives or friends. Despite these hurdles, some women find the strength in themselves to do what they need. Most don’t.
    The LW seems fated to fall into the latter category unless she is willing to give up everything she currently considers her normal. It should NOT be this way – but it is. And she has no support from either marital or natal family to achieve her dreams.

    Others have pointed out that her father’s “love” is taking a strange form if it depends on her toeing the line: I’d like to point out that it is as generational a thing as any – in HIS world, daughters behave a certain way – his daughter whom he loves within those norms is trying to change – and he doesn’t like it – people DON’T like change. Most people balk in various ways – this is no exception. So basically, unless the poor LW can summon the strength to either deal with causing pain to her family and striking her own path, or is willing to subsume herself in the interest of peace, I see no way out.

    The saying about not being able to control others, only oneself comes to mind – only person on her side is herself. She needs to figure out what she can live with. Sorry I’m being so depressing.


    • //I am sorry, there is no way this has a happy ending without *someone* changing.//

      Does someone changing mean she should change? Would that be a ‘happy ending’?

      Should the family change? Actually they don’t really need to change, and they can get away with their controlling for another generation or so, hopefully after that daughters will be more aware of their rights and more willing to follow their dreams with or without a husband or his permission.

      I feel it’s very difficult to change people, it’s easier to change some other things, like if she was living in a town she would have more chances of working, or doing something her FIL does not ‘permit’.

      //It is VERY hard to alienate your family for you for something you want, and to remain sane and happy through that process.//
      True and still Indian families keep alienating their daughters (and sometimes sons) for something they want, but what they want is too huge – most such families seem to want their daughters’ happiness, peace of mind, freedom and self reliance.


      • Sorry, improperly defined variables. Happy Ending as defined as one the LW is happy with. One of the following has to happen for a positive resolution. Of course, the value of positive isn’t absolute – it falls within a continuum of consequences for the LW:
        1. The LW defies her family and decides her independence is worth the pain they are currently going through. They may even come around later.
        2. The LW’s father realizes his daughter is unhappy, and changes his ways to support her, despite his unhappiness with her leaving her marital home.

        If #1 happens, the LW has to change her current definition of love and happiness. If her family later comes around, she may yet get the love she wants, but right now, she can’t.

        if #2 happens, the LW will be happy (ier) right away, but the father probably won’t. Will that bother the LW?

        I agree too, that changing people is infinitely harder than changing circumstances. However, in cases like this, where the circumstances are tied to the people – her moving to town automatically causes grief to her natal family, which in turn causes her grief – I don’t see a way out without some person changing. That’s what I meant.

        And I’d be very happy to see things work out for her – like I said, I could not come up with a way to make this work while “keeping the peace”


  18. Given a choice, I wonder how many women or even men really want to get married, when they marry! They marry because of samajik pressure and just give in to that pressure. Even those who are dating might just be happy that way. But marriage comes into the picture when one of the couple starts facing pressure from their family and samaj. Sometimes both start facing the pressure at the same time. And it is this pressure that translates into wedding and marriage. This kind of marriage is called a “love marriage”. There might have been love, but did they want marriage immediately or did they want to give the relationship more time? Samaj pushes things to happen fast. And lo….we have the band baaja baarat and vidai…just to face the music that is to start, and end only with death. Wonder how much love remains in this stifling set up!

    Desi Girl, kudos to you for offering support to those who need it!


  19. “I don’t want such education…. I want no career… I want to be loved”.
    How strange that just the other day, a close friend of mine, a privileged/educated/working one finally gave up bharatnatyam – something that brings her joy, something she did all her life, something that defines her, sets her free – she gave it up to finally make peace with her husband and in-laws. So she can be “loved”. Which inspired me to write this poem http://wordssetmefreee.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/lonely-hearts/
    From a girl in a village in Rajasthan to an independent woman living in the US, the stories are the same. Give up who you are, so we can ‘love’ you. Is this really love? Or is it selfishness and cruelty?
    Dear LW, I understand your pain. I see it everywhere – in all of our families that make people barter their souls in exchange for not being lonely, for not being ostracized.
    I don’t have practical advice to offer as I don’t live in India and don’t know what resources are available. All I can say is – sometimes going after our dreams means being lonely. I only hope that you will be able to find someone (NGOs/women’s support orgs) that can help you. Today, I wish more than ever that I could speak Hindi, so I could have said, “I understand your pain.” in the language you speak. Love and hugs.


  20. LW…first get this clear.wat ur FIL n parents r doing is called bullying and emotional blackmail.
    This is incorrect…..ur not their slave.
    If ur being unhappy makes them happy then they dont even deserve respect.
    As for ur FIL…all this shraap drama is bullshit….Ur hubby is spineless to gwt scared of these silly things.
    If u disobey him NOTHING will happen except his ego getting hurt.
    I would suggest u…stop asking for permissions for anything.
    Just start doing whatever u want without telling.U want to wear suits…just wear it n walk out…they will throw a tantrum n cool down.
    U know computers so u can start teaching it to kids and other girls…do it for free in beginning.
    No need to advertise it just talk to any neighbour n if they need help just offer them help….ur FIL will throw a tantrum…hav a heart attack….ignore…stuff cotton in ur ears n do wat u want….
    Ur anyways being labled bad better do it in style.
    Just dont loose courage n avoide pregnancy till u get ur way.


  21. Dear LW,

    I read and re- read your letter and my only advice is that please start studying. You have mentioned you are a computer science graduate, so please enroll in some online courses and pursue education. There is a website called https://www.coursera.org/courses
    There are a lot of courses which might be of interest to you.Though this might not guarantee you employment it will for sure help you gather knowledge. Slowly start applying for jobs and gain the confidence of any friends or close relatives who you can trust. If you do not have any one to trust and confide in, then just stay strong and do not loose hope. Get in touch with local NGO’s and seek a way out to escape from this.
    Do not waste your life in this family as I do not see any hope. The only hope is that you gain confidence, save some money somehow and plan an escape route. In the meanwhile to keep your sanity alive, enroll in some course. Just beg or ask your husband to provide you with internet connection or if that is not possible find a way to go to some internet cafe nearby or to a friends house and spend at least an hour learning something and educating yourself. And FINALLY, DO NOT BRING KIDS INTO THIS MESS AT ANY COST…..
    All the best.


  22. Dear LW

    I really gave it a long and a hard thought. Slept over it. I tried to think what i would do but I think am a different person and would handle it differently.

    There was a time when I was younger and eager to please.It was easy to make me do something by inducing guilt. Heck I was like this just a couple of years back. I am still not that bold and strong woman who can bulldoze her way through non sense and culturally sanctioned blackmail and lead a selfmade life. However I am positive that I will be there soon. Few years back I had never imagined that a meek and timid person like me could stand up for myself and learn to say no and stick to it, that I could put my own happiness before anybody else’s without an ounce of guilt. Now I no longer try to please others at the cost of my own happiness. I certainly do not want them to put my happiness before theirs too but just they have no right to base their happiness on me giving up mine. In that case its their problem and they deal with it with no help from me. I do not want their approval. I dont care if I am a monster in somebody’s books just because I believe in and follow ‘live and let live’. I am telling you all this because certain situations can either make us or break us. So do not let this situation break you down. Rather use it to find your hidden strength.

    Having said that I also must admit that my situation has never been as threatening as yours. There was no physical violence involved. So I will not advice you to openly voice your disagreements and rebel. Let us just rule out this option. I would suggest you to be very calm and dissect the situation objectively. I know it is difficult but it is important for you to see where you stand and not blame yourself. But just dont confront the people involved. It is only for your own assessment. Once you are aware that you are not wrong and the people around you are either bullies or lack spine you will be able to accept yourself by eliminating any self doubt which these people are loading you with in the name of culture, obedience to parents, etc. Once you are aware of the situation without letting your emotions cloud you, acceptance will set in. You will learn to accept and love yourself. You can build up your own strength and will not look for validation or yearn for their twisted ideas of love which is nothing but control. Please understand love does not mean control. Infact it means quite the opposite. You have to see it for yourself with time and effort. We can only validate it.

    For now just be aware, build love and respect for yourself. I would suggest that you stop sharing your ideas, plans or wishes with these people. Don’t abandon them just don’t bring it up and lie low for a while. Take some time to work on yourself. You can maintain a journal but be very careful nobody should get their hands on it. Take care of yourself. Eat well, have lots of water and exercise. Read some good books in the meantime. Maybe readers can suggest some. Only when you are a peace with yourself can u make a decision. Never lose hope and never let anybody make you feel inferior. Let them say whatever they want to, you detach yourself for that time without reacting.

    Under no circumstances get pregnant. I would have suggested therapy but I doubt a rural area would have access to that. Dont ever lose hope. Dont abandon your plans for BEd. Just postpone them. Keep up with your hobbies. I would also suggest if you could join some NGO if there are any. Sometimes while helping those who are in worse circumstances than us we find our own strength.


  23. The part where her father started hitting his head on the wall …. Was triggering.

    A few years ago i was deeply depressed and my mom found me in my room cutting myself and she yelled at me and started hitting her head against the wall saying she doesnt know what she did to deserve this …. My father told me look at what you are doing to your mother, her blood pressure is going up do you want her to die……

    I was depressed and instead of offering me support they made me feel guilty for not being happy

    I guess this must be an indian phenomnon as im not the only one who has experienced.

    (im much better now after both medication and therapy)


    • Unfortunately, not many indian parents know how to deal with these kind of situations. I have come across such things and I am not surprised as to their behavior.
      I am glad you came out of it all and doing well.


    • I’ve been there. I was also clinically depressed severe years ago; to the point that I couldn’t leave home on really bad days.
      I was terrified that my then husband would use my depression to label me as being mentally unstable and just plain “nuts”

      My ex-husband once caught me weeping in the laundry-room of our apartment block.
      I would seek refuge there when I felt especially depressed.

      Instead of consoling me or empathising, he began yelling at me to stop being such a drama queen.
      He then called my parents and his and told them that I was being a bad wife because I had psychological issues.

      So yeah, Indians are awesome at empathising with mental illness


  24. Priy Lekhikha,
    Apke ghar ka mahoul aacha nahi he, aur aapke bato se ye lagta hai ki aap ke haat me kuch bhi nahi hai. Aap zindagi bhar to aise nahi guzar sakti. Aapko ghar se bahar rahna chahiye – per iske liye himaat or paiso ki zaroot hai. Agar aap apne pati ko samjha sakti he ki kuch samay ke liye aap bade sahar me rah sakte hai, taki aap ki kamiye aachi ho, to aacha hoga. Per ye idea aapke pati ko hi apne pitaji go bolna hoga, aur unhe iske zimedari lani hogi. Ghar ke andar rahekar aapka dimag din per din kharab hota jayega. Kuch bhi karke apko bahar, doose logo se, baat karna chahiye. Mahila sangathan jo DG (upar comment) ne batiya hai, unse baat kijeya. Phone pe bhi agar aap baat kar sakti ho, to aapko bhi lagega ki koi to apki sun raha he?
    Apni zindagi me bus hum apne aap go kush rakh sakte, aur hame yeh tay karna he ki hamari kushi hame kitni pyari hi. Doosoro se, pati bhi ho to, kushi mangne se pehele, hame apne aap se pyar karna sikhana chahiye.
    Aapke patr se yeh bhi masoos hota hai ki aap zaldi haarna nahi manti – aapne bahut se tarike apnaye, per kuch bhi kam nahi huya. Theek hai, per himaat na hariye.


  25. “Now you only tell me IHM… can anybody convince someone with such a mindset?”

    I realize I’m not being very helpful here, LW, but the answer to your question [IMO] is a resounding no. You cannot change your FIL and you most likely cannot change your husband. You can only change your own circumstances–and I sincerely hope you’re able to do that.


  26. I am shocked.
    when nothing else works religion or rather the distortion of religion is used as a weapon in patriarchy. Most of what could be suggested to the girl is already said bit I pity her husband too to have faced such an abusive father and his acceptance of his father’s so called divine powers could be just a defence mechanism he has developed over the years.the whole family needs professional help.


  27. Dear LW, your situation is indeed very bad. If you can convince your husband to move out of this toxic environment with you, that would be the best solution for your predicament. But somehow, I doubt your husband will do that. In that case, I am afraid you will have to take the difficult and long road out of this mess.
    1. Is your husband the only doctor in the house? In that case, you are the DIL who is going to care for them in their old age. Believe me, your in laws know this. They will not antagonise you so much that you will put arsenic in their food when they are old and helpless. If they do not realise this, remind them, nicely. As in, “dear MIL, padosi x ke saath kitna bura hua na, bahu ab badla le rahi hai. Kitna dukh lagate hai dekh ke. Tsk tsk.”
    2. (I realize that you have no idea who she is, but) take a leaf out of Denerys’ book. Don’t be a victim, become a player! Your fellow victims, MIL, DILs, daughters, are allies. Help and support them. Be nice to them. Treat kitchen politics like an essential part of the human experience, rather than a problem which afflicts only you. Discuss Hindi serials, and books by Hindi authors such as Shivani with other women, criticise and point out the misogyny. DO NOT compare your family with theirs, though. If other women in the family have latent desires which they aspire to, give them moral support. They will support you in turn. This holds true for your husband too.
    3. Learn from the expert manipulators. There is one in every extended family. Is there a woman who everyone likes and she gets away with what she wants? Learn her ways. Nobody learns this game in the womb. And always, communicate, be sweet but stand up for yourself, and help others who need you. Present people with facts, and let them draw their own conclusions.
    4. Do not give up. Life is long, and rewards those who help themselves.
    5. Good luck.


  28. A lot of good comments here and the most important one is to get in touch with local groups that can help (DG has kindly offered to help put you in touch with them, please take up her offer). Other than that:

    1) People who want to change you and offer conditional love (love if you change) can’t give you love at all. YOU can give yourself love. Learn to love yourself. Value your dreams. Value yourself.

    2) Your parents and in-laws (including husband) are blackmailing, controlling and abusing you. You are not doing anything wrong. You are not causing them pain.. they are causing pain for you and themselves. This is NOT your fault.

    Develop a thick skin for this type of blackmail. If your respond to it, it will increase. Don’t be guilty. That would be like a prisoner feeling guilty about the police having to guard the prison.

    3) Find strength in yourself. The more you need their approval, the more power you give them. The more you ‘want love’, the more they will make you dance through hoops for it. Become emotionally independent for them.

    Get in touch with some organisations in case they start getting violent with you. You need to push on and get that B.Ed and a job after that for self-sufficiency. Try ignoring the black-mailing, stop asking for permission and say ‘ye to muje karna hi hai.. zamana badal gaya hai, log kuch nahi kahenge’ and just do it.

    You cannot be dependant on people who are abusive and do not care for your well being. You will not get love that way. This is not a choice between career and love, it is a choice between having your own identity or being a slave (who is not really respected or loved but used).

    Be persistent. I’m sure these excuses from FIL and husband will not last long. Pyaar se ho ya kisi aur tareh, keep after your goal. Bhook hadtaal kar lo (kitchen hadtaal bhi) and unke blackmail ya sir fodne ko BILKUL ignore karo. Agar maar-peet karein to turant NGOs ki help leke unse door ho jao (mayka ho ya sasural). Jab kamaane lagogi to apne aap alag rehne layak ho jaogi. Shayad issi dar se vo tum pe hukum chalana kam kar denge ki kahin chod naa do. Good luck.


  29. I think this person is suffering from Mental illness. He should be taken to psychologist and probably take medicine. Although, i must say it is hard to convince to take him and I bet there aren’t any great facilities. Or you guys should move out of home and stay away! It’s good for everyone’s sanity. Let these behaviors not discourage you from leaping forward with what-so-ever you want to do in your career or in personal life.


      • It is worth a try and hope it works. But I suspect her FIL will not let his son and DIL do anything which would make him lose control over them in any way. I am afraid he would make a big hue and cry, a huge emotional blackmail session is going to follow, accompanied by some empty suicide threats from FIL and God forbid, violence on the LW. I don’t think there is any way in which he would sanely come close to even appearing as if he would be find with this idea. The best hope (and a pretty bleak one at that) is on the son moving against his father’s orders. Best chances are at trying the “Shehar mein zindagi behetar hogi – hamare liye bhi aur future hamare bacchon ke liye bhi – better education and job opportunities and lifestyle” line of argument. I think it is very important to get the LW in touch with support on ground, because she might need it any time. Any kind of strong confrontation with anyone in her family may result in violence.


        • Considering that he’s afraid of ‘shraap’, chances of him moving against his father’s orders seem pretty slim as well. How sad that people are intentionally brought up to be slaves to ‘elders’ and to have no capacity of individual thought.


      • Can’t forget the time when we moved out from pil’s home to a rented apartment and unfortunately fil passed away 3 weeks later. Needless to say there was a lot of melodrama after that in the house about how Rama went off to the forest and Dashratha died broken-hearted. Only difference was I was not Sita. I was probably Kaikeyi or Manthara! When this happens in the city, I can well imagine what the LW would have to face. Hope she will have the strength to broach the topic of separating with her husband.


  30. Letter writer, you are not a piece of property. FYI what you are mentioning is NOT love. Love does not control. Don’t give your power to other people. You don’t need anybody’s approval.


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