Email: Feeling Trapped

An email from a reader: please read and share –

  • have you been in a similar situation, if so, what was your experience?
  • what you would suggest to the letter writer’s friend?

Hi Everyone,

I have been reading this blog since a long time and would like to share something. Today, a very old  friend called me and after talking to her, I felt that it would help her immensely if you guys gave some feedback on her situation. I have told her my views but I think after she sees it from the point of view of objective strangers , it will give her a better perspective. I plan to show her the post and comments on it .

She and I go a long way back, we are both in our late twenties now, we became friends when we were maybe 5. She is a past of most of my childhood memories and I feel very sibling like about her. We both come from dysfunctional homes, in many aspects our situation was identical. I, however, was lucky enough to escape while still in my teens while she stayed on. She stays with her parents and her younger sister. While her mom has always been very warm and welcoming to me, I could sense the abnormal atmosphere of her house even as a child. Her dad always seemed absent, even when he was there, he seemed sullen and silent, usually preferring to ignore the kids altogether.

After her sister was born, it seemed like her parents blatantly favoured her sister. As a result her sister was very spoilt and often rude to my friend. Her parents never admonished her sister, no matter how much she misbehaved. As we grew up, we couldn’t meet much, but when ever we did my friend would tell me stuff about not being happy at home, feeling neglected and ignored. The things she told me confirmed that my perception of her circumstances had been accurate. She has had bad luck in relationships which I feel atleast partly has to do with her situation at home. I have tried explaining that to her. If you experience an emotionally abusive situation at home, you internalise it and patterns repeat in your future relationships. That it what happened to me, for which I had to attend regular therapy  after I left home and have strongly advised her the same.

Her main problem at present is that she lives at home and feels that she is constantly disrespected and mocked, and has no mental peace. She has a demanding job and is also preparing for exams to do higher studies. Her schedule is gruelling as it is and when you add to it the unpleasantness at home, it is a recipe for depression. She has virtually no autonomy or privacy at home and many a times she has called me and told me she feels trapped in her situation. She feels like she can neither continue living there nor move out. Her parents and her sister are financially dependent on her. She feels duty bound to live with them and support them. This makes it almost impossible for her to save for future.

She talked to her parents about her financial worries, telling them that she needs to save, especially since she will need the funds to pay for her course, after she clears the exam. They brushed her worries aside. Another time she told me that she had mentioned it to her parents that she was unhappy at home and was considering moving out. Instead of asking her what was wrong, they sneered at her and told her once she moves out she will realise that she can’t  make it on her own.

To me the most disturbing part is that they don’t even her even voice her concerns. As if not letting her voice her unhappiness will make it go away. I find it outrageous that they don’t show any concern or interest in her problems. All they do is belittle her and tell her she is wrong, even without having heard her out. I can see how its affecting her. I can sense her frustration, helplessness and utter loneliness. Just yesterday she sent me a text late at night saying she feels so alone, in spite of living with people who supposedly love her, she feels that she has no one she can really talk to. I know, how toxic this can be. I told her of my own experience and according to me the situation cannot improve unless she moves out.

The last straw was today when she called me and told me about yet another  such instance which had made her stay in a hotel for the night. I reiterated my advice of moving out. My point of view is that, she doesn’t owe them anything. Of course, she should care for her parents but they have a reciprocal duty to respect her as a person. It is possible to find a mid way, where she supports them to an extent but doesn’t sacrifice her autonomy. This need not to be an all or nothing situation as her folks are making it out to be. As in , either stay at home and let things be as they are or move out and be accused of abandoning them. It is supremely unfair for them to make her feel guilty for wanting to leave an abusive atmosphere.

After all moving out does not necessarily mean she is abandoning them. They are seriously guilty tripping her and making her feel bad for even considering living independently. She is nearly thirty and it is perfectly natural for her to want to be independent.  Its one thing to care for them but another if it comes at the cost of her own sanity and career. I think she should move out and contribute a little less at home so she can save for her higher studies, especially as they refuse to give her any account of the expenditure, or even discuss her worries. Plus, there is this constant tension and criticism hurled at her. I was in a similar situation at home and it made me nearly suicidal. I am concerned that she might go the same way. I request you to post this as soon as possible and the readers to please post their assessment of the situation. I want her to have someone else’s opinion other than mine.

Thanks for reading.

Lony (thats my preferred pseudonym for this post)

The invisible family member in the saas-bahu post.

An excerpt from an unpublished comment in response to, ‘From an Anonymous  DIL, Wife and Daughter‘ :

The biggest and most funniest thing is that it is a tussle between TWO WOMEN RPT TWO WOMEN. No feminists mentions this. This reminds me of an old saying in Hindi — Woman is the biggest enemy of another woman. Mother-in-law and newly DIL fighting over a bone. Pity the poor husband.

______________________________________________________________________

Why do I feel there would have been no saas-bahu post if it wasn’t for an invisible member?

Because no bahu would need to worry about what the saas thinks she should wear, eat, cook, drink etc … if there wasn’t a man who quietly conveys that he would not like it if she did not.

He has the society, custom and tradition by his side. He and the society forget that he is the reason why the daughter in law is in this relationship.

And it’s supposed to be a partnership.

Who should be held responsible if she feels, “...petty things seem impossible to handle and everything looks like its going to collapse…“? [More here]

Here was a girl working, studying, meeting friends, living a normal life.. and then suddenly everything changes. It doesn’t have to.

Times are changing. Whether we like it or not, women are beginning to have choices. They are realising that there’s more to life than getting married to a man who doesn’t think they are an equal partner. Soon, it’s not going to be possible to force a young girl to live an unhappy life.

If we want families to get along, or even stay together, we better make it worth while for the one member without whom it would be impossible to have this family system.

If we do not acknowledge that the system is biased, and if we do not change it fast, husbands will increasingly find themselves having to choose between a divorce or moving out with their spouse to make their own homes. (And nothing wrong with that either).

Maybe then Live-in relationships will find favour because they might free women from one-way-relationship responsibilities?

Traditionally husbands could live in reasonable comfort while remaining  invisible.  Infact they were discouraged from ‘interfering‘, which basically meant they must not support the wife. This generally made a new family member feel isolated. Today it should not be difficult for a middle class husband to imagine the wife’s discomfort – more so if they have had a similar upbringing, studied in similar schools, read similar books – how would he like to live with her family in similar circumstances?

I know of this man who stopped his wife from objecting to being bullied by his mother. He even convinced her to apologise to his mother sometimes. He  claimed to be stressed and fed-up with the situation at home, but continued to subject the equally (or more) fed up and stressed wife to it. His younger brother joined in finding faults with everything his brother’s wife (bhabhi) did.  The siblings said everyone is their house must obey their mom. Then the younger brother got married. He moved to first floor, made it clear that his wife was ‘modern‘ so she could wear whatever she liked and they went out whenever they pleased. I wonder how the older brother felt when he saw this? The family accepted the situation, they knew this son always had a mind of his own, while the elder one was the dutiful, obedient one.

I think the younger brother learnt from the example of the older one. He realised it was not possible to have a happy family unless his wife was happy. He refused to stay invisible.

_______________________________

*Bahu – Daughter in law

Saas- Mother in law

Bhabhi – Brother’s wife

Sixty. And nowhere to go.

9 20 PM : I stepped into the balcony to call the cat inside and heard the distinct thump of fists landing on somebody’s back.  Dimly visible in the shadows, on a bench, was the back of a white shirt and a hazy figure.

I had heard similar sounds around 7 30- 8 PM. I was suspicious, but although dark, the park had been crowded then, Volley Ball and Football matches going on, the audience scattered all over the park. The two dark figures, I was sure, were from amongst them.

But now the park was empty, and I saw lifted arms folding hair into a bun. The sound must have been something else. Suddenly the shadow of the man (it was very dark) moved and more thumps were heard – he was hitting and muttering something angrily. It was too unexpected – who were they? Was he known to her? How were they out of their homes at this hour? I wanted to warn this man that someone had seen him.

The park is behind the houses. No one, not even the watchman goes there at this time. I called out aloud to our cat, loud enough for him to hear. He hit her again. I called out to the kids to call their dad (he wasn’t home). The man looked back and stood up.  A hefty man in shorts and t-shirt, the girl was skinny and wore tight trousers. They walked away like a couple taking an after dinner evening stroll.

I thought of all the things I could have said to that girl to  let her know this was abuse. I wanted to tell her about this email I received yesterday.

It was an anonymous email about an upper middle-class woman who wants to know what her options are. She is a professionally qualified, a Gold Medalist – her husband made her give up her jobs one after another and he sold the house they had in her name. He has been verbally and physically abusive all their lives.

If she walks out now, where can she go in Delhi and NCR? She is sixty.

She could have walked out earlier, but she thought it would be better for their son to have a ‘normal‘ family life. She regrets the decision today. She did not know that there can be no normal family life if there is Domestic Violence involved. Even today she feels ready to leave but also fears that “He can’t manage without her.” She needs guidance.

So if this young girl on the dark bench in the park is thinking things will improve, I would like her to know about a sixty year old woman who knows better now.

Related posts:

Is a Known Devil really better?

When a daughter refuses to go back.

If someone dislocated your jaw.

If she was born somewhere else.

Just when I blogged about our attitude towards mothers, in cases of teen pregnancy, here’s another horrifying piece of  news,

To save herself from the ignominy of being a unwed mother, a 16-year-old girl left her two-hour-old baby girl to die at a park… near a water tank wearing minimal clothes. The child was bleeding and even the umbilical cord had not been properly cut. Following pressure from her family members …after the baby was born around midnight, she took her baby from her sector 5 residence and left her near the water tank at sector 9, [Click to read details]

Another news article says,

There were blood stains all the way from the spot till the door of her house,… the girl’s condition was bad as the baby had been delivered at home. She was taken to BK Hospital, where she is currently under treatment. The police said the girl’s mother told them that her daughter had had an affair with a boy in the neighbourhood, who later refused to marry her when she found that she was pregnant” [Click to read more]

A third news article says,

A 16-year-old girl was arrested for allegedly abandoning her day-old baby girl after giving birth on Wednesday nightA case under Section 317 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 9 police station. [Click to read more]

Why isn’t the father arrested? Isn’t he equally responsible?

This must be traumatic for a 16 year old.  Do we have special laws to handle such cases?

The way I see it, she must have found herself isolated. She needed medical and emotional support. Instead her family let her go out two hours  after the delivery to abandon the baby, bleeding and cold.  The baby had turned blue when she was found. They probably did not know that they could give the baby up for adoption.

What if the trauma, physical and emotional, and the postpartum depression drive her to suicide?

Is that a solution? A  moral lesson to all the other immoral girls perhaps, because the last line in one news article said,

There has been a growing number of such incidents in Faridabad town with five pregnancies out of wedlock reported in the past three months.”

To some Indians that is the biggest concern here.

For anyone who says the 16 year old is at fault, I would say if she knew or understood the consequences of what she was doing, she would have at least used contraception. We do not think a 16 year old can drive, drink, vote, marry or take decisions, but we are ready to arrest her and blame her for being a victim of ignorance and bad judgement.

And what about the father?

Perhaps the parents feel they had no choice. And now who would marry a girl with a baby, bad reputation and a police record?  (And goes without saying, No Marriage No Life, for an Indian woman).

Now would it not have been lucky for this girls if she was born in the West?

Mothers and daughters.

My mom visited me the other day and the first thing she asked was to watch ‘Tere Mere Sapne’ at 1 pm. I groaned aloud and explained that with Airtel IPTV, she could watch any missed shows later also.

“Great then I also want to watch the last night’s show I missed yesterday!”

So my mom caught two shows I strongly disapprove of, one after another. We ate lunch while watching a group of women circling a peepal tree, praying for their husband’s long life and listening to Savitri’s story.

Savitri snatched her husband back from Yama, the god of death. (Even if we don’t hear of it, I am sure her husband would have done the same for her.) She asked Yama for a hundred sons… (and not one daughter) so he had to return her husband so she could have those hundred sons (no daughters). Now the entire nation seems to follow numerous examples like this, and everybody wants sons.

Gandhari in Mahabharata also asked for a hundred sons. Didn’t they miss having daughters? Sons are fine and good, but isn’t it fun for women to have life-long friends in their daughters?

I saw a friend transform. She had problems at home, and she didn’t seem to care how she looked or lived. She dressed conservatively, wore drab colours and seldom stepped out of her house.

Then her daughter grew up 🙂

During the last few years she took the mother with her to the gym, got her a haircut, both got a music teacher, they go for movies and shopping together,  and the daughter gradually changed her mother’s entire wardrobe. This happens with many women. Grown up daughters become best friends and allies. My friend’s problems are still there but now she has someone who understands and stands by her. She also looks visibly more confident with her new look.

When we were teenagers, my mother used to say she had heard of mothers being close to sons, and wondered why nobody said anything about the amount of fun mothers have with daughters.

My favourite poem by Usha Pisharody says it so well!

For a Daughter I Wish I’d Had!!!

By Usha Pisharody

Audacious smiles

laughter ringing clear-
warm hugs and
little sudden pecks on my cheeks!
A whirlwind of a girl;
now here, gone in a flash!
endearing entreaties-
unquestioning love!
Long long hours of girlish talk-
boys, books, heroes and men!
Life, love, trust and THAT!
Confiding giggles-
while ogling the boys…;)
summing them up, then
walking by in disdain!!
Cheering her up
when sadness strikes-
being there for her…
just in case, she asks!
Holding her hand-
without her knowing..
as only moms can do;
though she, being mine,
would know it too…!!!
Sharing myself with her-
my fears, my joys
my secrets, and my ploys-
Ending the day in warmth
so wonderful
so fierce and filling..
Wishing each mother had
a daughter..
so like mine!!

And a little girl is 19 now.

And the Polka Dotted Cup goes to…

Normally three members in the family race each other to the door when the bell rings.

Mr GS  is Gabbar Singh, our Lab.

Sher Khan is Mr SK, the cat who owns us… [not ShahRukh Khan I am afraid ;)]

Ms Mutt? (Ms M) A dog with a cat’s mind 🙂   SK thinks she is his mother, and she is the only one who can walk away with GS’s bone, although she is half his size.

But this morning they sensed who rang the door bell. The Vet is only the only human they are afraid of… and hence THIS 55 WORD FICTION CONTEST.

THE PRESTIGIOUS POLKA DOTTED CUP

But there are some who not need me to tell them all this!  Here’s what our Honorary Judge HRE Hitchwriter has to say in his 364 words judgement 🙂

I was pinching myself when I read a DM from IHM !!! She wanted me to judge a contest!! Off late I was in work and wasn’t really scanning the reader but here I am !!!

The best part about judging a contest is you don’t have to worry about the guessing !!! phew…

When I got the DM I read this post of 55’er from IHM and I gotta seriously admit I had no clue !!!! But since I am the only honest guy going around I guess IHM decided that I am going to be playing judge… and I must confess I have not received a single bribe offer thanks to her not declaring who the judge would be !!! Sigh  😦  : (

The winner.. err… first of all … I must say this…

Smita – she is last !!!!!!! what a guess !!!!!!!!!! seriously even people like me who didn’t guess were better I guess !!!!!!!!! 😛 😛 😛 😛 Vimmmuu you really need to read her guess… !!!

p.s. had to get vimmmuu involved to get Smita’s eyes off me.. !!! phew !!!

And

Solilo is debarred from all future contests… this lady is seriously bugged with SRK !!! she cant think of anything other than Shahrukh khan so unless we have a contest in which the answer is Shahrukh Khan we wont let her participate !!! sigh !!

The winner well there are too many of them who have their screw loose… I told IHM if anyone guesses it right … they have to be seriously good guessers and the best guessers are ….

Rakesh

Ritu – she was near about there, plus she was willing to give a bribe !!

Suranga

Quirky Indian – boy your aim is too good and precise !

Pins and Ashes – yes your brains are indeed dead !  😦

Shilpadesh

Crafty – yes the polka dotted mug is yours !!!!  😀 😀

Deeps, Parul, Comfortablynam were close but they didn’t spell the VET !!!!

Some were really imaginative… milkman, taxman (I thought that too 😥 ), loan shark, insurance agent and what not !!!  😆

Congrats to all the winners and I await some goodies from ya all !!!!

55 Words Fiction:Guess and win.

Guessing is my Cup Of Tea

Guessing is my Cup Of Tea

Guess what’s happening in the 55 words fiction below and and win this badge. Judges’ names not to be revealed until announcement of results to avoid allegations of foul play and bribing.

[If you are not reading this at (https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/), then you are reading stolen content. The owner of the site you are on has stolen this article and is making money by you reading it. If this article interests you, please go to (https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/) to read it on its original site and do not return to this one. Thank you.]

The door bell rang.

Terrified stiffening… followed by chaos.

Mr SK ran past the domestic helpers he trusted, to hide in a wardrobe. Ms M pushed her ageing self under a bed.

Others stood up, a chair fell… breakfast was forgotten.

Startled by the chair, Mr GS was trapped.

The visitor smiled.

Mr GS shivered.

My wasted advice!

I was driving and Daughter was gushing over how much she loves the vibrant colours of the ethnic wear we had just bought for her, and then Radio One plays this beautiful song, “Aaj din chadiya tere rang warga…”

The beauty of his plea was striking after the post about Stalkers and Losers yesterday.

IHM: ‘”Wo jo mujhe dekh ke hanse, pana chahoon raat din jise, rabba mainu naam kar use, tainu dil da wastaa…” (The one I meet in my dreams, the one I want to be mine, God, give that one to me, my heart is breaking…) I never noticed the lyrics before!  …this is a lovely song.

Daughter: I would be scared to ask God for something like this, … what if God grants the wish and I realise he wasn’t the right guy?

IHM: You can add a clause in your prayers, ” God, only if he is the right one, then and only then should he be mine, if he isn’t, then may I feel nothing for him, and may he feel nothing for me.”  😉

Daughter: The best I like are the yellows! Mustard would go well with red.

My advice is wasted on them!

Her grandmom’s daughter?

Somebody is traveling all by herself for the first time today. It’s no big deal except that when they were young I was sometimes told I was overprotective, generally on occasions like weddings because I didn’t let them out of my sight. I feared it was on such occasions when everybody thought someone else was watching over the kids, that kids were most unsafe…

When I let her go to a (well-organised) trip to Europe some of the same people were surprised. They didn’t realize that my worry was never the chance of their becoming …err corrupted, but their being safe. We tend to mix mistrust with protectiveness. Anyway today my mom (she never thought I was overprotective) called to say she was proud of her grand daughter, and was glad she was more like her than me 😉

So the sounds heard in this house might be different for the two following weeks.

Endless conversation. Constant music. Excited barking. HBO. And an occasional sibling argument.

Two pairs of eyes will follow a human and they will look like they understand every word when she sings to them, her usual…

I better rush, it’s time to pick her.

How is a dog your best friend?

[Edited to add: This 55er is easier to understand if you realise how amazing is a… A DOG”S VOCABULARY...]

8:30 PM.

Son’s engrossed in IPL. I ask, “Aren’t you hungry?”

Thump goes an eager tail.

Nobody asked you!

Looks away sheepishly.

There’s…

Ears perk up.

“…daal and bhindi.”

Ears look bored.

Bhindi?!! Can’t we order Pizza, Ma?”

Tail’s all ears!

Two legs slide back, two stretch in-front…

Time to get up and lend support.

55 WORDS FICTION

A literary ;) work will be considered 55 Fiction if it has:

Fifty-five words or less (A non-negotiable rule)

A setting, One or more characters, Some conflict, and A resolution.

(Not limited to moral of the story)

He ain’t my best friend!! 🙄

Here’s another cricket fan I know, he also forgets his dinner when it comes to the IPL…Vote for him, and support him 🙂

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