“When the time comes to support them, they back out and and blame the children for misusing their trust and freedom.”

What exactly is Misuse of Freedom and Trust? Why is choosing one’s life partner seen as a ‘betrayal’ by many Indian families/parents?

Sharing an email. 

Dear IHM,

I am back again asking for your help regarding a problem. Would be grateful if you could post this on your blog – I would like to know what people who have been in such situations have to say.

My husband and me had a love marriage – we are from different religions/caste/language and different states. We waited and fought for 3 years for approval from his side – which never came. He was given an ultimatum to go and lead his life or forget me and stay in the family. My husband chose the former and we have been so happy ever since. His folks (mom and 3 sisters & their husbands) gave more importance to society and relatives approval and “what will people say” rather than his happiness. But within a few months they back tracked and accepted him back into the household because his mom couldn’t be without seeing him. He lost his father a few years before we even became good friends… (and that also was brought in as a reason to oppose our union). His 3 elder sisters and family are cordial and warm to him. It’s going to be 10 yrs since we’ve been married, but I have not been accepted into the family. His nieces had not been told about his marriage, but as 4 of them grew into adults, they came to know of of the matter. But no one talks about it and the family prefers to brush anything regarding us under the carpet. “We” are never talked about, but assumptions are made by them on how we lead our life. We are more than happy to be away from all this family politics and orthodox values, superstitious beliefs etc.

Now coming to the real issue – his 1st niece is in the USA. She went there 3 yrs back to do her MS and is now working there. She is in love with her good friend there. He is of a different caste-and that is the only difference. She has known him for the last 3 years and they have been going steady for the past 1 year. He is a good boy, with equal education, a great job and from a good family. The last couple of months her parents have been pressurizing her with proposals and when she could take it no more, informed her mom about her love last month. The nightmares have started since then, her mom doing the crying, lamenting, not talking phases, emotional blackmail, threatens and everything else.

They are playing the caste card, the boy being a non-Brahmin. They claim that relatives will desert them, no one will talk to them, marriages of the other 5 girls (her own sister and 4 cousins) will be a problem, how will they face the world etc etc. Another important fact – “how can we agree for this when we opposed your Uncle’s marriage?”. The same accusations and reasons and fights that took place 13 yrs ago is repeating itself. Horoscope, society, caste and everything else matters more. None of them have changed even a bit. It’s like living through all that emotional abuse all over again. She has tried in all her conversations to explain that he will keep her happy and her happiness should be important for them and how their interests, goals and likes match and how they will make a good couple. But none of this matters – the parents say “our happiness should be more important to you than yours”!!!!

Another problem – this girl’s younger sister just got her visa for her MS and will be going to the same city that her sister stays. The parents and aunts (mother’s sisters) have started to blackmail and brainwash the younger one asking her how is she going to stay with her sister because she has fallen in love, she will not take care of you. Why can’t you not go there now, do your PG here in India”, etc etc. They are trying to turn the younger one against the older stating that “she is doing a favour by spending for you, because she wants our approval in return. She has become rude because she in earning in $’s in the USA” etc etc. The sisters are very close to each other and are stunned by this divide and rule and lies and twisting of stories from the parents side.

Both of them are not putting up their views very strongly fearing that their parents will not allow the younger one to travel. It’s another torture to listen to all the arguments and emotional abuse and blackmail and not voice their opinions.

A few days back the parents laid down conditions to the younger one – that if they send her to the USA

1. You have to go and try change your sister’s mind
2. You have to come back after 2 years of studies
3. You have to work and repay your study loan yourself (as in not take money from the elder one)
4. You cannot think of having a love marriage.

The parents are in a fix because the elder one will not be coming down to India anytime soon, because she just had her visa status changed. They feel she is so far away and is out of their hands, so they are trying to guilt trip her into accepting that because of what she did (falling in love) she is responsible for spoiling her sister’s future if her parents decide not to send her to the USA.

They are definitely not going to accept this and I fear the boy’s situation would become the same as mine – a son-law who’s not accepted though they might accept the daughter back, in case they go ahead and get married by themselves.

All the years of growing up, achieving in studies, being a good child – all this apparently becomes of no use because you fall in love and choose your own partner. Why is it that parents think that their happiness lies in only whom their children marry whom they are told to marry? They do everything for their children, but when the real time comes to support them in their happiness, they back out and and blame the children for misusing their trust and freedom.

I want your readers to please advice on what they should do and how should they react to all this emotional drama and assumptions and mental torture. There might be many who have been through such situations…..I need their expert advice.

Note –
1. These are not some illiterate, from the village type parents. These are educated and young parents in their 50’s.
2. The boy’s side is very liberal and broad minded. His sister also had a love marriage and there is no problem from the boy’s side.

Thanks in advance to you IHM and all your readers.

Related Posts:

LOVE – Is it a Crime?

Against your child’s happiness

An email: I want my parents to know the real me, why do I have to lie?

Why do we hear concerned voices about ‘misuse of freedom’ the moment we talk about Freedom?

‘We grew up in a very liberal family. We knew what our limits were and our focus was our education. We never betrayed our parents.’

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A Guest Post by an Anonymous Indian Family Vamp.

Dear IHM,

Just saw this comment in one of your blogs:

“People think that girls in love marriages do not pay due respect to in laws. My cousin had a love marriage in Jain’s and she is living a great life.(Our family is liberal). She was a non vegetarian and Kayastha by caste. She is an IITian but knows and has accepted every element of Jainism now (by choice). Her In laws boast about her in their community. Her daadi in law does’nt go anywhere without her. She is an ideal Bahu and loved by all.”

 I am sure the writer did not really intend to offend; I can understand that growing up in largely patriarchal and sexist social conditioning changes one’s perception of normalcy.

Anyway, I couldn’t resist commenting. “Love marriage” or “arranged marriage” hardly affects the life of a woman after marriage (read after honeymoon). Results can be quite surprising.

I had a “love marriage”. Incidentally, my ILs also had a “love marriage”. More interestingly, my MIL’s parents had a “love marriage” too. So, the concept of “love marriage” wasn’t alien to the family and since my ILs themselves did it, they were a lot more accepting of me than they would rather be.

Now, many people would think my ILs are a liberal sort. No. They found my “love marriage” normal because they did it themselves. For all other things, they are as much a typical orthodox patriarchal family.

As for crossing heavens, my MIL is touted as the ideal DIL. She did B.Com. and a degree in music in a major city and lived a somewhat modern life (by the standards of her time). After marriage, she immediately got pregnant (my husband). She was hardly 21 or something. To this date, my grand MIL proudly proclaims (especially to irk me and make me retort and stir things up) that her DIL had just one period after marriage. Interestingly, my MIL was so madly in love and crazy about getting married (thanks to my FIL who is extremely manipulative and can easily convince people), she didn’t even bother to collect her degree certificate. Some achievement (sarcasm alert)!

I think from my previous post, it is evident that she has been suffering from domestic abuse and domination for about 30 years now. She is also severely Diabetic. Anyway, she is extremely timid, subservient and submissive and has sacrificed her happiness, job, health, freedom, and peace of mind and what not for this family.

Now, my ILs are quite impressed and they have a “good opinion on love marriage” because a DIL who came in through “love marriage” was the perfect DIL whom nobody could have found even through “arranged marriage”. In fact, she is considered the best of the three DILs there are (my FIL has two brothers).

In contrast, the youngest DIL, who hated their double standards and domination (like me), openly rebelled and seceded from the joint family. She was brought into the family through an “arranged marriage”. In contrast to MIL, she was from a village and had probably only done her matriculation or something. She insisted that she wanted to study. ILs nodded and got her married. After the marriage, they told her to get pregnant immediately and that she can study later. This, the pressures of a joint family, my typical villainous grand MIL, the abusive men of the household, the restrictions and everything and my FIL’s drinking habits (even on her marriage my FIL was inebriated to the point of going into a coma) drove her to openly rebel. She tried every trick in the book and aborted twice. Finally, they pressurized her so much, she had to relent and finally had two kids. But, she was so bitter by now, she managed to convince her husband and separated from the joint family. Then she did her 12th, BA, MA and now, she is doing her PhD.

This woman, who was “arranged married” by the entire joint family that “selected” her on her “girl-seeing” ceremony, is now the family vamp and all DILs after her (including me) are not-so-subtly warned of the consequences of defying this family. In fact, when I got married, my ILs even warned me to be careful of her (as if she were kidnapping me for ransom) as she would “poison” my mind. My husband has mixed feelings towards her; he knows in his heart that she was right, but being a product of patriarchy, is unable to openly acknowledge or support it.

Anyway, today, I am vamp number two (yay!). Number two because I did not actually openly fight like she did, but I did my share of convincing and peacefully moved out, leaving no quotable evidence in my wake. Vamp, I am, because “I split the family and separated the child from his parents” (as if I was automatically orphaned the moment the thaali came round my neck) even though my ILs still don’t have proof that it was my intention.

My husband, though the main orchestrator of this evil secession plan, is also secretly worried about my reputation. However he is getting more and more relaxed with the comparatively liberal and non-patriarchal living in our new house, albeit slowly.

Three women, two vamps, one “arranged married”.

Now, let’s compare what really happens to the children of women who “cross heavens” and the children of family vamps.

When I compare my MIL’s family and Vamp no. 1’s family, the latter is clearly happier, more well-adjusted and peaceful. Their kids are a lot happier, freer, less frustrated and more comfortable with their parents than my husband and BIL were at that age. In fact, vamp’s daughter recently spoke on a public forum. Her father is thinking of enrolling her for journalism, as that is what she wants to do (despite the fact that she has a “good score” and can actually do engineering or medicine). She is bold, outspoken and is the only kid in the family who is openly not on speaking terms with FIL and grand MIL.

My husband, in contrast, was prohibited from joining a medical college (even after passing the coveted medical entrance) by his controlling and emotional-blackmailing parents. He was put in a random college and course chosen by FIL.

In fact, when he joined, he did not even know what his course was about.

It didn’t stop after he successfully finished his graduation and got a job. He got selected in Infosys with a very good salary to which FIL objected and forced him to abandon.

He finally got a job in a **** company. But being extravagant and alcoholic at that, FIL forced him to send his salary home with hardly anything left for his personal expenses. Please note that my husband was working and living in an expensive city. To manage this, hubby often went hungry. But the family cared a hoot, as this was what eldest sons were supposed to do.

What hubby went through in name of tradition is so horrible to even hear, it brings tears to my eyes even today.

I believe that arranged or love married, only strong, stable and brave women can have well-adjusted and happy families (if they choose to). The rest merely pretend. Scratch the family’s pleasant exterior, and you find it all rotten.

Sincerely,

Family Vamp Number Two

Related Posts:

“I had written an email about being a DIL in the joint family, I am happy to share my current state …”

An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…

To an Anonymous DIL

“I will never live in a joint family, it has its roots in patriarchy and benefits only men.”

What do you think of this mother, and this family?

What do you think of this mother? How do you think would the ‘social order’ be impacted with this kind of parenting? Have you ever met mothers or parents or families like this?

Link shared by Gk from tears&dreams, with the message: “Felt like sharing the article with you. Its funny and sweet and talks about family in a way that would be hard to imagine for most Indians. I can’t think of anyone else who’d understand why I loved it.”

Can you think of two people who would love this story?

MODERN LOVE

The Messy-Kitchen, Parking-Spot War

The day my daughter arrived home from her first year in college, her boyfriend moved in. They didn’t consult me.

One day I was happily living alone in my two-bedroom Seattle apartment, and the next I had two teenage roommates, one of whom I hardly knew. The boyfriend, who was still a high school senior, had been my daughter’s summer fling before she left for college last September.

With my last child gone, I thought I’d be terribly sad and lonely. And I was — for about 10 minutes. After I had spent a brief stint lying on her bed mourning her childhood, I did what my own mother had done: I gathered the stuff she had left behind and moved it to the basement storage unit.

Then I took over the office nook she had claimed (but hardly ever used) and made it my own.

I installed shelves and filled them with my reference books. I stocked the refrigerator and cupboards with gluten-free, low-fat food. I bought soap in scents that pleased me and shampoo that suited my hair type. I rearranged the furniture and cleaned the house from top to bottom.

With each pass of the vacuum, I found myself becoming cheerier. My husband had moved to our farm on Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands of Washington with our two dogs to pursue his dream of being a homesteader, changing our marriage into a long-distance arrangement with occasional weekend visits. I found myself, for the first time in 35 years, living alone in a perfectly tidy apartment. I loved it.

….

When I asked if the boyfriend might help out a little by doing dishes or taking out the compost, my daughter said, “He’s phobic about getting his hands dirty.”

“I’m sure that works well for him,” I replied.

Weeks passed as the lovebirds languished in my apartment. I’d leave for work at 10:30 a.m. and return at 7 p.m. to find them exactly where I had left them: sprawled on the couch watching reruns of “Monk.” The only way I could tell they had even moved was that the food I had bought for dinner was gone and the kitchen was a mess.

The boyfriend’s mother, upset that her 18-year-old son hardly came home anymore…

Please do read the entire story at – 

The Messy-Kitchen, Parking-Spot War

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Haryana killing : Here is a father A P Singh might want to defend.

What kind of grooms, do you think, do honor killing, violent parents want their daughters to wed?

The Powers of the Protectors.

If she was born somewhere else.

How many parents in India will do this instead of hushing it up if the case didn’t come into the lime light?

Pregnant at fifteen? No moral issues. Unmarried and pregnant at fifteen. Degeneration of society.

“A clandestine, and irresponsible, affair may prove dangerous. A city girl learnt it the hard way,”

An email: I am 18 year old male from a traditional (read:backward) Indian family.

What Khaps need is a strictly implemented law against Forced Marriages.

Love Marriages spoil the Family System of our Nation.

Only when raising ideal daughters in law is not their goal, would Indian parents be able enjoy having and bringing up girl children.

Irresponsible girls who throw away their lives while in throes of lust for the completely wrong person…

No second chances for an Indian daughter.

Who defines the ‘limits’ of your freedom?

Who benefits from criminalizing consensual teenage sex?

Teenage Pregnancies – not our culture…

Teenagers!

“Here’s what I would tell my future/potential daughter, if I ever have one.”

“I need suggestions – these girls are ruining their lives with their stupid ideas about love.”

BJP and Trinamool are objecting to a lower age of consent on the ground that this is in conflict with “conservative norms” of Indian society.

Where Consensual Sex is Rape, and Forced Sex a legal right.

Why is abuse by parents taken so lightly by Indians?

“Sometimes it seems like every single thing I do has the potential to be something ‘provocative’.”

Pregnant at fifteen? No moral issues. Unmarried and pregnant at fifteen. Degeneration of society.