But do we have any benchmark for ideal parents in our traditions?

Sharing an email from Kajal.

A thought has been bothering me for a few days. Indian mythology or cultural texts have several icons and references for the ideal son/daughter i.e. the ideal children. But do we have any benchmark for ideal parents in our traditions? Mostly what I remember from atleast the two major epics is parents who abandon children, torture them to please another spouse or society or ask of impossible sacrifices from children for the larger good. Do you remember any ideal/non-controlling parent in our stories? Would you say this has impacted how we see parent child relationship till date in this country? Is there a parent version of Shravan Kumar? Or is it just assumed that by virtue of being parents they are selfless and right?

So do we have any role models? What did these role models do for their children?

Indian mothers are seen (in movies) frantic, worrying about the amount of hot and freshly cooked food the male children have eaten [Like this, Link]

They are also seen fasting for the male child’s long life. In the movies they seem to feel responsible for finding a sanskaari and obedient daughter in law as a spouse for the male child and collecting dowry for their daughters. Traditional mothers are expected to raise the paraya dhan to become obedient daughters in law.

Fathers seem to be responsible for ensuring obedience, school fees (if they approve of sending the children to school), dowry and Honor.

In many movies, loving parents are seen working hard, despite illness sometimes, to feed their children, to get urgent medical treatment for their children, for the children’s (more often male children) school fees and for the girl children’s dowry.

What about the parents in Indian mythology?

Related Posts:

Mommy Guilt: A Western Influence.

“This man is openly threatening his daughter and is instigating others to burn alive their daughters.”

“You can listen to your parents and be unhappy or you can go against them and feel guilty – those are your choices?”

“I am betraying my parents, country and culture by not having an arranged marriage, people are talking, younger sisters not getting married.”

“I am glad that my parents never thought of raising us as ‘future daughters-in-law’.”

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

An email: Is it fair for parents to say that their happiness depends on who their kids marry?

The Changing Role of Dads

Fortune Mother Exchange : Mother’s cooking for Indian male children.

हमारी बेटी संस्कारवान है और मंत्री बनने के बावजूद पति के पांव की जूती ही है।

Don’t let me down dear daughter!

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15 lines from ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’.

Let me just share some dialogues (roughly translated/in my own words) from Dil dharakne do and you decide what you think of the movie.

1. ‘Does he beat you? Is he a miser? Does he stop you from shopping? No?! Then what do you mean you want divorce?’ [Rahul Bose is the ‘he’ here, and the entitled look on his face, when this is being said, makes the movie a must-watch]

2. ‘There has never been a divorce in this family and there never will be.’

3. ‘What have we done to you that you are punishing us like this? Do you want me to fall at your feet? Let me cut my wrists with this knife…’ (picks a butter knife)

4. ‘How times have changed he heh… when we were young we women could never speak like this in front of our elders he he he…’ [The effect is the exact opposite of Saas Bahu serials]

5. ‘What you write about is so depressing, why do you exaggerate so much? Can’t you find something positive to write about? Like, look at us, in the previous generations women did not work, but I have allowed my wife to work!’

(The response is amongst the things that make the movie worth watching.)

6. ‘You are offended because I insulted your husband? But he was insulting you… doesn’t that count?’

7. ‘She is married, now she is a **** (husband’s surname). Now his home is her home, his family is her family.’

8. ‘I am on top of the world, god has been kind. There is only one thing I want now – dear daughter please give us a grandchild.’

9. ‘What do you mean you are not sure you want to marry her? The business (that’s floundering and can be salvaged with this marriage) is not just our business, you are our only son, it’s your business too.’

10. ‘Who is that girl with him?’

11. ‘You want a divorce? What will our friends say?’

12. ‘Every marriage has problems. The easier way out is divorce. That’s not the right path. The difficult path is the right path.’

13. ‘There is no place for you in this house if you divorce him.’

14. ‘There is no place for you in this house if you don’t marry her.’

15. ‘I don’t want to hear about this.’ (But don’t you dare do what you were about to suggest you might)

And here are some points the movie made:

1. Financial independence and success does not automatically give women the confidence (or mindset) to expect to be treated as an equal, to object to misogyny, or to walk out of unhappy relationships.

Why PepsiCo CEO Indra K. Nooyi Can’t Have It All

2. Parents don’t always know, and/or even want the best for their children.

3. No divorce does not mean happy marriages.

4. Many women stay married because they have nowhere else to go. Women also stay married because they are pressurised to stay married.

5. ‘Get Married Stay Married and bear male children’ is viewed as the main goal for every Indian woman.

6. Daughters are viewed as Liabilities, or Paraya Dhan.

7. Sons are viewed as precious – but only because they are Assets, to be controlled for parents’ benefits (dowry, obedient and/or rich daughter in law, family business etc).

8. Creating a good impression on ‘everybody’ is more important for many Indians, than happiness of loved ones.

9. A son spending a night with a young woman is not the same as a daughter spending a night with a young man. One set of parents smiles proudly.

10. I am sure this movie succeeded in making atleast some conservative viewers look at Successful Divorces as a Happy Endings. (Queen managed to do the same thing with broken engagements)

Related Posts:

Eleven questions the family elders ask women in unhappy marriages.

Are Happily Married Daughters a status symbol in India?

Please watch Dum Laga Ke Haisha – where a man is asked to Please adjust and save his marriage.

Please watch ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’ 🙂

Piku in Patriarchy.

Shuddh Desi Romance : When Getting Married and Staying Married is not an Indian woman’s life purpose.

‘Both families arrived at a compromise and she decided to continue to live with her gay husband.’

An email: “He told my MIL that he doesn’t like me. I knew he was depressed so I tried to console him.”

Recognizing Emotional Abuse – Priya

Why do men NOT have to choose between being a CEO and a father, but women have to make this choice.

Pretty brides who respect elders and identify themselves with their husband’s families.

Catch all the dialogue promos of Dil Dhadakne Do here

‘My parents will be ignored and ridiculed. No one will let them forget my so called shameful behaviour.’

“… It will be like throwing them to the wolves.”

Why do we need family (or a community or a society)? What is the purpose? What is the least that you expect from a Society or a Community or Family that you belong to? 

How much would you be willing to compromise on your expectations? Would you permit blackmail or threats in return of whatever the community provides for you? 

(An average Indian is raised to understand all about what the more powerful members in a society/community expect from it’s members)

Sharing an email from a young Indian woman.

Hi,

I read your blog and I was able to relate to a lot of articles. You see I am also going through the same issue of convincing my parents for intercaste marriage.  I am a *** and the guy I love is a ****, from a lower caste. Personally I don’t believe in all this but my family does. They are opposed to the entire idea of marrying a non *** and that too lower caste. I am in a big fix.

Ours is a 8 year relationship. I tried everything to convince them but to no avail. It’s been more than a year now that I disclosed about my wish to marry that guy. All my family members, cousins, extended family are trying to discourage from my decision. Cousins who are only in their early 30s and may be even younger are against intercaste marriage. Its either choose that guy or your family.

My dad has taken an oath he will never accept me nor let my mom accept me. And I have seen examples where he has broken ties with a certain relative over small issues. I fear he will stand true to his oath. **** are a conservative community. Such cases are seen as very humiliating for the parents who then stop socialising and going out.

If at all my parents accept me, my family will not allow them. They say they will cut ties with my parents as well, if they support me. At this juncture I stand to lose the safety and security of my family. My parents will be ignored and ridiculed constantly by not just community but family members as well cos my decision will affect them also somewhere.  No one will let them forget my so called shameful behaviour. I can’t bear to see them like that.

Now I am thinking of giving up for the sake of my parents but the thought of life without that guy and with someone else of my parents’ choice is equally frightening. Here I stand to lose all my dreams and hopes for a future and life of my choice and liking. The guy has always been supportive and understanding. It not his fault to suffer so much. Thoughts of leaving him is tearing me apart. There is a lot of emotional upheaval going on with me.

I am out of my depth here trying to decide what to do. Please advice.

Second email:

They say with time you will forget him and get on with your life. Their argument is a woman whose spouse dies that women also moves on and marries somewhere down the line. She doesn’t die with him or stay unhappy for life.

The new development since 2 days is that they have already started alienating my parents. they have cut all contact and gradually breaking ties with them. Just because their daughter is maligning their name as well.

My parents, who don’t support me, blame me for their suffering. At a time like this it’s like throwing them to the wolves.

Related Posts:

Love Marriages spoil the Family System of our Nation.

How illegal bans on Valentine’s day and birthday parties are connected with dowry deaths and sex selection.

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

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.’

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

How would you react if you knew your son (or daughter) felt this way?

Sharing an email.

” I wish they just become bad… too bad… too abusive that they start beating me. That would be easy for me then.”

What would you say to him if you were his parents? How would you react if you knew your son (or daughter) felt this way? 

What advice would you give to the email writer?

’24 year old guy: Help needed Desperately’

Hey there,

I am struggling with a challenge which might seem quite ridiculous at first, and may be it is, but I can’t seem to come out of the situation. I live in a traditional Indian family. But through my small rebels, I was able to create a tiny bit of freedom for myself. And, my parents are supportive of me at some level compared to the rest. Though they still are traditional parents, but compared to what I hear and what I read on your blog, they don’t stop me from doing what I want (in most cases). And that is the problem. They are just normal people… good…fine… OK people. Not abusive, not threatening. Nope. Nothing like that. Just common ordinary people of ordinary lives. I am 24 years old and staying with my parents.

I know it is being very destructive for my growth to stay at home and be lazy and continue the living style my parents inherited from their… and continue the same trend. I am big on personal growth, wants to come out of conformity, escape the rat race, living adventurous life and I keep doing what my current level of growth and confidence allows me to. I just can’t live fully at home, and can’t do all these things I desire, that I know for sure. I want to move out. I want to constantly travel, from one place to other. Try new challenges. And living at home is very limiting. My parents may be slight above in par than the traditional Indian society but that shouldn’t make everything OK.

They don’t encourage me. Don’t support my growth plans, even if they are good.

My parents even make fun of my goal of vegan diet. They think it is too impractical in India. They call my decision of leaving meat as “pretentious” and boring. Can you believe that? They don’t allow me to buy good healthy expensive cooking oil from my own money, just because it is expensive and they don’t know why I do such thing. They don’t understand my habit of reading books. They call me “Kitaabi Keera”.

They still constantly ask, not force, but ask politely to take a regular job. Which I have clearly told them I will not. And I am earning myself through a writing job which does not pay that well. But I take care of my own needs. And this discussion of job still come up every single day. But other than that, they are, I guess, nice people. Normal average people. Don’t abuse me. They give me some level of freedom which THEY think is appropriate but not the “real” freedom. So the problem is – I want to move out but parents are blackmailing me emotionally. Which I think is selfish nature. Whenever I talk about moving out they make sad face. Their tone of voice changes. They just WANT me to stay at home and live a mediocre life like they did. They are so bored and afraid of life that they can’t think of anything they could do themselves, without me. This is utterly sad and depressing. The love between mom and dad is totally gone. They are just living and counting days. (And are they expecting me to do the same?) But they never really pressurize me to stay, never really threaten me to stay, which is the problem itself. Because if they did, I would move out that day only. I know that is completely out of line. But they don’t do that. They become sad, helpless, lonely. that is where I get stuck. I wish they just become bad… too bad… too abusive that they start beating me. That would be easy for me then. I don’t know what to do. I can’t live at home anymore. I have a lot to explore and staying at home at 24 years of age is depressing. Don’t tell me I can stay at home and make it worthwhile without knowing about my passion and goals. And this is one of the hardest decision I have faced in my life. Can’t stay… can’t move out. It scares me to even think of a sudden crisis, an unfortunate event at home, which might happen when I am out of city. Will I who be blamed? I know I can not just stop thinking about it and move out with my stuff. That is just not possible. The solution is somewhere inside me, somewhere I have to grow, give a shot at making them understand, something, I don’t know.

Please give me some advice.

Thank for you reading the whole rant.

Related Posts:

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

“You can listen to your parents and be unhappy or you can go against them and feel guilty – those are your choices?”

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

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.’

An email from an Indian Husband… and a Good Indian Son.

What kind of sons do Feminists raise?

“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.’

“You can listen to your parents and be unhappy or you can go against them and feel guilty – those are your choices?”

“After babying them endlessly, Indian parents expect to control their kids for the rest of their lives, in exchange for this ‘sacrifice’.”

Do you agree?

What do you think do most Indian parents consider their biggest responsibility towards their children?

What is considered the right way to go about fulfilling that responsibility?

What do you think of this comment by wordssetmefree?

“I am a parent, am in my 40s and let me say this – this is what is wrong with our system, so let’s not continue to perpetrate it. Parents must not baby their children. They must teach them life skills and expect them to grow into mature, responsible beings.

Lessons in responsibility can be taught at a very young age, like in pre-school.

After babying their kids endlessly, they expect to control them for the rest of their lives, in exchange for this ‘sacrifice’.

They control who they should marry, when they should marry, when to have kids, what career to pursue, etc.

Now in their 20s, the kids finally wake up, and want to make a few personal choices in their life, and find that they are unable to. Nothing in their childhood prepares them to be confident, to make a single independent decision. Never once were they allowed to make a mistake and bear the responsibility of their own actions. So, they stumble through life, continuing to please their parents while hating it, afraid to take a chance, and give up their dreams.

Every little rebellion is accompanied by enormous guilt that their parents gave them so much and all they give in return is rebellion.

Making a personal choice is seen as rebellion. Having a different opinion is seen as rebellion. You can listen to your parents and be unhappy or you can go against them and feel guilty – those are your choices. Is this really a healthy way to live??

Let’s break this cycle.

As parents, let’s teach kids to be responsible and mature, and let’s not see all the time and effort we put into parenting as a sacrifice. It’s not. We chose to have kids and it’s a joy to help them grow up and understand the world around the. Our effort and love are not an investment and let’s not expect a ‘payback’ in the form of control. Let’s not interfere in their personal decisions, and allow them to be full-fledged, capable, happy, guilt-free, confident adults.”

Related Posts :

Mommy Guilt: A Western Influence.

So what do our children owe us?

“I waited for maternal love to overcome me – it didn’t… After my baby was born, I didn’t feel anything…”

A comment: One more thing, had I been financially independent I would have never got married.

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

Why is abuse by parents taken so lightly by Indians?

When Discipline Becomes Abuse : Why I need Feminism

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

What’s the moral of this story?

“I think my mum believed that you shouldn’t agree to everything your child says for she will go out of hands.”

The Powers of the Protectors.

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

‘If you don’t mutter under your breath “I hate you” atleast once in your life, I am not doing my job properly.’

An email: He will be one of those 40 year old men living in parents basement with a wife he never really wanted.

If I made Baghban.

An email from a Mother in law.

“I put my blood and raised my sons. Now the daughters in law are enjoying the fruit.. “

“But, my only motive in life has been my daughter’s happiness which is now in your hands. I beg you, please keep her happy”

“My husband says he can’t go against his family. My father says study but not without your FIL’s permission.”

At what point should educated, 21st century women who can think liberally for themselves, take responsibility for themselves…

“This man is openly threatening his daughter and is instigating others to burn alive their daughters.”

How illegal bans on Valentine’s day and birthday parties are connected with dowry deaths and sex selection.

“I know my dad is short tempered but he was never this aggressive until my relatives started making him over think about my marriage.”

Indian parents seem to continue to believe that their children’s (only girl children’s) self reliance and happiness is less important than creating a good impression on the relatives/neighbours/peer group/colleagues. 

All the news about women being harassed, abused and even killed by in laws/spouse doesn’t seem to make some Indian parents question the idea of Get Married Stay Married as the only goal for some of their children (daughters). 

Such is the power of established norms. 

And short temper continues to be seen as a rational reason for inexcusable behaviour – with those who can be forced to tolerate it.

Hi IHM,

I am in a fix and i thought of contacting you and your readers for help.

I am a  24 year old girl working in an IT firm in Mumbai  for the past one year. My family lives in another town. I graduated In B.E and got campus selected in the same firm. Due to some issues I was given my joining date after two years. In the meantime I was working in another firm.

My father started asking me to get married when I was 22. I always wanted to work and be independent because i never wanted to be a housewife. He brought one proposal and when I said no to him, he didn’t talk to me for a while and started creating issues to his health. Some how people made him understand and he was alright after a while.

After about a few months he again brought a proposal and asked me to consider and when I said ‘No’ again, he asked me to never come back home and we didn’t talk for a month or so. I am someone who is scared of my Dad because he is a very short tempered and controlling kind of guy. I have always been a good daughter and have never had any different views from my father. So I always try to give in rather than fighting with him. I always made it clear to him that my career was the most important thing in my life and until and unless am stable, I won’t be getting married. This somehow my dad is not very comfortable with. He wants me to get married ASAP because apparently if a say no to a guy, Thats an insult to him. I have tried making him understand but he never gets it and whatever discussion or point I throw in, he ends up humiliating me and never listens to me. He is a man who you cannot win an argument with.

Now he brought a proposal again and when I said it clear that this marriage stuff is not something I want right now, he again started scolding me and told me that he will meet the guy and his parents and if i say no, he will make sure to make me resign the company am working right now. I am a career oriented girl and I would never sacrifice my job for anything, and my dad is aware of this. I told him that I want to focus of my job and be independent and then we can talk about this stuff. I just joined my company and it will take a minimum 2-3 years for me have a decent money and savings. But he did not get this and said that he will make sure I don’t work in the firm if I create a scene or say no to the guy.

I love my parents and I know my dad is short tempered but he was never this aggressive until my relatives started making him over think about my marriage. My parents will be forcibly making me meet the guy in about two weeks without my approval and the more I talk to parents about this, the more they become aggressive towards me. What do I do.. please help me.. I don’t wanna fight with my dad, I know he loves me but this marriage bullshit of him is something I cannot stand.

Related Posts:

At what point should educated, 21st century women who can think liberally for themselves, take responsibility for themselves…

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

“My husband says he can’t go against his family. My father says study but not without your FIL’s permission.”

“I think my mum believed that you shouldn’t agree to everything your child says for she will go out of hands.”

Sharing an email.

“I think most problems in life are when we look for approval and validation outside of ourselves.”

I was a girl who had to fight tooth and nail for my choice. The way I dress, the way I remain non-religious in a conservative ****** family, the way I chose my stream, the way I chose how to have fun…

It was because I think my mum believed that you shouldn’t agree to everything your child says for she will go out of hands. May be that is why I had to start asking my mum atleast a week ago even if it’s permission to watch a movie with friends.

Things changed after going to Chennai and then to Delhi for highers. I started doing things without asking until an incident taught me that I’d better inform even if I didnt get permission. And surprise surprise. Permissions, Oks and YES cam easily from my parents.

Movies, road trips, dine outs, parties… Ok mole (Beta). The hours I spent trying to put together point for arguing with my mumm wasn’t needed at all.

It was disconcerting rather than liberating. Suspicious even. My parents accepting that their daughter is actually grown up? Last week we made a sudden plan to go to Goa. “Mumm, I am going to Goa.” “Ok Mole… Enjoy”. Huh!!???

Am I so tuned to her disapproval, fights with parents but uncomfortable with this liberation? Or do I need time to get used to it. Is this what you are calling ‘seeking validation’?

Of course when I come home, she makes comments on how I dress, about behaving like a good Indian ****** girl etc etc. It’s back to the same ‘trying to control’ when I come home on occasional weekends.

Do Indian girls find it hard to accept liberation even when they have it? Arghh I need a reality check!!!

– Nidaa

* * *

Related Posts:

When Discipline Becomes Abuse : Why I need Feminism

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

Language:English; Culture:Cosmopolitan.

“Everyone knows, when she decides not to keep relation, she will do that. But I don’t want to go far away from my mother, I want her to be with me.”

It seems the whole idea of having a son for many Indians is to enjoy the privileges of being the Ladke Wale – namely or atleast mainly, an obedient daughter in law chosen by the parents. The son’s happiness is generally not taken too seriously. A common reasoning given is that the son  doesn’t quite know ‘what’s good for him’ and the parents always want ‘the best for him’.  

Also, a happily married son is not seen as ‘successful parenting’, an Obedient Son or a Shravan Kumar is. Which is why even the gods we worship are admired for being obedient sons and not happy men who made sensible, strong and happy choices.

[The rules change a little for daughters, Happily Married Daughters (or daughters who appear to Happily Married) are seen as a status symbol]

What kind of parental love is this? Why would any parent want their child to go through this? 

“My mother is very stubborn ( Ziddi ), everyone knows, when she decides not to keep relation, she will do that with 100% guaranteed. But I don’t want to go far away from my mother, I want her to be with me.”

Please help this 25 year old Indian male who wants to marry out of caste, and whose mother asked : “How can you think about her without our consent ??” Is that an example of the much touted Indian maternal love?

What kind of life can his wife expect if they do marry without all these issues being resolved first?

His email was published here:

Is it possible that the ones whose disapproval is dreaded the most are those who are most likely to express disapproval (and occasional approval)?

Here’s his response.

Dear IHM Readers,

Thank you very much for motivating me with all your valuable suggestions on my last e-mail.

I took stand, and finally, the false marriage is cancelled. Happy at this part, as I saved Girl’s life, chosen  by my family,  I am always blessing her for her happy marriage life with decent guy of her choice. But some obstacles are lying in middle.

I again request IHM readers to give me some suggestion, which is required for final shot and for successfully marry my loved one.

Few days back I fought with my Mother and brother that I can’t marry anyone because of culture and standing. I am sorry for that, but I can’t marry a girl just because she is of same caste. Either I will marry of my choice or remain single forever.

Everyone in my family was fainted, angry….. Then again the same drama began, emotional blackmail, torture, crying, hunger strike etc etc. But this time I took firm stand by informing them that this is my final decision whatsoever you people react, I don’t care. My marriage is none of your business as far as my happiness is concerned.

The same drama was going on and on for last seven days, but I was unshakable. And finally two days later my elders informed everyone in girl’s family that I am not ready to marry, as I already have an affair.

Girl’s family made some drama, but eventually they agreed and marriage was cancelled.

Now my mother is not talking to me since last 4 days. She is continuously taunting me for spoiling her reputation in society and SAMAJ. She made me clear in front of everyone that you do whatever you want and leave my house. She indicated me that she will never see my face for entire life and same she is expecting with me. My mother is very stubborn ( Ziddi ), everyone knows, when she decides not to keep relation, she will do that with 100% guaranteed. But I don’t want to go far away from my mother, I want her to be with me.

 

Please help me with the valuable suggestions. How to get through.

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An email: “I have absolutely decided that I will not marry her, but I am wondering if I made the right choice.”

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Response from the email writer accused of betraying her “parents, country and culture by not having an arranged marriage”

Sharing the response from the email writer who was accused of betraying her “…parents, country and culture by not having an arranged marriage”

Hello IHM,

Many hanks for posting my email on the blog and for your kind supportive words. I am very grateful to you for doing that. I would like to thank everyone who has responded too for their very empathetic responses. I will follow the advice and not speak with my parents till they treat me like an adult and respect my wishes. That is the only sensible solution to this and giving up my life for this is not worth it. Like one of the respondents said ” that would be an easy way out”. I would also like to take this opportunity to address some comments made by some respondents:

1. Yes, I would like to get married but I want to choose my own partner.

2. I have spoken to my parents on numerous occasions directly and through my siblings to explain what kind of guy I would like for a partner. They refuse to listen and claim that they don’t understand what chemistry, compatibility and similar outlook to life means. If a guy they pick is fair, 6 feet tall, earning more than me in a decent job, has well educated parents with good financial background then what is my problem?

3. My parents have been to see me in UK once but they are refusing to come again because the society in India will think that they are “having time of their life by travelling instead of thinking about getting their 3 daughters married”.

4. I did think about not speaking to my parents but then thought what kind of life would be that and it’s better therefore not to live to relieve them of all the pain I have caused in 11 years.

5. When I came to UK all those years ago, I was staying with very close relatives initially, who paid for my first degree . One of them in the family (who was married) tried to sexually abuse me. [IHM: Study finds 98% of India rape victims knew their attacker.]

I was worried that he would attack me again as he was always following me around, so in-spite of my parents asking me to not say anything, I told other members of that family about him. No one believed me. I was beaten up, called names etc etc and the abuse didn’t stop for 6 months. I finally found the courage to leave that house and have not spoken to these people again. I went through 2 years of intensive therapy after that. All this happened between the age of 21 to 25. Long story short- my parents decided to stop speaking with these people. I did not ask them to but they did. I also offered to pay back what this relative spent on my education. So now my parents are calling me ungrateful and blaming me for breaking this relationship. My dad also insinuated in his rage that perhaps I bought all that pain on me, even though he knows the truth.

6. After I left the terrible house I mentioned in point 6, I told me parents then that I don’t want to marry yet because I need to sort myself out emotionally after what I have been through. But no one understood it and kept still going on about marriage. I actually fainted at my work and they though I was having an heart attack, which was a catalyst for therapy fully sponsored by my work. After I met my ex boyfriend, I didn’t have the energy to start thinking of defying my parents and loose them too. So when I said I am tired and I see no way out, its because I feel like I have been fighting one battle after the other ( with no fault of my own) and I just can not do it anymore. Not being alive seems like the easy way out to end it all. Yes I am content with my life in UK, if I ignore all this and I am proud of what I have achieved on my own but I just never thought it would come to all this with my own family. Thank you very much again. Hopefully one day I will write again to tell you that I have found a wonderful man of my liking and my parents are very happy for me and enjoying my happiness with me. Here is to hope and staying positive. Happy New Year.

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The Young Indian Woman’s response.

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18 questions for young women (and men) of ‘marriageable age’.

What did Sharad Yadav mean by, ‘Who amongst us has not followed girls?’

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