Living as a western born Indian girl was not an easy feat. I was and still am, stuck between to worlds. There are many things that my parents reassured me of as I was growing up that didn’t quite go as they had told me. They would promise me the world, after I was married. You can do whatever you want, after your married.
Here are a few example of this:
After your married do wear whatever your heart pleases, as a single women don’t attract unnecessary attention to yourself.
After marriage: Don’t wear such clothes, they attract unnecessary attention. Women in our family do not dress like that. We do not wear shorts, skirts or sleeveless clothing. What will the neighbors think of you and us as a family!?!?
Thank god my husband supported my choice of clothing against his parents wishes! I do wear what I want and I do get “the look” from the in laws I just pretend I can’t see it.
After your married you can travel wherever you want in the world and we will not worry, you will be with your trusting husband. Go see the world together and build memories.
After marriage: What is there to see? You want to waste all of our son’s money, for what? You should have travelled while your parents were paying for it! Who will save money and look after the family while your gone? There are better ways to spend your time and money. Travel? Go on internet, look at pictures.
I have been fortunate enough that my partner enjoys travelling. We could have visited more places but it becomes more expensive with kids. We should have done it before kids! My parents should have let me experience the world with my friends, now I don’t have time.
After you get married you can go to school until your 60 years old!
After marriage: You should have gone to school in your parents home. That is too expensive, you should earn money to maintain the household. Who will cook and clean if you are going to school. When will laundry get done? What if someone comes over, who will make the chai??? If you go to school who will have kids??
It took me 3 years of fighting and finally my partner “let” me go to post secondary. His parents were very upset with him that he gave in to me. His mom made it a living hell for me every time I had to do homework.
After you get married go with your friends wherever you want, we will never bother you.
After marriage: Where you going, who you going with, we know you have a boyfriend, why are you spending on all our son’s money. Only loose girls go out without a chaperone. What is the purpose of this trip?
This topic wreaked havoc on my life! No sense of independence. My parents should have let me lived my life somewhat before tying me up to a fence like a cow! If I stayed home, I wanted to slit my throat. If I went out I was met with absurd accusations. Talk about turmoil.
When you are married spend how you like on what you like.
After marriage: Why do you need to buy that, do you need that? That’s such a waste of money. Money does not grow on trees. You need to buy a house, SAVE!
Lucky for me I had money to spend, and still do. Unlucky was, I was always had a customs officer (mother in law) to go through my bags!!! I started hiding my purchases from her 🙂
When you get married you can go on all the dates possible with your husband.
After marriage: Where are you always taking our son? Spending money, spending time alone for what, you are turning him against us. You are filling his ears and mind of negative things. He never used to go out of this house until you got him addicted to this behaviour. What is there outside the home that you can’t see from the inside the home. Movies? Buy it, we will all watch together. Coffee, make it at home. Walk, let me come to! Shopping, nothing needs to be bought, just window shop. Dinner, lets go together or you cook and we will eat and see what you have learned.
I never had the opportunity to date my spouse because his mother was too busy dating him, at times she dated both of us! We snuck around like high school sometimes to have a meal together outside of the house. We would lie and meet up later because if we told the truth it would not be accepted. Um, actually we still do that!!
The moral of the story is, live your life without losing sight of the family values and morals. My Indian parents promised me independence and freedom. They lied to me, it was even worse in my in laws house! I have made the best of my circumstances and I have learned to let my daughter to live freely under the safety of my eye. I was promised the world through the arrangement and basically ended up being hurt and was resentful towards my family and his. If we teach our kids right from wrong and trust they will learn from their mistakes, it will be a better matrimonial world. To this day I’m caught between the two worlds. I’m trying to make it better for the next generation by letting them live a more fulfilling life before the kids get tied down into their own responsibilities. I hope both my children’s expectations are met in regards to living at home and being married with a partner.