It’s the day before the big engagement party with 300 of our closest family members. I can’t believe I’m actually going through with this nonsense but more surprised that my parents haven’t come to their senses! They have continued on with my big fat Indian wedding as if nothing is wrong and all I’ve done is wonder, why me? Why are my parents so stupid? Why are society pressures so harsh that we kill our live children in the name of honor? Why do my parents think it’s okay to throw my life away for a lying asshole? Why was my Mom not standing up for me like a mother should? Why did my family think a man living with another woman was a perfect husband for their own child? Why is it accepted for grown adults to lie to us kids and to each other??? Why did my loved ones stand by and watch the drama without intercepting it and talking some sense into my parents?
For the days leading up to the engagement I wondered were any red flags? Of course at the time I couldn’t make sense of it. It was only years later when I opened up to my parents that there were red flags. Vision is always 20/20 in hindsight!
First red flag was, he didn’t really introduce me to his friends. I thought because we had met only a few times that this was no big deal. When I think about it now, it was because he was ensuring no one would tell me. He did take me out once to a party. And, I did meet his friends but of course, no one told me anything about the other woman. No one was willing to take a bullet for me!
The next flag was the issue of dowry. When our arrangement was going forward, his family had insisted no dowry was necessary. A decent girl to be a part of the family was worth more than money itself, those were their words. My parents were happy they didn’t have to come up with extravagant gifts for his family to ensure their daughters happiness. 2 weeks before the wedding, his mother called my father and put forward her list of demands!
This included but not limited to:
A gold set for her, after all she is giving her son away, she needs something to console her. Greedy bitch! Gold jewelry for both grandmothers, as if they don’t have some. Gold jewelry for both grandfathers, I’m sure my family rings made them richer…NOT! A total of 12 gold rings and blankets for a variety of uncles and brothers for his side of the family. I hope those blankets caused them all rashes! Each of the ladies in the family were to receive 2 suits each. I brought a whole suitcase of stitched suits for the women in his family. I’m assuming his aunties were relying on the clothes my family provided to cloth themselves at the wedding. My grooms brother needed a token from the wedding, clothing, a gold ring and cash would suffice, what a joke! My future cousin sister in laws needed new clothes as well, I guess they didn’t have clothes of their own, find a job to help you shop! At the end of it all she said to my dad, “If you wish to give a car that would be for your daughter and your son in law. Your daughter shouldn’t take the bus everywhere, that’s embarrassing. I never did get the car, I told my dad I like taking the bus. My parents ran around and spent money they did not have so the wedding wouldn’t be cancelled. This was a major red flag! I wish grown up Venya could talk to that bitch of a mother back then. I would have a few questions and words for the piece of shit! Greedy assholes, is what they were and have continued to be. They took advantage of my family and me in every way they could.
I had spoken to my future husband about the list of demands his mom had ordered. He was willing to speak to her about them but, I stopped him not wanting any fighting because of me. If he brought it up, his parents would have accused me of turning him against his family.. I said to him, “It’s okay I guess but shouldn’t YOUR parents be giving MY parents presents? I’m the one leaving my home not you. So your family gets the girl and presents while my parents lose their daughter and have to give presents to your family so your don’t return me??? How does that make sense?” In the end I let it go, as instructed by my parents, they told me not to worry about it.
Red flag #3. While we were shopping for my wedding, his mom didn’t let me pick anything on my own. I was allowed to have an opinion. I was quiet because my parents had instructed me not to act or seem greedy. Let them do as they please, they said. I went along and smiled with whatever they said to me. Suppressed right from the beginning. Apparently my mother in law had many dreams of dressing her daughter in law one day, and I was it!
I also thought he lied to me about some drinking, spending and smoking habits. I had confronted him and he denied it all. I asked him a few times over the phone, “Are you smoking?” “Nope, it’s just the wind your hearing.” “Oh, okay.” How fucking stupid, naive, and gullible was I ??? He said it and I just trusted him blindly?!?!
So there were red flags, I just didn’t see them nor did I have enough time to dig into my suspicions. This still didn’t give the right to lie and deceive me as they did, as a family.
My sister has become my only friend in my family. Since then she has become my rock. I was trying to make the most of my situation and carry forward without bringing shame to my parents name. Tomorrow is my engagement party and I must admit, I was a little excited. I was actually getting caught up in the festivities when I wasn’t thinking about the lunch. I was enjoying all the attention when we were laughing, singing and dancing. It was torture when my mind went back to lunch. I guess I had a split personality during the wedding week. One minute I would be dancing with my family the next I would be crying hoping my parents could see my pain and stop this wedding.
I go to sleep with mixed emotions, I don’t know any better, I’m barely 20. What does anyone expect someone at my age and attachment to family to do? No support, no help, just a pat on the head, it will be alright. Will it be alright?