What should have been pure giddy joy and exhilaration at clearing all three CFA exams in the minimum possible time soon turned into a crying/shouting match with my parents because somehow they thought it was okay to bring up marriage and matches in the very same breath, in the very same sentence as the one congratulating me for my success. My father was telling me about some guy they had found who had also just taken his level 3 exam. He said I should “consider”. That I should think about marriage now and that I may not get someone with everything – looks, brains, jobs.
I couldn’t stand it. I couldn’t understand it. That they could not go for one miserable moment without bringing these things up. That someone it was okay to not let me enjoy my success that I had worked so hard without reminding me of the one bleeding thing that was amiss in my life. That somehow the absence of one thing trumps the presence of so many others. Aren’t Indians supposed to be spiritual and karmic and grateful. Bullshit.Before I could stop them, all my tears came rushing out of me. I was bawling like a feverish baby and furiously texting my brother about how I felt. I thought he’d understand. He blurted out to my parents this and what ensued was a crapfest of ridiculous proportions with my mother crying and my father sulking because all I ever do is hurt them. Apparently I blow things out of proportion. Apparently I have no right to feel this way, I am making an issue out of a simple statement and they are just really happy for me.
I am going to turn 31 years old in 3 days and I still need to be told how to feel about what is said to me. My feelings about the things that are said to me mean little compared to my parents’ feelings about my verbalising my thoughts.They said they never knew that the puja would be so elaborate or that it would end in me marrying a pot. I am frankly very relieved and grateful to have learnt this yesterday and I wish I had known earlier. I do believe them on this because they thought these new priests would be easier to deal with when in fact they were really demanding. My poor grandmother had to make idlis and chutney at a minute’s notice and they asked for way more paraphernalia than was in the original list. The silver lining is that this morning my mother assured me that we would never indulge in these stupid rites ever again. My father is an entirely different story – he has resigned to sulking, muttering apologies that he doesn’t mean in the least and feeling angry about his ungrateful daughter who just doesn’t see things his way. I don’t, dad, I really don’t. I wonder where I get this obstinate streak from.
I tried to tell them yesterday and today that I have been keeping my thoughts to myself. That I kept quiet when they dragged me around Cochin and I kept quiet during the pot-wedding. I will continue to do so from now on, more than ever. Heck, I didn’t even start the fight this time. They called to know why I was crying but somehow they just don’t get it. They refuse to. Over and over again. My crying is just a way to hurt them. Yes, that makes perfect sense and is the only logical explanation.
The thirty-one year old “daughter sitting at home…like this…unmarried” – Indian languages make everything sound horrifyingly gauche and misogynistic. You know what? I sure as shit do not sit at home unmarried. I go out and live my life and challenge my boundaries and I do whatever I can to make my family happy. And that includes committing to put my brother through business school if he doesn’t get a loan or if there’s a shortfall.
It is easy to compare me to a bunch of girlfriends of mine who are happily married with kids and who never left India. But easy don’t mean fair. And I wouldn’t trade my life with them in a million years because I LOVE BEING ME.