Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Caught

So I am back after months, and predictably my comeback post is a rant.

A work friend is getting married, let's call her T. So it's an arranged marriage and along the way she's certainly had her doubts. The boy is a hardworking chap from a middle class background, has a dependent mother and a younger brother, and a married younger sister. Seems innocent enough, yes?

But going from engagement to marriage, there have been a couple of things that have her a little frazzled. There are signs of constant interference, insecurities and lack of privacy on the Mum in law's part. Since she can't discuss it at home too much, T looks to me for advice, me being the married friend.

You want to know what I think? I want to tell her to not get married, to tell her to marry someone who values her and doesn't bring with him family as a burden but rather as a blessing.I want to tell her to not get into a trap where a Mother is waiting to exercise her right as a Mother in law, waiting to act as if you've bitten into her slice of cake, taken away her most prized possession. I want to tell her not to rush into anything and take her time and enjoy her own company a little more.

Of course, I can't. And I don't.

Why not? Well because women like me and her are forever caught between tradition and modernity. We are self sufficient and capable of caring for our families and yet are a burden if not married off at the correct age.We bring our parents pride with our accolades and are the stress in their lives when we don't "settle" down.

I am not pointing fingers, the fault certainly is our own. We don't rebel enough. We don't challenge customs or tradition for fear of being labelled "difficult". We don't want to take the trouble of correcting a wrong because its been that way for decades. That's our fault. We wrote our own destinies.

Get married to a man you love, and yet inevitably whether you marriage was love or arranged, you will fall down the rabbit hole into the In Law trap. I'm sorry, but its true. You will bend over backwards to "prove" your worth and fit in, abandon how you've lived for years to accommodate your new family. It will be up to you to prove your mettle in the name of family pride.

I am not saying that there aren't nice In Laws at all, of course there are. My bet is that they are educated enough to see other people and value their privacy as they would their own. 

But with most people, respectable people no less, however nice they are, a snide remark here and a blatant expectation of submission there, this is "normal". You shouldn't raise any eyebrows to those, certainly, after all its not abuse. They are decent people who wouldn't dream of abusing another person. But, so often we let casual remarks slide by for its not tantamount to abuse in our eyes, at least not relatively. But the question is, you are a whole human being, aren't you entitled to some courtesy, why must an issue be big enough to raise, why shouldn't someone address your tiniest concern. Why? for that is how it works!

I think the only way this goes away, is if people are educated and have some exposure, else this game of cat and mouse is bound to continue. its always going to be the MIL vs the DIL with the husband caught in the middle. You need to be wise enough to live and let live.

This is the advice I would give my sister, who's young still.

And to T, I pray for the best.

End of rant. 


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