Being a girl in India isn’t easy. And, the ones who say otherwise are lying. Many of us rage battles at every step of life – firstly fighting for existence then education, then creating our space in society, and then trying hard to belong to the family that is never ready to accept us as their own.
It is heartbreaking that we are living in the 21st century and still we have a huge segment of society, that cries tons of buckets of tears when a girl child is born. And, then there is a segment in between – who want girl child but we are not so happy.
In the light of utter honesty, even though your mom is an educated girl, I cried when I had you, my daughter. Yes, I cried.
Beta, I cried because of only one reason – that many struggling moms like me may agree – I never wanted my little baby to suffer as I did. I never wanted her to struggle for her existence. I never wanted her to feel alone and lonely the way I did. Like many mothers, I wanted the best for my child. And, the mere thought of you might have to go through the same things in life as I did gave me jitters.
Like many Indian marriages, my marriage is also based on a number of lies. I was told that I wasn’t going to be a daughter-in-law. I was going to be the daughter of the family to only find out that I was no more than a cook or a maid.
When I was getting married, I made the first big mistake of my life – I left my job.
Hailing from a business family and also married into a well-established family, it was never appreciated that I work outside. Your mother’s first mistake was she didn’t stand up for herself and gave in to the pressure of the new family to make everyone happy. In the end, your mother could fight things out with her parents but with the new family, things weren’t the same.
To suffice my need to be independent, I was helped with setting up my own business. But, things weren’t easy for me. I would be always short on time. I was left with no bit of energy left after handling crazy household chores and business responsibilities.
I would get frantic calls at work and then I would get a call that a fight broke between your grandmother and the servant. Then in the middle of the day, I would get a call that there were no vegetables at home. It was heartbreaking how I was held responsible for everything with no support.
And, your mother struggled.
She struggled so much that she landed up spoiling her personal relationship with many people. With time I started believing the voices telling me that I wasn’t good enough – be as a wife, mother, or a daughter-in-law. With every passing day, I was cinching towards depression as my inner happiness was sucked out.
Sadly, my parents never gave me the courage to fight back, to take a stand for myself. They kept telling me to stay quiet. All relationships take time. It’ll be fine. And, sadly, whenever I told them to take a step for myself to step out of marriage, I was reminded of my two younger sisters of marriageable age. Any step towards my liberation would have made it difficult for my parents to find a suitable match for them.
So, your mother made the same mistake again. For others happiness, once again, your mother sacrificed.
She chose to stay quiet so that others find happiness in their lives while she suffers. She let people destroy her confidence with every passing day. And, after the series of heartbreaking events, your mother was no more a confident girl, she was once. She had lost all her confidence. From being an educated and independent girl, your mother turned into a confused Indian girl – who always felt all her decisions were miserably wrong.
Your mother may still be struggling for her identity and happiness, but I hope you are not like me.
I hope you don’t make the same mistakes that I did. I hope you won’t let anyone make you believe that anyone’s happiness is more important than your own. I hope you would stand for yourself. I hope you won’t make an ugly journey of being an educated and independent girl to the girl whose parents tell her that there is no other life without your husband. The one confused daughter who has lost her identity after marriage.
And, I promise you that I will always be there for you. I won’t let you doubt yourself ever. I won’t let you turn into a person, who keeps sacrificing in the name of others’ happiness. I would raise you into a strong and confident woman, who wouldn’t please others before pleasing herself. I will raise you into a woman I have failed to be – Strong & Independent.
A humble request to our readers:
IFORHER’s Open letters series capture articles contributed by our community members’ with the objective to share their deepest feelings with the community. If you can relate to them, please don’t forget to drop a message for the writer. And if you don’t, please don’t judge them. We all go through different struggles in life. Just because we don’t have that struggle doesn’t mean their struggle isn’t real.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of IforHer. The authors are responsible for any omissions or errors. And, IforHer does not assume any liability or responsibility for them.