“Don’t cry beta, it’ll just take a few days and you’ll be used to it,” my mother told me as I was telling her how my marriage was too stressful.
How it was taking away all my dreams for sake of being a good wife or a good daughter-in-law! How I was spending endless hours cooking, cleaning, doing laundry all alone while the whole family just sits and judges me.
“Mom, I always wanted to run my own business and now, I ended up in being an educated unpaid maid.”, I said in a heart-breaking tone.
But, rather than giving her daughter a sense of encouragement and motivation to stand for herself, my mother tried to convince me that I would just adjust.
“Mom, what do you mean that I’ll adjust. You mean I’ve to go through all this for my entire life?” I impatiently asked her in an irritated tone.
“Yes beta… that’s how our society works. And, that’s how you have to accept this. I know, you have a job, but you cannot run away from your duties of cooking and taking care of your husband and in-laws.
You think my marriage was easy. I gave up all my dreams to make sure our family is happy. I stopped working to take care of your grandmother, your father and you. That’s how marriage works. We have to compromise and sacrifice,” my mother replied making it a point that I readjust my expectations from marriage!
“But, why just woman compromise and sacrifice for others? If we both earn the same, why is household work entirely shouldered upon me? Why mom why?”
“That’s the way it has always been. And, that’s what works best for marriages and society!”, says my mom unapologetically!
It broke my heart. My mom, who I trusted to support me in turning my dreams into reality, was asking me to give up. The one who was supposed to tell me to stand for myself and my dreams, was telling me to bow down to a regressive mindset for the sake of a happy marriage.
But how could it be a happy marriage, if it expects me to sacrifice my happiness for others?
Isn’t it strange that despite proclaiming themselves as modern and progressive, my parents, my husband and my in-laws were far behind in treating me as equal to my husband or a man in the family?
Despite applauding Priyanka Chopra for breaking the glass ceiling, admiring Kalpana Chawla’s contribution, and applauding PV Sindhu’s success, my family never believed in the potential of women in their own family!
But this is not only my story. It is the story of many young women, who were given the freedom to dream but never given freedom & support to turn those dreams into reality.
Like me, there are many who have accepted being treated as unequal as a part and parcel of married life. They have accepted to give up their dreams and desires for the sake of their husbands and kids. They have accepted to live an overburdened life, where the happiness of everyone matters except them.
Please don’t judge me as someone who undervalues household duties. In fact, I believe to nurture and raise a family by sacrificing your own dreams is the toughest task that many women do happily.
I’m just raising the matter of choice. Why the sacrifice and compromise fall on one member of the family. And, why our own parents encourage their daughters to compromise and sacrifice for the sake of marriage.
But I refuse to be treated as a voiceless innocent animal who would be sacrificed for other’s happiness. I refuse to bow down to the regressive thought process that it is only the duty of a woman to sacrifice for her family.
Like many women, who chose to stand for their dreams against the regressive society, I am also standing for myself. I refuse to bow down to this regressive thought process. And without my parents, husband, or in-laws’ support, I fight this battle on my oww. I do feel alone and scared. But as they say, if I don’t fight for my dreams, then who would?
I am writing this letter to all those women, who were told to sacrifice their dreams for the sake of the family. They were told that their sacrifice will bring happiness to their family members and marriage.
Please don’t give up on your dreams. Please fight for your dreams and yourself. Don’t anyone let you believe that your dreams and happiness are less valuable? In this fight, if you feel scared and lonely, then don’t. Remember, there are many like us who are fighting this battle not only for themselves but also for women of tomorrow. Because we have a right to dream too!