Archive for December 2010

From Dreams To Anguish

Many years ago, a woman was born to a middle class family. Her parents believed in the power of education. And encouraged her to learn, expand her mind and reach for the skies. They gave her a liberal education, at a time when doing a simple graduation and getting married, was all that was expected of daughters in her community.So she grabbed the opportunities presented to her and chased after her dreams. Some proved elusive, others were within reach.

Then, as she stood at the threshold of thirty, the walls started closing in. The M word began to intrude into her otherwise orderly world. 'Why aren't you married?', 'Are you supporting your parents financially? Is that why they are not getting you married?' The questions infuriated her. At first she deflected them. With aggression, logic and later evasion. Then,under the covert, but relentless pressure, she began to shrink into herself.

And so it might have been till she met him. A good and decent man. So she crossed that milestone and got married. Love was in the air and everything seemed good.

Then the walls started closing in again - the expectation to conform. And the confusion and veiled reproach when she didn't.

"You don't know how to draw a kolam(rangoli)!" . She restrained herself from sharply retorting " No. But I do know how to stand on my own feet and be financially independent. Do you know how to do that?"

"When are you going to give us some good news?". She wanted to ask " what good news do you want? I just got a promotion. We bought a house. His cholesterol levels are under control. Take your pick"

"Still no kids? Have you consulted a doctor?" She couldn't stop her tears in the face of this blatant intrusion.

"My sister's dying wish was to have a grandchild." How was she to deal with such emotional blackmail? Her back, her spirit even, was likely to crumble under the weight of this expectation.

"Nobody asks you!" she ranted at him. "Am I expected to make a baby alone?". He did his best to shield her. But it was not always possible to prevent people from riding roughshod over her vulnerability, leaving her exposed.

What was she to do? In her mind she knew that one could not live one's life to please others. Hell, this was the advice she had handed out to many friends when they sought her counsel. But saying it and living it were different things.

Its true, there was price to be paid for wanting to live your life on your own terms.

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