Tuesday, April 26, 2016

From a horrible son to a loving mother

You don't know how painful it is when you disconnect my calls every day – day after day. I know it isn’t easy for you too but I fail to understand why you are doing this. And me, being me, will not reach out when I feel you are being illogical, even if it is you on the other end.

Sometimes I think the problem is with me. I should bow down to your decision and let you decide who I should spend my life with. But then I ask myself, “Why? What is wrong with the girl you have chosen? Why is it OK to let someone else decide whether she is good enough for you or not?” And I have no answer to these questions.

You keep telling me that you don't wish bad for me. And I know that. You would be the last person who would wish bad for me – mothers are like that. But that doesn't mean whatever you want me to do is the best way. There’s a difference between being good and being correct, and you are unable, rather unwilling, to understand the difference.

Then there are times when I think I shouldn't have been the ideal child from the start. I wonder if things would have turned out differently if I had been a rebellious kid and had thrown tantrums. But I knew, even then, that I should respect you and obey you. After all you are my mom and you have sacrificed so much for all of us. I know I owe you a lot but that doesn't mean I have no freedom of choice. When I was younger, I knew then that you are wiser and hence I should follow your decisions but that isn’t the case now. Agreed that you are still older than me – that's a gap no one can bridge – but that doesn't mean I can’t still take care of myself or that I can’t make my decisions for myself.

It hurts that you have been denying me the only thing I ever asked you for – the right to marry the person I love. For years, I’ve begged you to at least meet her for my sake but you refused to even think about meeting her before pronouncing your judgement that you didn’t like her. I see absolutely no reason for your refusal except for the fact that you wanted me to do just what you wished for and not considering what I wanted.

Frankly, I never understood the logic of arranged marriages. How can I decide whether I want to spend my entire life with someone else just by meeting her once? I agree that I would also know who her parents are, what her siblings do, where her fourth cousin on her mother’s side is working. But how can all that tell me whether I can live with that person or not?

Arranged marriages would have made sense earlier when a person of a particular caste did a particular job and his entire household was set up accordingly. In that case, it would have been very difficult for someone who has not grown up in that environment to adjust to it. Hence, it would have made sense to marry someone who has grown up in a similar environment. But that was a different age and a different time.

And if you are worried about relatives, how many of them came forward to help us when we needed them? Why should you, of all people, be scared of what they will have to say? I agree that your society still thinks the same way but mine doesn't. Moreover, what’s the advantage of an education which doesn’t liberate one from such foolish bonds.

I tried in vain to get you to come down and stay with me. You thought I want you to come to Bangalore so that I can force you to meet her. But that was never the case. In fact, she wasn't even in Bangalore when I asked you to come. I wanted you to see and experience the difference in our lives and understand how flimsy the excuses of caste and society are in a place where people who’ve spent years as neighbors wouldn’t recognize each-other on the street. But you wouldn’t listen to all that. And why would you? I cheated you out of your right to get me married by finding someone I love. And hence, I’ve broken your trust and can’t ever be trusted again, right?

I keep getting surprised by how you have nothing to talk to me about except for her. It is as if the entire world revolves around who I marry.

You will be glad to know that you've won. I’ve given up trying to get through to you. I’ve given up hope that I’ll ever have a happy life where my mom and my wife will stay together. I’ve given up hope that you will ever agree to meet your grandchildren. I also know that, on top of all this, everyone who hears of the story will irrevocably come to the conclusion that the son was a useless ungrateful bastard who didn’t listen to his mother.
But I’m willing to live with all this. Do you want to know why? It is because as long as I live, I’ll have the hope that you’ll come around.

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