Tag Archives: Desi Daughter

Desi Parenting: Daughter vs DIL

2 May

DG often jokes about the definition of a desi daughter-in-law, an enemy brought home with marching band and fanfare. Other bloggers have blogged about failure of married men to draw a balance between their two prime relationships, female parent and wife. A statement made by a psychologist posted by IHM attracted DG’s attention, “…Your mother loves you unconditionally and will ignore disrespectful behaviour, but a wife has expectations and cannot forgive transgressions…” It strains DG’s grey matter, why a mother will ignore disrespect shown by her child and how and why unconditional love ought to be devoid of respect. Then there are others who keep asking this question why MIL’s and FIL’s don’t accept the DIL as their own daughter and why DILs’ don’t oversee smaller things as they would with their own parents! DG has contemplated and reached this conclusion…

Why MIL and FIL don’t accept the DIL as their own daughter?

Beacause their daughters are not what they are very proud of. Their daughters talk back to their parents, throw tantrums, engage in emotional blackmail and even make unreasonable demands. They pout, give silent treatment to moms and pull out skeletons from the childhood closet. Children are what parents taught them to be. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, same applies to their sons. Parents have trained them and have invested time and emotion in them so they take nonsense from them. Are they ready for that from a new person in their homes? Doubtful. That is the reason they have two sets of rules for daughters and DILs. DILs have to fulfill their fantasy of an ideal daughter they could not make :)

Why DIL’s don’t oversee smaller things as they would with their own parents!

A DIL can tell her parents, “Mom Dad enough is enough I have heard this story million times,” can she say that to her MIL and FIL? DILs are daughters too, as daughters they do the exact things your daughters’ do- talk back to their parents, throw tantrums, engage in emotional blackmail and even make unreasonable demands. Are the parents-in-law ready for a replacement daughter? Again, it is doubtful as they want to retain their right to be the dominant party with right to unconditional reverence from a relatively stranger. Adult children (biological and adopted)  bear the generational dysfunctional parenting because they have grown up with it and do not know how to call it off and they feel they owe it to their parents for changing their dirty diapers. Wish people could keep it simple, “my parents changed my diapers so they are my responsibility, your parents changed your diapers so they are yours to deal with.”

A person cannot be adopted in adulthood (leagally yes but emotionally it is doubtful). Won’t it be more practical to accept one another as fellow adults and behave like one instead of childish passive aggressive mind games if that doesn’t work then violent outburst (throwing things and beating people). Some in-laws begin converting the new DIL into their own kind the minute she steps into their doors and they expect her to follow their dysfunctional instructions like a robot and should only express positive emotions. The statement, “I treat you like my own child/daughter/son” is an eyewash for treating another adult as a child, even if the in-laws are twice the age of a DIL she is still an adult with a mind of her own. Wish people could learn to be adults in relationships.

An Ode to Desi Mothering: Desi Daughters on the Shoulders of Giants

8 May

An Ode to Desi Mothering: Desi Daughters on the Shoulders of Giants

Last week I met a just turned 21 pretty, petite, some 90lbs civil engineer in training from Bangladesh. She had been in pardes for four years now. This bubbly character is full of stories and dreams. She wants to be a lawyer some day and work with victims of human trafficking. Usually most desi students come abroad for masters only a handful makes it here after high school. I asked her about her journey at 18 from a land of scarcity to a land of plenty. Here is what she told me:

I come from a middle class single earner family. My mom is a homemaker I have two older siblings and my father passed away last year. Even as six years old I knew I wanted to go abroad. My parents never took me seriously. None is so ambitious in my family. While I was in high school some people from American and Canadian universities came to school and they spoke about admissions abroad and how they were going to setup their office in our town. I felt my dream coming true. I told my parents of my intentions they did not pay much attention. I started preparing for SAT. To appear for SAT parents had to get me a passport. They thought I’ll fail and get over it. I cleared SAT and submitted my scores and application at the newly opened office of the foreign universities I kept waiting for a call. When I did not hear for a month I went to their office to ask. I was told they called and spoke to my mother. I was really disappointed. I confronted my mother, at first she denied and then she said daddy did not want me to go abroad as I was too young. I cried, begged them and even went on a hunger strike. But no one moved daddy’s was the last word, NO. The last date to submit fees was approaching; I was getting desperate as nothing was happening at home. By the end of the week mother came to me and asked how much money I needed I said it is in thousands. She said don’t worry I’ll do something even if daddy doesn’t give it to you. And next day we heard Ma lost two of her gold bangles while she went to the local ghat and rest is a history. Daddy and grandma were mad at her but she did not say a word. I filed the fees and received the I-20s from two schools. Finally Ma fought with daddy and here I am.

Ma’s parting words at the airport were “I entrust you with the honor of our family be wise and do not do anything that will close the door of education and other opportunities for the women of coming generations in our family.”

I looked an eye full at her beaming eyes and her tiny shoulders that were bearing the load for the generations to come. Here she was standing on the shoulders of a giant mother.

On this Mother’s Day I recall how I reached where I am with multiple degrees and a life unthinkable by numerous women around the world. I too stand on the shoulders of a giant mother. I remember at eight how my mother fought with my father to send me to dance classes. Singing and dancing are looked down upon in my feudal family. I don’t think she wanted me to be a performer; she just wanted me to learn dancing. Initially I sucked but she would encourage me and help me practice. I quit after four years due to my stubbornness though I regret it now but I can say I can dance. At 14 my father had this strange idea that I should no longer be wearing skirts but salwar kameez in adherence to our minority community traditions. My mother not only fought with my father but she would buy or even stitch skirts and middies for me. In return she wanted me to do the chores and not talk back and ask too many questions (chore I did do rest I didn’t follow through more than I week I remember). I guess it was her way of resisting the male dominance in the family and giving me what she could never have. My mother has supported me through my higher education (dad always threatened to withdraw me from school if I didn’t stop talking back), inter catse-inter religion marriage (dad was against it, mom wanted me to be happy), divorce (dad was pretty unhappy with it, mom wanted me to be happy and safe) and now a single life full of wanderlust (both of them have made peace with it). Often it makes my father uncomfortable but she is always there like a rock. I write this blog standing on the giant shoulders of my petite mother who fought against all odds to give me a chance. I love you mom.

Amu shared how her mother has supported her through her higher education and divorce. Her father would have preferred her dead than come home divorced. Atiya concedes though her mother was mostly emotionally unavailable but as a first generation working woman she made sure her girls were treated at par with her boys against the wishes of her in-laws. Shanu recalled how her mother though scorned by in-laws for birthing four daughters still managed to fight for their higher education and postponing their marriages until their mid twenties. It is true we weren’t given this life we enjoy today without a dose of conditions of our pay back: maintain the family honor at all costs. We have defied many rules and circumvented many by laws with our marriages and divorces. We survived because we had giants for our mothers and higher education on our side. We owe it to our mothers not just our birth but our lives full of dreams and possibilities. Desi Girl and friends salute Desi mothers for all their strength and compassion to make it possible for our generation of Desi Daughtesr.

PS: Readers may share their stories and salute there mothers on GGTS.

Last word:

Some mothers were too confused by male dictates of honor and shame they could not support their daughters and lost them to this brutal system. Many Nirupamas, unborn baby girls and unnamed female toddlers are lost over centuries to this brutal system but these are just incidents not trends.

Desi Parenting: Raising Confused Daughters

20 Jan

Desi Parenting: Raising Confused Daughters

        It is often said in Indian communities that to have good children is a result of one’s good karmas from the previous lives. Desi parents invest in their children especially sons with a hope of receiving old age care as organized state sponsored senior care is not an option. It becomes imperative for parents to keep their sons emotionally obligated to take care of old parents when the time comes. The socialization for this anticipatory duty begins early on. We all have read about the preferential treatment given to the sons in the Indian families, special foods, good education and extra liberty with money etc. Most of us have insisted it didn’t happen in my family, our parents were educated and our mothers were first generation working women. If we take a look back on our lives as children we’ll know how truthful we are being.

        The other day I was speaking to Atia and Shanu about our lives and men in our lives- our fathers, brothers and spouses. Two of us are first born and Shanu is second born to first generation educated women and men working outside the homes, who had moved to urban centers for work leaving their extended families behind. We didn’t come with manuals and our parents away from their extended family were exploring new territories of childcare practices. Three of us clearly remember how our parents claimed modernity through us by insisting we were their sons until the real sons came along.

        Our young mothers with two three children under the four years of age struggled to keep us well fed and quite while our fathers sat reading newspaper after work. Our little eyes were watching it all how our fathers’ eyes controlled the things around the home. Their families had more say in our lives and our mothers hardly visited their parents. Our mothers didn’t start working outside homes until their reproductive goals were met. Mean while we became little pseudo helpers of our mothers to help with their child care duties. We baby sat our siblings, walked them to school and even ran errands. We played field sports attended junior regional sports meets, debated in school competitions; got good grades and even joined NCC and then came puberty.

        At puberty things changed for ever our loving fathers became distant and our mothers became so much more controlling. Sit with your legs crossed, don’t talk so loud, don’t walk like a horse, help me in the kitchen, and don’t do this do that became a regular incantation in our lives. We did not feel any discrimination in food, education and medical care the discrimination we felt was so subtle that we could not even put it in words. We had to help with cooking and family laundry where as our brothers did not move a straw. When we questioned, we were told it is not because we were girls but because we were the older ones. We often retorted if we were the older ones then why do our younger brothers have to chaperon us our friends’ place. Why do you make us go to the bazaar to buy vegetables and not our brothers? Our mothers would say the boy is not aware of how to buy good vegetables. Wao! we were not born with that knowledge either, you taught us. Why can’t you teach that to your sons?

        If we gave examples from other families where boys ran errands then our mothers immediately changed their words into “we treat you like boys so that you have the confidence how to deal with the outside world.” In either way we were at loss and were always wrong because we could never win the bottom line our parents had our best interest in their hearts. More than that we resented how our parents claimed modernity and maintained tradition through our female bodies.

        We were encouraged to demand our rights from the outside world be it in schools, work place or public transports that was modernity but we were always discouraged to talk back to relatives and acquaintances because it was a tradition. The dichotomy of modernity and tradition traversed between speaking English, wearing skirts, trousers and riding bikes where as tradition always came and rested on our maintaining peace at home and to listen quietly when elders spoke. Thus for us modernity was something to be done as opposed to being told. Over time three of us claimed modernity the way we understood by marrying for love against the arranged marriages of our siblings; even though we knew in our hearts we could have done better. We thought with this feat under our belt our everyday struggles with the outside world for a place of our own have come to an end. To our surprise our struggles began now, hereon we were to deal with our confused spouses who like us claimed modernity with love marriage and now wanted to maintain their family traditions by taming us; deal with over bearing in-laws who were not only vengeful but were determined to dismantle our marriages and maintain our dignity in these tiring circumstances. Our stories are very common, many educated and employed women everyday google information on how to deal with relationships because no one taught us how to.

        It would have helped if our parents had taught us how to deal with relationships instead of indoctrinating us about tradition and modernity. Some days when Atia had had enough she blames it on her emotionally absent mother for her emotional failures. I have accused my mother’s passivity for my temper tantrums in the past, forgetting that her passivity was her survival technique in midst of her overbearing in-laws. Where as, Shanu charges her mother’s dramas for her lack of problem solving skills. Our parents have done their best given their understanding, resources and circumstances in raising highly educated, employed and confused daughters now it is up to us where we want to take our confused lives. Those gender discriminate nutrition, education and medical attention practices mentioned in the beginning never happened in our home. What happened in our homes has no name.

The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

My life and everything that touches it....

Kafila

media | politics | dissent

"कुरुक्षेत्र"

मेरे विचारो का

समाजवादी जनपरिषद

वैश्वीकरण विरोध हेतु

Own your relationships. Don't let them own you.

A Desi Girl's Guide to Relationship Survival

Own your relationships. Don't let them own you.

W.S.S.A @ UWindsor

Women's Studies Student Association @ University of Windsor, Ontario

संजीव तिवारी . . Sanjeeva Tiwari .. Chhattisgarh

हमको मालूम है जन्नत की हकीक़त लेकिन, दिल को खुश रखने को ग़ालिब ये ख़याल अच्छा है

Own your relationships. Don't let them own you.

Beyond The Second Sex (स्त्रीविमर्श)

Own your relationships. Don't let them own you.

नारी , NAARI

Own your relationships. Don't let them own you.

Own your relationships. Don't let them own you.

Sparsh

Own your relationships. Don't let them own you.

Zerqa Abid

Own your relationships. Don't let them own you.

Sex And The Indian Cities

love, friendship and life in the Indian cities

THE PCOS DIVA

FINALLY FEELING FIT, FERTILE AND FABULOUS

NightLife

Chronicles of Less Urban Living, Fresh from In the Night Farm

आराधना का ब्लॉग

'अहमस्मि'- अपनी खोज में

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 310 other followers