Tag Archives: Desi Mothers

Desi Sons: Victims of Their Mothers

13 May

DG is usually accused of gender bias towards women’s oppression, her detractors have failed to notice how vociferous she is about the nature and actors of violence in intimate/familial relationships. Many bloggers have lamented based on their personal experiences about desi men’s failure to draw a balance between their mothers and spouses. Some marriages have ended on this point and others are hanging in limbo. Just the other day this comment writer asked if men feel guilty too? This post comes partly in response to that question. Yes, DG will post another post exclusively about your concern.

Familial relationships are very complex, the option of walking out is very limited. A Punjabi phrase aptly sums it

Sharike da kauda daana, pher vi khaana (extended family is nuisance but you have to live with it). Just like the faceless strangers called log we desis lament about.

Women bloggers and otherwise do talk about oppression and discrimination within their natal families and their relationship with their mothers but men rarely talk about how they feel about their birth families and individual members. Both men and women learn doing their gender in the birth families and they become what their natal families make them. In doing their gender they also learn what they can express and what is proscribed. These boundaries on expression never let us know the whole story when courageous few come out and name the game either they are painted black or treated as anomaly. Here is a comment that DG wants everyone to read to see if it is happening in their lives, if yes then what do they want to do about it.  


Desi Girl

This is coming from a desi dude :

This is very true, sometimes I think about my Pakistani parents and it is unbelievable how incredibly toxic they were. My mother in particular with time became emotionally blackmailing, manipulating extremely toxic. This eventually after many years of blankets of guilt led to my estrangement from my entire family, even on the day I was leaving without telling anyone I was covered with guilt and feelings of selfishness. After years of being torn, guilted and manipulated I felt I had no choice but to go.

It is strange several years ago (before estrangement) on a breakfast table when my mother was having one of her hissy fits my younger brother called out to her :

” What you are doing is just blackmail… “,

My mother’s response was :

” … because it works…”.

At another time I recall her saying :

“.. mardon ko ghumana bohat asan hay …”

which means :

” … it is very easy to manipulate men …”

She had become very skilled at emotional blackmail, using circumstances to her advantage, pumping one family member for information regarding the other and using it against both. The aim always was to get what she wants : control over everyone and all dynamics.

I got into an arranged marriage due to this guilt which was inflicted for several years. During this time all family members had turned against me, my younger brother mocked me behind my back denying that my parents were doing something wrong by guilting me into marriage. The manipulation is so subtle it is difficult to recognize it, difficult to pinpoint and say this is what is wrong. Come to think of I had refused the marriage 2-3 times however my mother refused my refusals by countering them with blackmail, confusing arguments. Her strategy was to inflict the blackmail long enough until I break and give in. After I give in my parents smothered me in an effort to convince this is the right thing to do.

I realized the game too late, after I got married. My wife unfortunately was a product of the same codependent system. She was sweet but under the skin the same blackmail, manipulating personality existed – she just did it in a different way. I realized with time that she would just be a copy of my mother in a few years, be possessive, crazy and toxic. She was also emotionally unstable and was not very good at managing her feelings, having wildly conflicting emotions one day to the next.

So one day I got very angry with myself when I realized the game my mother was playing. The thought of estrangement depressed me, I lose whatever I do : I go I lose, I stay I lose – geez what a situation to be in. Slowly I began to accept that if I don’t go I’ll be stuck in this forever : stuck in my mother’s basement and an imported wife from desi land.

Then one day I decided to stop giving a *hit. I went away (I almost did not) & never looked back, got a divorce, full of doubts although the understanding of my mothers actions had helped curb the damn guilt. It’s only when I went did I realize that I won the desi game. This is the secret to this game : “you can never win, the only way to win is to depart the game”.

One thing to grasp is that people in these living conditions think this is normal. They don’t know anything else but don’t more importantly don’t want to, they are convinced they are right. Then one day they realize life went by them, the outside world away from this mesh of dysfunction did not care about them. All there is misery and regrets, what a waste of life.

My biggest regret was the time I wasted in this and my biggest gain was I got control of my life back.


Desi Mothers: A Generation Lost in Translation

15 Nov

Desi Mothers: A Generation Lost in Translation

Readers are aware some half a decade ago DG was thrown out of desi married people’s club since then her interaction with them is very limited. Her life her obsession with karma and disinterest in other people’s business just makes her pretty more unfit to be part of any desi group. Couple of Saturdays ago she had wanted to attend a desi event and was looking for a ride. When she moved to this new location she had seen a senior Sikh couple around the corner. She was skeptical if she’ll make a courtesy call or she’ll let it be… Now her need to find a ride took her to their door steps. She greeted them in Punjabi and started her usual spiel. They speechlessly kept staring at her face as if she was an squeaking alien. They invited her in and offered a cup of tea.

As they walked in the lady just held DG’s hand and said “I still can’t believe you are real, and you are speaking Punjabi.” DG’s answer was, “please pinch me to make sure I am real and if you want I can talk in six other languages that I know.” The lady set the teapot on the stove and came to living room. She said before we go ahead tell me something, how long have you been living here? How old are you? Are you married or single? Where is your family? What do you do? DG was not prepared for this interrogation and for this reason she maintains distance from desis especially of a certain age group. DG has learned to be civilized and not throw the table so her responses were, less than a month, mid thirties, single, India, looking for work. Thank God the teapot started whistling. While the lady (now auntie ji) went to fetch tea DG examined the living room and kitchen.

The living room had very desi ambience, diwan like single beds in the living room with mismatched sheets and odd window treatments, an entertainment center with a TV and a music system, a load of religious CDs and DVDs, family pictures on the walls, a shoe rack near the main door, a kitchen full of mismatched things and pretty much disorder all around. With the tea began the conversation how DG knew the language and etc… Auntie ji began with a deep sigh:

They bought this house and moved in six months and eight days ago. (Wao, she knows exact days just like S who knows exactly how long it’s been her dry spell.) For a year they lived in a senior living. It was difficult coz’ they had just one bedroom and there was no freedom as such. (DG thought may be they needed their independence so preferred living there.) She pointed to the pictures on the walls and said, that is my son and his three kids, they live just on the south end of the town. Their daughter is in India married with kids. Then she started sobbing and narrating she was a teacher in one of the leading convent school in New Delhi and her husband was an engineer. She married her daughter pretty young and her son came abroad for studies and never went back so they packed their bags and came abroad to be with him. While he had a traveling job she and her husband found work to keep busy. They bought two homes across the boarder so that their son did not have to live in hotels (the parents made the down payments, they had sold land in des).

The son was reluctant to get married but parents (mother) kept pushing for a bahu. According to her she had almost checked out every medico desi girl in the US, Canada and Europe. The son would reject them or she would, this continued for ten years finally the son said find anyone I don’t care. She zeroed on a B.A. from a modest family for a bahu. The son did not like her coz’ she was not well read and lacked sociable skills according to him. Now the MIL (auntie ji) took it as her personal responsibility to make it right for the couple. She had promised herself she’ll bring in a daughter not bahu, so she’ll do every thing to make her feel accepted and settled in the new household. She’ll be exactly opposite of her MIL and show the world it is possible to be a kind MIL. She sent the new bahu to school to continue education, while she packed lunches for her and did the housekeeping.

In two years the couple had a baby; MIL immediately took off from work to take care of the baby and the new mother. Once the new mother was out of childbed things started to change, MIL’s work load increased, she was the one responsible for the baby and gradually two more children followed along with new dramas. Once bahu had a baby she became edgy, she started having problems with everything MIL did and she would not let her husband be alone with his parents even for a minute. Their son started acting up, yelling and screaming at the mother and often times not talking to the parents at all for days. After second child bahu asked MIL to give up her job for good as she wanted to work. MIL took it as a retirement bonus to be with the grand kids. Managing two homes across the border and three children under five became a full time job for MIL. Gradually the quarrels became so frequent that MIL felt she was a prisoner in her own home. It is then she asked her husband to move out.

One cold evening they walked out just with two suitcases. This explained the mismatched stuff in the house, all came from thrift stores in the community. It broke DG’s heart but all she could say was, this is karma and we all are making a choice whether to resolve it this time or come back again. She didn’t find a ride coz’ this couple avoided going to any desi event as they could not show their faces in the community that they were thrown out by their son and bahu. But DG had to promise she’ll visit again.

DG did visit again within next ten days. This time auntie ji invited her for brunch. There she met another senior gentleman, a recent widower living in the same senior living they lived in. His wife died two years ago. He said, his younger son would throw tantrum at a drop of a hat, beat his kids, yell and scream at his father. Poor man could not stand the child abuse and he asked his son to stop. But when the son did not he asked his other son to come and get him. He left with the elder son the younger one created another scene that his elder brother was trying to make him look bad. He did not want his father to live with the elder brother he insisted his father should go back to India or live with him. The poor old man had sold the land and house in India and given the money to both of his sons. Thus his only option was to move to a senior living. Here he lives not in peace but in utter silence; he goes to the grocery store every day just for the sake of getting out of the house. Why doesn’t he work? Economy is so bad who is going to hire this engineer after ten years of retirement. His last words kept ringing in DG’s ears, “I kept changing diapers and did not realize how much the world changed outside the home.”

DG asked if there were other desis in that senior living. He said there are 15 desi couples, their ethnicity he mentioned was Sharma – Vermas (read north Indian Hindus or just Hindus). DG met this bunch on another occasion and everyone had similar stories. None of them goes out to greater desi community because they feel slighted and ashamed of their living situation. Most of these seniors were professionals who came to help their children raise their kids. They are beyond working age even if they found work it is much below what they are qualified for. Most MILs asserted they wanted to make a difference by being good MILs unlike the ones they had. They kept asking where they went wrong. Some said they gave too much freedom to the bahus so the things went wrong and others said the bahus came prepared to use and throw them out. Strangely none blamed the western culture and influence. None of the MILs blamed their sons rather shielded them by saying it is their wives who instigated them; in a way totally exonerating the sons of any responsibility for personal behavior.

It is not just here in pardes but DG personally knows handful of nice MILs in des who are being ill treated by their own sons and DILs. These women are first generation working women who decided to make a difference by raising efficient daughters and productive sons and treating DILs as daughters. Are these women lost in translation of making a difference? They wonder if they should have been drama queens like their MILs and created living hell for their bahus to beget space in the home. This bunch asked DG if she could do something about this problem of an angry generation. She can blog about it.

Another one asked DG how come she is still single and where was she all this time how come she never ran into her. Had she met DG just half a decade ago she would have taken her as her bahu because DG thinks so much like her. DG was not flattered with this complement. Her nonchalant response was thank you but it wouldn’t have worked because I could like you but I can guarantee your son couldn’t stand a chance.

DG is wondering:

Is it a good idea to leave one’s familiar territory to go and help raise grandkids in a foreign land? If not then aren’t we desis known for our family spirit? Then what is the family for?

Is it wise to give away every financial asset to children be it Baagban san Avatar style or use restrain?

If these good MILs raised DG like confused daughters then how come they didn’t get similar confused DILs? Who riased these bad DILs?

An Ode to Mothering Desi Sons

5 Mar

An Ode to Mothering Desi Sons


Please watch from 5.03 mins onwards. I am still learning how to edit this video.


I just loved this punch line:

His individuality utterly stifled by a suffocating blanket of maternal protectiveness that has rendered him unable to do anything except …


This video was removed as it came to my notice some people were posting comments on various HBD and PUA blogs and forums using www.girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com URL as their moniker. This may have brougt in some trafic to GGTS but that is not the purpose of this blog. This blog is dedicated to healthy relationships and respect for all. Due to popular demand I have reinstalled this video. Enjoy…

A Desi Girl's Guide to Relationship Survival

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

From the wet market

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