I am a 28-year-old married lady; a feminist, a rebel, adamant yet sensitive and a shy person. It all started with the hunt for a perfect groom for me.
But I hated the very concept and institution of marriage.
I couldn't imagine wearing a mangalsutra and changing my name post marriage. Nor could I imagine cooking, cleaning and doing all the household chores just because I was a girl.
I had promised myself that I would never allow the kanyadaan ritual in my wedding and always told my family that I was not a ‘thing’ to be donated.
I couldn't imagine changing my kuldev and gotra all of a sudden just because I was getting married. I knew I would face an identity crisis.
My identity as an individual woman would fade away and I’d be know as a suhagan and someone’s bahu.
My being married or being a widow, being childless or having a child would be considered important before making me part of any event or traditional function. These were the questions and thoughts that haunted me as I grew from a teenager to a woman.
But all my feelings and rights were neglected and I was married at the age of 26 in a typical traditional event into a typical Indian joint family.
Being the shy person I was, I couldn't stop it from happening. But something collapsed inside me.
I decided to reject all the traditions without saying a word but behaving the way I wanted to, thus disturbing both my families. I actually had an identity crisis.
I felt trapped and annoyed at every event related to my marriage.
And then I started the blame game. I blamed my parents, my in-laws, my husband, my relatives, religion, God, everything. I turned into this arrogant person, which I was not.
All these things were affecting my actually happy married life.
However, my husband always sided with me whenever I was upset. He considered my father as his own since the very day of our marriage. He shares a special bond with him.
He even said, "If your dad wants to live with us, he will be welcomed as my own father, but will your dad be comfortable? Tradition and society will make him stay away. But yes, if he ever needs anything, I will be the first person to bring him here because he is my father too.”
My husband supported me when I refused to change my name after marriage. He even supported me with my career and my dreams.
With my prejudice, I always hated my in-laws just because they were "in-laws". But they did not have any ego.
My mother-in-law is like a mother to me (I feel lucky to have got the love of a mother once again having lost my own 6 years back).
After marriage, I was never burdened with responsibilities; in fact, I just gave my mother-in-law a helping hand in her routine. She never forced me to take on the household chores as my responsibility. As a result, I started doing them voluntarily.
She always told me, "Our generation was different and it's highly difficult to come out of what we are doing for the past 50-60 years but your generation should move according to today's time."
"I do not expect much from you, but yes, I wish that you follow some traditional ways of celebrating festivals and other religious events."
Other members of the family never uttered a word to me about my arrogance.
Yet, digesting the fact that I was married was difficult for me. With every passing day, I would purposely find something wrong in the family and get upset and sad about it.
I kept telling my husband to divorce me and set me free.
He would simply say 'Ok' and my mood of getting into a fight would be shattered, and the topic would be over. As time passed, his patience and maturity made me fall in love with him.
Then I started feeling that I did not deserve my husband and his family. He deserved a better wife.
Again, I felt stressed and told him, "Leave me because I do not deserve to be part of your life."
To my surprise, my husband replied, "You are like an innocent child who demands things like the moon and stars. Such demands of a child have to be neglected."
"You are the one with whom I can share anything and everything. You may hate the institution of marriage but you never insulted anyone in my family. You listen to me and support me in every way possible."
"All this, my family and my home, is yours too. It’s ours."
“Even a child and his/her parents have issues with each other but does that mean they leave each other? No, we will fight, probably not speak for a day or two, but I will never leave you because you are a part of this family."
" I love you and I cannot imagine my life without you."
"Only your negative thinking has to change into an optimistic view. And I can do it. After all, we are not together just to procreate but also to support and help each other grow.”
“You are not a villain, just a confused human. If there is a problem, I will try and solve it, not avoid it.”
All this happened in the first year of our marriage. I won’t say all my questions are invalid now. Even today I question the system.
But then I decided to change for the people who love me, who supported me and understood me.
I decided to change for my husband who is my best friend, my father, my mentor, my guru, my support system, and my partner.
I thought he deserves a better wife but now I think, why I can't be that better one, when he trusts me?
I am changing. That arrogant lady is diminishing. And I can see the stress releasing from both my families. Now I see my husband and he has a proud glimmer in his eyes.
In my life, I was the problem.
It’s rightly said that when you point a finger at others, 3 fingers are pointing back at you.