Love Relationships girl child feminism patriarchy indian family double standards

I'm A Woman Who Lives By My Family's Rules: I Can Never Have The Life I Dream Of

( words)
*For representational purpose only.

I come from an orthodox upper middle class south Indian family. In such families, boys are usually treated like heroes. My family was no different.

They accepted everything that my brother did. They never questioned him. They always forgave him even when he failed in his exams, wasted the family money or crossed the limits in other aspects of his life - either immediately or a little later.

I don’t want to describe the details of his life here. I am just glad that he is married now and has settled down in his life – even though it took him a long while to do so.

I can never forget the things that he did. I now always compare all guys with him and start hating them even before I get to know them.

I work in a reputed organization and am happy with the way my life is shaping up. Most people who work on my floor tell me that I am a very cheerful person and mingle easily with others. They are attracted by my personality. One fine day, a guy fell in love with me at first sight. He was mad about me.

But, as usual, I started comparing him with my brother. I felt that this boy too was just like my brother.

I had never even entertained the thought of having a love life with anyone. I  knew that I could never convince my family about getting married to a person I loved. So I rejected his proposal.

I did not know that he was a person who would shower me with immense love. He was the kind of person who would take good care of me all through my life.

He belongs to a very rich family and I always wondered why he liked me so much. It’s been more than three years now. We are still close to each other and know each other very well now. We work on the same floor. We always fight only about one thing. I don’t like to discuss this with him when we have a conversation.

I always try to make him understand that I can never go against my parents.

I tell him that I don’t have the courage to do anything for myself. I know that I can never tell my parents that I want this or that for myself. I have been brought up like that.

Right from the day I graduated, I have been buying my own things with the money that I earned. I feel proud that for the past four years I have not been dependent on anyone for anything. I help my parents whenever there is a financial crisis but I don’t have the guts to ask them for anything.

I just nod my head whenever they want me to do something.

I know all this very well. So, initially, I tried to avoid him. I did not want to become friends with him. But I am also kind at heart. So I would always go back to him to make him feel good whenever he took hasty decisions like handing in his resignation etc. He even thought of committing suicide once.

Sometimes, when I think of our friendship, I get a lot of clarity. I know that I have never liked guys (like my brother) who make girls their top priority. Girls must be a part of their lives but as men, they should concentrate on their career and family first.

I feel that if we really love a person, we will never experience a heartbreak and even if we experience one, we just have to move on with our lives.

I hate people who decide to end their lives for a girl or for some other reason.

Life is a struggle for all of us. We just need to focus on things that we want to do in our lives.

I still talk with that guy. I cannot avoid doing this because we work in the same workspace. Also, I don’t want to lose out on three years of friendship. I know I am doing the wrong thing but I still want him to understand that I cannot convince my parents about getting married to a boy who belongs to another caste.

Another thing that hurts me a lot is when he behaves like a friend in front of others but asks me to accompany him for late night bike rides. Sometimes he suggests that we go out for a movie or go out for a walk together.

I want him to understand that I can never cross my limits for him.

I have been born and brought up in an orthodox Tamil Brahmin family. I don’t like guys who behave like my brother.

I feel happy when I am on my own and want to live my life on my own.

I don't know whom I will finally end up getting married to. But I will be happy if this guy changes his behaviour and my parents change their mindsets about inter-caste marriage.

I know only a miracle can make both these things happen and if such miracles do happen in my life then I will consider myself to be the luckiest person on this Earth.

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