Dear Indian girls,
Most of us have been born and brought up as if the sole purpose of our birth was to get married. From the second a girl child is born into a family, parents start the preparation of her impending grand big fat Indian wedding, which is due 20-25 years from her birth (if she is lucky enough to not be born into a family that believes in child/teen marriage). I am a 26-year-old happily married woman. Strike that. I am a married woman, dissatisfied with the way her life has changed. I have nothing against my husband and in-laws. They are the best parents and family you could ask for. The problem is, I realized, the way I've been thinking all my single life.
We Indian girls have been taught to think and believe that marriage is the ultimate aim of a girl's life.
Your life will be settled once you're married and all that bullshit. And I remember fantasizing about my wedding. Mark my word, only “wedding”, not the marriage. Like Geet from the movie Jab we met, mujhe bhi bachpan se shaadi ka bada shauk tha. I pursued my education wholeheartedly. I loved to learn new things right from the beginning. But the problem is, now I realize, I never was serious about my ambitions. Because, well you guessed it, Shaadi! You don't know what kind of a family you would marry into. Would they allow you to work after marriage? Will they accept the-over-ambitious-forward-girl-who-speaks-her-mind? You don't know then, right? So chill and let the destiny play its role! Easy for a woman because she is not expected to be financially independent in our culture. Honestly, even after being engaged, all I could think was about the grand wedding, my wedding lehenga, the many functions before the wedding, the trousseau shopping and all these stupid things. I had always believed in the notion of “happily ever after”, and had imagined life only till the wedding, not beyond that.
But what happens after is the real deal. The fairy tale part ends at the wedding. I had read that marriage needs your time and love and nurturing. I was ready to do that. But nothing had prepared me for my loss of individuality. You are your husband's wife, someone's daughter-in-law, someone's daughter, someone's something, blah blah blah. What the hell has happened to your identity? Who are you beyond that? Nobody, because you didn’t work on making yourself a somebody. So all the girls out there,who are looking forward to get married, there's nothing wrong with being married. What is wrong is taking yourself for granted and tossing your career and ambitions for the other life. You are important. You are and should be your first priority. If you are being forced to put yourself last then fight before it is too late! It’s never easy for us but we are capable enough to stand up and speak for ourselves. Marriage is beautiful. But what the society hides is the fact that it comes with a cost - your identity. Do what you have always wanted to.Take that trip with your friends to Goa, work your ass off to get that promotion, travel all you want, drink a night away, stand up for what you believe in, support other women, and most importantly, find who you are as a person.
Marriage is a part of life. It's not your whole life.
I am writing this because I want other women to know what I didn't know. I want my voice to reach a million girls out there who put a full stop on their lives just because it's marriage time for them. Lovelies, learn to love yourself and live for yourself too. Don't believe in anyone who says otherwise. You are special. Your life matters. Your ambitions matter. Your opinions matter. So put that marriage thought on hold till you fall in love with yourself first.
Love, The girl who has been there and done that