One of my favorite bloggers, wrote a poignant post exploring the need for a ‘defined’ self. It reminded me of a poem which we learnt in school, the Pulley, which has always stuck with me. The possibility that restlessness, is a steady state for man.. Of others, I don’t know, but it holds true for me. I am not an extraordinary brain .. just your average Jane and yet I have never felt satisfied. With a good life, a great job, amazing family. Having everything that is considered a privileged life.
Its never about having more.
Its always about having ‘right’. and what is right, I don’t know ..yet. Not knowing what I want can become a major hurdle in getting it..sounds paradoxical..
but that’s what it is.. the constant longing of wanting to be in a place where I’m not. The constant desire to be at peace.. which I am told can only be found within me. It is in me that I can seek the answers to my questions. But the questions .. they are yet not complete..
When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by;
Let us (said he) pour on him all we can:
Let the world’s riches, which dispersed lie,
Contract into a span.
So strength first made a way;
Then beauty flow’d, then wisdom, honour, pleasure:
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that alone of all his treasure
Rest in the bottom lay.
For if I should (said he)
Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature:
So both should losers be.
Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness:
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to my breast.
— George Herbert
My dearest and best friend for the longest time..lets call her M. Now M is a fun loving girl..loves music..sings beautifully..plays a myriad of musical instruments.. plus she is a smart ass engineer..amazing at her job and the most loving and non-judgmental person I know. No its not a personal ad. Lemme finish..I’m verbose. Now this chica got married. To a nice boy, from a good family, with both parents’ blessings. The honeymoon lasted a few months and then started the rigamarole of the sas-bahu battle. The craziest reasons like where to keep the salt, what time to wake up in the morning and how many date nights the couple should get. Plus she is now practically a house maid because no matter how accomplished you are professionally, if you wont cook and clean, your worth is zero. So we, who used to discuss philosophy and music and automation in nuclear power plants and how to ensnare my latest crush (you can see why this concerns me directly), now talk..rather she cries and I listen..about her mother-in-law. I have never given so much attention footage to one single person. Plus there is nothing I can say to comfort her. Except offer to abduct her and bring her back to the US with me. But that’s no solution, because she wants her husband too. And frankly I can’t afford a 2 bedroom apartment. California is freaking expensive!
But to get back to the point..It sucks and hurts to see her helpless like this.
How does this happen? Rather why does this keep happening? The mom-in-law is someone who has worked her whole life and raised a family. She knows the very real problems women face, she has had a similar mother-in-law. Wouldn’t she want to shield her daughter-in-law from that pain? After all, the girl has left her family, her safety and comfort zone. She is here to build a family for your son…to love him and take care of him and you. She is learning to accept this new family as her own. Isn’t it the responsibility of the elders in the family to make her feel welcomed and included? The new woman is supposed to shape the family in the years to come. Isnt her well-being..emotional and physical as important as anyone else’s? Why is it still a power game? Why is it still about losing the son’s affections to his wife? There is a reason why he got married, right? I mean can the mother be every woman in the son’s life? Why the megalomania?
Too many questions and no answers. My ma’s answer is ‘This is what it is. Its better to accept than complain’. My dad’s answer is ‘Not every family is like that.’ But I’m not so sure.. a lot of my friends seem to go through this. Vivacious, intelligent women who had dreams..all they talk now is the upcoming family function or complain about married life. All these years we spend building ourselves into unique individuals are just a non-related prologue to the lifelong binding to an arranged marriage? To become a caricature of a stereotype? One of the main reasons why the idea of getting married makes me run for the hills.
Am I totally off-base and delusional? I’m open to enlightenment and opposing points of view..