I am pursuing my PhD and at the moment, and marriage is not on my priority list. However, I have always thought that it was the most important thing for my parents. Then one day my father made me realise how wrong I was.
First a little context: My family was looking for a groom for my cousin sister. She is 27 and well-settled in her professional life. However, the guy’s family said that they wanted their bahu to be a homemaker. We were all a bit confused about whether we should go ahead with this rishta; my cousin had been working for five years now.
That day, my dad was driving me home from the metro station and he mentioned the dilemma to me. We had never had any discussions regarding marriage before this. Since I was 25, I guess he was using my cousin’s case as a starting point for this discussion. I didn’t say anything, and after waiting for some time for my response, he continued, “What do you think we should say to this guy’s family? Should we accept their demand and ask your sister to leave her career and become a housewife?” This was his way of finding out my opinion about the life of a girl after marriage.
So, I told him that the decision should be made by my sister and not her in-laws. My answer made it clear to him that I expected my in-laws to respect the decisions I make about my life after marriage. But he was still unclear about what I would decide if I were in the same situation as my sister. He again asked, “Let’s just say the guy’s family has told her to make the decision, now should she pursue her career after marriage or be a homemaker?” I replied, “If I was in her place I would have opted to be a homemaker.”
He said nothing for some time, and he was driving, I couldn't see his expression. But then, he asked, "Then why are you pursuing higher studies?" My answer was, “Because if I had not pursued higher studies, you would have gotten me married by now, which I didn't want." Of course, I didn’t say that out loud.
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He then told me that he would always respect my choices and pointed out that he let me pursue higher studies because he didn't want me to be dependent upon anyone for anything in my life. “I am always here for you, but I won’t be there always. I don’t know what destiny has in store for you but I want you to be an independent woman with a successful career - someone who can live life on her own terms. You have travelled to different countries on your own for you work and I am very proud of everything you have achieved in life. I do not want you to marry a man who will not respect your choices in life. He might be well-settled and all, but he also has to give you the independence we have given you.”
At last he said, “Whether you want to be a homemaker or not is your choice, but just remember that you must make a wise decision after considering a lot of factors.”
I had often read articles and heard about parents telling their daughters to quit their jobs and get married to a 'well-settled' guy, but to my surprise, my parents did not want this for me! Yes, they want me to get married at some point and live a happily married life, but they don’t want me to sacrifice my career for that. They have given me the best education and want me to make the best of it. In fact, it was my father's dream that I get a PhD.
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I rarely come across articles where the daughters talk about how supportive their parents are. So, with my story, I just want to talk about the parents who really are supportive of their daughters. If you too have supportive parents, be proud of them, and let the overly-obsessed-with-marriage parents know that there are other parents who want their daughters to make their own decisions about life and pursue their dreams.
Your happiness is the most important thing for your parents. Let your parents know that you are strong enough to take over the world. And believe me, once you share with them what you want in life, you will have them by your side as your strength to lead the life of your choice!
Published on Jun 15, 2016