Relenting to marriage had became an escape from parents I was ready to leave and the home life I had, which seemed to be an ever-increasing obstacle to anything I wanted.
Before my trip to help my new in-laws with my ailing new father-in-law, I felt like I was in the twilight zone as I watched my mom pack gifts for in-laws I had never met that I was to take to India with me. It felt like dowry. I believe she had received a list of what she was to send. My father had sent a letter to them informing me I was apparently some super-religious, very “Indiany” Brahmin girl. Here I was trying to look like Madonna like every other girl my age in 1986. I liked to pride myself on being a feminist. My father apparently had no clue or interest in who I was. I was just being sold and branded as a product that would be palatable.
Much of my trip was spent in the hospital with my in-laws and being paraded at a reception party at one point. Anything given to me, mostly money, was to be handed to my mother-in-law, who kept tabs on what was received. They decked me out in jewelry that was not mine as I later learned. My sister-in-law gifted me a set that before I left she took back saying she needed to get it “resized.” Of course I never saw it again. What they did give during the trip, they complained I was not thankful enough for. I gave it back, which became part of one of the fights with my new husband. My head was spinning with trying to keep up with expectations and rituals.
I was getting lost and could barely recall the person I had been six months prior and the hopes and expectations I had for my life.