Starting My New Life

 Memoir-1987  Comments Off on Starting My New Life
Jan 142010

Once we got back to the states and Pittsburgh, we moved to a small apartment closer to my school. I was stunned for several years in college, at a school I had not expected to be at. I stayed away from the Indian crowd and focused on my roles of student and wife. I felt like a robot, going to school where I knew no one and then cooking once I got home. I felt no connection between my life and that of my working husband. Soon after school started, my in-laws came to visit for about 6 months. It may not have been that long, but it seemed forever. We gave them our bedroom and slept on the floor in the living room.

I was able to make my marriage last 5 years before its demise. There was some friendship and connection, but it seemed the union was to obtain a green card through me as I am a US citizen. The whole family seemed to be in on it. It does not feel good to be used that way and have given five years of my life to the cause. My husband stayed more connected to his ex-girlfriend, who I believe he had an affair with. There were unaccounted for times when he was gone overnight without any explanation. He stayed in communication with her and discussed our fights with her. There was a present from her when I got back from a study-abroad trip to India. As our divorce approached, my husband expressed his desire to unite with her, despite learning that she had cheated on him with all his classmates while they were in graduate school.

I met my next husband soon after the end of my marriage. Inexperienced with my wants and needs or the dating world, I ended up staying in that relationship 11 years, despite a lack of compatibility. It was obvious to anyone it could have been a brief fling at most. However, this is not within the realm of a South Asian girl, particularly a conservative Indian Brahmin girl. It did not help that there was no parental guidance or other family involvement as I tried to navigate a messy divorce and life in a city where all social involvements were through my husband and his colleagues. My social life had mostly consisted of hosting his colleagues and their spouses. All of this disappeared and it was as if the 5 years vanished.

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Trip to India

 Memoir, Memoir-1987  Comments Off on Trip to India
Jan 082010

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.

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