Iv been under a lot of stress for some time now. Im generally not the type to get bogged down by stress and create unnecessary tension for myself- although my husband completely disagrees- but I think Iv managed quite well. Until now. I know that lately I have been thinking of a lot of things and there is a lot on my mind- professional, personal, support system, in laws, parents but I thought everything was under control when just the other day a friend who knows me quite well turned around and told me I was nowhere close to the person she knew. I have always been very lively and jovial, trying to make a joke of everything in my life and laughing all my problems away. But it is only now that I hear myself so distinctly only cribbing and moping about everything in life, all the goddamn time- I spoke to a few people about this and surprisingly some of them told me to visit a counsellor. Well, I always believed that i could never pay someone to listen to me talk, but even my husband ( who refers to counsellors as shrinks and all doctors as quacks) turned to me and asked me to see someone for my stress. He said that a third person’s perspective might be useful and help me see things as they were and not blow them out of proportion. I think he did it for his own good because I know that Iv been driving him completely mad for the last few days. This set me thinking and took me on this huge roller coaster ride of all the emotional baggage I was carrying.
Iv always been quite good academically. Iv done quite well right through school and also decently enough through high school also. The okay and mediocre result in 12th was not because I had not studied but because the board was screwed. It was at this point in my life that I met M, my husband. And my life was on its biggest roller coaster ride ever. I got admission into one of the most prestigious Eng departments in India and just missed my first class in my Bachelors by a slight margin. And my parents went on this complete tangent. They never liked M from the very first day they met him. And for no reason. They just hated him because they thought he was intellectually not upto the par and would be a complete mistake for my life. And the person that I was – I stuck to him like a leech because I wanted to and at the same time revelled in doing exactly the opposite of what my parents wanted. They blamed him for my low grades in college and when I achieved a first class Masters degree, they blamed him again for not letting me study or otherwise I would have come First Class First. They hated the sight of him and made it very evident that he would have nothing to do with my life. To the extent that M did not walk into my house for the 9 years that we knew each other before getting married and my father once got onto a parallel line and abused his whole family when I was speaking to him. And till this day I completely credit M for not abusing my dad in return or showing them an iota of disrespect to this day. If I was in his place, not only would I have abused the parents, I would have stopped seeing the person for whom I was taking this bull crap.
It was soon that my parents realised that I was extremely serious about marrying M and I would do so even if it meant walking out of the house for good. My mom relented and agreed on a marriage date. However, M and me wanted to get married on the day we had started seeing each other and this day does not fall under the auspicious part of the year according to hindus. We still went ahead and got married ON THAT DAY AND IN MY HOUSE. My dad, of course, the actor that he is, walked out of the wedding in full view of the guests. We just had a very small gathering of 25-30 people over lunch and the ceremony was over. Everybody who wanted to be in my mom’s good books walked around the house looking like they had come to attend a funeral, instead of a marriage. It was thanks to a few close cousins and some sane friends and my happy in laws that I managed to go through the registry without abusing or killing anybody. Of course, my dad was on the phone with my mom because he wanted to come back home but wouldnt till I left. And even after we left for M’s house in the evening, some of my closest aunts caught my best friend and interrogated her about M and his family and whether he would beat me to death soon.
My inlaws were always fond of me and continue to be so till today. My Mom- in Law is not my emotional anchor, no doubt, but I know I can go crying to her about something her son has said and done and she wont waste a minute screaming at her son if he is indeed in the wrong. Today my dad loves M. Mom holds no conversation with him but makes it a point to cook him all the bengali dishes that he likes- it is so wierd. And this hypocrisy takes a toll on me. I am in some ways like my mom- she is extremely jovial and can be the life of the party. Some of my cousins got married recently and my mom was there laughing, singing, dancing and having a ball. My own marriage has not only made me bitter towards wedding ceremonies but I just stood there looking at my mom in amazement, wndering why she could not be as happy for me. It hurt real bad and just pushed me away even further from their world.
Today, when I sit back and think of all that Iv gone through, its probably not been even 1 per cent as bad as someone else’s life but its bad enough for me. Its made me a very bitter person and extremely cynical of things. And Im so scared that I wll become my mom. And to top it off, as I grow older, Im looking more and more like her. I never doubt the fact that they love me. I know they do but Im not ther ideal daughter. Because I didnt finish the Phd they always wanted to do- because i didnt get married to a doctor/engineer they could flaunt and because they cant tell me people what a lovely daughter they have. It does not make me sad- it makes me angry and hurt and te tears dont roll down from my eyes but sting them like they were needles poking through tight and taut shells. Everytime I dont succeed in life, whether its a quarrel with my doemstic help, or M, or whether I hate my job, or whether something I cook turns out a wee bit salty or slightly over cooked, I go down a few more notches in my own self esteem and hate myself for doing so…………… wish I could live again.