I visit India yearly for Diwali celebrations, typically for about 3 weeks and last year I wrote quite a few bunch of blog posts. It is a long enough break away from London and into a different world altogether. It is an intense experience and because I spent the first 15 years of my life under Indian culture (I actually only lived there for 4 years in two 2 year stints) I feel I am still tied to the culture in many ways.
Not that this is a bad thing in itself and there are some amazing things to be learnt by knowing so much about 2 distinct and different cultures. But this visit more than the last few actually reminded me of how I have adapted to life here in the UK and how my value system has changed from what it was imparted to me by my parents. This is most apparent in the all important aspect of marriage and tying myself to the arranged marriage culture/ideal is pointless. I am now way past that now.
My extended family in India (almost all village based) is pretty orthodox and still have expectations of me getting married in India. They were expecting me to get married to an Indian girl in India but that’s not something I can do, so I have been clear to them about this recently. It feels good to be honest about this and as disappointing it might be to them, I really must do this every time I am there, as otherwise it causes me internal conflict.
Another problem is the emotional pressure they put me under, I am the oldest sibling in my family and have now hit my mid 30s. None of my siblings are married, and I am to blame for my other siblings not getting married either, the exact expression is that “You have to get married first in order to clear the line for your siblings”. And so I am the one who is pressured most. And then there is the pressure that my dad is now dead and that at least my mother should witness my marriage during her lifetime. And there is a sense of shame to my family (which my mother is accountable for as a parent) in me not getting married. This makes my trip there to visit family quite unpleasant.
So if I am not getting arranged married in India, then what am I doing? Well, this is another tough one for me. I was always under so much pressure to live up to family expectations and for a number of other reasons (going to a practically all male university for 10 years, being scarred by rejections as a teenager/in my early 20s) that the idea of dating is actually very intimidating to me and there is a lot of fear attached to this process. I never really got this process started off properly. This is hard to admit.
But despite all this, I am 100% committed and driven to helping myself out and have been facing my fears head on in the last year. I got some CBT type therapy and I have made my first steps to jump into the dating scene. Since I have little experience in this, the fear of the unknown is what has been holding me back for so long mostly.
Perhaps I’ll be ready to blog about it soon. But perhaps not.