I remember those days when my wife and I were just girl-friend and boyfriend.
Due to our different linguistic , religious and even financial backgrounds we were regularly hounded by well-meaning nit-wits. Yet we had found ways to survive the moral-police, some freak calledPintu Mehta
who tailed us and our zero money problem. Now we both are Assistant Professors , not too badly off on the financial ground and have naturally received some respect being academics who regularly attend conferences etc. But about ten years ago we were reviled, yes, persecuted and even mentally tortured. Many of my young readers here would not be facing such harsh treatments but since you read my blog I’d rather warn you of ways to survive insults when you two are out for walks, live on zero budgets and fend off the jealousy of those who dislike you simply because they have never had the good fortune to fall madly in love. I wish you the best in life and if you ever get into a spot, you are free to write here; I’ll post your story on this blog.
Warnings for inter-religious marriages:
a) Each side’s family in such a marriage feel that great injustice is being done to their daughter or son. They always blame the other side of trapping either their son or daughter. So you must not even for once feel that anyone is very happy on either side to see you marry a different guy or girl from a different community. This problem is not only in India but even in countries like the US too where if a black marries a white, eyebrows are still raised. So be warned…nobody’s going to be genuinely nice to you if you choose your own partner in a nation like India and if you have a marriage like mine, they are going to screw you till you break. In our case, we never broke under pressure and that sort off pissed off the biggies on each side.
b) Religion is the ultimate jacking-tool of crackpots. They’ll go after you quoting all the holy bunkum they don’t understand to tear you two apart, please refer those fools to me. I have formally studied the Bible, Vedanta and write for religious journals and am finishing a PhD thesis on religion to confound these idiots who take shelter in religion(s) to put the fear of hell/samaj or some other silly idea in your still eatable heads.
c) Then those cowards who could never marry the loves of their lives will tell you some stupidity like how you have a duty to your parents, family and even community to not marry the gal/guy you choose. Now for those hypocrites you have the best defender in the world working for you. Good old Shakespeare. His King Lear
is a case in point. By marrying your love, you are NOT GOING to neglect your family. If you two truly love each other, you’ll go out of your ways to love your lover’s parents even if they consider you rank dirt.
King Lear held a love test and asked each of his three daughters about the loves of their lives. Each except Cordelia said they loved their dad the most and later gave him the royal kick. Only Cordelia whom Lear persecuted for honesty replied that she loved her father as he deserved, her hubby as he deserved. And that’s the right attitude. You don’t marry your wife to whine on her shoulders as if she were your mom. you marry your equal and life-partner in all things.
d) My wife and I made the mistake of compromising with our respective in-laws’s sides; that does not work in real life. You have to give back what is given to you, otherwise it’ll take you time to understand that people are taking you for rides. Be rude to those who do not respect your choices and let them know that you are far more mature in able to choose your own partners than deserting the love of your childhood to marry someone more comfortable to people around you.
e) If you are physically or mentally tortured, go to the police.They murdered my friend Rizwanur Rehman.
I used to sit beside him in class. The people who killed him have the power to employ doctors to prove that he committed suicide, but I am of the opinion they should be flogged in public and that too in the nude for killing my college class mate. You my reader can use this blog to bring your troubles to the public domain if you want to.
Now how to survive on a budget:
a) Understand first, that you are amongst the lucky few in this world to be in love ( and not fall !!) so proudly walk in open large populated roads. Now that we two are well off we don’t walk that much and both have us have not got large tummies. Walk as much as you want in public places. It’ll keep the moral police from targeting you if you walked in dark narrow gullies. And walking keeps thousands of diseases at bay. So walk to your heart’s content whenever you two can.
b) See my previous posts on deals available now, buy those cheap deals and have an expensive meal for two at throwaway prices. In our courtship period we ate from road-side stalls horrible food but we shared those green-coconut water ( we did not have the money for two green-coconuts) using in the beginning two straws and then one, and that brought us really close to each other.
c) We went on bus rides, those old Kolkata jittery bus rides from one destination to another and returned the same afternoon by the same bus. Ignore the looks of the conductors, they have seen it all.
d) We took tram rides,
now you can take metro rides. Trams move really slow and for nearly nothing you get to spend so much time with your would be spouse.
e) Lastly for the two of us , we got cheap library memberships. In those days for say, two hundred bucks , you get to work side by side for a whole year at the British Council, Kolkata; in air-conditioned environments. That’s how contrary to popular beliefs about lovers in India, we became Assistant Professors in a highly competitive academic job market.
Lastly let me share with you some choice insults showered on us for having an inter-caste/language/religion/food marriage:
We can afford the occasional flight.
So once when we landed somewhere from the airport, just because we have married each other, either one or both of us was made to spend the better part of two hours sitting literally on the road. No please come-in in a huff if you marry out of your communities. This in spite, of me, never having ever offended the folks who crushed us under their arrogance.
Your lesson: give a shit for those of you who ignore you; we two fools had been regularly to the airport to welcome these same people with flowers
earlier on. So save the money on the flowers for each other and don’t waste them on arrogant bast****.
Then once,one of my in-laws shut the lift door on my face and asked me to take the stairs just because that person cannot tolerate the site of me.
I never then showed how insulted I felt, I was young and foolish then but now in hindsight I should have insulted that person there and then.
Your lesson. Don’t be goody, goody…insult those who insult you just because they cannot tolerate the sight of you otherwise like me , five years down the line you’ll seethe with rage.
Then if you visit the house of relatives, they’d be reluctant to invite you for dinners, socialize with you and even not invite you inside their living rooms. I used to be foolish and thought let-by-gones be by-gones. They are never by-gones.
Your lesson from my life: avoid those relatives who put you down and don’t invite them back.