I’ve sometimes found it really hard being an Indian female, born in the UK, particularly to very traditional parents who are adamant to hold on to their cultural values.
On one side, it’s been hard to tell my Mum, siblings, extended family and any one else who wants to know…that I don’t want my life partner chosen by anyone but myself. And that the only thing I will look at is his heart. Not his financial or educational status or family status….yada yada. None of that means anything to me. I’m more interested in what we build together moving forward.
Also to live independently has had its challenges. For the first few years of living away from my family, my Mum would ask me to come back home pretty much on a weekly basis. It was really hard for her to accept. It was hard for me too but I had to stick to my guns and make it on my own.
It’s also been hard to fit in with the non-Asian crowd. I have been asked my fair share of patronising questions about Indian food, Indian clothes or arranged marriages. I used to get annoyed and snap at people many years ago. Now I calmly and gently put my point across and explain to people that I am not a stereotype.
There were moments when I felt wrong and that I didn’t fit in anywhere. The first time I went to India was about 4 years ago so really, how Indian am I? I hadn’t even seen the country that so many people were judging me on.
There was a time when I totally rejected my culture because I was so angry at the lack of freedom – particularly for women. Everything was dictated to me and I didn’t see that as fair. It took years to slowly go back and incorporate the bits I am proud of and forget about the rest. It took a lot of work to get where I am today.
It is important to add that there have been a good number of fantastic people who I have met in this life who have seen past all of that. Those who have seen me for me. I remember reading somewhere an Afro Caribbean Gentleman saying “before anything, I am human.” I loved that and quoted it many times.
One of my friends said to me once “Suky, I forget that you are Indian sometimes.” She thought that was an awful thing to say to me but I thought it was a compliment. It meant to me that she saw me for my insides (my heart), not my outside (the colour of my skin or a preconceived notion in her head).
Anyway, I pushed through all of that and am so much happier. I’m free. I’m not a bad person. I just live my life on my terms – as any adult should. No one have any right over any other adult. Everyone comes with their own life plan and own kismet.