Friday, August 5, 2011

Time has no effect?

In 1972 my husband and I had a telephone in our home in England but  my parents did not have one in India. Letter writing was the only communication my mother and me had.  As I would finish writing a letter and fold the aerogram, I would cry for good two minutes as I wrote the address, Anand Nagar, Hyderabad, AP India. As beautiful and serene our neighbourhood was in dry times, it was just as messy whenever it rained. Our neighbourhood not only got it's share of rain, but also the rain that fell on Banjara Hills, would come right down. My parents would get so much rain on their front veranda, that it would become unusable. My parents would save up money to get an awning for the veranda but when they almost had enough there would be some unavoidable expense that would make them postpone getting the awning. So when I was able to earn money in England, I wanted to get them an awning for their veranda.  Do you think they would accept that gift? Not in a million years. The reason? I am their female child and people in India do not take money or material gifts from their daughters. I remember all this because tomorrow will be ten years since we lost our mother. A lot of things start coming back in my mind, including the helplessness of being a female child. My parents were considered lucky, because they had four sons and two daughters. I am considered lucky because my husband and I have two sons and one daughter. Anyone who has no sons is still considered to have a hard life. Still people do not accept gifts from their daughter while they expect their male children to help them get out of debt that they incurred arranging for their daughter's wedding. Time passes, we learn to live with the fact that our loved ones are not around but it would be so much comforting to be able to remember that I was  able to share their pain as my brothers were able to.
When my sister in law sends a gift to her mom, she gets a gift back from her mom, which would be twice as expensive. She tells me she feels helpless and wonders as to when our people will break this tradition.


Belle said...

I didn't know this about India. I'm sorry you couldn't help your parents, but you tried and I'm sure your mother appreciated that.

yaya said...

This is so interesting. I didn't know this fact. I have worked with many Indian doctors. We always knew there was a distinct difference in the way the female nurses were treated. Not really bad, just not as equals in any way. I loved our pediatrician that my children had growing up. He was a doll. But when his daughter married a non-Indian..he disowned her. I was shocked. However my Mother married my Dad who was not Greek and the same thing happened to her. Fortunately my Grandfather changed his attitude later, but it was so hurtful to my Mother. My ob-gyn is Indian and he has 2 daughters and a son. However, his son had a brain injury at birth and is mentally disabled. Very upsetting to him. But he loves that boy (now a grown man) so much and does everything humanly possible to take care of him. He treats the girls differently. Well, this is too long, but thank you for this information on your traditions and also I'm sorry that your Mother is no longer with you. Time does not always make things easier.

Hope said...

hi Munir,
I too, did not know this. and you are right time does not seem to have any affect in this and also when we are faced with the anniversary of the passing of someone we love. I agree with the other comments.

very interesting post
thank you
take care

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Munir - that's interesting .. I didn't know that - I knew and know about arranged marriages .. but not about sending money back home. Funny as it's so acceptable in other nations .. I guess that's why the parents marry their daughters off ..

We have to look on their side - and understand them .. even though our views have changed ..

Families and traditions - like Yaya's .. so difficult at times - love is understanding too ..

With many thoughts for you and your mother's memories and the family's .. Hilary

Michael Offutt said...

I love hearing about your life. I hope that the world moves away from strange nonsense regarding the inequality of the sexes. I have no idea where that came from but it has persisted for thousands of years and I hope that it ends someday. Nothing, supposedly, can last forever. It's too bad that your monetary gift would be turned aside due to this custom.

Education I believe is key to this. The more people get to know one another, the more people will realize that there really is not much difference between one another. One's life is as entitled as another to freedom, education, money and the other things that improve one's standard of living.

I'm sorry to hear that your mother is gone. I try to help my mother but she is slowly losing her mind to dementia. She stands outside on the street corner sometimes in the middle of the night because she is expecting a piano to be delivered by Barack Obama. I try telling her that he's not coming to give her a piano. I know it sounds ridiculous but she believes it to be true so whole-heartedly that she gets upset with me...calls me a liar...etc. To get her inside, I just tell her, "Mom...they called and said they couldn't make it tonight..." That seems to work. I'm glad you didn't have to go through that.

Shelly said...

Very intriguing. I also did not know this about Indian culture. I am sorry for the loss of your mom. I know you have many wonderful things about her to focus on.

Footprints of Peace said...

Wow! Not true for my mom. She takes gifts form her daughters, as a matter of fact, she expects them! Laughter. Sorry to read that your parents wouldn't allow you to give them a so much needed desire.

Better is Possible said...

Interesting. I didn't know this. I can sense your frustration that things don't often change quickly or sometimes at all. It is humbling to learn about a different culture than my own. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

That is something I did not realize still happened in India. I'm sorry. It must be hard having to deal with that pain. My heart goes out to you.