A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

On love marriages and my story..

Posted by Pepper on June 6, 2011

IHM’s recent post on love marriages spoiling the family system of our nation brought out this rant.

I have to admit, I’ve led quite an ignorant life and did not realise how terribly messed up the society we live in is. I come from a very liberal and open minded family. My cousins, especially from my mom’s side have all married people from different regions and backgrounds. I was hardly ever exposed to the rigidity that is so deeply woven into the core of our society. Until it was time for me to get married. I guess I should share my story, though I’ve always been too hesitant to display the dirt on this blog.

Mint’s family is the opposite of mine. They blindly follow customs and traditions and have rigidity seeped into their bones. Nobody in his family, has ever had a love marriage. Not even a distant relative. The whole concept of falling in love is frowned upon. Because, if you’ve been brought up with good values, then you will quietly obey your parents and marry the girl or guy they choose for you. After all, parents know best. No questioning. And oh of course, they believe they are a very close knit family and operate as a single unit. All decisions are taken by the eldest member of the family. In their case, it is Mint’s dad’s elder brother. Most of their family members live in a small town in Tamil Nadu. The eldest member is supposedly highly respected and treated as an authoritarian figure.

When we were dating and started talking about marriage, Mint warned me and told me to be prepared for the obstacles we would face because of the rigid nature of his family. But he also told me, despite everything, we would make it work. I asked him what if his family doesn’t agree? He said, we would wait until they did. And if that never happened? He said if they are too unreasonable and we’ve waited long enough and see no change, then he would walk out of his family.

For a long time, I lived in fear of the day he would tell his parents about me. I was in UK, drowning in the midst of assignments and worrying about his parents reaction. One day, he buzzed me on Gmail and told me he did it. He told his parents during a phone conversation he had with them. He told them there was a girl in his life, he wanted to marry her, she was from Bombay, belonging to a very different caste and community. They were stunned and silenced. They couldn’t believe their son actually had the audacity to fall in love with a girl, that too, from such a different caste. The first few days they lived in denial.

And then it actually hit them. His mom broke down and wept. She wondered what she had done to deserve this from her son? How could he betray her like that? Because of him, she’d have to live in perpetual shame. How would she face the world? What if people boycotted them? Do you note, how most of the fears stem from a common concern – what will the society say?

We decided to give them some time to come to terms with it. Every few days Mint would call home and talk to them about it. Each time they showed signs of protest, he’d tell them he had made up his mind. The following months were quite a blur for his family – full of tears, self pity and fear of the extended family’s reaction. They only spent time worrying, without taking any action.

After months of persuasion from Mint, and months of procrastination from their end, they agreed to talk to my parents on phone. All his dad told my dad during their conversation was that this kind of stuff was not done in their family. They needed time to think it over. I remember feeling quite mad at that time. Why should my dad be made to hear all that? They’ll think it over? Do they think I am not good enough for their son? Of course when I think from their point of view, it is a whole new ball game.

More time passed, and his parents were under high pressure to take action. They finally mustered up the courage to break the news to the extended family. As expected, more drama ensued. Each time our parents spoke on phone, his dad would tell us he is ‘trying to convince’ his family members. Finally, after what felt like ages, they said they were coming to Bombay to meet us. I happened to be in Bombay at that time too. We rejoiced and thought we were finally moving in the right direction. But there was more to follow..

They came in a big group. Mint’s parents, his dad’s elder brother and his wife, another elderly relative from their family, and they brought along another couple who they said were family friends. We welcomed them home, expecting everyone to be cordial and things to go well. I was extremely nervous. Not only was I meeting Mint’s parents, I was also meeting his extended family, all alone. Mint was in the US. I hated facing it by myself. But that is how it was.

Right after they came home, they asked me to sit down and answer some questions of theirs. I obliged. I was sitting on a chair, all alone, facing 3 men who were shooting questions one after another. That incident left such a bitter taste in my mouth. The worst part is, they seemed to have a lot of questions for Mint, but were asking me those. I am sure a lot of my teeth eroded with all the grinding I did. How am I supposed to answer these questions without snapping or being rude?

“These things are not done in our family. What do you think? You can fall in love like that and just inform parents?”
“Why couldn’t Mint tell parents earlier”
“We choose the girl or boy for our kids, because parents know best. Who gives you the right to make such decisions?”
“People like Mint are spoiling our family culture. Now what if tomorrow other children from our family come and say they want to marry somebody of their choice?”
“If we allow one person, others will use him as an example. We don’t want others getting spoilt because of him”
“I am the one who makes all the decisions of this family. If I say no, there is no way you will ever get to marry him. What are you going to do then?”
“These things happen in your Bombay. But we are a very close knit and cultured family. We don’t allow all this. We can’t accept it. This is not about you and him. This is about us and our family.”
“You are young blood. You think you know what you want. But you are only being carried away. You don’t knwo what is right for you.”
“Tomorrow if you have trouble in your marriage, nobody will support you because you had a love marriage. Then what will you do?”
“Even if we take just our family members, there are about 200 people. We have to convince all of them. If they don’t agree, they will boycott our family. If they don’t agree, you can’t get married.”

It went on. I was fuming. But I bore it all. I smiled and tried to answer every question they put my way. But what the hell was this? They come all the way to my city, to my home, only to create a scene like that in front of my parents and family? They attack me when Mint is not around? Had he been there, he would have asked them to shut the f*ck up. Who the hell are they anyway? Some random man comes and ascertains his authority on my life? Whether I marry the person of my choice will be decided by 200 idiots I don’t know or care about? I wanted to scoff right then and there and tell them that unlike what they believed, they had no say in my life. They’d only have a family member walk out on them. But I shut up. The interesting thing is, all these questions were asked by the other men, not a single one came from Mint’s parents. I don’t think they’d have wanted to put me through this, but they were too meek to protest.

After all that, the women took me to another room and cornered me. Here is what they told me.

“If you do get married. You have to learn Tamil. You don’t have a choice”
“Because this a love marriage. Nobody from the family will want to talk to you. You have to keep trying to talk to them even if they don’t respond. If you keep trying, somebody they will like you hopefully”
“You have to adjust to our customs and rituals. Our style of cooking, our way of living, everything”
“Will you be able to do all this?”

I was exhausted.And I don’t know how to argue or back answer.So I said a ‘Yes’ to everything. For one, I knew they were talking bullshit. I know the kind of person Mint is, and I knew he’d never let me be affected by this crap. I knew I could live the way I want. There’s a lot more that wen’t on, but if I were to write all about it, it would never end.

All of that is a part of the past, but like I said, it left a bad taste in my mouth. I hardly interact with Mint’s extended family. His parents are very good to me and we get along quite well at the surface level, but there are some invisible walls between us that prevent us from being too close. Till date, they feel disappointed by Mint and ‘what he did to them’. Mint’s cousins who talk to me occasionally are too timid to let the elders know that. A part of his family always wants me to be the ‘outsider’. Some members of his family are cold to me, to the extent of being rude.

This has been a very long post, so I don’t want to speak further. This is so wrong, in so many different levels. But I will analyse it another day. For now, I only wonder. How much more shit will two people who fall in love have to tolerate? For how long will they be treated as criminals who bring shame to the family? For how long will they be denied the most basic right of choosing who they want to live with? Sigh. This is such a stupid world.

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131 Responses to “On love marriages and my story..”

  1. Its unfair … but being away from the extended family really helps in this case I guess… hopefully with time the family is more accepting.

    • Pepper said

      Oh definitely. And to be very honest, I have no real interest in chasing his extended family and begging them to talk to me. At least not now 🙂

  2. Comfy said

    How many times have I heard this story? How many more times will it be retold? How many times people in love have to go through this just because it becomes about the parents and the extended family?

    How I wish this would end and soon at that but I don’t see it happening. More is the pity.

    • Pepper said

      It is a sorry state of affairs. But I do see some change brewing. I am sure it will be a little easier for the generation after us ..

  3. binpin said

    If two people are willing to put up each other for the rest of their lives who are others to interfere:) But I agree with you once a drama always a drama. In my case even though there was some marginal cultural difference, they were disappointer because I didnt follow tradition where the girls family builds a cupboard in the boy’s house and fills it with gold and what not:P..Like hell they were going to get what didnt rightfully belong to them but I had support so I never worried. We even paid for our own wedding so they couldnt say much:).Its sometimes hard to put the nitty gritty stuff behind but hold your head up high and an advantage is you are miles and miles away for now atleast. As long as Mint understands and I bet he does-That’s what matters the most.

    • Pepper said

      Oh God, did they really expect that kind of stuff? Wish we could smack such people.
      Yes, being miles away is a big advantage for now.

  4. Titaxy said

    all this isn’t fair at all. but it happens so often to so many couples that choose to go the ‘love marriage’ way. only if elders understood that marriage isn’t about what the society would think, rather it is about how happy the couple is with each other. hopefully time will change people’s mindset.

  5. Sig said

    I wanted to leave a comment because on some level it rang true for me too. You know that Evs isn’t Indian AND he is Christian. To me that didn’t didn’t come into the equation, but we did have a bit of opposition at the start. Not as bad as you, because somehow after living outside India for a good 20 years or so, I like to think that had become more open-minded. They never really opposed us, but were more concerned to the differences kind of thing – like religion and language (we speak English to each other and both of us are not that religious :P). They welcomed him in, because for me, they took the time to know HIM and liked him as a person. I joke that Evs is becoming more Indian than me coz he is tentatively speaking hindi, he loves indian food etc. Here is Aus, it’s actually more common to have love marriages AND interacial marriages.

    On the other side, one of my cousins in Delhi got married a week after me. But half of my extended family didn’t go to her wedding. Why? Because she married a muslim. My Dad who was there, quite frankly told them it was kinda bullshit and went to her wedding on our behalf 😀 He was like “she still my sister’s daughter and my family – I am going to celebrate her happiness”. Hahahah…I think, being the first in our extended family to have a ‘love marriage’ and to a non-indian they took the same view that somehow gave ideas to my cousins. Hahah, 3 of them after me have now had love marriages 😛

    Ok looooooong comment…but just wanted to say – I’m glad and I am sure Mint is glad u held in there. At the end of the day – it’s YOUR life.

    • Pepper said

      Yes, living out of India for so many years does make you a tad more open minded. See, ultimately you and Evs are being able to work it out. I am sure they realise that.

      It is very common for relatives to act pricey and say they won’t attend the wedding. We received many such threats in the beginning. Honestly, I wouldn’t care 😀

      I am so glad you’ve set such a good example in your family 😛

  6. Scribby said

    oh same pinch on cousins being married into different caste…actually there is tiny story attached to it..brings a smile on my face 😉

    sorry to laugh right now but what is ‘things happen in your Bombay’ !!! ROFL..They really said it?

    So you guys got carried away huh 😉 family of 200 people to convince for two persons to get married??? : shock:

    and the typical: if you have some problems who will help you cause you made your own choice while marrying 😦 sigh !!!

    the best things is to laugh it out..cause you’ve the right person at your side..I know what it all means that has happened to you but the better choice is to just not think about it !

    Our marriage also faced some hurdles-not this bad though cause-thankfully-we are from the same caste and community…and like your family my parents and family too are very liberal..so there was no stopping from my side…but alas…

    any way woh shadi hi kya jo bina jhamele ke ho jaye 😉

    P.S. I can relate to that ‘invisible wall which does not allow to get close’ !!!!

    HUGS babes!!!

    • Pepper said

      That line about these things happening in your Bombay is really funny. Perhaps they believe Bombay is only about night clubs and fast girls 😛

      Yes, we do laugh it off now. Cos we have each other and live happily. Neither of us care a damn about they say or think.

      Thanks 🙂 Hugs back!

  7. R's Mom said

    Hugs Pepper and Hugs Mint too..both you people are amazingly strong and to come out of this and yet get married and still love each other..Hats off to you…Pepper, if I were in your place in that room, I would have given back big time Sorry wrong advice to give you but seriously would have given back 🙂

    In India marriage is not between two people, its between two families and thats where the problem lies 😦

    Infact, I am glad that you guys are a bit far away now..bond better and then come back to face the maddening crowd all over again!

    • Pepper said

      Thanks R’s Mom. My sister is the kinds to give back too. She says she is happy she wasn’t around, or she’d have exploded 🙂
      Yep, the marriage is supposed to be between two families. But that doesn’t make sense to me at all.

  8. PNA said

    My answer would require a post, Pepper… the problem is with the mindset of the people, and the ultra strong fevicol like belief that the young are not capable of finding their own partners! and much more to that… but why the general hate to love marriages! no idea! no idea at all!!

    • Pepper said

      I think there is general hatred towards love marriages because then parents have no control over the caste/religion of the person their child falls in love with, and also because it goes against the principle of parents knowing best, and other related factors.

  9. Deboshree said

    Pepper, the last line is easily the most general and the most relevant in various situations. It is a stupid world. Your post has me scared. It brings back my plethora of fears about R and me. Our families are also as different as chalk and cheese and I have no clue what will happen when they will be confronted with the idea of us actually getting married. It is seriously absurd the kind of interference and social ‘fear’ that people raise in such scenarios. Why does it matter so much what people will say? Do they not have a life of their own to dissect?

    It is sad how you are still not too close with Mint’s extended family. But at the end of the day, you have Mint. His parents are good to you, even if there are some walls that cannot be broken. Since I don’t see signs of a sea-change in long-embedded idiocies any time soon, I guess that is good enough. 😀 Congratulations for having gone through it all successfully. 😀

    • Pepper said

      The interference from society and the social pressure is seriously absurd and ridiculous. But if the two of you are strong and sure of being with each other, then nothing can affect you.

      I know, at the end I have Mint and I am on reasonably good terms with his parents. That is good enough for now. 😀

  10. I have seen so many friends of mine subjected to the same, what people dont realize is that post their so called objections when they finally “ok” the marriage – they have already caused a rift in their relationship with their children or least with their DIL/SIL- which may never go away!!!

    I dont get why people like to complicate issues so much…!!!

    • Pepper said

      So damn true Nuttie. Such things invariably create a rift between parents and child or DIL/SIL. At times, parents even know they are going to ‘okay’ the relationship in the end, so why not just do it gracefully. But they still put you through the crap. Perhaps they think you need to be punished for what you’ve done. Don’t know what they achieve in the end.

    • Scribby said

      yes I totally agree with nuts !

  11. DI said

    Whoa! That’s some story. You really are brave 🙂 I have to give it to you. I know for a fact that I would not be able to manage a crowd of people barging me with questions, especially if The Dude was not around, but I guess I would have done the same thing, nodded and said yes.
    Honestly, I was lucky. Touchwood. My parents were always prepared that I would choose the person to be with, and so was The Dude’s Mom. So all was ok. But I shudder to think how it would have been otherwise.
    But like you said, perhaps the confidence you had in Mint about him never subjecting you to anything remotely painful, helped you get through all of this.

    • Pepper said

      Facing the firing round of questions all alone was the hardest part. But yeah, I am glad it is all over and my faith in Mint is what took me through.
      Guess you guys are lucky. Few people get away without any opposition from parents 🙂

  12. Loved the openness with which you wrote this post. I can understand how difficult and painful a lot of the incidents were for you. With time, you will be able to let go of it and see the happier, brighter side and gradually strengthen your relationship with your in-laws beyond the superficial, surface level. It takes time but it’s worth it. Now, they are a part of your life and vice versa. Also, I truly believe that love conquers all these obstacles and for that, the first step is to remove your ego and past hurts and see them as your family too.

    • Pepper said

      The in laws are family. There are no two ways about that. I’ve accepted it. And I know they are really nice people. But no matter what I do, I can’t cross the walls between us unless they let go of the solid blind beliefs they’ve been holding on to forever. Their rigid beliefs and ideas define the foundation of our relationship. I can change the structure of our relationship only if it has a new base.

  13. Swaram said

    🙄 Hugs! U r brave and lucky u and Mint stood thru it all and are together and happy today!
    I wish and hope ppl learn their lessons soon 😦

  14. Bikram said

    hmmmm well alls well that ends well.. you guys are happy and together .. mission accomplished 🙂

    I can understand all you have said , My sis came with that when I got a call that she wanted ot marry a Bengali.. and that it had been going around for 4-5 years .. The first thing that i did was .. All of my mates got together and we had everything in our car and went looking for this guy.. IT Was jsut luck or whatever we could not find him anywhere we knew he would be in his office or his home , he was away to another city that day.. God knows what would have happened had we met him that day ..

    Anyway I reached home and my Mama Ji came from village to see me, we got talking and one thing led to another .. He asked me what was the problem that i had .. and then and now i realise the problem was not outsider or religion or anything like that .. to me the problem was my sis haveing a affair.. and I did not know it and we were supposedly big guns in the city..

    Thats what had bugged me more anyway my friend Ajay came we talked and he is so younger then me but cool head we disucssed

    anyway we decided ot meet this guy that never happeend .. so his family came over to our house and slowly it was fine and now i feel knowing him he is a cool guy..

    in our case it was different we had questions to the Guy 🙂 …

    it is not criminal i guess society as i remmeber my dad and mum were ok but it was the others as i distincvtively a few relativs point blank say They wont come to wedding, it is a insult.. I think its the SOCIETY which makes and the fear oh what wil he / she say …
    lot of people had a problem.. and they still do but we get along very fine now .. and his family is so nice …

    • Pepper said

      I understand you had questions for the guy. But why is the idea of your sis having an affair so problematic for you Bikram?
      And are you guys very close to each other? If not, why would you expect her to tell you every single detail about her life?

      Yes, most of the problems arise out of societal pressures. It is time we stopped caring about the goddamed society.

      • Bikram said

        As I said it was the fact that she was having a affair. I guess at that time I was a young hot blooded guy in college and all that gang culture etc etc groupism..
        As usaual the culture that girls stay home not have affairs etc was ripe I am talking years ago.

        And also the stupid jat mentality we were punjabi jats its like a brahmin in hinduism … So many issues. You learn slowly…

        Yeah society is a bane rather than boon… And it was the correct decusuon to get them married and we did it with full band baja and it was agood day though I got delayed 🙂 thats another story

  15. Phatichar said

    Take care. 🙂

  16. Vidya said

    Hi! Coming in from Comfy’s.

    Loved the honesty:) Things will not change till our people stop putting their religion/caste/class prejudices ahead of everything, and the parents of boys stop thinking that they have grown two horns and for that reason expect to be treated like royalty:)At least our children will not have to suffer through these!

  17. I completely agree with you, and I think it can be worse for a woman. I am impressed that you handled it so well 🙂

  18. I am seething. You know what, my relatives are exactly like that. They are fine with love marriages finally but when it comes to any other change, God knows why, its like they form a gang and show people down. Pretty much what happened to you.

    I can’t write anything else here, as it is a public forum. Or maybe I should, but not now. Can we take this up over chat? I have a similar case about my relatives.

    As for what you went through- hugs! I know I could not have shown the patience you did. I really admire you for that. And your parents- *bows*.

    • Pepper said

      Most families have such a mob mentality. There is no room for making individual choices. Sigh.

      We should definitely take this up over chat. It has been a while since we chatted anyway. I’ll buzz you.

  19. apu said

    Stupid world, indeed. I am much more familiar with all the objections you mention and the sort of thinking it arises from, but whatever be the constraints, there is no excuse for foisting all your questions on to an unknown person rather than dealing with it with your own child. And of course, for women, it’s always the “you are becoming part of our family, you adjust” crap.

    • Pepper said

      I think part of the reason they questioned me like that was because Mint wasn’t around. He was away n the US and not too accessible to them then.

  20. chandni said

    My God! I can only imagine how it must have been……I really don’t understand why people never understand marriage should be decided by the two people who have to spend the rest of their life together and not others who anyway don’t care whether you live or die….

    And all’s well that ends well so cheers to peppermint 😀

    • Pepper said

      It is such a farce, isn’t it. The same people are hardly bothered about your life and don’t care about you. But they’ll all want to have say in your choices.

      I know. Thanks 😀

  21. Isn’t it interesting that the questions they should have asked their ward they shot at you. Parenting agendas depend on the value they accord each ward; if it is a son then economic alienation is a big fear and if it is a daughter then it comes to family honor etc. Desi parenting is beyond words…

    Glad to read that it worked for you coz’ mint had a strong spine; partly credit goes to his parents for that spine even if he detested their ways and decided to be different. 🙂

    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    • Pepper said

      I know. I truly believe all of it worked out in the end because Mint had a strong spine. He never once hesitated to openly support my parents and tell his own parents they were in the wrong. That is what I appreciate the most about him. And a lot of credit for that spine definitely goes to his parents 🙂

  22. Shocking. I was aware of such attitudes but never realised just how strong the hold of the extended family could be on something as personal as this! All those questions are unbelievable, even though there is no doubt that they meant each one of them very seriously… Look at how we refuse to see what really matters!! Extremely sad.

    • Pepper said

      Same here IHM. I was hardly aware of the strong hold the extended family has. But they take only joint decisions and do not do anything without each other’s consent and approval – all in the name of being close to each other. The result is that they pass on the same stagnant ideologies to each other and the wheel gets stuck in the rut.

  23. Ashwathy said

    Whoa!!
    I read your post 6 hours back. But waited before I commented. I let it all sink in.

    NOW I realise why you reacted the way you did for your last post 🙂 When I said you were lucky to get a set of parents who understood your differences, and your retorted that you had to work for it. Even then I assumed that it meant even his parents understood, irrespective of being on the conservative side. Since that’s all I remember you mentioning of them. Guess I understand why you did not want to reveal too much. IHM’s post must have brought back from bad and powerful memories, eh?…

    Pepper: Yes Ash, I suppose you understand it a lot better now. We’re at a good stage right now, but getting here has been quite a battle. IHM’s post hit me real hard.

    My best guess is that the whole relatives-family visit was an effort to psyche you out of this marriage and make you run for your life away from Mint. Or at the very least, provoke or intimidate you enough to make you retort rudely, and viola! they have another strong argument against you to complain to Mint – she was rude to us on the very first visit!

    Pepper: We thought of that possibility, but it doesn’t seem very likely. They knew we had we had made up our minds and were very firm about our decision, so they’d know these tactics wouldn’t work. I think they knew they had to accept it in the end, but just wanted to create a showdown before they did. Perhaps to give us the feeling that were doing us a ‘favour’ by accepting it.

    How much of this does Mint know? I mean I am sure you have told him everything. What I meant was from the parents’ side. Did they tell him a different version?

    Pepper: Nope, his parents didn’t tell him a thing about any of this. And in fact, his dad actually pleaded with me and begged me to not tell Mint a word, because they knew he would react and bring the roof down. I felt quite sorry for his parents at that time. They seemed stuck between the extended family and their son. So although I did tell Mint every single thing, I also requested him to not take it up with his parents.

    Like you said, his parents may not be bad people, but just too meek to go against their extended family, becoz of their conditioning. But it is truly sad you had to go through this – just because of the community/caste factor.

    Pepper: They’re too meek, yes. But being strong in their case would mean breaking ties with the whole family. They were in a tough position too. It is extremely sad, the way this system works.

    Kudos to you for handling it with restraint! 🙂 And even more so, for Mint for standing by you and his decision to marry you. It takes a lot of courage to go forward the way you guys did so I really applaud you.

    And a word for your parents. May God bless them! 🙂 We need more of those kind around, especially their outlook to life and the patience with which they supported you.

    Pepper: Thank you so much. I really applaud my parents as well. They were so supportive despite the initial rejections. They dealt with the whole thing wonderfully.

    P.S.: Psst! Just think of the bright side this way. In spite of all the nutcases running loose in that family, Mint was born and belongs there. He’s the saving grace. Amen! 🙂

    Pepper: Lol! Honestly, I always wonder how he turned out to be the way he did. He is the most logical, rational and fair person I’ve known, while his family is the opposite.

  24. Tanu said

    Oh wow. This was like reading my story, except that I was in Mint’s shoes. My parents were not that hostile to my fiance. I definitely went through the tears, taunts, and other things. I have family members who refuse to talk to me. However, when it will be the wedding day, they will be first ones to get on that train (still without talking to me). I agree with you on the last statement. It is a very very stupid world made up of stupid rules, which are set up by the stupid society.

    • Pepper said

      So the family members refuse to talk to you (I hope you don’t care about them), but they want to come for the wedding right? That is one load off your parents head then. A lot of times parents fear the society will abandon them and nobody will attend the wedding if they deviate from the norms.

  25. scorpria said

    Like always, this reflects a lot of the drama i went through to — in fact, half of that is lying in my drafts — as “Meet the husband — Part 2” !! You always beat me to it, girl! 😀 And considering how brutally honest I can be, that post, if i write completely honestly, could rip apart a few people! I’m still unsure if I should post it!

    And yes, its a stupid world, and there isn’t a single day i dont thank my stars for giving me my parents. And it’s soooo totally stupid taht you let things like language, culture, food, traditions and family pressure to decide who you spend your life with. Love is seldom considered! Aaaah — i could rant forever on this topic!!

    • Pepper said

      So there’s a lesson for you in this Scorps. If you don’t want me to beat you, then post more frequently 😀
      I hope you share your story. We need to spread more awareness. Make it private if you have to, but do write.

      I guess our rants are endless.

  26. Pixie said

    Super tight hugs!
    Can totally relate to all this and more…
    You have invisible walls, mine are more like concrete wasll built with 52 grade cement!
    But, the important thing is you guys are happy

    The so-called customs, the approval of relatives and letting other people run our lives are all stupid and quite illogical..
    hugs!

  27. I should write 2 stories in connection to this one. I will. Only I’m not sure if I will keep it open for the public..

  28. Oh, dear dear Pepper…I expected drama in your story too..but did not imagine you went through such painfully mind numbing interrogation yourself 😦

    Trust me when I say I understand. Sadly, the interrogation came from my own family. It was my own people who were rigid, scared of society and depended on extended family to make decisions. Yes, it is that dark – my own people were on war against me. It was cruel and very painful is all I can say now.

    Things are all good now, no trace of the hatred.But, am still trying to erase mark of wounds all those episodes left in me.

    I am hoping the rigidity and ignorance will end with our generation..there’s much light ahead. 🙂

    {{HUGS}}

    • Pepper said

      Oh God AHK. I am sorry to know you went through such a bad time yourself.
      That is what happens in most cases. People say things and move on, but it is hard for the person who has been inflicted with the hurt to erase the scars.

      I think there is some light ahead too. Hugs!

  29. Homecooked said

    Baapre! The elder brother makes all the decisions! I cant even begin to imagine what ego he must have 🙂 I am glad that you two lead your own lives. But it must have been scary to go through the interrogation. Finally did they agree to it graciously or more drama happened?

  30. ajay said

    Sad story but with a good ending.:) We can just hope that things change for the better. That interview must have been a torture. Is it some work placement that respect elders come over to take an interview for? And what makes them qualified for that anyway? I can understand the grinding of teeth. It must have been very tough to fight the urge to give honest answers.

    • Pepper said

      The grilling and interviewing was awful, mainly because I couldn’t speak my mind. But it was in my own interest to shut up at that time, so it is okay.

  31. ‘A part of his family always wants me to be the ‘outsider’’ – Pepper, this is for almost EVERY Indian girl. Whether the family has ‘approved’ the match or not. The extended family ALMOST ALWAYS will make sure that the wall is intact , at a very very subtle level. One wouldn’t even see it, especially the boy himself. On the surface, it will all look great. But beneath, the undercurrents will always be there. And this happens only in India. In the western world, there is no question of ‘permission from the parents’. Only we Indians believe that ‘we – the family – KNOW what the boy/girl want – and we know what is right!!!

    • Pepper said

      Sigh! Is that so Pal? I didn’t think so. At least in Mint’s family, the other girls (d-i-ls) are included as family and are quite warmly welcomed. But the elders do not like the idea of anybody interacting with me too much. They want me to be the outcast, always. It is not subtle. They are very open about it.

      But I agree with you. The Indian family system is like that. The undercurrents are strong though the surface seems calm. It has a lot to do with our mentality and the boys side believing they are superior.

  32. Childwoman said

    Similar thing happend to me. Except that it was only his mother and sister who visited my family. And it was enough. His mother said lot of wrong and hurtful things to my family about me. She assasinated my chararacter in front of my dad, mum and two elder brothers.

    This incident is one of the reasons that I broke up with him. To be honest, I had my doubts to be with someone whose parents and siblings could speak things like that.

    Ofcourse he did come to my home and apologiesed to my parents. He had a right upbringing, but the parents were cruel.

    And I wanted things to work out because of the person he was. I could have lived with his family with his support. But now when I think of it; my parents did not deserve it to be treated like that or spoken like that. All they did was to be cordial to his parents and sister. And they did not utter a single word.

    I am still unmarried. But frankly I think I am better this way. And after all that has happened in my family, I think I am better prepared the next time someone attacks my family this way again.

    • Pepper said

      Assassination of character is something that I cannot come to terms with. Nothing justifies that. The damage is intensified if they include your family. I am so sorry you went through all that.

      I would have had my doubts about being with somebody who’s parents can speak like that too.

      You are right. Even if you managed to live with his family with his support, your parents definitely do not deserve to be treated that way.

      Life offers us constant learning lessons – I am sure you learnt a lot because of all this. I know you’ve emerged a stronger person.

  33. metzii said

    I was in a very similar situation Pepper,
    but the questions all came from my side relatives and his parents were very cool. Its when one of my relative came and asked me, “So what caste is the guy from” and I blinked..When I said I don’t know, she was like, “My God, you don’t know his caste” and went to talk to my mom. I never realized that I should be knowing the guy’s caste before marriage, as long as he is a ‘GUY’ and the love for him- is that not enough for me to marry him. Thats when I decided I’m not going to ask his caste EVER no matter what.
    Tight hugs to you to have gone through all these. May you and Mint make a strong and happy family and let them realize that marriage is all about two people and they all mean nothing to us.

    • Pepper said

      You know, to date, I have no damn clue of the caste I belong to. Nor do my parents know. I guess that makes us weird by society standards.

  34. Sandhya said

    Happy to know that both you and Mint are happy together, which is the most important thing, nothing else matters.

    ‘What will society say?’ question will be there always, Pepper. Even after 37 years of marriage (sort of love marriage between Kannada and Tamil), some disssstant old relative of mine will ask me 100th time if my husband knows Kannada or if he eats meat, knowing through other relatives about ‘our’ customs and traditions!!!

    Be happy always…forget the bitterness.

    • Pepper said

      People are nosy. And sometimes they are plain curious. They only want to know how you are able to work it out. I am okay answering questions. But when people start dictating terms to you as per the norms, then I want to ask them to take a hike.

  35. Sandhya said

    Came here via IHM’s buzz, Pepper. Nice to know you!

  36. soulmate said

    whoa!! Thats quite a story.. Our society is more concerned about what ‘others’ will say, rather than being concerned about the two individuals who want to spend their lives together, happily.. Instead of making things easier and allowing them to blend their respective cultures, society wants to draw firm lines.. and then say : ‘People from other community dont know about our culture’.. How will they know, if you keep on drawing boundaries..

  37. Hugs and more Hugs Pepper, This sounds like my story. We went through all of this expect the extended relatives visiting home, in my case R and his dad visited my parents, luckily I was abroad that time. But rest all I went through, he coming from a traditional family where love marriage is first time. I think it took long time for us to believe we got married, everyone made me feel that they did a favor to me by accepting this wedding. I did show that frustration on R, but the poor guy did his best to make this happen. But I still can’t accept those traditions and customs, thats one of the reasons I am afraid to go back to India. And we don’t care abt extended relatives any more.

    • Pepper said

      People never really let you forget the big favour they’ve done by accepting you. It is unbelievably stupid. Yes, we’re a little hesitant to move back to India for the same reasons. You feel so sheltered here, away from all those rotting mindsets.

  38. Yikes!

    We had a lot of comments from the DH’s side, but I kind of told everyone that if they questions it would be for US and not ME.. I think the MIL asked the standard convert to Hinduism, stop eating meat etc.. which while ridiculous was something I flat out refused. So, the MIL sat and whined about how her son had let her down and blah blah.. In the process made my mother cry because it sounded like I was brought-up badly. It was annoying.

    So, I did the only thing I could do. I told her, we weren’t asking for permission & if it sounded like that we were sorry. We were INVITING them to our wedding. We were asking them if they wanted to participate. We had already decided to get married and this was just FYI.

    I think no one expected us to pay for our own wedding, so nothing could really come in our way.

    Eventually everyone came, my ILs reluctantly.. my parents happily. There were a lot of relatives from either side who didn’t come to our un-holy union but then, we did not miss them 😀

    • Pepper said

      *Bows to Dee* . I would never have had the courage to be so open and tell them all the things you said. But in my case, had I done it, the ill effects would have not only rubbed on me, but also on my in laws. They’d have to face the wrath of the extended family members. That is one reason I tried to show as much restrain as possible.

      Anyway, I think there is some special joy in the union when you’ve fought to be together. I am glad you didn’t stop and wait for people who showed their backs to you on your wedding day. Their loss 😀

  39. Ram Pyaari said

    😦

    it seems like you had a tough time…

  40. Dee said

    Hey.. Where did my comment go?!?

  41. Mahes said

    Kudos Pepper, I applaud you for tolerating all this shit. Reminds me of vignettes from movies. Some of my cousins married into different castes and all of our relatives supported them. The boy and girl decided and there was nothing to say.

    I always say this, you and Mint are made for each other 🙂

  42. Sands said

    So many such stories and it is just painful to hear. Some happy endings and others not so much! My parents are the conservative kind and accepted their youngest choosing her life partner only because she had the support of us, her older siblings. That is when my older sister said, that had she elpoed they would have learned to be more accepting sooner in life 😉 I honestly think that will change with the future with our babies. I believe that as long as one makes sensible and wise choices, variety is the spice of life. Will support my kids in any which choice they make 🙂 Had this conversation with Meg when she was only 6 years old 🙂

  43. This is so sad. I agree – the society sometimes does complicate things more than required. It’s a stupid set of rules we live by.

    I am so glad Mint stood by you in all this, and you could take a strong decision about your lives.

    You know, the society’s interference is not limited to love marriages alone. In arranged marriages too, there is a lot of shit from the so called extended family. It’s really sad to see so many marriages more about the society and the extended family, and the least attention being paid to the wishes of the bride and the groom, who are actually the two going to be the most affected by the marriage.

  44. dipali said

    Phew. How very painful the entire sequence of events was, especially the inquisition by a panel:(
    That sounds really crazy. I’m glad that that is past you both now.
    Do your best to accept your in-laws, they have far more mental blocks within themselves than you do!
    I’m glad you are far away from the extended family.
    Take care.

  45. Jack Point said

    What a horrid experience. I never knew things could get that bad.

    You must be gifted with extreme fortitude and tact to have braved that all.

    • Pepper said

      I didn’t know things could get that bad either.. but as I found out later, some others have had it much worse. Its a sad state of affairs.

  46. Seema said

    Hi Pepper,
    Can so totally relate to this. My hubby is a Tam too and in my case they asked us to come to thier home-town and we went thinking everything would be cordial but his relatives came to the hotel they put us in and then similar type of questions from the men folk, though the ladies only kept telling Sorry, we cant get him married to you. For me the last straw was when his grandpa said–he has 3 brothers(cousins) after him, what will happen about them, can atleast understand if it was girls. Anyway we did get married and now all his relatives and extended fmly are very happy. But sometimes i stll get mad thinkin about that incident.

    • Pepper said

      I’m sorry to hear about that Seema. I know it’s really hard to erase these incidents from our memory. Like they say, time heals, but the scars remain. Am glad though that his relatives, including the extended family are very happy now. I wish I could say that too 🙂

  47. […] On love marriages and my story..- Pepper […]

  48. Ruchira said

    Came here from IHMs post .. what I really don’t understand is how they can be so upset with Mint just because he had the audacity to chose the girl he wanted to marry himself … it’s so weird !Isn’t the boy himself the best equipped to chose his own life partner .. Marriage is about marrying the one you love and not about marrying someone from same caste/creed background etc etc to please your clan and family !
    But its amazing how stoically you braved their ridiculous behavior – I wldnt be able to do that ! Thank god you are away from Mints family .. but it is sad in a way isn’t it .. not being in touch with one’s family just coz of their ridiculous mindsets !

    • Pepper said

      It’s hard to understand right? Unfortunately, that is reality 🙂
      And we are in touch with them. In fact, they’re here at the moment. It’s just that we have certain boundaries which we can’t cross.

  49. Hopped over from IHM’s blog.
    Congratulations on your blog’s selection for an award.
    I read your post with interest.
    Ignore the extended family’s coldness or hostility.
    If you have your husband’s support, nothing else matters.

    All the best to you
    Regards
    GV

  50. Sam said

    Hi Pepper,

    This is a first-hand experience about what happens in most places when kids seek permission from conservative parents. You have shown great patience:). Seriously when parents behave like this they are jeopardizing their relationship with their own child and the would be DIL/SIL. And that bitterness is difficult to erase. Going through the same drama and can totally imagine how difficult it must have been.

    But seems Mint has been an Ideal partner:) and it was worth the drama. Wishing you and Mint all the happiness in life.

  51. Swati said

    Wonder how u cud put up with a smile! Hats off to you!

  52. kirti said

    hi pepper, came here from IHm’s blog .
    you did write with a lot of honesty and I can imagine the bitter test it has left in yr mouth .
    i am married for almost 20 years now and very recently in one of the rows my FIL had with my hubby he said” i allowed you to marry the girl of your choice , even though yr mom was not in favour” . I was shell shocked . He was projecting it as a favour granted to his son and wanted a price back nearly after 2 decades(not to forget that argument father son duo had had nothing to do with me) .
    I just wanted to ask my FIL one single question ( did you not give yr daughter too the permission to marry yr now Son in law, do you look at it as a favour on him too?).
    i ofcourse kept quiet and dismissed it as a silly speak of an old man .But Yea , we do have to pay a heavy price for the love for the person in our life.
    Things are further and differently complicated when the people in love are from same caste , community etc because then parents lose the obvious arguments against the love marriage and have to resort to some stupid reasons to prove that how this union is not good.
    In your case atleast irrationality was obvious and was easy to dismiss , in my case it was so subtle that was difficult to point finger at.
    I am glad you both are happy now.

  53. Giribala said

    Congratulation! You certainly are a winner 🙂

  54. Congratulations 🙂 This post in one of the winners of ‘Tejaswee Rao Blogging Awards – 2011’ (TRBA 2011). We would like to create an ebook with all the winning entries in 47 categories on Feminism and Gender Issues in India (and one category on Animals Rights). Please do let us know if you are fine with your winning post/s being included in this ebook. ( Please click here to let us know).

  55. sharell said

    This is so interesting to read. Often it’s usually just foreigners who think they have to deal with this kind of behaviour when wanting to marry an Indian, and I always have to tell them that no, it pretty much goes on in most love marriages amongst Indians too. I know when my husband’s brother had a love marriage from a girl from a completely different cast and community (different states on opposites sides of India) his family reacted in a similar way to Mint’s. All this was before I came along, and thankfully paved the way for them to be more accepting of me (eventually they got over it all, and really like both their “inappropriate” daughters in law). 😉 On an aside, your family sounds truly amazing Pepper.

    • Pepper said

      You’re right Sharell. India is just so complex. As much as I love the diversity that exists because of the different cultures, traditions, festivals, I hate the boundaries, hurdles and the divisions that exist because of the same diversity. And for some unknown reason – Indians believe a love marriage is shameful. Mindsets in our country really need to change. Sigh.
      Glad to know you paved way for your SIL. 😀 In most cases, the in laws grudgingly accept the “inappropriate” DIL. They don’t really like them. I am surprised and happy to note how different your inlaws are.

  56. oh u inspired me to write this – http://ki-jaana-main-kaun.blogspot.com/2012/01/this-is-country-of-family-values-rant.html

  57. B said

    What I don’t get is why such highly traditional families are OK with sending their kids to western countries in a totally different culture?

  58. techie2mom said

    Came here from R’s mom’s blog.
    i can understand your anger completely. I faced the same situation because my hubby is & i from different states. Till date some of his relatives taunt him for marrying me & suggest that he should have married some other girl.

  59. Hi Pepper ,

    you know what I have a same story …exactly…I had to face his parents and other alone , he was not there.I “had” to learn bengali , no way out ….But you know what all the bad taste in my mouth I never did that..Moreoever my husband was thrown into heavy guilt post marriage and I suffered a lot as we had huge relational disturbance , as he was trying to rectifying his “mistake” by other deeds and he gave in..
    I had to get my partner counselled and it took 5 years to make him understand that wife and children are immediate family not parents and relatives…Things are now well and my husband is trying to wash off his sins by helping me all time 😉 (this is another guilt stuff, which I told him will not work , he has to help me considering we are partners and share our life)

  60. For The taunting etc I give a damn , I have stopped his parents from entering my home as they create fights…they have spoiled my 5 years of marriage ..No one has the right to behave with the DIL like as if she is a shit.So no entry…

    • Pepper said

      Oh, I am sorry to hear that. Actually, it is easy to make such decisions when the behaviour is so bad! In my case, my in laws are actually nice people, just that our views are worlds apart and that causes all the friction.

  61. […] Also Read […]

  62. Jyo said

    You are lucky enough that your guy has been so supportive and took a stand .. very few fellows are there who are ready to go against their family .. Though its sad that few of his relatives are rude and stuff .. but at the end of the day you have your guy next to you . 🙂

  63. Sona said

    What 200 so called family people are these idiots talking about
    The one that will stab them in the back in the later future just for the sake of money

    I think if you don’t have a love marriage and keep thinking about about what will happen to the society, community and God knows what else. Then you will never have a happy life.

    If it is all about family then do they even live together? Do they even care about each other? Nope i don’t think so since they don’t respect each other’s decisions

    If you love someone go ahead with it….You will cherish your life even more

    But if you marry some random idiot then you are gone

    So basically weather you are a girl or boy….Dont listen to your family on who to marry or not because you are not their responsibility now
    Its your own life.

    I am glad your hubby decided to go against the family
    They have no idea what they were talking about…

    • Pepper said

      I read this comment after almost 2 years and it made me laugh out aloud. You know, despite being married for 5 years now, I still haven’t even met the 200 idiots. And they were the people who were apparently going to be sealing my fate. It’s such a joke.

  64. Actually love has very little chance of surviving after a battering it takes and the strain on the relationship is usually telling…Mine ended very badly, but even if I had had a happy ending, I wouldn’t recommend being in a situation where one is afraid/any other -ve emotion to tell his parents. Because you have already gone through such a thing, please help each other heal by not carrying baggage for any stretch of time, not for a year, not a month, not a moment…

    • Pepper said

      I’m sorry for the very late response.

      Why would my relationship with my partner be strained btw? Sure, he was not very pleased with the idea of telling his parents. Because he knew how they would react. Their reactions wouldn’t be pleasant. It was as simple as that. Since he even made sure he told me he would walk out of him family if they were too unreasonable, I was never too worried about the future of our relationship.

      Sure, my relationship carries baggage. But not my relationship with my husband. He’s been my rock. It is my relationship with my inlaws that carries all the weight. How do I heal? I have moved on, but the scars remain.

  65. WoW! You are one brave woman! Really brave, cool and resilient 🙂 While I read your post, I realized how tough it would have been for the acceptance to finally take over. Respect!!

    • Pepper said

      Well, thank you. I am definitely not cool. I have a nasty temper. People who live with me will vouch for it. I think I surprised myself on that day too. And I was also desperate to get done with the crap, so I didn’t want to stretch it with my arguments and noncompliance.

      But yes, having said that, I admit it was all very tough. Sigh..

  66. […] On love marriages and my story.. […]

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