Thursday, April 20, 2006

Two Worlds

Recently I had a friend of mine ask me to call their cousin who had just arrived to America from Pakistan. They felt she would be all alone, except for her new in-laws and thought it would be good to have some girlfriends unrelated to the carefully controlled people she would met through her in-laws. From the moment I got the request I know this was a bad idea...I know how people in my Muslim Indian community regard me; many think of me not only as a bad seed but a harlot (too Westernized is the word I hear most often). After speaking with the sister-in-law of this girl I thought of how my life and status in the culture has changed.

Back when I was married to a doctor this is how the phone conversation (with the sister-in-law) would have gone after the basic niceties:
SIL: oh so are you married?
Me: Yes. He is a doctor.
SIL: oh that is great, wait one second I will get the girl. I'm sure she would love to speak with you!

Now, as a divorced single gal:
SIL: oh so are you married?
Me: No, soon In'shAllah.
SIL: Well, I will give her the message you called. Bye-bye.

I was at one time the top of the heap, holding the most coveted and important position for a Muslim Indian girl, the Wife of a doctor. Nothing could touch me than. Now I'm below the mud, lower than the dirt. It upsets me that my worth, my self-being is all tied up to these outside factors. Why doesn't it matter that I might be a nice person, that I might have a kind-heart? All of that is inconsequential in light of the fact that I'm divorced. That and that alone defines me in my community. Perhaps why I had such a good time in India at my baby aunt's wedding was because my entire family was there and knows my situation and still loves me and thinks I'm fabulous and not once made me feel like a pariah.

I'm feeling this song right now - Virginia Gal

Everybody Hurts
by REM.

When the day is long and the night, the night is yours alone,
when you're sure you've had enough of this life, well hang on.
Don't let yourself go, everybody cries and everybody hurts sometimes.
Sometimes everything is wrong.
Now it's time to sing along.
When your day is night alone,(hold on, hold on) if you feel like letting go,(hold on)when you think you've had too much of this life, well hang on.Everybody hurts.

To check out more on the pressures of being an Indian girl in our community check out my friend's latest post on her blog about the troubles her family is going through just because her sister decided to not pursue medicine as a career.


Blogger Merci said...

You will develop your own status. Being married to a doctor or lawyer, or being a doctor or lawyer, brings status in any community. Most of us are not in that situation. That's good fortune for us, since we get to be liked and have status for who we are. Define your life in your own way and seek out the people who love you. They're the ones who count.

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Divine Calm said...

My best friend is Indian, and she tells me about the pressures. But to be honest, I think Americans are missing out from being part of a tight-knit community. There's something to be said about always knowing your family is there for you.

However, what you are going through is so difficult. You are not alone though. My sister recently moved into her boyfriend's house, and World War III broke out in my family. While some have adjusted to the idea, my grandmother has trouble sleeping at night over it.

Growing up, church people didn't pay much attention to my divorced mother and her two daughters. They didn't know how to handle it. However, once my mom remarried, suddenly we were all okay and people were much friendlier to us.

I guess what I am trying to say by giving these examples is that part of what you are experiencing is human nature. You aren't alone. You aren't a social outcast. You are human and worthy of someone loving you fully and without prejudice.

It will happen. It's only a matter of time.

3:20 PM  
Blogger PaxRomano said...

Are you sure you're not Jewish? I hear Jewish moms love to throw that one around, "My daughter is married to a doctor!"

Just something to lighten the mood.

Sweetie, you are more than who you marry (or don't marry).

As for being a Harlot, well we all know that there is only one Harlot in Blog Land and her name is Magnolia ;)

6:09 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

aww, sweetie.

chin up, babe!!!


8:09 PM  
Blogger Virginia Gal said...

Merci - thank you, I shouldn't put so much value into what these people think. I should and will try harder to surround myself with those we love me for me, with all my faults. Thanks : )

Divine - So it is universal, this behavior...what a shame, but it is comforting to know I'm not going it alone. Thanks for the kind words, I will try to keep the faith and have some patience, in my case this is definitely easier said than done.

Pax - oh I always find it funny that Muslims and Jews fight so much, we are so alike it is uncanny! Thanks for making me laugh, Miss. Magnolia is in a class of her own!

Adorable Tony - Thanks : ) it's Friday, I'm going to try to look at the positive side of things and keep my chin up.

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Adham said...

*large hug*

10:01 AM  
Blogger Virginia Gal said...

oh thank you Adham : )

12:32 PM  
Blogger o0ohso0ocrazy said...

silly gooses.
don't worry about them.i mean honestly maybe indian people should stop being so health conscience, then they wouldn't care about marrying people off to doctors.
oh and my deals still on, i won't get married until you are, and do not try and talk me out of it.
oh and thanks for the mention!

1:57 PM  
Blogger Virginia Gal said...

Naima - I cannot let you have this deal, you're young, you will get great rishta, I'm old and divorced, I'm lucky even to get a rishta!

Glad you liked the mention, it was a good post, please let Nida know we are all not mad at her, as long as she is happy and healthy, I'm happy for her : )

11:42 PM  
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6:45 PM  

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