“A lot of parents will do anything for their kids except let them be themselves.” – Banksy

Dear Mom, Masi, Mami, Foi, Kaki, Daadi, Nani, Aunty,

First, and foremost, I love you.IMG_1964

You have helped shaped me into the woman I am today, and I thank you for that.  I love you for every diaper you have changed, every night you have stayed up with me when I had a fever, and for all the times you held my hands to teach me how to walk, talk and laugh.  Thank you for feeding me those sweet, sweet morsels of food with your bare hands when I was younger; for teaching me that I have nothing to be scared of on the first day of school, and for helping me believe I was going to grow up to be beautiful even though I had a unibrow and was overweight for my age.

Through you, I have learned what real love is; not just with your children, but with your spouse as well.  When I was younger, I didn’t understand why you would wait up until 10pm when Dad got home to feed him a hot meal, when he could easily put food in the microwave himself.  Later, I would understand that you didn’t stay up because Dad couldn’t put the food in the microwave himself, but because those are the little things you do in a relationship to keep it growing strong, steady and beautiful.

I would also later learn that you moved to this country, the United States of America, to offer your children the opportunities that you never received.  When I think about having to leave everything I know for a foreign land, I realize just how unconditional your love for your family and your faith in God is.

Mom, you moved to this country to give your son, but more so your daughters, the opportunities that were taken from you.  Through the eyes of your girls you wanted to get out of the kitchen and read books; you wanted to go to school; you wanted to see what could have happened if you too, had reached your potential.

That’s what we did for you Ma.  Where one daughter is a successful tech professional living in the Bay, your other daughter is finding her place in the world of healthcare right in front of your eyes.  Thank you for everything you have done Mom, but I have one question for you if that’s okay?

On the one hand, you came to this land to give us the opportunities you didn’t receive, but on the other hand, you are so adamant about finding us life partners that we are not compatible with, and I have to ask you why?  I know that you were not given a choice when you were of marriage age, and it’s unfair.  Nani basically told you who you were going to marry and, without any questions, you did that.  I’m sincerely sorry you didn’t have a choice in how your life was going to turn out, and I can’t imagine what you were going through when those decisions were being made, but if they didn’t feel good then, why do you pressure us in the same way now?

Somewhere deep down inside, I believe that your heart wants both of us to find our own relationships and be happy, but “society” and “the desi community” get in your way.  I just want to share with you what I have learned from the world of dating men because even though I have told you in the past, I don’t think you hear what I’m saying sometimes.

  • Desi men are not better than non desi men. – Hear me out Ma.  A lot of desi mothers are super loving towards their sons, and there is nothing wrong with that.  In some cases those same sons expect a certain amount from the girls they marry, and at times it’s not an equal partnership.  I know you may think I have no idea what I’m talking about, but even this laundry ad from Ariel India talks about the differences between men and women.  This dad is apologizing to his daughter because of all the wrong examples parents set for their children growing up, and even in 2016, unequal partnerships are still happening.
  • can pick a loving man for myself.  – You’ve had so much faith in me throughout the years Mom.  You’ve trusted where I wanted to go to school, the job I picked and the city I chose to live in, but you have little faith in the man I want to be with.  I promise to find a man who cherishes the morals and traditions you have instilled in me.  Trust me when I say he will love you like he loves him own mother, and he will uplift and support me in every way that he possibly can.  He will treat me like his equal because I know you wouldn’t want me to settle for anything less.
  • Your religion, customs and traditions will not be lost. – I cannot guarantee that your grandchildren will be Hindu, but I can promise you that they will learn your culture, traditions and cuisine with the same passion that you taught me.  I love Hinduism, and the one thing it has taught me, is that I am a citizen of the world.  I am here to love all religions, and by taking me to Swadhyay, you have helped me understand that loving everyone is okay; it’s how you achieve good karma, and ultimately, nirvana.  According to Dadaji everyone is my divine brother or sister except one, and that one will be so worth it.
  • It will never matter what society has to say. – Misery and negativity love company Ma, and they want you to join them every step of the way.  Instead of surrounding yourself with people who are willing to talk poorly about your children, maybe you could find friends who will help you see the good in every situation.  There are so many beautiful people in the world.  Good men, a non desi good man, will learn Hindi so he can sing Tum Hi Ho to his Indian bride on their marriage day.  It’s happened before; I’m sure it will happen again, and society will probably talk about that when it happens also.

I am you.  Every wish and dream you have ever dreamed I will bring to life, but you have to have faith in me.  I am a strong, independent and opinionated woman because you have shown me that it’s okay to be one.  I will make you proud in everything I do Mom, but you have to trust that I will do the right thing.  I will pick the right job, the right place to live, the right man to fall in love with and the right medicine to take if I ever get sick.

I will not be able to rest happily knowing that you are not happy in any of my decisions, and if it comes down to it, I won’t be able to get married without your consent.  Now that I am older, your happiness and well being matter to me; sometimes more than my own happiness.  And if you are able to love me for who I am, and who I love, I encourage you to help your friends accept their children for who they are also.  We all want to be happy, and our happiness lies in our parents.

Love you Ma,

Published by Vaishali Rana