My daughter-in-law is an achiever. She is founder and CEO of Mentor Together.
I won’t say I am ‘proud’ of her considering how I have an aversion to the word ‘proud’ being used in connection with things that are not achievements of one’s own. She is the product of her parents’ upbringing, and her own hard-work and talents. So let me say instead how amazed and awed I am by her and her work. This young lady is out there making changes in lives having gone all out to realize her dream of empowering the young from disadvantaged backgrounds.
When the wedding date was finalized and invitations were given out, the L&M and I had to field questions from all around about the daughter-in-law. Who was she? From which region? What does she do? Where and how did your son and she meet? After all, this wedding wasn’t ‘arranged’ along traditional lines where elders choose from an ‘eligible’ list after making sure about the status, religion and caste of the youngsters, horoscopes matched, and then the man and woman ‘allowed’ to meet and talk (Thank God for small mercies!) before the final nod is given. In their case, my son and daughter-in-law met (by chance) and chose each other and when they felt they were ready, they announced their wedding plans. So the questions were sort of natural. But where I draw the line is when someone comes up with, “What is her caste?’ Caste?! What the heck kind of question is that?!
I have known the daughter-in-law ever since my son started seeing her some years back. We have chatted on Gmail, met over occasional lunches or tea whenever I happened to be in her city. Not once in all this time did it ever occur to me to find out which caste she belonged to. And here was someone bristling with curiosity to worm it out of me. At first I ignored the question, not deigning to reply at all. But that someone was like a terrier with a bone, insisting on not leaving well enough alone. Trying my best not to snap, I said, ‘We haven’t asked her because we absolutely don’t care!’ I would have said more except that the L&M started making eyes at me to tone it down.
Then there was the other question we were asked. “So,” this someone said, “tell us what you are ‘giving’ them? More importantly, hehehe…. what are they ‘giving’ you?” What was missing outwardly was only the rubbing of hands in glee at the prospect of talk about money, gold, ornaments et al. All my life, that is ever since I became mother to two sons, I have been hearing this nonsense (from my peers and elders alike) about my being oh-so-lucky to be a ‘receiver of goods’, while parents of daughters were unlucky to be on the ‘givers of goods’ side. Annoyed beyond measure, I butted in, not letting the speaker go any further, ‘This.” I announced, “is not that kind of marriage!” The deflated (and shocked?) look on their face was all I could have hoped for.
You know what annoys me about all this? I have never been coy about letting people know where I stand on these things. And yet, AND YET, they ask ME these stupid questions. Why me, oh God, why?!!! They should know better than to include ME as a player in the Game of Give and Take our society is so fond of playing.
On a different note, my daughter-in-law thinks I am cool. How do I know? At the wedding reception, her professor/mentor from college asked, ‘Is this the cool mother-in-law you spoke of?’ And she replied, ‘Oh yes, Shail is cool!’ Yup, that’s me you see grinning from ear to ear remembering, though sadly enough, at the time I was too tongue-tied. 😉
©Shail Mohan 2018
Ruchi Moré (@thewordcoiner) said:
The Lady is cool alright. I am going to be proud of your DIL (much to your chagrin I know… 😛 ) and proud of you too… the Cat leaves before the Cat is shooed away
Shoo, Cat, shoo! 😉 😀
Love this take on society. GOOD for you Shail: we all need to judge people on their individual merits rather than their lineage, their bank balance or who they are connected to. I would love to meet you over a cup of tea!
I’d also love to meet her. Unfortunately I live in a different country 😦
What a lovely thing to say. Thank you, Anne. I would definitely love that too. 🙂
And Yet!!! (giggling at the emphasis) I know Why they ask again and again…;)
Ahh, you got it! Yes, they think I am like them, someone who says things she doesn’t mean
I have always wondered why people keep harping on about my single status, choice of clothes and pixie hair when I make it VERY clear that this is how I am. Now I get it
D K Powell said:
So what caste is she? JOKING!! (Please don’t kill me… 😉 )
Her organisation looks amazing! – I wish I could be involved somehow! Best of luck to her and her team, wonderful work they’re doing 🙂
I just recalled that missile I launched. Thankfully the ‘joking’ was in capitals and caught my attention right away 😉
I’ll pass on your wishes. Yes, she is doing some really good work.
Don’t you find it interesting that even in 2018 many folks still care about CASTE region, family, background, and how you get married? A lot of people moved on from that, but there are still many who still are in the notion that things are still the same. Some people are extreme with it still (am thinking of Athira Rajan who was sadly killed by her dad because her fiance was a different caste) and some parents will disown, ostracize their kids for not following their lineage and keeping their traditions, etc…”pure” (know plenty of stories of this). I’d say to hell with it!
I got lectured sometime ago how love marriages are bad and arranged marriages are the way to go because of so called ‘culture and tradition’ and there were complaints of how the younger generation is breaking traditional norms shrugs, girls being more independent and fighting for rights..etc etc. I recently got engaged to my other half two weeks ago which was based on ‘love’ and decided to choose all this for ourselves. We are both of the same religion, but of different denominations or “caste” you can say. Though both our families seem happy, I’m sure there are plenty outside our families who are looking down on us for not getting an arranged marriage and not being of the same “caste”……
Gotta love society and the gatekeepers of “culture”. We are people nonetheless regardless of where we hail from, our race, religion etc etc……
This is terrible . The saddest part is when i got married to my best friend some of our classmates were astounded that we weren’t doing the dowry thing and were somehow convinced that it was me and my husband who were in the wrong!! The moronic stuff that people tend to cling to even though eons have passed since these “norms” (for lack of a better word) came into being is baffling especially when its people of my generation.
Hey Ms. Cool
(S)he is a fool
To ask questions of ridicule
But you rock and rule.
🙂 Thank you