Giving your children the freedom to choose their own path in life is not done in the Asian culture. Parents consider their children to be their property, expect them to be indebted to them for the rest of their lives. After all they have made sacrifices for them, not just by brining them to this world ,but by everything else everyone does as a parent.Though my parents didn’t fulfil that role ,but they demanded what they thought was “due” to them. As I said in my last blog, I did it because it was me who wanted their affection, am not a victim . I cold have refused ; but I so wanted to be the dutiful daughter. I so wanted them to be nice to me, and they were ;as I was the one who was financing them , at least the last twenty five or so years of my life, I had it all, lovely kids, a good life and parents who liked me! At times I feel am quite pathetic but there was a chasm in my life , I never realised that not having parental love and approval can make you feel so empty.
However giving my children the freedom didn’t go down well with their paternal grandparents and the rest of the family. Though the flow of money via my husband kept it civil. He was an amazingly dutiful son. He travelled every year to visit his parents, financed the education and the weddings of his eight siblings ,though little credit was given to the fact that this was due to the financial restrictions we imposed on ourselves, it was mostly my house keeping , and strictly keeping everything under the budget which enabled him to do all, am not an extravagent person by any standard, never have been fond of designer goods or expensive stuff, apart from what I spend on my garden I can manage on very little.
As it was my in laws were never a fan of either me or my way of life. Living abroad helped , once my parents died (2008) I didn’t especially wanted to go to India, that was a country I left many years ago to start a new life and never looked back, England gave me my freedom,frienships a career and I was free to follow my own path in life , India has nothing to offer me, apart from the accident of birth i have no conection.
My husbands family very rarely was in contact with me, but in 2013 ,when my husband was terminally ill, they were concerned that he was not getting the “care his family would have given him’. Though I kept them all informed of his condition all the time. When his end was eminent i was asked by one of his sisters to make sure “he signs some post dated cheques for his mother’! Our son was incensed. My “western” children had more care and support for their parents ,than the traditional so called devoted family back in India.
It was a matter of great concern and anger for them that according to my husbands will and the laws of probate in this country my children and I are the beneficiary of all the assets.There are no dependents in India, all his brothers and sisters are married and earning good money but none wanted to spend anything for their mother, because we the “rich’ westerners or rather his eldest son has done it all his life and they wanted it to continue. They have broken off all contact. So much for family loyalty that they have never once inquired after us since then.
I was recently berated by an Asian woman, she has just joined her British husband who is the son of a friend. She is angry that she has to spend so much money to get her spousal visa, plus she had to pay for the upfront for the NHS etc;. In her eyes i have ‘sold out’ to Britain , who has ‘pillaged india and is still fleecing us to come here’. The fact that she has a job now and is earning good money , has full NHS cover doesn’t make up for it.
She also kept saying that the country is ‘racist’ as someone made some joke about it to her at a party, though they did apologised afterwards but she is angry. When I suggested that she shouldn’t be a victim and tell people what she finds offensive ,she was even angrier and started shouting.
Racism exists all across the world ,folk naturally feel protective and defensive of their own, the Sub Continent is full of religious ,caste and colour discrimination. This country has laws against it ,the media and majority of people do not tolerate or practice it, I feel we have much less discrimination and bigotary than most countries. Is there a perfect place on this earth? Not to my knowledge and in the absence of that i will settle for England.