Q& ECENTLY THERE WAS A HUGE FURORE IN THE CITY OF
CHENNAI in which I live, over the traditional sport of jallykatu. This sport had been banned by the Supreme Court on the grounds that it led to bulls being treated cruelly and college students went and sat in protest on Marina Beach demanding that the ban be repealed and jallykatu be permitted.
I am a college student and wanted to go and join the protest on the Marina, but my parents refused to let me do this on the grounds that I am a girl. Many of my friends, both girls and boys, came and asked me to go with them to the protest site, but my parents were adamant in their refusal to allow me to go.
This made me furious and though now several months have passed since the students got their way and the ban was lifted, I am still very angry. The beach protest is still the main topic of discussion even today and I feel so left out when my friends talk about the days they spent on the beach. So many parents let their daughters go and some went with them when they were afraid to let them go on their own – but my parents just refused to let me go.
My parents keep defending themselves by saying that they love me too much to let me go into danger. Do they then mean that parents who let their daughters go to the beach, did not love them? That is nonsense! And if they love me so much, why didn’t they try to make me happy by coming with me to the beach?
Now I have begun to wonder if my parents will always stand in the way of my happiness.
I am sure that many parents did not allow their daughters – and in fact, even their sons – to go and spend several nights in the company of hundreds of students of both sexes, on the beach. And surely not many parents could and did leave home and work and go and camp on the beach for more than a week with their daughters! In fact many if not most parents are likely to have behaved exactly as yours did!
At your age you should understand that it is natural for parents to be protective of their children – and like it or not, most parents are more protective of their daughters – because they are afraid of all the bad things that could happen to them. There is nothing that you can do about this and probably, when you are yourself a parent, you too will behave in the same way. A 10-day dharna at the beach could have degenerated into a nasty situation and in fact bad elements did create trouble towards the end of the Marina protest . That was what your parents had feared.
As far as “standing in the way of your happiness” is concerned, if you show them that you are responsible, they are likely to give you more freedom. Y SON IS IN HIS MIDDLE TWENTIES, AND SOME months ago, my husband and I began to think about his marriage. Our elder son is married to a wonderful woman who had been a colleague of his and they are very happy. We wanted the same kind of happiness for our younger son too. So we decided that besides introducing our son to girls, our role would be minimal and he would decide for himself whom he wanted to marry.
Over the next few months, we met parents and arranged for him and their daughters to meet and see if they clicked. But nothing worked out.
Then one day a couple contacted us and told us that they had a daughter who was of marriageable age. They were pleasant and when we told them that we wanted our son and their daughter to meet and talk to each other before there was any talk of marriage, they at once agreed. They then gave us a photo of the girl and her phone number and told us that she was working in another city but that she and my son could talk on the phone and later meet if they wanted to.
The girl in the photo looked pretty and very pleasant. We gave the photo to our son together with the phone number we had been given and told him that he could contact the girl if he wanted to.
Some weeks later our son told us that he and that girl were chatting regularly and that they got along very well. “My phone bill will be horrendous this month!” he said with a happy smile and added that he and the girl had decided that they should meet.
My husband and I told the girl’s parents and a meeting was arranged. On the day we went with our son for it. We met the girl. She was very pleasant and we understood why our son had chatted for hours with her.
She was also very, very dark and not at all attractive. And she wasn’t the girl whose photograph we had been given.
We were all quiet on the way home. None of us knew what to say. Later we discussed the matter. It was obvious that the parents gave us the wrong photo and lied to us because the girl was very dark.
Now my son is saying that he does not want to marry the girl because she lied and tried to cheat him. He pointed out that he himself wasn’t fair and so could hardly have made colour an issue for rejecting the girl, but that lack of trust even before the wedding didn’t augur well for the marriage.
Now my husband and I feel sorry for the girl. The girl’s parents too think that we have backed away because the girl is dark. But my son also has a point and is adamant. Should we try to convince our son to marry this girl?
You should not try to convince your son to marry against his wishes. And he has a point. How can a marriage succeed if it is based on distrust? So it is better if he marries someone else.