The story below, a real incident, has inspired me and I hope it does the same to you.
A friend, Janet, and I were discussing the other day about how some people complicate their life for no reason and walk around with a cloud over their head, when people who actually have been through misery, smile and spread joy.
Janet is from a well-to-do family who have lived in various places in India owing to her father's profession. She described her parents as very liberal-thinking, soft-natured people. When she was about 20-something, a family friend told Janet's parents about a nice boy. These family friends knew the boy's parents very well. They suggested Janet's parents meet them. Despite the fact that they were different geographical locations in India, Janet's parents agreed.
When her parents asked her what she thought of the boy, Janet said that he seemed ok during their brief meeting. When asked if she was ok with the idea of marriage, she told her parents that they can go ahead, since they had given it considerable thought. The wedding took place and Janet moved to her husband's hometown, very far away from that of her parents'.
After they unpacked at the hotel, they decided to go out for dinner. At dinner, she was in for a huge surprise. As they ate, the husband, Ravi made some rude remarks about her dress. At first, thinking that it was a joke, she laughed and looked at him, only to realise that it wasn't at all a joke. He went on to tell her that she was of loose character and that she was attracting attention and some other cheap stuff. Janet lost her cool and told him that she had nothing to prove to him or anybody else. She walked away from the restaurant and took a taxi back to the hotel. He came later in a mad rage.
Janet told him that she was not going to take that kind of behavior. She asked him to calm down and stay away from her. She called Ravi's sister and asked her if Ravi had mental problems. The sister admitted to something of that sort. Janet made the next call to her parents and just asked them to take the next flight and come down without telling them too much. How she spend the night in the room with that guy, is something I'll never be able to understand.
When Janet's parents arrived, Ravi was shocked and starting abusing them. The parents asked Janet to grab her bags and leave with them. They found out all they needed to know and decided that they were not about to leave their daughter to deal with her 'fate'.
- The parents did not ask Janet to 'adjust'.
- They did not fall down at Ravi's feet and ask them to forgive their daughter, for not being able to 'adjust' with him.
- They did not scold their daughter for making a mountain out of a mole-hill.
- They did not consider this the end of their daughter's life.
- They did not care what the society would have to say about this.
Janet's parent's attitude to life before her marriage and the way the handled the ugly situation afterwards, is commendable. I am sure it helped Janet deal with it, the way she did. She did not mope and fret but went on to study further. She is now married to a guy of her choice and has 2 daughters.
In India there is a common belief that if boys are not serious about their lives, not earning, are mentally unstable, or are of loose character, getting them married is a way of fixing things. They don't realise that they are putting a hapless girl to a lifetime of misery. What Janet goes on to say is that if there is a basic flaw in the character, there is no need for anybody to put up with it. And girls, should not consider such incidents as the end of their life.
Janet is an inspiring person and I am glad to know her. The strength she displays and her constant efforts to spread sunshine all around her, belies the fact that she has been through any trauma. I do wish all parents empower their girl child to stand up for herself and deal with ugly situations the way Janet's parents did. You have to be so sure of yourself and respect yourself to be able to handle life, Janet's way.