Where We Come From
My company outsources much of our programming to India. I am on Skype every day with the India team, and one of the team members is a young female in her late 20s.
Over the course of a year, we became close to the point where there are almost no secrets between us. She told me her parents have arranged a marriage for her and are forcing her to get married. She does not want to and has no feelings for the guy.
Ten months ago my company sent me to India to train team members there. It was the first time we got to meet and the chemistry was strong. Prior to leaving, I asked her to marry me.
Unfortunately her husband-to-be and parents know about us. This causes her a lot of stress. She still lives at home with her parents. She spends time with this man only when she has to, and he never comes up in our conversations.
I try to show her what she is calling a marriage is not that. Since then we have been going back and forth about our future. Then her parents make her feel guilty and she comes to me and says she cannot do this to her family.
I try to explain she has a right not to be handed off to someone like a package. Her response always is that her happiness does not matter, it is the happiness of her family that matters. She says I do not understand Indian people.
I tell her your parents cannot hate you. Although at first they will not be happy, once they see how happy you are and how successful, they will accept it.
So we plan again and the cycle repeats. I was thinking of going to India for a couple of weeks on vacation, mainly to see her. I’m not sure if I will get much time with her as her parents are strict and she usually must go home after work.
When I suggested meeting her parents, she told me that will make things worse. Even today she was crying at all the complications. When I tell her she is an adult free to do what she wants, she usually replies, “But, this is India.”
Tyler, the ballad “Billy Boy” begins with, “Oh where have you been Billy Boy, Billy Boy? Oh where have you been charming Billy?”
Billy replies he has been courting.
When Billy is asked if the woman he desires is fit to be a wife, if she can cook and spin and bake, he answers yes, “but she is too young to be taken from her mother.”
Asked her age, Billy says, “She’s three times six, seven times seven, twenty-eight and eleven, but she is too young to be taken from her mother.” In other words, whatever her age, she is too young to be taken from her mother.
For a year the woman you love has toyed with the idea she could choose who she marries. But for all of her previous life that has not been so. It is still a fantasy for her, a bit of a pretend world. You are an exotic. Her romance novel.
A trip to India is probably unwise. You have to be somewhat careful with her honor, and how she is perceived within her narrow circle. Your visit could follow her as baggage into an arranged marriage. Were you intimate with him? We don’t believe you.
There is a good chance, if you managed to get her yes, she would in time blame you for having lost her family, her culture and her country.
You have done what you can do. You told her you love her. You proposed. Now you have to stop. She has to come to you out of love, not out of pressure.
Will she ever be old enough to be taken from her mother? Only she has the answer.
~ Wayne & Tamara
Column for the week of December 21, 2015
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