What a year!

The Fifteenth of September. Today was just another Friday. But somehow I kept looking at the calendar, multiple times. Only I couldn’t remember what that niggling worm of thought was that kept me bothered about today. Then it came to me, as the day faded away and the dark night crept in. It was this day last year that began a course for me as I learnt one of my most memorable lessons in life. No matter how painful the lesson was, I shall always cherish it.

A year later perhaps is a good time to talk about it. ‘What-ifs’ are many as I thought about writing this since it involves others – everyone who was instrumental in me learning one of my most precious lessons in life. But I figure why not. So here goes.

A year ago, on the eve of 15th September 2016, around 10 PM, I was informed of an appointment that had been committed to and that I had to go along with it. This was an arranged marriage meet-up, at a previously decided venue. Of course all this happened without my knowledge, perhaps because I had already said ‘No’ to this one. (I might add an ‘as well’ to the end of the previous sentence.) It was irritating that I had to go into this endeavour without ample warning, but even more annoying was the need for secrecy around the subject and keeping me out of the loop.

Did I have a reason for saying ‘No’? Of course I did. I have hinted about this in previous posts as well. But to put it plainly, I was not going to marry someone with a dubious educational background. None of us are completely honest about everything, but a certain degree of it is expected of us nonetheless. And for that reason I was not interested in this. I did let my parents know of this. But never in my wildest imaginations would I have ever thought about what would happen after the fifteenth of September last year.

In the immediate aftermath, I was called a few names and given a few adjectival prefixes. I fondly remember being referred to as ‘depressed’. Other favourites include ‘self-centred’, and ‘arrogant’. Well, so be it! I must also add this was the time when papers were carrying articles on depression, therefore jargon was expected. If this was in November I would perhaps also have been called demonetised. But yes, none of this was said to my face. It was always behind my back, within my hearing. I did feel bad, but not for long.

Immediate family aside, relatives who were involved in the process would talk over the phone and this happens within hearing as well. So yes, some more blaming, naming and shaming would take place. Some came home as well. Same story. Over and over for a few months this went on, until I grew numb.

I wonder if anyone would ever have married or have their children married to some one with that kind of qualification. Of those who are already married, the ones with the most to say, they are all post graduates or professionally qualified persons. Their spouses were as qualified as themselves as well. Their children, one must wait and watch. Yet, as far as I am concerned, I was expecting too much for myself. So I have been told.

You might have also noticed I haven’t been updating my weekly review blog posts for a few months now. It’s been a difficult thing to do. I was to have completed a few things and had asked for a certain amount of cooperation from those at home. That didn’t happen. Neither was there cooperation nor could I finish what I started. I was more than disappointed.

So, what has my lesson been? It’s very simple really – each one for themselves. I was called self-centred when I wasn’t. But now I am. Arrogant as well now, in a few ways. Still not depressed though. I have learnt that though everyone may claim that they want your well-being, that they are your well wishers, their claims are but fancy words that make you feel good. It just gives you a sense of bravado and security which is nothing but a mirage. It is nonexistent. When you come to realise this, it is painful. Painful enough to make you cry yourself to sleep many nights of your life.

But it is those tears and that pain that makes you stronger. Being hurt and angry is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you are constructive about it. I have learnt that no one can be depended upon when I need to, it hurt. But it’s also made me a bit more bold and self-sufficient. I listen to opinions and suggestions, but never to advise. Opinions and suggestions are more expert opinions whereas advise comes from anyone capable of speech. I have also realised that I am capable of being politely nonchalant. Some people’s existence or the lack of it doesn’t matter to me now as much as it would have a year back. If I would have grinned and hugged last year, I will perhaps give a polite nod now. After all, what learning is complete without self preservation lessons.

All I have to say is, a year later I write all this without remorse, or tears. I write with a calm. I write after I have reasoned for and against. I write after walking in others shoes. I write after I have learned! If you are going through a tough time, no matter what, know that you shall come out of this episode stronger. You will learn. As will I, for life is a long journey filled with many lessons.

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