How did you meet your spouse?
I met my husband on a starry summer night when I was sixteen. It was love at first sight.
We dated for three years, he proposed on one knee, we had a huge wedding.
My husband is Indian and bucked the Indian arranged marriage system. He says he got away with it largely because he is a man.
Me on the other hand, I grew up in the US with Gloria Steinem in the news, right after the sexual revolution, and with parents who raised me to be independent of them. I’d be damned if anyone was going to tell me what to do.
My guest this week is Ushma Dahya’s experience was vastly different from mine or my husband’s. Ushma is an accomplished pharmacist, mother of 2, wife for twenty years, and a recent immigrant to the U.S from an Indian community outside of Johannesburg, South Africa. And a cancer survivor. In this episode, she tells the story of her arranged marriage, living in a household in which her husband’s parents dictated every detail of her life, and how her husband stood by her during her cancer fight. Her story may surprise western listeners, and I hope, bring to light the harmful circumstances many women endure because of their culture’s gender roles – and that there is hope.
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I’m a lifelong Southerner married to an Indian man who grew up in South Africa during apartheid and I am fiercely proud about. If you don’t like that Well bless your heart. I’m Cheryl Prabhu and this is southern life Indian wife.
How do you meet your spouse. Me. I met my husband on a starry summer night when I was 16 years old.
It was love at first sight at least for me.
We went on hot dates for three years. He proposed on one knee. We had a huge wedding. He thumbed his nose at the Indian tradition of arranged marriage to marry me. He says he got away with it largely because he’s a man. I grew up in the U.S. with Gloria Steinem in the news. It was right after the sexual revolution and with parents who raised me to be independent I’d be damned if anyone was going to tell me the sky was blue. Much less who I should marry.
So we were perfect for each other.
My guest this week is Osama Daya and her experience was vastly different from mine or my husband’s. Osama is an accomplished pharmacist mother of two wife for 20 years. A recent immigrant to the U.S. from an Indian community in South Africa and she is a cancer survivor.
In this episode she tells the story of her arranged marriage what it was like living in the household of her husband’s parents and having every detail of her life dictated to her and how her husband stood by her during her cancer fight. Her story may surprise Western listeners and I hope bring to light the harmful circumstances that many women endure because of their cultures gender roles and also that there is hope. And now here she is. Schmidt.
Thank you so much for joining me here today. Thank you. I’m so excited to have you.
So how’s it. Yes. What’s the proper response to. How’s it prep would be lacquer. OK. Means I’m good. OK. And this is an Afrikaans. Correct. OK. OK. Well over here in the south we just say does it go on or how do you do it. Well I guess it’s something new for me to learn. That’s right. And I learned different things from YouTube too.
So I’m super excited to have you here today because I really want to pick your brain on this topic that actually has burned my bridges for about 30 years and it’s really about the cultural and social roles of women and you know it’s something that has been brought on kind of to the forefront for me these days because of the laws that have been passed in Georgia and other places in the south about you know women’s reproductive rights being taken away. And I sort of feel like women are losing our power here too. Yeah. And I know that you come from a very different culture and it’s a culture that I was thrust into 30 years ago that I still even to this point don’t really understand. So I just wanted to get your perspective on. As an Indian woman what you feel about the role of women and your experiences and how things have changed for you over your life.
Yes sure. Ok awesome awesome. OK.
So one thing I do want to ask though is and let’s talk very honestly if we had met twenty five years ago do you think we would have been friends. I think so. You think so. I think so. You know OK I’m going to be honest I don’t know if I would have felt like I could be your friend not because of who you are but because of how I was treated by some other women.
Faye if I can understand that simply because I know you know your history and your background. I won’t be able to understand that. I guess it’s different for different people. I mean we as we have brought up the same culturally same ethics values but at the end of the day we all have our own personalities and I guess for that reason we would have still been friends.
OK well good. I wish I had met you 25 years ago. I mean yeah. And that what you said though about everybody having their own personality regardless of their culture. That’s something that I really want to emphasize whenever I talk about my experiences with Indian culture really anything is that we do all have our own culture. But how we work within it it’s really personality.
It’s all about that. Yeah it’s all about what we make out of it and how we choose to perceive it and work within. I guess at that time the boundaries within which we had to learn you know especially being a female.
Oh absolutely. Absolutely. And a lot of the time you know on social media and things I have I have haters who you know they say well you know you’re talking about Indian people you don’t know what you’re talking about. So I just always have to clarify I’m talking about my experience. And today we’re going to talk about your experience.
Sure. I mean myself being Indian they may be somebody another Indian out there that may listen to this and say I don’t agree with you. Fair enough I’m going to have haters out there so yeah I mean but the truth has to be told at some point and if it helps somebody in their situation why not.
Yeah absolutely and that’s the beauty of podcasts and books and even social media. You know you can help somebody by getting your story out there. That’s always true. Yes. Yeah. Well thank you so much for being willing to do so. OK. Let’s talk about when we say you’re Indian. So let’s talk about exactly what that means to you because you grew up in South Africa. Correct. OK. So where do you or where do your people come from your your clan as we say here in the south.
OK. So basically it’s there’s a long history behind it but my kids are the fourth generation to be born in South Africa. OK. So that means my grandfather my mom my south my kids all born in South Africa but great grandfathers originally from India. OK. So from a state called Gujarat obviously they had lots of villages India is a huge country so I don’t want to get into the details of that from home. But yeah just to summarize it. So that’s how it is. I guess a few families in those days moved over came over on a boat and had no job no home no anything and started up life then that’s how the rest of us are now the I guess the old came over didn’t know each other ended up sticking with each other. That’s how in South Africa it’s very closely knit. You kind of know all you all the people you know because it’s a small community. South Africa being the way it was when we were growing up with apartheid and things like that it kinda kept culturally similar people together. Yes. Yes. And that’s where the bond formed I guess.
Aha. Do you think that that kept your your communities Indian culture more like traditional.
I almost think of it as if it’s a time warp of people there from what people have described to me.
Yes it did in some ways. Keep us together traditionally. Definitely. There are always pros and cons to that as well if you look if I look at it back now huh. At that time I thought you know it was awesome. Everybody we together whatever. But I guess as time went on and you got you realize different things you would see Hey why why are we different from everybody else. Like why are we all Indians only together nobody else like right with us you know. I mean that eventually with time you tend to realize and I guess South Africa being as small as it as it is and now that I’m here in the states you see how here even though you have Indians they’ve adopted the culture they’ve adopted Thanksgiving you adopt Christmas you adopt everything not that you forget your your Indian festivals that come up. But in South Africa you will never see an Indian adopting Christmas. And why is that. I think they just haven’t evolved. They still stuck in that archaic mindset that they have been in so many years and I guess it will change with time. But for now you see they stole their systems and their values the same. I mean I went back a few months ago and I could still see that that sudden things still haven’t changed. They are changing but not as quickly as you would expect it to that point.
So excuse me. So you guys were in one community because of apartheid. Correct. Right. So can you explain just sort of the structure of that because everybody may not know the really in-depth history of South Africa. Why were you guys put in one separate community.
OK so apartheid basically meant that everybody was segregated so you would have all the Indians together and they were allowed to live in certain areas only go to certain schools only go to certain restaurants parks restrooms public facilities basically was segregated. You had. Well basically it was whites and nonwhites. So the White population stuck together black population stuck together. That’s how it was you were allowed to do certain jobs you sudden jobs you if I were to apply say for a job and you were to apply for a manager’s position in those days you would have probably had the job and not me simply because I was not white enough to have the position at that time. Even if you were more qualified than me even if I was more qualified it’s the matter of the color of my skin. Right. That’s basically mattered at that point even if you had to go to a restroom you couldn’t go to a restroom that said white you had to go into a non-white one.
Yeah. You know my mother in law told a story of I think she was 5 or 6 years old and they were in a park somewhere in Johannesburg and she went into a white restroom because she was too young to read. And there was a security guard that beat her as a child. And I think that you know of course her father and uncles and everybody probably came over and threatened to kill the guy. Yeah. So that’s just something that’s absolutely unbelievable to me. Yeah. Growing up here because I’m white middle class and never had a care in the world.
Exactly. Yeah it’s it’s it’s it’s a difficult concept for a lot of people to understand. Right.
So I can imagine that you guys living there white people probably were not you know angels probably maybe a little bit like the white devil you know.
Correct yeah. Right. They felt they had the authority in the I don’t know what do you call it the right color of skin to be able to demand anything they needed from you and what you needed to do if you had to go basic say you if you’re building a home you’d have the white person as the supervisor and the non-white is doing all the other work the hard labor. Yeah you know that’s how it was and that’s how it in the first time I came to the US and I saw a white person cleaning the restroom my I couldn’t I was so difficult for me to understand simply because it was new to me the first time I’d come to the US and I mean it was like mind blowing. I mean I’d been to India before that but the US was my first first world country that I’d been to after I graduated.
Really. Yeah. Wow.
I was simply shocked I left and this is after I got married. So I was like 24. Aha. And I came in. I wouldn’t have landed at Hartsfield Jackson and now I need to use the restroom and I went into this restroom and I see this white person I.
Like how in the world what is going on here. Yeah.
What bizarro world if I landed in I know and then we’re going pick up luggage and I see a guy who didn’t really bother me that the Indian person was but he was like unloading the luggage and helping and the like what is going on here.
A whole different world for exactly a whole different world. Wow.
Wow. And that’s something that you know I I enjoy talking to people that have experiences like that because it expands my horizons because I can’t relate to any of that. But it’s a good thing too. For people like you to be able to tell your story. So people. Do other people do become aware of you know the injustices in the rest of the world even when we don’t see it here. Yeah. True. So you grow up you’re brown. Yeah in a country that you’re only privileged if you’re white and you’re also a woman and you grew up in a traditional Indian family I’m assuming.
Yes. So how many brothers and sisters do you have. So I have an older brother. OK. And the younger sister. OK.
OK. And what did your parents do for a living.
So my dad actually worked in a company where they would import all this glassware. What do you call this a rock. I’m not sure if you know about like Crystal stuff. OK. So he used to be the manager in that company mom was as usual a housewife. No it was normal for me and I guess for everybody who was in the end that’s the place of a lady. Yeah. Be a housewife. Where you would never think OK she needed to at least complete to 12th grade or go on to university or college. No just the expectations were completely different. Definitely. You were at your place was in the kitchen in that way. That’s where it needed to be. No know there was nothing else about it you know.
Yeah I guess even expectations here like for my parents my mom was definitely not in the kitchen all the time but it just wasn’t expected of her to graduate from high school and go to college. She did graduate from high school but you know that was it. She became a housewife and took care of us. So I guess it’s a generational thing. Like everywhere. I guess so. But definitely more cultural. Yeah. You guys. Yeah. Yeah definitely more. So you’re growing up in a family with a stay at home mom and you probably have aunts all over the place that are also stay at home moms. Rice is and what was it like being a girl in a family with an older brother.
How were expectations different or were they I guess expectations were different. So my brother was obviously when he was a teenager he was allowed to stay out at night late at night he was allowed to go with his friends no questions asked Where are you going Who were you going to see what are you going to do you need to be back by this time no questions asked. He had no responsibility in terms of finding a job helping to contribute to the household at that point helping with any house chores. That was not his job. He was simply to study go to school his meals already he he got up his bed was made for him it’s breakfast was ready for him whatever he wanted. Wow. It was fine.
So like sort of a little prince you got the family. Yeah. And so how were things different for you and your sister.
Well things were done. I guess myself being the first daughter in the house huh. I guess there were a lot more expectations on me in terms of taking care of a lot more things like taking care of the home. My mom was pretty sickly when she was younger. So I’m basically the response I was through into the deep end at that point. OK so I had to do my schoolwork do my homework or whatever. OK. In certain occasions do my brother’s homework.
Oh c to my sister.
And then obviously do all the household chores. So whether that be the cooking getting everybody’s meals at that times I mean there were no maids or anything like that so we had to do all of the housework groceries shopping all that type of thing was my responsibility.
And were you also expected to excel in school. Yes just as much as your brother.
I was. He was not I guess he was OK. He just got through school. I was expected to get good grades and they would it had and didn’t have to be anything less than an A.
Wow. OK. So your brother had it easy and were the expectations that your parents would stay with him that he would get married and he would take care of the family correct. OK. So I mean it’s like that with dire measures. My husband’s family too and when we met that was something that just completely blew me away. And when we started talking about getting married he said you know of course I’m supposed to have my parents live with me. And I said Holy crap that’s not happening. So yeah very different especially because here it tends to be the woman’s family the woman’s side that has a little more influence and like my mom said my grandmother told her that a What is it a daughter is always a daughter but a son is a son until he finds a wife.
That’s it. Yeah. Yeah. So just completely different completely different. Yeah. But I guess it was the usual expectation within the community the Indian community that the son would always look after the parents and the brands would always for whatever reason would always move in what the what the son and his wife. Whenever he got married and the daughter was expected to get married into a good family or whatever. And staying in law at her in-laws place no matter what happened. You are to stay where you are even if you’re being ill treated you are not to complain not to you are simply to follow orders and do as they expect you to do dress how they want you to dress eat what they want you to eat and do whatever they ask you to do basically.
So you’re a pretty strong willed person and I imagine that you were pretty strong willed back then as a young person. So did that ever occur to you that that would not be something that you would enjoy or fight against.
Or did you just totally accept that that was that was it. I guess I was I was a bit of a rebel at home because I couldn’t knock or question my mom continuously because my sister was younger than me. So she I guess got away with a lot because I was there to cover for her. So I guess she didn’t have to do a lot she had to do some but not as much as I was doing basically and often Christian my mom it’s OK if my brother was to go out and live and I come back at 11:00 p.m. when I was still around then a week or two ago she told me Ok you need to get up and warm the food for your brother.
Like why do I need to stay and warm his food up.
He can warm his own food up no you need to wash his food up he needs to eat and after that you need to wash the dishes dry the dishes and everything else. Know why. Right. Why.
Because your siblings your.
Exactly. I mean new siblings it’s fine if it’s an older person than this damn it but I mean I was a rebel at home I guess when I got married. I mean I was frustrated because I couldn’t say anything and I couldn’t do anything simply. You have so many people there. You know you have no kind of support if you go if you want to call it that from anybody to back you up and say hey don’t worry yes she’s she’s right. Right. You are wrong. That never happened. Right. So you were just kind of like a puppet right.
Yeah. Voiceless person. They you are in that group. Yes. So OK let’s kind of let’s back up a little bit though. I want to know. So when you were growing up you had to I guess basically sort of serve your brother his food and things like that what was it like when guests would come to the house. You know what was your role. Because the reason I ask is when I first got married my mother in law you know she wanted me to sort of learn how to be a daughter in law and the way she was used to so.
And we lived with them for the first six months. Again imagine yeah.
But she would have me serve gas water on a tray and that’s something I never thought I would ever do in my entire lifetime and the only reason I did it was to keep peace so it wouldn’t embarrass my husband. But is that something that you grew up you know with the expectation you did that.
Yeah. The expectation was there. So I guess it’s different. First of all the way here I know in the US if you’re going to see somebody or you’re going to go and pay a visit to someone you would call takes that bus and Jake. Are you at home. I’m coming over. You know so at least you prepaid or whatever. There was not the case. Really. People would come in and out at any time starting from 8 3 a.m. in the morning if it’s over the weekend. Yeah. So my call in all of them would just come over early on a Sunday because clearly men they get ready had their breakfast. They had nothing else to do so they would go around visiting people. So if my grandfather somebody came if they came you were expected to do when they come in first thing you go into the kitchen get a tray ready make sure it’s presentable fill in with glasses of water or juice or whatever it is going off that first and depending if they were staying for lunch or dinner or whatever you would offer them as a snack first. Have them have that or whatever came up and then obviously being female you are not always allowed to be at the conversation or sitting around with their especially even if you are a kid you are like Be silent don’t make a noise or whatever do what you need to do but don’t make a noise and they would just sit there and chat or whatever. Sometimes they wouldn’t even get up to the dinner table or to the table to eat you would have to serve them where they are. Oh my goodness.
But that’s just what what life was for you right.
Yeah that was just it until I didn’t know any better. That was that was normal right. Right.
So as a girl you couldn’t sit with the dads and all the uncles but your brother.
Yes. Wow okay.
And you know I ran into that when I first got married too because I especially I think it was harder for me because I wasn’t an Indian woman so I couldn’t be in the kitchen. Yes. And they didn’t want me there. They didn’t. I mean I can’t speak for what they wanted but I was not treated as if I was wanted there and I don’t think it was because they didn’t like me they just didn’t know what to do with me. And then I couldn’t sit with the guys when they were watching football and things like that. So yeah it was kind of on your own. Yeah exactly.
So you you’re going to school you become a teenager you. What was your education you graduated from. What do you guys call high school over there.
Well the 12th grade they would call it matric. So. OK. One staff.
Once I finished that I like the U.S. You don’t have college we would go straight into your university so you’d go straight into doing your undergraduate degree.
OK. And you became a pharmacist correct. OK. Was that always your dream. You love did you love science.
I loved science I loved biology but my dream was always to become a doctor. OK. Unfortunately was not accepted by whom by the university. OK. So I applied two years in the Neuro didn’t get in pharmacy was my second choice but nevertheless I don’t regret it now. Yeah. Did four years undergrad one year of internship. OK and then licensed as a pharmacist. Well 19 I graduated. Nineteen ninety seven OK.
Wow. So you’ve been a pharmacist for a long time and that’s interesting because you’re only twenty nine years old. So yeah.
I would love to think that we’re both twenty nine. We’re going to go there. I was so close. Why not right.
Yeah I would love that. I just turned twenty nine for the sixth time time. Why. Awesome. Oh yeah. Yeah. So you’re a pharmacist and then what’s the next step for you. Can you just go on and be a practicing professional on your own and living in your own apartment and doing your own thing or no such thing.
Yeah. Alternately once once you finish school and your kind of first year depending if you decided to study further or just get married my focus I guess my mom didn’t want me initially just to go down that road to get married initially but it so happened that when I was in second year of pharmacy school I was normal then I guess we used to be a lot of Indian weddings so you would be invited to the wedding. Everybody would dress up and go to the wedding and especially if you are female a young female they would kind of dress you put makeup on you you know make sure that you looked like a bride to be and take you us to the wedding so everybody could see where the ladies sit together and the men said separately and they would see Hey look she’s on the market looking for a spouse. Do you know anybody this fat in the other. So that would happen.
So it was more about the moms and dads and aunts and uncles doing that than the boys looking correct.
OK so that’s how it operated then. And I was a type of person I was a bookworm so I really never. And I guess at that time we weren’t allowed to date. Mm hmm. I was not allowed to go out with my friends even girlfriends. No. Oh OK. So I was very restricted in what in terms of what I could do even if I wanted to go to a movie it would probably be with my parents. OK.
Now is that typical for everybody over there or was that just that was actually your family. No it’s typical for Indian females. So did your brother date could. Yes. OK so big time double standard big time. No.
Then I guess you know females did well the didn’t want to ruin. They didn’t want you to ruin the reputation and the honor and the status of your family so you know you do what you need to do is stay at home and you’ll be a good girl. That’s that’s the way do all those days.
OK. Yeah. I always sort of felt a little bit of a competition with that good perfect Indian girl. Exactly yeah. Because when we met I mean there were actually family members that told mesh just do what you got to do. Get it out of your system and then go find a good Indian wife.
Go get out of that.
You know I never had any intention of going to these weightings obviously my brother would go my sister would go but I never did.
But for some odd reason that one waiting I went to high and I don’t know whether it’s fortunate unfortunate 20 something years later something like 20 something it’s like 30 years later.
My husband saw me at that wedding and he was actually just dropping his mom off after working the night shift and I was getting off the car and he was dropping his mom off and he happened to see me. The very first time I got dolled up the very first time I will make up. Can you believe it. Wow.
Ever ever. Wow. All right. Twenty two years old. First time ever. Wow.
And he happened to see me and that started that ball rolling. So he told his mom can you find out who this girl is. She looks good and I want to get to know her and find out what. So they would do a whole like an FBI background check on you you know who is the family where the parents from what do they do what does the girl do. What is the extended family like. Wow. What is the home like. Everything before YouTube could even meet before the two of us could meet. Wow. And it didn’t even simply start with us where he was able to call me at home and say you know let’s chat and get to know each other. Obviously phones not as smart as they are now. But right. No text no secretly. That’s it. Nothing of that sort. No meeting secretly because you were not driving at that time we didn’t have a car of your own. So you were not free to I mean even when I was in university my mom would drop me off and pick me up. Really. Yes. Oh my goodness. So wow that. Yeah. That’s so foreign to what I grew up very far in here. I mean I mean my brother was allowed to drive to a college or university and there was no problem. But I was not allowed to do that at that time. You had to stay a good girl. Good girl. So. And then obviously we had to meet we had to set up a date but obviously he had to come home and meet the family before he could take me out for lunch or whatever. So it was agreed that it would be lunch ok that the two of us would have lunch time we would go to a restaurant as the two of us and see if we liked each other. And it was obviously arranged through the elders of the family. The meeting was arranged that way.
OK. So. So tell me like what what was that day like. You’re at your house and you’re waiting for this guy to come.
Yeah. View you have you. Yeah.
So like you know what happened you’re waiting you’re getting ready to serve snacks. I mean talk to me about what exactly that is like.
So he came he came by himself though. OK so it was my mom my dad my brother my sister my grand uncle at that time my grandfather a time boy and my uncles my brother was married. So his wife.
Talk about pressure.
Oh my God. So they’re the debut the couple a week before they took me shopping get the decent outfit because it was winter OK. You know don’t show any cleavage you have to wear long pants long sleeves all that type of thing. Get your outfit ready you know dolled you up and then he walks in and then there’s this whole room full of people. It’s like wow wow this is like these that obviously he comes in and they start speaking to him What do you do. I was not allowed to get into the room initially. Really. Yeah. OK. So then eventually they had prepaid snacks or whatever we had prepaid and mom said OK well time for you to go. The grand entrance the grand entrance I’m walking with this tray and a glass of juice with a fancy decoration and everything and then I go at the and I place it in front of him and say hello.
And then he looks at me and I dropped the train.
I mean it’s like I don’t know where they call it embarrassing or kind of. Lots of pressure. You cannot speak to somebody who was everybody else around.
Right. Especially if you’ve never been out on a date with a boy.
How. Yeah. How scary. I mean this was my first encounter was was a male. I’m like What am I supposed to be doing here. Right. You know.
But nevertheless they asked whatever they needed to and then it was OK. You’re allowed to go now. You can go aha. So the whole family goes walks to the car giving back. So the gentleman being there he was open the car door. OK. Got into the car and then we drove off for lunch. And you were given a time limit. OK. You need to be back by this time when you get back. Let us know whether it’s yes or no. The family’s pretty good. Everything looks good so it would be awesome if you would say yes but going speak to him and see what happens and see what he is he says and what his family has to say.
So you have a lunch date yet to decide who you wanted to marry who will be my life partner. Yes. OK. So how did this lunch go.
Lunch was good I guess I kind of asked my sister in law my sister in law knew him. So I asked her you know does he consume alcohol. Easy vegetarian because I mean we were vegetarian growing up all of most of us in our community were vegetarian which was kind of taboo if you were a non vegetarian. Got him at that time. Yeah. But I simply wanted to know that because I was going to question him and see whether he’d be honest OK about what I had asked him. OK so fair enough he was honest and he said Yes I do. And I didn’t have an issue with that. I mean nights there’s more to an individual than what they consumed in terms of food and drink.
Right. I guess the most important thing is that he’s going to be honest with you upfront from the beginning. Yeah right.
Yeah. So I basically just asked him questions on where did he work. How many people in his family. What is his future what does he look where does he envision himself ten years down the line in that I guess he was a bit more concerned in terms of myself being a medical professional like what were my goals and at that time I was a pistol applying to become a doctor they put in my application and then you know he’s I guess he was concerned at that time where if I get in. How would if we were to take things further and get married how would that impact us getting married in terms of my responsibilities at home having kids. Wow all of the rest.
Talk about pressure right up at the very beginning. Yeah. So when you went on this lunch with him did you have any expectations that you would look at him and just feel a spark. Was that even a requirement. Did you want that or was it just kind of getting to know a guy whether he’s a nice guy and he goes yeah.
So I guess if the family had that expectation that it would be a definite yes because from their side it had been confirmed from my side I was kind of looking for the sparks to fly you know for that some little trigger or some sign to tell me not this is the person. Yeah because I had never had that exposure before so I wouldn’t know any different but if I had felt that spark or I mean I would have you know it would have worked but I guess the family expectation kind of overbearing at that point. Aha. But I guess I was pleasantly surprised because there were sparks and you could feel that connection. And I guess he felt that way too.
I guess so. Twenty years later it said two kids later. Yeah. Awesome. So it didn’t work out for you. Yes. So what was it. I’ve heard stories about what happens if a girl says no to a guy too many times.
So what would what would have happened would they have been disappointed in you if you had said Now this is just isn’t going to work. Because I’ve heard a couple of stories of girls who said no a few guys and then people are like well you know she’s just not marriage material.
So I guess the family would have been disappointed but I guess they would have made them even more determined to find another person. OK. So this was probably the first one in the line. They were not going to stop. The mission had begun the mission had become because first of all you a female you’ve got a medical you go you know medical profession. You know how to do your housework you know all your responsibilities you’ve been good thus far you have everything going for you at this point. Yeah. So we will you’re on that market and we will find someone and so you would go through the process again and again in the gain. Maybe next time they wouldn’t have even given you the option to say you can say no. Oh wow. You would have just been it’s it. That’s it. That’s it. I mean it’s a funny story because my mom and dad kind of also an arranged marriage. My mom didn’t know my dad. It’s just the families knew each other. And then my dad saw my mom one day and he told his parents. Yeah that’s OK. And some people I’ve only met today day they got married my in-laws. It was that way. Exactly. Yeah. You didn’t know the person you had to fall in love with that person and get to know that person all after marriage and I guess you’d be lucky if it did happen and you just live with it if it didn’t happen.
Exactly. Wow. Yeah. My mother in law said that she was told on a Monday or a Sunday whatever it was that she was getting married next week. Yeah. And so she had a week to go into town and get her clothes and she was married to summation never seen before.
How. I mean mine was kind of similar situation. We met so one the Sunday the following Sunday I had to go and see meet his family. OK. And his sister in law was expecting so the week after that was our engagement. Holy moly. There was no time to have dates and get to know each other knew. And if we if if he were to call me at home you would have to call me at home on the home line and I guess it’s not like you had your own privacy where you could have your own private conversation.
It’s everybody was listening to your conversation and I guess you probably didn’t have a lot to talk to him about anyway right. Yes you didn’t know him. Exactly. Wow. So I guess the engagement wasn’t like you know he gets down on one knee and gives you a ring. Will you marry me my love.
No no nothing of that sort. It’s like it’s a hundred and something people all at his house and I go there and have this big engagement ceremony with a ring and everybody gets served dinner. Oh my gosh. It’s a family affair. Yeah it was a family affair.
Wow. Yeah. My my engagement my proposal from Darvish. He just came over to my house one night my mom and dad were there and I didn’t know he was there he popped out from you know one of the other rooms Yeah proposed to me and my family wasn’t there after the fact I questioned were they not there because they didn’t approve or were they not there because he just wanted to do it on his own. And I still haven’t gotten the answer. OK. So who knows. Anyway it was done. Yeah.
So James I get what every girl would expect right.
A dream kind of you know getting down on your knee and proposing it. You know you’d love to go through all of that.
Right. That’s true. That’s true. But I you know I wonder OK I wasn’t going to be a doctor. I wasn’t the girl that knew how to keep house and cook. So you know it was it really just because they didn’t want to have any part in the whole thing. But you know it is what it is. We’ve been together since 1988.
So what does that how many years is that thirty one years. OK. So I won.
Yeah like I tell my husband I will be living more of my life with you than I ever did with my parents. Yes.
That’s an interesting way to look at it. You better be the one. Exactly. Yeah.
You go through your engagement you go and plan your wedding. So what was your wedding like. Oh my God. How many people were there.
500 plus. Oh my goodness. Wow. And was it a long ceremony. Oh yeah definitely it’s it’s a number of days that we have these sudden ceremonies that span out over a number of days. The wedding itself about there. The ceremony itself about three hours. OK. Yeah. Big ceremony and then after that you go to the temple and then another ceremony after that. So it’s a whole day kind of ceremony.
Is there a you may kiss your bride and you way no not in front of people or out in front of people holding hands and no new new. Wow. Not done.
Wow. So was I guess what.
At what point were you able to get to know your in-laws. I am assuming you moved in with them after the wedding. Yes yes. So I mean at what point did you kind of get to know them and form a relationship with them. How many people. Well let’s go back. How many people were living in the house when you moved.
So it was he’s the youngest of three brothers. It was himself his eldest brother and his wife. And they had a newborn one son. It was about two or three I think. And mother in law and father in law the other brother was living on his own by that time. OK OK. So it was a joint family which was the the norm for you to be living in a joint family. Yes. I guess initially not much of a relationship. We had both with mother in law and father in law. I guess they was the head of the family so if they said OK you had to do this you do that you had to do this do that. You know it was kind of you get out you wake up at this time. This is what you expected to do. This is what you need to do before you go to work when you come back from work. This is what you’re meant to be doing your mother in law told you this. Yeah. And I actually just remember the first time and I guess if it’s your mother in law you would call her. I guess her first name or say mom or something like that. So I mean like I said like mom I said mom I mean in an hour in good writing I would say like mom you know like which is like my grandmother grandmother mom like whatever you know. She said No I’m not so old. You can call me Mom. Okay. Oh. I mean that’s how most people would address their mother in law the way I did. Okay. She felt it wasn’t what she wanted to be so wanted to be called so I would have to call her Mom OK. Nevertheless I I mean I changed. I guess you pick your battles. You pick your battles. Yeah. Yeah I guess. So you would have to be up at like five thirty a.m. in the morning. You would have to breakfast you would set the table if everybody is having cereal put the bowls out put the cereal in the bowls put a spoon next to the bowls if they want any medication take out the medication have it ready now made in a cup for them have a glass ready there. If they were going to work you would have to pack everybody’s lunches where they’d be a sandwich and fruit or whatever. Pack everybody’s lunches. Everybody in the household everybody in the household. Oh well everybody’s lunch you would have to. Those days everybody would have tea Indian tea which you know is a long process of making. You would have everybody’s tier radio would be strained and everything radio and the kettle for them to have when they’re into when my mother in law entered in the kitchen and she came into the kitchen and she would sit down straight at her table at her place. You would need to bring her her tea which needed to be at a certain temperature follow her glass up with water while smoking her cereal Wow.
Now is that something that was just specific to your husband’s family or would it have been like that do you think if you’d married somebody else different parents.
I guess maybe certain parents were different where they didn’t expect that much. But in terms of you having to do all the prep work and that in the morning. Yes. That would still be there know in any home. And in addition to doing all of the breakfast and the lunches you would expect it if they had they would be at home if they weren’t home then you would be able have to have lunch ready and done already before you left to go to work or whatever else you needed to do. Mm hmm. So the more I hear your story the more I feel like such a lazy slug.
Because I never did those things and I grew up I mean never would I have done that in a million years. But the expectation now I know why there was such a a rift I guess between my in-laws and me in the very beginning and I took it personally. Yeah because I’m like oh well they just don’t like me. They just think I’m a bad person but it just was completely different from what they expected.
It’s it’s it’s it’s not that they were you looking at you as the individual it’s just the way we were brought up then the men would go to would go to work and do what they needed to do and the ladies would manage the kitchen and whatever else they needed to manage you know that was just that was just the norm right.
Yeah I remember when we first got married my mother in law did take me aside and said I’m not going to tell you to always listen to your husband that he is really the master of you because I know you Americans don’t believe that but and then she just kind of rolled her eyes and said. But I really think you should consider that and you know me being the rebel that I am I was just like whatever. OK. OK. And I walked away and that would never happen.
But now if you if you sit back now mom mean now at this point I mean I’ve been through so much. I can look back and say honestly I cannot understand why you think things couldn’t have been easier why people couldn’t have just done everything together it would have made life so much easier for everybody. Even if we had kids like when my son was born you know for a certain amount of time you are not allowed to enter the kitchen because they would consider you as dirty. Yeah because you would be bleeding so it’s kind of dirty so if you are in your cycle you are not allowed to touch the stove you are not allowed to like light the lamp in the prayer room and things like that. There were certain things you were not allowed to do.
Could you just say that you know that’s going on forever in your entire lifetime and oh I can never go in the kitchen because I have a perpetual period that would have been awesome and that could have happened.
But I mean it’s just I guess they would do it.
My mother in law father in law would do what they needed to do I guess eventually with time as things changed and they started to adapt and adjust things which would change but the dynamics of three ladies in the home each having their own personalities and ways they want to do things is not particularly the best situation to be in.
Yeah I can just imagine. I have one daughter and just when she was growing up it was like two alpha females. And of course I was trying to be in charge and she was not going to have that. So you know I can’t imagine having daughter in laws and mother in laws. So did you feel like you ever wanted to have a different life during this period. Did you feel like there was another type of life was an option or was that just sort of this is what it is.
I mean initially I guess I accepted it to be. It is what it is. But I guess you had nobody to kind of complain to or anything. I mean my husband would listen but I guess on certain points it’s like the mom was the alpha female like you say and so you know what it was she said kind of waned. You know if you had to go yeah you had to go Yeah on a Saturday evening if you had to go to her family’s place for dinner that’s where you would be you are not going to go out on a movie or do what you needed to do kind of. You couldn’t just do honeymoon things you know on a date just to have some privacy you know.
And then there was never much privacy unless you were when you once until you were in your bedroom. There was no privacy really. If you think about it and I guess by the time I got into my bedroom I was so exhausted I was ready to pass out. Wow.
Huh. Talk about the honeymoon year. Exactly. Exactly.
I mean at that time you were young you want to experience things you want to be by yourself and you know I guess they just said you know you live in a joint family you can save up some money then you can move out get a place of your own but into the end of the day it was one son’s responsibility to look after the parent.
So whichever way it was one of us had to take the responsibility of looking after them which I didn’t have an issue with but I guess I just wanted certain things to change. Right. Right.
So was there a turning point for you when things changed. You want to talk about your cancer diagnosis.
Yeah yeah. So then I guess it was a turning point for for a lot of them I guess my husband my kids myself everybody in the family at that point. It was just our family and my mother in law and father in law with us at that time when I was diagnosed. So then it was diagnosed in 2012. OK. So I was born in 75. So yeah. So I was diagnosed not being away. I mean I didn’t even think that it would be cancer. You know it was the furthest thing from my mind. Right. Who does think that who does thing that I mean in cancer in the bladder. I mean like really what are you talking about. You know. And nevertheless I went into hospital and remove the tumors or whatever it was a day or two stay in the hospital or whatever.
OK. You you you go home you’re miserable is anything you don’t know how to deal with your kids who are young like 7 and 9.
What do you do with your kids what do you tell them right. How do you yourself cope with it.
You want somebody to take care of you.
You need somebody to take care of you. Yeah you go home you have to then be on your feet handle the kitchen handle the responsibility look after the kids. You were not given to prepare meals. I mean I wasn’t I was given some time but not enough time that I needed to wrap my head around all of this. Wow. You know I mean it was just tough. I mean thank God I had my mom to kind of help me out at that point and I guess for my husband it was a turning point where he realized you know what she she’s not going to be able to do a lot of things. Now it’s something everybody needs to learn to change. And my mother in law’s brother he was pretty understanding he. He kind of knew the situation I was in and he always understood me and we got along very well and his wife also had breast cancer. OK. And she had passed away a few years before that.
So he completely understood the situation. I mean she also same thing handling the kitchen everything that type of thing in fact she she had a daughter in law but she would treat her like a queen you know. And the daughter in law come from work on your meals ready why didn’t you sit down have something to eat first before you go ahead and do anything else you know wow.
Night and day different.
I know a night in data friends as opposed to where me coming from home coming home from work. Oh you. This needs to be done that needs to be clean. This needs to be done OK. Like starving I need to eat first. Yeah. But you had to do what you had to do and I guess at that point I went ahead and dealt with whatever it was. But anyway he was kind enough. And I mean the day I came back home I was in tears. I mean I didn’t know how to face my kids.
Because I can imagine it’s not like just breaking your arm and then coming home from the house. Yeah. You’re faced with. I mean to be honest you’re faced with your mortality when you hear cancer.
Exactly. So people were coming to see me a lot so and I mean people I mean every single person they were my room was full of people. Wow. Just coming to see me see what you see. I guess people just wanted to see what does she look like. Is she OK.
Is she going to make it. Is she going to survive. Oh my God. Do we need to get him married again. No no mom was already going Yeah yeah.
And then my brother in law crying more than I was crying like oh no what’s going to happen to her. What is she going to do now.
Like let’s support her let’s help her get through this.
Why are you crying. Wow you know and her brother was a angel in disguise because he explained to her you know this is going to be a long term situation. You guys need to understand. He said my husband down as well. You know this is this is what’s gonna happen and I’m talking from experience I can tell you what’s going to happen. You need to change. She’s going to have to go for treatment. You need to be prepared not to be in this house and leave them alone. Good. Okay. Yeah. That’s fantastic. I mean they were not particularly happy about that situation but they had to understand because I mean I was they were with me for a while after that but I had to go again to the hospital you know knowing to gain they found more tumors. Oh no. Which meant that now I was an arrangement for however many years I needed to have chemo and hospital. So it was one month I went to a hospital the next month I had chemo every week for three weeks in a row every three months. This was my cycle. So one month I would be in hospital one month I would be full of chemo. One month I would have to recuperate next month back to hospital and so I went on for two three years. Oh my gosh.
So you needed to have somebody taking care of you.
Exactly. So I mean eventually they had to move we’re moving with the other brother. That time period the month that I was OK and I had time to recover there would be with me to to support you and to help you know. So then they would be at home again do my usual responsibility prepare the food the set in the other. But then it was I we had changed it would be easy meals I wouldn’t do a lot of things at home and I would dressed a lot more. And that was just my husband would just explain to them you know what she needs a rest. And this is how life has to be unfortunately if you have to maybe get up on some days if she cannot get up in the morning or if she’s not feeling well she is not going to be able to have their Cris ready for you. Right. My husband would help out. He would make breakfast or whatever. Good. My kids were then learning how to do things and I taught them in between you know you need to learn to do this do that. I mean we had a maid in things which was OK. And she used to help me out as well. But I guess that’s how it went on over the years and that’s how they became more independent and learned that you know this is a situation. Yeah it’s not easy but it’s a situation.
And so your boys had a little bit of a different experience because of that than maybe anybody else’s boys would. Yeah yeah.
They were exposed to some and initially we actually didn’t even tell them.
How old were they.
Seven and Nine. OK. So old enough to sort of under understand and then obviously they see me they see I’m not well I’m not able to physically do what I needed to do I mean there were days I was throwing up continuously you know it was just terrible. I mean he had to be up with me some nights. There was a point where I to go to a hospital and come back. I couldn’t even bother myself I could not even do that. And to ask him you know what you need to help me to bath. You know it’s it’s a you know it’s I don’t know how to explain that experience but it’s very difficult. I mean somebody else forced anybody to go through that now lately.
But he was there and he stepped. Oh yeah. And oh yeah he stepped up. Yeah. So you did make the right decision on that. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. That’s a wonderful. Yeah. Yeah.
Yeah I guess with time I guess as situation changes you need to adjust and I guess he understood that which is more than I didn’t expect anything else.
Right. But I’m sure that there are some people that would not have accepted that they would have just said oh know sorry.
Yeah. Do bad take your stuff and hey yeah rodeo mom you know what I’m saying right. But it didn’t happen. I’m lucky. And you’re very lucky.
I know him and you are a very wonderful guy. So OK so that was a turning point where you realized I can’t do this anymore. So after you got well you guys at what point did you move to Dubai. Because I know that you ended up moving to Dubai at a later point.
Yes. So Dubai. Yeah. Or Dubai was actually before all of this happened. Oh OK. So Dubai was when my youngest son was born.
OK. So did you have a little bit of a sense of independence and freedom. Oh yeah. So coming back to living in that situation hasn’t been hard. So maybe Dubai was also a turning point for you.
Yeah. I was also a turning point where I was you know I mean I was doing what I needed to do I didn’t have to go to work I was a stay at home mom looking after the kids and you know it was good. It was a good break from everything I guess.
But then coming back to all it again does that would be very hard very hard very hard.
So you’re doing well you got better. Yeah. And then what brought you guys to the US.
So again my husband’s position is in the aviation industry so transferred to the US about three would be will be three years for me in December this year. OK. So that’s how we ended up here. My only condition for moving over here was that I would be able to work because we obviously came I won’t work for months I didn’t want to be sitting at home doing nothing right.
I wanted to work you need to be independent to be independent and then you sing in Dubai.
It’s very similar to what it is here in the US. I mean there were maids and stuff but like not like in South Africa where the maids actually lived in like an like out like a cottage next to your home and she would be there 24/7 and things. So in Dubai I got used to the idea of not having a maid. Not having somebody doing anything for you being able to do it all by myself. Yeah. And the kids learned he learned meaning we all learnt. You know it was a good experience so coming.
Yeah I mean it didn’t even faze me that I needed to do all of that know. Right. Does the furthest thing from my mind at that point you know I guess from his side again having to look at his mom and dad who would take care of them a big decision on that side of the family you know like we’re going to make this move for the future of our children we have to make this move also it’s a good move because he’s getting a transfer and the kids will have a better future and hence we hear you’re here.
And so you know a lot of people don’t know what the situation in South Africa is right now. So when you say that the boys we’re gonna have a better future.
What does that mean to you. So first of all in terms of education the pass rate for 12th grade is 30 percent. Wow 30 percent. Yes. OK OK. Nowadays it was 60 percent and above in apartheid days. Now it’s 30 percent simply because those that are not capable will then be pushed through the system. OK. Right. 30 percent. Even if you don’t attend school you can just on your assignments get 30 percent. Wow. All right then. I mean like I explained to you earlier in those days we were not right enough and then the turning point came and then now we were not black enough.
So you’re always in the middle always in the middle.
So in South Africa to have black empowerment. Mm hmm. So in your company there were sudden amount of like people you were allowed to employ. This is a number that you had to employ to be black to be certified or like so like an affirmative action thing. Yeah. Yeah. OK. So in that case all these graduates even if it was in university there were certain number per race that were allowed into university. OK. With a 30 percent pass rate. What are the schools going to be like. What are the teachers going to be like. And for my kids to study and eventually be told you know what. You know black enough to get this job. Right. So what was the point. What was the point.
First of all if I am 30 40 years ago I wouldn’t have been white. Exactly.
You wouldn’t have been white on white enough. And then secondly also in terms of security you can see with the government changing the way it is.
This crime is really really really bad. I mean we’ve had a couple of experiences ourself and hence I was not willing for myself and my kids to be living in a cage you know. Right.
Bars on the windows bars outside bars everywhere. You would never leave your card side. You would never leave it unlocked we would never even leave your shopping cart in the store and go around and find something in the next island. You come back your cart will be gone. It’s gone.
Wow. Now some people have told me that inside the homes there has to be a gate a door between the bedrooms and the area.
Yeah we had a gated door in front of our front door. We had a drive. We had a wall up in front of our house which had the razor wire on top. Wow. Wow. And it had a gate to it was also. And we had a gate for the driveway so if you were to park your car you would open that gate. And then another. The garage door would be a separate door which would open the back end of the house had a door but also had a security gate. Wow. From the garage you would have your door and a security gate. Huh. So everything would have double security huh. The House would be sectioned off the bedrooms and other gate in between in case somebody comes in in the middle somebody comes in in the middle of the night. Wow. Wow. Yeah. You would have an alarm one for the outside of the house one for these.
So yeah. You were living in prison. Yeah. Yeah. So you get here what do you think of it. I mean most of the time people don’t lock their front doors here. I know. Was it just. I mean mind boggling. I mean of course we have crime here. There was nothing like that. No. So did you feel a sense of freedom or are you still a little bit like what’s going on here.
I was a bit shocked. You don’t lock your front door. No. So we looked at the homeowner come. Are you sure this door is secure enough because it’s a glass door and just a door with just the lock like huh. Where is that key chain and everything else in the double lock on the door in ways the gate. No you don’t need that. Are you sure. Yes I’m sure. Yeah. This is mind boggling to me that you didn’t have to do that. You know and then I guess eventually you get used to the idea of not I mean but it’s still in your mind. You make sure the door is locked every night before I go to bed I still make sure both those doors are locked and the car is locked even though it’s parked in the garage.
The car is locked.
I never once thought about that my life now even now that you bring that up I’ve never done that.
Wow cars locked the garage door is locked the into the between the House. It’s locked. Yeah it’s just I guess it’s just in my mind even if I’m walking in the mall or something in South Africa you would never walk with your phone in your back pocket. It would be gone. Wow. Or with your handbag just walking around there would never happen and no jewelry no jewelry jewelry no. No jewelry no watch no anything like that. No I would never do that. And here I mean it’s still in my mind that you know just be aware of your surroundings be aware. I guess it will always be there but it’s not as bad as what it would have been. I mean I don’t take as many precautions as I used to before. I mean now I leave my handbag on the front seat and I’m driving.
I mean when you’re driving you didn’t have your handbag on the front seat.
No the handshake would either be in the trunk or under the mat under your seat where you were driving under the car seat.
If there was a place to put it there you would hide it somewhere you would never be visible and your phone would never be visible.
Why is that. If you’re driving and stop at a stoplight with somebody.
Yes. So if you were at a stoplight they would kind of distract you so one person would come on your side and one on the opposite side the one on yours on the right hand side on the other side would distract you and the other one would kind of take a spark plug and smash your window grab your handbag and move on or grab your chain or whatever else you had on any day if there was another car in front of you behind you and next to you you cannot go in your way. Wow. I mean I was mugged in front of my university really and crime had already in broad daylight 8:00 a.m. in the morning my brother had just dropped me off on the curb and I just got off and I was walking towards the entrance. Not even a hundred feet when I had my chain but I had my gold chain tucked under my t shirt. Aha. And so this guy approaches me and I’m walking and I kind of time to move on I see it. I move to the left he moves to the left I move to the right. He moves to the right square and then he stopped me and then he grabbed my chain by the neck he grabbed me by the neck. One hand on my neck and one on my shoulders I pushed. But clearly he was much stronger than I was. He pushed me down and as he pushed me down he held onto that chain any yank the chain and he ran away.
That’s terrifying. Wow. So your boys are really good chance.
Not gonna have to deal with that. Yeah. Here. And I wouldn’t want to pay them to have to deal with that. Great.
It’s just I mean you still hear stories like that so your life your family the way you’re raising your family and the kind of woman that you are now is vastly different than it was. Oh definitely the beginning. Yeah yeah. So how do you see yourself as a woman in this country in your family what’s your future look like to you. Do you feel more independent. Does it make you feel relieved.
Well do you. Do you feel guilt I guess I feel guilt.
Maybe in the sense that my kids are kind of missing out on their family. You know getting to know the rest of the family interacting with them. I guess guilt that you know something happens to my mom I’m not going to be around there when something happens. Same with his parents. We’re not going to be around there and something happens you know right. You wait every day and you know that phone might ring at 2:00 a.m. in the morning and you know.
But I guess on the other side you’ve got to look at it you gotta treasure the memories you’ve had with them. You have to look at it at a point as you have your kids. It’s all about their future. Right. Right. And you kind of feel like you you’ve been released from slavery you know what I’m saying at this point. You know that’s what it felt like initially. You know like you’re free. There are no chains is nothing tying you down. Yeah. You I mean you still do what you need to do but it’s not to a point where that expectation is there. You know what if she’s not going to do it I’m gonna be upset with how I’m gonna feel Tito whatever. And in that sense I I’m training my boys to be a little bit more independent not to expect that from anybody and not to believe that you know what a female’s role is in the kitchen. Yeah. Good for you. I love that.
You know mainly because I’m so inept in the kitchen I don’t want to feel bad because I know I can’t cook. Yeah I do cook. We all do in our own way. Yeah. And I guess as long as a family is willing to accept it or whatever I mean it’s up to the individual it’s got right.
Not a bad thing that you don’t cook and it’s not a bad thing that you do cook. You know you’re saying it’s everybody’s situation. It’s just I guess with myself being the way I am and I guess the way I was brought up I mean if I go I’m going somewhere I will always take something for somebody you know I would never go empty handed. Yeah that’s just the way we were brought up and and what we would do I mean I don’t do and think about it you know that right. Hey I’m cooking will she feel it. No I’m that’s not my point. You know I don’t want that whoever it is to feel bad in that sense you know.
Yeah I’m good. I’m really really good at going by the grocery store and picking up a cake that was made in the bakery.
Yeah fine that she’s fine right.
It’s not my blood that’s behind. Yes yes. If anything else that’s what it is that you feel like it’s it’s like home. So that’s what you would do.
Yeah right. Yeah. True. Yeah. So OK what kind of advice would you give to some young lady in a situation that you might like what you were in that is looking for some support if you were talking to your younger self what would you say. How do you think that your story could help somebody.
Because I’m sure that there’s somebody out there that’s listening to this that’s saying somebody understands somebody went through this and there’s hope for me. Yeah. Well there’s a quite a few things I would change if I could go back. But I don’t regret learning what I did or growing up the way that I did I guess I mean my sister and I grew up the same way but she’s a very different individual nine. So am I. I mean she’s the type of person she’s not bothered about going to the kitchen and saying hey I need to cook um you know. OK I’ll pick up something on my way in. That’s how she. I mean that’s what she does. I guess I guess in my case because of my health condition I just didn’t want to do a lot of our food from outside and processed food and things hence why me doing a lot more in the kitchen you know because I know it’s the way I wanted in right exactly what I need because I couldn’t eat a lot of things and do a lot of things at that time.
So it’s for you it’s not because of somebody else telling you.
No. No. Which was I mean initially it was you had to do the kitchen. But eventually as I changed as things changed I knew I had to do it for myself with the way I wanted it to be done you know. But I guess you know looking back now I think I wouldn’t have I would have actually pursued my career a little more at that time that I regret where I am now. But I think you know I mean yeah I would have I would have loved the idea of having to date other people meet other people. At least you would have I would have learned a lot more I mean I would I wish I was growing up in the U.S. at that point really do have that freedom that independence be able to stand on my own two feet. You know what I’m saying. Learn about simple things where they’d be banking setting up an account buying a car a home loan or a mortgage. You know all those simple things. Yeah I would have loved to have had at that time but I can understand somebody in my situation who may still be in my situation right who may still have to follow in laws have to follow this that any the other. Yeah yeah I guess you have to follow what you need to. But you know the way they are wrong unfortunately you you just have to say it out and put it in a nice way and explain the situation reversed roles. Explain it to them if you have your partner on your side then you’re golden and you’re golden. Yeah. That’s all you need is explain you know what. Times are changing people are changing. You need to learn to change. And I guess if you explain the situation I guess at that time I was maybe just too afraid to challenge them. You know like I didn’t want to embarrass my family and get back and you know a whole lot of situation. One of the things at that time and you didn’t know that really anybody has done that. I did do that. Exactly and I didn’t know any different at that time. Yeah. So when you have that was them no. Right.
And so you’re that person for that young lady or even somebody our age that’s struggling through that.
So you are giving that gift of I guess strength to somebody that’s listening. Yeah yeah. I mean if I could go through all of that doing what I did survive cancer move continents.
I mean it’s you you able to do that. It’s a matter of you being strong right. I mean look at yourself first. I mean it’s selfish you say that but you know sometimes you have to put me first. Absolutely. And I was at the end of the day there’s nobody else. Yes you may have your partner. Yes he’s there. Yes he has a place. Not to say deny that right but if you know what you realize it at some point in your life you need to focus on me and what I like and what I want.
Mm hmm. And I think that’s something that women and all cultures need to learn. I don’t think that that is unique to Indian culture because I I have a very hard time with that too. Yeah. But I think for you you know you said there were so many things that you didn’t get to experience younger and you know you’re glad that you can do those things here and that is the good thing you can’t do the dating now. Yeah. But you can do the mortgage and you know all of those different things. So that’s the fantastic thing about your your life evolution. I guess you can say it. Yeah well I thank you so much for telling your story you were so honest and open and fun. So I really appreciate you being here.
Thanks for having me on and I hope it helps somebody else that’s in my situation and you know if you you anybody needs help anyway. You know how to get a hold of Sheryl so.
That’s right. We can always set up a support group so go for it. Great idea. All right. All right. Thank you. Thank you. If you like this podcast so far.
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