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Sikh and English Bhuddist mixed couple

 

True story by a Sikh girl who went through a great deal to be with the man she loves..



Dopey’s story
 

I am a 28 year old British Sikh female, married to a white, middle class English Buddhist (sounds like a plot line).  I was born into a family that had many, many difficulties and was classed as “dysfunctional” and “broken”. Being in a family where there are issues that have nothing to do with race, issues and difficulties which make you stand out anyway was a pretty pants way to grow up. But then having a "Sikh" mother and a father who both have individual ways of expressing their faiths makes you even more confused, never mind trying to “grow up” and having to deal with normal development like puberty!  

I was living in a paradox with my brother M, 5 years older, and my sister H, 2 years older. My dad got drunk… a lot, was often abusive and violent, and that caused the most horrific arguments. The “kids” always caught the brunt of it. I will leave it to your imagination about what happened, but I wouldn’t wish this start in life on anyone. My mum used Sikhism as a justification for the way she saw the world, i.e. what we couldn’t and could do. We were loved in her warped way, but cuddles, affection and love was something she was incapable of, she was also very abusive.  

As a 28 year old woman now, I see mum as a woman ripped from a country she loved at 17, forced to marry a man twice her age that was a complete BXXXXXX and having to raise 3 kids pretty much single handed. This is not a justification for her behaviour; nothing can be, but a suggestion for why she is the way she is.   

I have said my mum is a "Sikh" and used quotation marks, but Sikhism is a wonderful faith that preaches love and forgiveness, not the warped faith mum told us about. I must point out there has to be a distinction between “faith” and “culture”, I love Sikhism the faith as a adult I try and practice its teachings, but the “Punjabi” culture is something I have difficulties understanding. Due to the horrific difficulties at home I left at the tender age of 17. This was tremendously difficult, and caused pain to my family that I will carry with me to the grave. But I truly believe that if I didn’t leave home on my own two feet, I would have been carried out…..that however is another story…..

I met my husband 10 years ago, I was working and living in Surrey at a residential unit, I was a carer, he was the psychologist. I thought he was completely out of my league. I mean come on, tall, white middle class, educated fitness, then me, short, working class, voluminous (not fat, but curvy), not educated, plain spoken and in my eyes, damaged goods. We spent time together talking, and what I thought was a one night talking session became something that changed my life.  

G said he thought I was “lovely and had a beautiful smile.  We fell in love, but honestly, I never thought it would lead anywhere. In the back of my mind I was always going to have an arranged marriage. I even went through the introduction stage, but realised that I would have destroyed the Indian guy’s life, I didn’t have any right to do that when I was in love with G.  The more time I spent with G, the more I thought, Oh God, I love this guy.  

He became very ill and I supported him through this, I was only 19 but couldn’t leave him. We moved in together and I followed him to our new place. Mum thought I was at uni, then working away, she kept on making up stories to the relatives at home about me.  My relationship with G was clandestine, but he asked me to marry him when I was 22. I remember giving him 20 reasons why he shouldn’t marry me, G being G was very patient (being with me he has to be!), and he simply said I love you you plonker (how romantic) marry me. So I said yes.

Deciding to marry was- without doubt- the most terrifying decision I have ever had to make. I thought I knew what I was doing, what I was giving up. I told my brother who knew about G and I from the start. He was incredibly loving and supportive throughout, without his love and support I wouldn’t have got married.  

I told mum one Sunday afternoon. Mum disowned me straight away and said I had killed her, my dad well, he said ok. To be honest I’m not sure what he really thought. I was the only one speaking to him at the time and he had moved out of the family home (25 years too late but never mind). Again, this whole family thing is another story.

Mum shook her head and didn’t speak to me for over 2 years after.  My sister got married traditionally and my brother well, in our family boys are revered so he could do anything. I called mum often and would hear silence, or she would put the phone down. I swear, in those years I thought I would go crazy and kept on thinking what have I done, what I have done. One time I visited the family home when my sister was there, mum and I had the most horrendous row. She said I had “shamed” her, shamed, the most horrific, painful and hated word in any language as far as I’m concerned. Mum said the most horrid things, and I truly thought I would go mad. I kept on thinking, if mum can’t love me, if I’ve hurt her so much, then no one can love me, I don’t deserve to be around anyone, I don’t deserve to be loved, I’m evil and cause pain. Without the love, patient and endless reassurance from G, I’m not sure I would have survived. He was so amazing, I can’t find words. He showed me what “love” means, kissing my tears way and holding me tight in those dark months…..

My wedding day was 4 years ago, I was 24. It was a hard day. We had a wonderful wedding in a lot of ways, largely due to the generosity of my in-laws. It took a long time to gain their trust because of the class difference (remember the scene in Pretty Woman with the cutlery? That’s the sort of thing, remember, I come from a culture that eats with their hands!). I wore a lengha, and G wore a morning suit (he so looked like Hugh Grant), my brother gave me away and after many tears my sister came with her husband and son. But something was missing, no matter what mum put us through I wanted her there, and she didn’t come.  

It is hard now, mum talks to me and has accepted us into her life, but the wounds are deep, and I am not sure they will ever be filled. I can’t help feeling angry at her, and thinking things like what I tell my kids when I have them about why Nan isn’t in the wedding pictures. Sometimes I feel I am playing a part, and pretending nothing has happened, and have to forget what that woman put us through. G is so understanding, maybe it’s because of his faith, or just because he is just a top man (I know, I’m biased!).  I love my husband, my best friend, every day I am blessed he is in my life and every day he makes me laugh.  

I ask anyone who is considering this step to please, please think very carefully. My dad in a sober moment gave me the only coherent sentence of his life, he said: ”Marriages are hard; mixed marriages will be more difficult”. This is true, people may go against you, you may get stared at, and we got some abuse off the “Indian” community. People will judge you, and you will be the talking point of your family, and have to be the subject of gossip. You will cry….a lot and think numerous times “what the flip am I doing, is it worth all the pain?” Some of you may even find yourselves in dangerous situations, and be threatened. This isn’t said to scare you or to make it sound melodramatic, it’s fact… But I will say from my point of view that I know in my heart, for me, it was worth what I gave up, for the last 4 years of marriage, and 10 years of G.

 

Love isn’t like the films, it’s hard, scary and painful, but it’s also the most wonderful sense of living and joy you will ever feel...............

 

 
[Dopey has very kindly asked us to point out that she can be found via the forum if anyone would like to get in touch with her]

 

 

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