So back to “Dear Zindagi”. The first connection I felt with Alia’s character was that I also don’t have a stable romantic relationship. I have not had much of an intimate relationship with men. The kind of men I have encountered in my life cannot be trusted and sadly none have stood up for me. I have thought a lot about it in the last five years as to why I got a divorce and why I don’t have a partner in life. I always come up with only two factors: 1) No one has ever been loyal to me. I need someone who would be faithful. If I cannot trust the person then I cannot be with them and one way or another I will let that relationship die. 2) I have yet to meet a man who can handle me. I may not feel strong internally but I externally I come off as an independent, strong woman. It is possible that men cannot handle it.
Different women require different things from their spouses or romantic relationships – money, home, children etc., while some were married young and were more open to adjusting. But for me it has always been loyalty and personal strength (confidence). And then I wonder why is that? If I was a little more flexible in my needs I would have stayed married or found someone. And this takes me back to how I grew up being betrayed all the time by the ones close to me.
There were so many times that I just wanted to run away from everything. And even now, when I am living alone, I still want to run away from everything and everyone.
The second thing I could relate to from the movie was the feeling of being abandoned.
First I was happy that I did not have to be with my parents when they left me in India to study, but only later on I realized how wrong that decision of theirs was. No parent sends their 16 year old daughter away to another city - forget another country. They did not send their son anywhere. I was left in care of relatives, but they were strangers to me. At that age I had to learn how to manage so many things.
The same thing happened with my PhD I did not know even what a PhD was. No one in my family had one. Only my MS professors had PhDs and none of us asked them how they got it or why or what to do with it. A number of friends finished their Bachelors or Masters and got married. But not me! I was going to do PhD. I was so proud! Only later I realized that my PhD had nothing to do with anyone caring about my higher education. My father wanted to make sure that my brother had someone taking care of him during his education in USA.
All of this for me translated into: I was no good for anything except to make sure that my father's son was taken care of. Regarding my care, my parents would always say, "Oh she can take care of herself"! Sure!! They had only two responsibilities – one to educate me and one to find a nice family for me (as all Indian parents do for their daughters). The first happened because I was capable of doing PhD and because they did not have to pay a penny for my PhD. And they failed in the second one.
One might say – "Why are you complaining? You have a nice job, a house and you are independent." That is true. That I am thankful for – but there is a gaping hole in my life that will never be filled. And yes there are many girls whose life is tougher than mine – but I can compare myself only to my peers – all of whom are successful career woman with families and a support system. I had to fight for everything myself.
There is always this feeling of abandonment, that everyone is going to leave me eventually (and I am not speaking about death). No matter how much I do for anyone, eventually they will leave me when I need them. And most people have. This is not a feeling I felt one time...this is a feeling that keeps reinforcing continuously with experiences - I cannot ignore it. And the good for nothing husband did the same thing....he chose to leave me instead of fighting for me.
I felt really let down when I got married. No one tried to stop the atrocity that was my marriage. The guy was no where equal to me any way. And in this day and age that should not have been the case. And my parents should have known that they did not raise a Sati-Savitri. But I could see from that time that I was always going to be alone. During the two years that we were looking for a potential husband, my father showed me colors that I have not seen before. I felt completely betrayed. By the time the “would be husband” came along – I was tired of fighting and explaining. I had given up. The loss was mine, and the lesson was mine too. I gave up on any support from my family at that point.
Now I have made myself such that I try to not let things affect me. I do what I have to do, need to do and should do, so I can live without any regrets. But even that can be trying. I have to routinely deal with the negativity of my father, the general apathy from my mother and total lack of support from my brother. Regardless of whether I can get love or not from family, one thing I will surely get is criticism. There is no shortage of that.
One might say I am being dramatic – sure go ahead. It’s my life and my experience. No one is going to come and live my life for me. When the times come, I have to handle things myself. I decided what job was good for me, where I had to move, which house I had to buy etc. I cannot count on anyone’s objective or caring feedback to give me the emotional and mental support I need. I cannot even count on telling anyone anything without them getting all judgmental on me. So now I just keep quiet about so many things.
One might ask – have you talked to your parents about this? My answer is why? There is no need to. Everyone knows what they are doing. My parents are educated, mature individuals who have gone through a lot in their lives also. They know exactly what they are doing and they don’t care for the consequences. One cares for the consequences only if one has something to lose. The one time that I did not speak to them for a few months during my divorce, they drove 11 hrs from Detroit to Kansas City to see me. And since then I don’t make them feel like they need to do reach out to me like that. Regardless of how they behave with me, they are still my parents and if I can make their life easier, I will. They don't really think I have anything to complain about so they will not understand my perspective...so no need to explain anything. Just keep living.......
Because of all this nonsense in my life – loyalty is above anything else to me. My trust has been broken so many times that it is very hard to trust anyone. Although I have to trust people in order to get anything done, but I have noticed that people are not all that dependable anymore. Everyone is looking out for themselves. Their own purpose should be served, that’s all that matters. Everyone for himself!! Sadly I don’t follow that philosophy so I will always have a hard time in life.
And that is why I want to disappear.....I really do.