Skip to main content


I suppose you could say that I am a person who takes risks.

Most sensible people don't do that.

Years ago, in Dublin, I gave up a 'permanent' job for a temporary one.  I wasn't really taking risks.  Or rather I was but the job wasn't the risk.  I was about to give up my life in Ireland and come out to India and marry Yash.  I was giving up my job and trying out life in a very different environment.  I had a lot to lose if things went wrong.

I had about six months left to stay in Ireland.  I'd planned to come out here in October.  I was using the time to wind up my affairs, finish whatever courses I was doing and slowly disentangling myself from various commitments in my Irish life, like the social work organisation in which I worked several hours a week - that sort of thing.

Apart from that, I was in a job rut.  I'd been in the same job for eight and a half years.  The office had had several changes of staff and had changed beyond recognition.  The original work for which I'd been hired - stenography - had been given into the hands of a person who was senior to me and my position was that of a glorified photocopier.  And teamaker.  This was, I think, because of jealousy.  Certain senior members of the staff  didn't like 'the office girls' to be a party to confidential information. Is it necessary to say that I was bored senseless?

Just when I thought that work couldn't get any more pointless, I got a telephone call from an Irish government organisation for which I'd been interviewed a few months earler, having done their recruitment examination.  I had in the meantime received a letter saying that I was no. 17 on the panel.  The personnel officer who made the call explained that they were not in a position to offer me a permanent job at that moment in time.  They had, however, this wonderful, temporary job very near my home.  For six months.  Would I take it?  Well, they didn't have to ask me twice.  Six months was as much as I was planning to stay in Ireland. I never regretted that move.   Being temporary was an exciting challenge.  I was on top of the world.  Work was exciting and challenging again. There's nothing like insecurity to give you a buzz.  Everyone said I was taking a risk but I knew I was doing the right thing.

When I came out to India to marry Yash, I never thought I was taking a risk.  Didn't I love him?  Of course!  Didn't he love me?  Certainly!  What could go wrong?

Well a lot did go wrong but I'd like to think it's worked out in the end.  The first thing he informed me when I stepped off the plane was how great it was for the whole family to live together.  Such great support!  Such security and safety!  I wondered was I hallucinating when Yash started speaking like this.  Actually, he'd lived away from home for many years and was sentimental about his lovely parents and rightly so.  They were fantastic but - one man's mother is someone else's mother-in-law.  Mothers and mothers-in-law are not the same people at all no matter how we may try to wish it otherwise.  Yash, aged then forty, had had plenty of fun living away from home for many years.  He now wanted to remain with his parents until the end of their lives.  On more than one occasion I was tempted to ask him why he hadn't told me this before I'd cut loose from Ireland.  But I decided to refrain from whinging and just get on with things.

I was to learn a great deal.  Such as the fact that Yash wasn't 'my' man so much as he was 'the family's' man.  He was their son/brother/uncle.  I was some upstart who'd just married in.  When I gave birth to my son, it was the family's child, not 'mine'.  The in-laws were inclined at times to tick me off for not taking proper care of 'their' grandchild', to my horror.  I wouldn't mind, but most of the time they were just fussing, not being practical. I learnt to live with it.  Just let's say that I initially found it rather claustrophobic and I don't mean to lay the blame on anyone.

The claustrophobia wasn't the worst part though.  No.  The worst part was the 'customs'.  Many people are aware that in India, people have traditionally given dowry with their daughters at the time of marriage.  Well dowry, i.e. a gift of property, is now banned in India and many families claim they don't give or take it, which is very progressive.  There are, however, certain customs of gift giving.  In certain communities new brides bring in sets of clothes and jewellery as gifts for their new in-laws.  The in-laws also gift saris and jewellery to the bride.  It is an unwritten law that the gifts given by the bride are richer and more expensive than the ones she receives in return.  No one ever says so, but everyone knows.

This bride, i.e. me, however, didn't know anything about it and gave nothing to anyone.  I received some gifts of saris and jewellery and said thank you and accepted them quite unknowingly.    Imagine my shock when a relative  demanded  a return gift from my husband on the grounds of having given me a gift..  My husband handed  over twice the value of her gift in  rupees in return and she purchased an expensive sari, wore it in front of me and said proudly: "I fought with your husband to give me this."  When I asked her why, she said "it's my right."  She wasn't the only one who did that either, but it took me several years to figure out what was going on.  My mother-in-law purchased saris from the local market to give to all the aunts and female relatives so further scenes like this would be avoided.  It is to her credit that they never told me that I was supposed to pay for them, but seeing this going on made me very uncomfortable. I would probably have said  'tell them that the bride didn't bring any gifts and let them lump it.'  Apparently this would have made everyone hate me.

Well, there are some things which you are better off not knowing! Otherwise, you'd never take a risk!

This topic ('Risks') was chosen by Grannymar.  This is my weekly post for the Loose Blogger Consortium. We are a group of bloggers from different parts of the world with diverse views and styles of writing, and we post simultaneously (well, we try to) on a weekly basis on a given topic.  This week we are joined by two new members, Delirious and Padmini. Currently active members are, in alphabetical order AshokConrad, gaelikaa, Grannymar, and Rummuser.

Intense Debate comment system is installed. If you would like to leave a comment, please click on the title of this post and allow a little time for the comment system to load - thanks

Popular posts from this blog


Many years ago, when I lived in Dublin, I met someone nice and started dating. I wasn't serious, I just thought we could have nice interesting discussions about India, which I found absolutely fascinating, as I was working in the Embassy of India back then. I had no intention of getting attached with a foreigner, with all the attendant cultural problems. I was happy living in Ireland and the idea of marriage couldn't have been further from my mind. We both thought we could just keep things in control. One day, after a lot of emotional turmoil and denial, it hit us both that we were in love. Truly. Madly. Irrevocably. To the point where we couldn't live without each other. I'd known about the Indian system of arranged marriages and when it occurred to me that he would probably be married off by his family as soon as he returned to India, I felt physically ill at the thought. We are both tenacious and patient people. We realised that bringing our two worlds together

The Tale of One Kitty

The cat..... Those who know me already might say that they didn't know I had a cat.  I didn't, you know! Our dog, Duggu is such a handful, I didn't think we could take on another pet. But a few months ago, a beautiful cat (whom we eventually named Puggle)  arrived. She's not really ours..... Nope! She's someone else's cat who just went on what the Aussies might call a walkabout. My younger daughter Riya found her on the roof of our house, a pretty calico (three-coloured) cat. Riya was instantly smitten. Some milk was fed to the little creature and the deal was sealed. Puggle has been a regular visitor to our house ever since. And two days after she arrived, in mid-May, she gave birth to four kittens. We'd had no idea the kitty was enceinte. So what did we do? What can you do? If a single mom landed on your doorstep and gave birth in your house, what would you do? Try to help, obviously. As the cat bore no identification and had been roaming the colony unst

A Blogging Guru

This is what a guru looks like - well something like it! Back to blogging I'm back at my blogging again. Three blogs at the moment. Not bad really, is it? My favourite blogging adventure was my original expat blog, which, unfortunately, I had to close once I was no longer able to blog anonymously. Because it was what some of our US based friends might call 'way TMI.  This is my general blog, MBB is my book blog and My East/West Life is my current attempt at blogging about life in India for an Irish wife. Then there's the experimental writing blog on Wordpress....and you know, can you believe I've been blogging for ten years now? Yes, that's right. But I've taken a looooong hiatus from blogging recently owing to the loss of a beloved family member. And I've stood back from the blogging a little. And then I came back. And amazingly, I've discovered stuff I never knew before. New discoveries I discovered that owing to Adsense ads, I've