Dear Bela Aunty and Mela Aunty,
I am a mother to a daughter who had always been a sweet and good girl. She has always been very respectful to her father and me and even won a scholarship to an excellent university. She will be graduating in a few months and has already secured a good-paying job in Manhattan. You would think we had nothing to worry about, but, listen to this, Aunties. She has informed us that she will be living in an apartment in Manhattan with two other friends, one of them is a boy. She says there is no romantic line between her and the boy and that this arrangement is for financial convenience. What financial convenience, when she can live with us, her own parents, for free? Even if we did believe her, we have told her that what she will be doing is not permissive in our society. How could she do this? We live 10 minutes from Manhattan, and our own girl, who is unmarried, is choosing to not live with her parents. We fear we have lost her and we are worried and depressed and are bracing ourselves for the gossiping tongues.
Concerned and Depressed Mother
I understand your concerns and worries. I would have the same ones. You know how it is for these children who live desi lives with us at home and then lead American lives when they leave. It is hurtful to you, but natural to her. I believe she is still a sweet and good girl and that she will be open to reasoning. Give her time to understand that if she wants financial convenience then there is nothing better than living with her parents. But do not force her because she will resent you and there is nothing more hurtful to a parent. And listen, who cares about those gossip mongers? They will be gossiping because you have raised a smart daughter who won a scholarship and now has a job. People will always gossip. See it this way, when they stop gossiping, you know you must have died. Good luck with your daughter, my sister.
My dear sister, for as long as time, offspring have grown up and left their parents’ homes. Is that not what you did? It is the way of normal life. How can you lose something you can never own? We do not own our children, we only have the privilege of kindling the light within them and opening them up to possibilities. And then we may have the blessing of sharing in their light. There are children who are lost in so many ways, and they are all tragic to the parents. But, in your case, there is only cause for celebration and joy. Your daughter has parents who gave her the love and support and she is returning the favor by living smart and doing well in life. Your family society is what you build within your own walls. No other society trumps your family society. But I think all she really wants is to know that her parents love and respect and support her. With that, she will have the courage to continue succeeding.
And my sister, how do you know people are gossiping? Maybe they look up to you and your husband as parents they hope to emulate. Maybe, it is words of respect and admiration that leave their tongue. Do not be concerned and depressed about what you think people will be saying.