The Push of A ‘Suitable Boy’’ Or the Pull of a Heavy Metal Loving Atheist? I chose the latter.
It was no secret to me, even at seven, that all ‘good’ Indian girls and boys obediently at a certain age shuffle into the ranked lines of faith, caste, education, career and earnings ready for an arranged marriage of ‘fate’. Where everything is left up to God!
I tried to live the prescriptive life of where I should study, which career I should choose and who I should marry.
Let’s just say ‘should’ just got blown out and FATE gave way to WILL and LOGIC.
At sixteen I didn’t see how the ‘It worked for everyone else’ was good enough for me even if was just ‘ordinary me’.
WILL and LOGIC pushed me in the direction I wanted to go.
First, I negotiated my way back to my home in Manchester UK from boarding school in the Himalayas in India so I could bond with my family I left behind nine years ago. I pushed away the medical career choices my adults believed were best for me and chose the new-fangled career called computer science (It was mid 80s).
Barely two years back into the fold of my family, at nineteen, whist in my first year at university I realised I was hurling towards a big rock which would annihilate my ‘new bond’ with my parents. Their warnings words of “Don’t come back with a boyfriend. It will destroy yours and our dreams and bring shame and dishonour to us in our wider community’ haunted me.
My trusted friends – WILL and LOGIC couldn’t do a thing for me.
I had just gone and fallen in love with my best friend, who was not of my caste, a Hindu or even of Indian origin.
Instead he was an Anglo-Saxon atheist.
Suffocating questions swirled in my head.
What would I do if it didn’t work out? It’s not like I hadn’t heard enough of my dad’s conversations about the ‘failed mixed marriages’ he dealt with at his magistrate court because of cultural incompatibilities.
Could I cope with someone who didn’t think or rate such things?
Could he cope with public racism, extended family gatherings and melodrama?
Unchecked my stress took hold of me. I became dangerously anaemic and very thin. I began to faint in public and cause concern. Counselling didn’t work. To cope, after my graduation I joined a MSc programme away from both home and Miles. In the meantime, my parents found a ‘suitable boy’ who fit their marriage criteria. I went to see him at Heathrow airport when he was on his way from his home in Canada to India to meet a string of prospective wives. He was a shocking mismatch. Annoyed I stepped on the escalator in Heathrow airport and finally knew who I had to choose.
I CHOSE ME.
Choosing me made everything sad, happy, painful up to that moment WORTH IT. It led me to show COMPASSION to myself and then to the greater epiphany of LOVE.
It was with love and curiosity, that I packed my bags and moved to Miles’ parent’s house and hometown. Soon I realised why we had been pulled together. Whist I had been bought up by a Welsh lady from a month to seven years of age. His days had been spent with the Indian family next door when his mother went to work. My decision to marry Miles was simple.
My father’s love pushed at my decision and I was not allowed back in my father’s house for a year. I pestered him with my love by appearing in public places where I knew he would be until on the day of my registry wedding he was the first witness to sign the register.
I knew the pull of my love was GREATER than his push.
It turns out that Will and Logic doesn’t necessarily move the rock in your life. But the gentle pull of love will make the largest rock willingly roll to you.
Love changed my mindset. It gave me the freedom to change careers according to whatever life chucked at me. I’ve been a computer science lecturer, software engineer and when Miles was diagnosed with Crohns and son with dyspraxia I became a primary school teacher and then a novelist. My local community noticed my career changes in adversity and were keen to know my secret and that’s how I began my coaching career as a clear-thinking life coach.
What’s my secret? Quite simply a playful mindset.
Surrendering to life, rather than pushing it allows me to use the pull of my curiosity to look at a problem, acknowledge the pain or anxiety with compassion and then with apply buckets of optimism and spade loads more of curiosity to pat the problem into a mission… a project… a solution. I find the playground of life is joyous when you take the slides with the high climbing frames and fall unintentionally in sandpit of treasures.