The Indian Culture has by most part been rewarding albeit certainly challenging at times. Just when you thought you had come to terms with all the cultural aspects alas you hit another speed hump in the road. Today of all days is supposed to be a joyous time celebrating with friends and family - Christmas Day. However just as we were planning to leave for dinner then attend church to watch the Christmas Lights, my husband receives a phone call. His friend's mother just passed away after a week long battle at home after being discharged from hospital. They were anticipating this time to come for days now so it was no surprise. Our plans were immediately cancelled as my husband rushes out the door to be at his friends side. The time for mourning in India lasts days, and I am sitting at home alone, whilst my husband and his family are preparing for the mourning service. It is not acceptable as a foreign bride for me to attend the service as it is a gloomy and ominous occasion. Opposed to what I believe should be a celebration of one's life. So here I am alone, on a day where I would normally be surrounded by all my family laughing over silly jokes as we crack open our bon bons and stuff ourselves silly with food. Certainly by no means am I detracting from the terrible loss that our friend has suffered. Albeit this is the norm, people are expected to make haste at the drop of a call no matter your plans. So here are the main challenges that I face day to day as the foreign Indian wife living in India.
Mum Will Always Be Number One
The Indian Culture is very family oriented with the mother caring for her children till the day she dies. She will always serve them no matter what she is doing, and be sure to do it with haste. So don't be surprised that he will always go to his mother before his wife if he needs something. If my husband asks me to make him a cup of tea and I am in the middle of eating breakfast I will tell him to wait five minutes. If he were to ask his mother the same she would happily oblige. So as you can see there is no competing with an Indian mothers affection. It is best to accept that his mother will always be number one if you want to have a happy marriage.
There Will Always Be Something More Important
Indians are innately social beings; they highly value friends and family and have a calendar full of occasions to celebrate. Friends and family are always calling for my husband to accompany them. Anywhere from a friend's wedding or funeral, to a visit to the dentist or workout at the gym. No matter the occasion it will always be of utmost importance.
You Are Married To The Family
Everyone in India is your Brother or Sister and are treated just as so. At times it can be confusing when my family refer to my elder Sister as I don't have one. They are actually referring to a female elder relative which could mean anyone as family's are massive in India. You can read more about my Indian family in my post Why I Love My Indian Family. Don't be surprised when your Cousin tells you how much your husband loves you the day after you just had an argument with your husband. Or your Aunt comes to tell you your husband can't make it home tonight as he is in hospital with your brother. Or your Brother brings home the box of tampons that you had asked your husband to buy the other day.
Your Husband Will Always Call His Friends To Do Things
With sexism so deeply embedded in the Indian Culture it is not difficult to understand why most men will call a friend to do errands rather than his wife. It would usually be expected that a husband and wife would go together to do certain errands or as support for one another. When my brother was injured in a motorcycle accident my husband visited the hospital with family and friends everyday whilst I was left at home alone, helpless to do nothing. Each time someone passes away I am left helpless at home alone whilst my husband will attend the funeral with friends and family which can be for days on end. Even errands like having immigration documents attested at the courts my husband will call a friend. It is difficult to sit aside and watch everyone else in your life support your husband whilst you are helpless to do nothing.
You Are Marrying The Culture
Those endless jubilant dance numbers in Bollywood Movies sum up the essence of the Indian Culture. There is an infinite number of exuberant cultural traditions that are celebrated with much enthusiasm and gusto. It is this culture that makes him the man he is.