Set them free and let them soar…

Today I read this story about a young Indian woman who left her bad marriage to find a life of hope with a goal of fulfilling her dreams. It’s sad to see that on one hand, educated, accomplished women in India have the ability to excel at their jobs and live independently but on the other hand, they don’t have the freedom to choose their life partner. They are bound by the shackles of parents, family and society. They are victims of a culture that values parental consent more than an individual’s freedom and choice.

It also reminded me of a conversation I had with my friend Julia, on our train ride one evening. She told me about her colleague who is an Indian. His girlfriend broke up with him. She was getting married to someone who her parents chose and didn’t have the courage to go against them. Julia said that she was shocked to hear that parents who live far away in India still control their children’s choices and pretty much rule their lives. She said that these young individuals are living in San Francisco, working in tech companies and probably making big decisions everyday. But their parents think that they can’t they be trusted with life-partner decisions. She just couldn’t wrap her mind around this. With big eyes she looked at me and said, “Can you believe it?? This is happening in 2016… in 2016!” I wasn’t shocked and responded that I could completely believe it and knew of many people back home with similar stories. I added, although heart broken, in some ways, her colleague was lucky. He deserved a woman who is stronger and could stand up to her parents and express her opinion.

This made me introspect and wonder — Why are Indian parents control freaks when it comes to their children’s marriage? Why are the stakes so high? Why are women and men forced to marry someone their family chooses? Why are families devastated when sons or daughters make their own choices? Why?

My advice for Indian parents is — Your children have grown up. Set them free and let them soar… You’ll be amazed at how how high they can fly!