Thursday, May 03, 2012

'Vidaai' - When your daughter leaves home after marriage


When I first came to Jamshedpur I was surprised to see the open display of emotions when a young bride left home after her wedding. She would weep profusely hugging each member of her immediate and extended family. I come from a community that considered it inauspicious for a girl to cry when she left home. We were expected to control our emotions and put up a brave face while leaving home even if it meant that we had no idea of the kind of person our husbands happened to be.
“A daughter’s tears will ruin her paternal home” was the familiar refrain I grew up listening to.
 I wonder now whether the necessity to hold back tears and control emotions was an unrealistic expectation from women or was it a way of preparing her to face an uncertain future? My north Indian friends tell me that a girl would be considered shameless if she happily accompanied her husband post marriage and the ‘vidai’ ceremony was supposed to be a sad one and shedding tears was a must. I agree about the sadness involved but it may not be possible for every girl to wail and cry to prove her affection for her parents.

All this does not make much sense these days. Girls have in all probability left home to pursue higher education and/or career and are quite capable of managing quite well and better equipped to deal with minor hiccups that she may face in her future home with or without her in laws. My own daughter got married in Mumbai and left for America from there. It was only when I returned to Jamshedpur that it dawned upon me that she would no longer be part of our family as before. I did spend countless nights worrying about her well being. Living on her own in a foreign country with neither set of parents available for advice immediately she could have had her own set of teething problems. I never came to hear of them.  
This brings me to my next question. Have we actually trained our children to deal with adverse situations that they are likely to face when they leave home? Leaving home need not necessarily mean getting married. I deliberately use the word children because I am sure boys too have to deal with a bullying senior or a partial teacher. We never tell our sons that it is okay to cry once in a while nor do we encourage them to share their problems with us.

My days of parenting are almost over. I have made my own mistakes and regretted them too. I would advice young mothers to just be there for your children. Even if you feel that their choice in life (not necessarily marriage) is wrong they ought to know that you are there for them come what may. Shedding copious tears during ‘vidai’ is not sufficient. Lending them a hand in support when they need it would be a better way of expressing your concern.

6 comments:

Shachi said...

Beautiful post. For Gujaratis, crying is a norm. So much so that if mom sees a vidai while passing on the road, she cries. For my wedding, I hardly cried - I was living in the US for 7 years, and was returning to my job. My husband was moving to where I was already working, so there was more of adjustment for him....less for me.

However, my parents have always been there for me. And that is the key. I never find them on my opposite side, even when I'm wrong. And I have no idea what I would do if the situation were otherwise.

I plan to do the same for my children :).

R's Mom said...

RD was upset that I didnt cry AT ALL when I left Baroda to accompany him to Bombay..he was like Arey dont laugh so much people will think you are happy leaving your parents :)

Jokes apart, I think most people do get emotional about their daughters getting married..while going away to study is more like 'okie, they will be back for vacations' getting married means setting up her own household with responsibilities..

I dont know HHG, I am usually a person who can cry for anything and everything, but vidais dont make me very emotional!

Renu said...

earlier in north whole family used to cry so much that even inlaws were unable to stop their tears:)

apu said...

Another South Indian who finds the vidaai ritual baffling :) - for one thing, we're always taught that tears are "inauspicious" and out of place at an auspicious occasion, and secondly, never really felt sad about getting married :)

Yes, was going to live away from my parents, so what?

Life is beautiful said...

I think the day I left my home (home town)for higher education, my real vidaai happen.I can still remember the face of my mother when she was sending me off for the hostel.I cried alot that day.
When my actual vidaai
(marriage) happenned I was not that sad any more.
For me it was just a ritual.
However i believe my parents were never away from my heart. Somehow staying far away from home, i learnt to hide my problems from them, do not want to make them worry anymore by my worries.

Aparna said...

I agree with you... Even I come from a family which considers tears at a marriage inauspicious. But, a slight variation from your version is that the tears at a marriage are considered inauspicious for the bride and not for the paternal home. In fact we are told that the merrier the atmosphere at the vidai, the happier the bride will be.
Though not married, I consider my vidai done, when I left home at the age of 17 to work in a God-Forsaken Railway Station!!!!