Advice: Mother Doesn’t Support My Decision to Live in India

Dear Lauren, It has been my dream since childhood to live in India. I have lived my whole life in the USA and I visited India for the first time last year and confirmed my love for the country. I met a boy who I would consider marrying. I’ve tried to mention this to my mother and she screamed at me and said I’ve ruined her life and have to stay in the USA. I have Italian citizenship, so either way I’m going to leave the USA. My dream is to settle and marry in India! What should I do? Should I just not tell my family? They are mean and don’t understand my deep feelings.

Anonymous Reader

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I’m sorry your mother feels this way, it must have heartbreaking to hear her say that! There are a couple of things I would like to talk about. Firstly, visiting India and living in India are two very different experiences. The first time I came to India, I stayed for five weeks and thought living here would be a little hard at first but I would soon feel completely at home. It actually took me about two years to really feel settled in India, to understand the cultural divide enough not to get frustrated at absolutely everything that didn’t fit my expectations. Have you considered coming to India for a prolonged stay before moving?

I’m not sure if I am mistaken, but from your message it seems that you are considering marrying an Indian so you can live in India. Please, don’t marry someone for this reason. If I have misread your message, I’m sorry for the misunderstanding. When you move abroad for love, it’s of paramount importance that your spouse is supportive, understanding and open to discussing the dynamics of the country so you are able to learn and understand where you are both coming from if cultural conflict arises.

Finally, your well-being will be your mother’s priority, even if she is hurting you now, it’s most likely because she is worried that you will get hurt in some way. She might have preconceived ideas about India and be confused by your decision. Give her space and time for it to sink in, it would have been a huge shock. Not only that, she will miss you.

My advice would be to visit India again before making a permanent move, to get to know this guy better and to give your mother an opportunity to make peace with the idea. Perhaps try to find an internship or something similar. I wouldn’t just leave without telling them, it’s best to be honest and to try to reassure them that you haven’t taken this decision lightly. If they still don’t support you, at least they know where you are. Sending love.

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Dear Readers, Do you have any advice, experience or a fresh perspective to offer? (Helpful and respectful comments only)

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Goddess Durga Starts to take Her Nine Forms

Goddess Durga is very special to me, I love to visit her temples, read her stories and listen to songs devoted to her. I couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit the workshops in Chitaroli (Nagpur) to see the preparations for the upcoming festivities celebrating my favourite deity.

These are the same workshops where I saw the Lord Ganesh idols being made for Ganesh Chathurthi. Those amazing elephant headed idols have returned to clay at the bottom of the lakes of Nagpur, and now it’s time for Goddess Durga to take form...

durga being made model clay puja idol lion Goddess

Navratri (nine divine nights) begins this week, a festival dedicated to worshiping the nine divine forms of Goddess Durga:

1st day: Shailputri is mother nature herself. The Goddess rides a bull, has a half-moon on her forehead, a trident in her right hand and a lotus in her left. She is also known as Parvati or Sati.

2nd day: Brahmachaarini is the personification of love and loyalty, she carries mala beads (a rosary) in one hand and a kamandalu (a pot) in the other. This form of Goddess Durga performs great penance in the name of love.

3rd day: Chandraghantaa rides a tiger and is responsible justice and dharma (righteousness) in the world. She has golden skin and ten arms, one of her hands holds a bell which scares away demons. Unlike the previous two forms, Chandraghantaa is capable of terrifying anger if provoked.

4th day: Kushmaandaa is the form of Goddess Durga whose smile can cast away darkness from the world,  her laughter is so great it could create an entire universe! She has eight arms, rides a lion and shines like the sun.

5th day: Skandmaataa is goddess of fire and has four arms and three eyes. Whilst sitting on a lotus flower, she holds her son on her lap, she represents the mother aspect of Goddess Durga.

6th day: Kaatyaayani is epitome of love combined with anger, she has four arms, three eyes, and rides a lion. She is the daughter form of Goddess Durga.

7th day: Kaalaraatri the most violent form of Goddess Durga, she shows a dark side to life. Kaalraatri is the destroyer of demons, she even drinks their blood! Her skin colour is black or blue and her hair is wild. She has huge eyes, can breathe fire and rides either a corpse or a donkey. Worshiping Kaalaraatri can make you fearless!

8th day: Maha Gauri is worshipped as her eight year old self, radiating compassion and peace. She is now the opposite of her previous form, Kaalraatri.  Her complexion is the fairest of all, and can be compared to a conch shell, the moon or Jasmine flowers.  She is often dressed in a white or green sari and holds a drum and a trident.

9th day: Siddhidaatri is the form of Goddess Durga who grants wishes, bestows knowledge and heals the sick. Shiddhidatri has four arms and rides a lion.

Can you spot the different forms of Goddess Durga in the photos I have taken?

durga being made model clay puja idol lion Goddess

Eight arms

durga being made model clay puja idol lion Goddess

durga being made model clay puja idol lion Goddess

Riding on six lions

durga being made model clay puja idol lion Goddess

Fresh clay before paint

durga being made model clay puja idol lion Goddess

Ornate crown

durga being made model clay puja idol lion Goddess

Different styles

durga being made model clay puja idol lion Goddess

Busy streets

durga being made model clay puja idol lion Goddess

Divine!

durga being made model clay puja idol lion Goddess

Artist painting her beautiful faces

durga being made model clay puja idol lion Goddess

durga being made model clay puja idol lion Goddess durga being made model clay puja idol lion Goddess durga being made model clay puja idol lion Goddess

durga being made model clay puja idol lion Goddess

My husband and the sunset

durga being made model clay puja idol lion Goddess

The Mother

durga being made model clay puja idol lion Goddess

A smile which casts away darkness

durga being made model clay puja idol lion Goddess

Blow touch drying, the festival is only days away!

durga being made model clay puja idol lion Goddess

durga being made model clay puja idol lion Goddess

Look at that severed head!

durga being made model clay puja idol lion Goddess

Defeating demons!

It was such an honour to see the divine feminine, Goddess Durga, take form. Can you imagine how beautiful they will be once they are painted and adorned with sarees and jewelry?

Like these photos? Check out my photographs from the Ganesh Chathurthi Workshops.

Beauty & the Bindi

“A woman’s beauty is multiplied 1,000 times when she wears a bindi”- Indian proverb It goes without saying, English life and Indian life are further than just their distance.. Different languages, cuisines, fashion, climate- just to name some of the obvious ones. … Continue reading