Reading this reminded me once again how lucky R, O, Plus & I are.
Let’s start at the very beginning. R is a Malayalee Syrian Christian & I am a Tamil Hindu. At least, by birth, we are this. And as the fairy tale goes, we met, we were stupid, we married, and we are trying to live happily ever after **silly smiley**.
Were our parents concerned about our choice? Yes.
Were they worried about what family and friends would think of this union? Yes.
Did they think that our different religions would pose a problem in future, especially once children make an appearance? Yes.
Did they express their doubts, concerns, and worries to us? Yes.
Did they disapprove of our decision? Maybe, in some remote parts of their heart and mind.
Did they make us feel like villains or victims? NO!
Did they make a public spectacle of their concerns? NO!
Once they were done asking questions and we were done answering them, did they nag us? NO!
Did they support us? Yes! Even when some nosey-parkers tried to interfere they were politely (and sometimes, not so politely) asked to buzz off.
Did they make us feel welcome and part of the family? Yes!
Did they ever, ever, ever again in the 10 years of marriage bring up any of their initial concerns? Not to date!
Did the birth of their grandchild, and the expectation of another, rear the ugly head of religious ownership? No.
Did a request of Baptism, Hindu naming ceremony or any other religious procedure ever come up? No.
Would they like it if we volunteered? Of course, they would love it. But they are not unhappy and sulky that we don’t.
It is not that the families, most of whom are religious, had no reservations. It’s the fact that they put our interests above their prejudices. Their priority was that their son/daughter-brother/sister was happy.
I’ve gotten so used to the hassle-free life that I forget inter-religious marriages anywhere in the world is strife-ridden.
In our case it helped that neither of us were religious practitioners. We believe in the concept of goodness and express it in ways our birth religion has influenced us to.
Our daughter now gets similar indoctrination.
What is wonderful about my family and R’s is that the much dreaded change-of-heart that people predicted post first child, never happened.
I used to be extremely sensitive to the situation and look out for the faintest hint of religious ownership. After several false accusations, I realized that I only ended up looking stupid and petty in front of people who were being really understanding and tolerant of my immaturity.
R on the other hand doesn’t care. While I am uncomfortable when his aunts invite me for a prayer meeting and fuss with him, he says he would attend one if my family invited him, because he would be happy that they thought he should be included. The point is, I fuss even if my aunts or uncles invite me for their prayers and bhajans.
But we are very different people, and I am more of the fault-finding type.
But I am also the count-your-blessings types… and this is one I should count a million times over.