My Story: My In-Laws Didn’t Even Want Me To Change My Name Or Get Us Married In A Traditional Religious Way
She doesn’t look like a mom to a 21-year-old. Full of life and child-like enthusiasm Rasheeda Lakshmidhar is surely an interesting mum we have come across in our journey.
“ I am the only child to my parents and the best thing they ensured was that I was educated as they weren’t in life. Mum has been a stay-at- home individual but an entrepreneur too in her own right. She would embroider and earn her pocket money as seamstress too and up cycle used products, stitch bags, make decorative artifacts etc and use that money to help lesser privileged. until I completed my college. I have worn clothes stitched by her, including skirts and shirts.
I learnt generosity and compassion from them, despite them having barely enough to ensure my schooling, paid for my own college fee while giving tuition since 8th standard- and the working part time in a 3-star-hotel near my college – self-reliant like my mom and pride and dignity in labor from dad. They are literate in Hindi and Gujarati and had attended school for some time in Gujarat. They loved reading novels and so I grew up with that wonderful habit and though they wouldn’t understand English, they would take me for English movies too and I would explain the story to them, and we would even go for bond movies.
I was put in a convent school in Hyderabad as that was one of the best schools then, and though it was mainly the rich upper class coming in chauffeur driven vehicles, my dad, till my 10th standard would drop me on his cycle and my teachers would love my parents and appreciate their dedication and keep drilling me how much I owe my parents.
I belong to the traditional Bohri Muslim family and after a courtship of three months, I met my husband while working in ‘Holiday inn’- Hyderabad. Surprisingly nothing like a Bollywood drama happened as my husband is a Hindu Punjabi from Chandigarh. There were no objections or reservations from either side.
Since my folks are very religious and traditional, I know now that all that mattered to them was if I was happy. They didn’t care about the world, as I was theirs.
My father-in-law was progressive too and didn’t even want me to change my name or get us married in a traditional Hindu or Muslim way.
Yes, of course, our cultures, lifestyle, thought processes were different and it has been a been a roller coaster ride.
I observe Ramzan, I fast, I celebrate Diwali with a small arati and rangoli but no crackers, and for Christmas we have our variations of a tree lit up (mostly it’s pile of books or artwork) and then go to a church for mass and then go around looking at different display of cribs and generally soak in that entire festive spirit.
My husband traveled across India on his jobs – so did we, so any which ways focus on a career strategy was not important. Like my mom, I too wanted to be a hands-on mum as even my husband was in a demanding hospitality industry. It was imperative that I stay home and enjoy the pleasure of watching her grow. I really don’t regret of not having a chartered career path.
I have managed roles like being a teacher, as an administrator, a student coordinator, as a recruiter and now since the last few years, I am working as a manager client engagement in an organization that offers psychological counseling support to corporates.
I do hope my daughter Lubaina, is known to be as compassionate, generous and kind human being. I wish she will also travel the world hopefully. I have tried to instill in her head that being well-read and financially independent is very important. Constant learning and hard work is the key to all the success, once she is sorted that in life all other things will fall in place. I so believe in instant karma – hat you sow, shall you reap.
I have the tendency to adopt her dreams, her dreams become mine. Until her 12th from her 6th standard she had decided she will be a vet as she loves animals and even though I wasn’t very convinced (she just didn’t have the aptitude for any sciences except biology)
However, the pressure got too much on her during boards and cet etc and we took a break for a whole year after to figure out the next year. I always wanted her to pursue art or literature as she writes very well and is wonderful at drawing, which she considered her hobby. Now she is pursuing visual art n creative communication.
My wish is also that I get to see her work displayed in art galleries and that some day I manage a gallery for her artwork.
My husband works out of Pune and Lubaina and I have been living on our own for almost a decade by ourselves. When she was tiny as a baby she would love sleeping on me all the time, the smell of her the way she clutched a strand of my hair in her fist, Gosh!! I cherish those years.
We have travelled too quite a bit as mum and daughter. Many of her birthday occasions have been celebrated with great aplomb and she is soon going to be 21. I also realize I may have gone overboard at times as compared to how I was brought up. Hence it becomes even tougher for me to make her listen to me, whereas I was a very obedient less assertive.
I wasn’t exposed to a lot of things, I led a sheltered life despite working at an early age, and Lubaina has been aware of a lot of things at a much earlier age than I was.
I am proud to be the daughter to my parents, considering the background I was raised in and I know it’s been an achievement for me and them that I can hold my own now. I am independent and have broken several taboos.
Me playing both mom and dad – has been quite a tightrope walk and also let her do what she wants in life. Also as a parent, I have begun to trust her judgement without me hovering around. The last few years have been both exhilarating and taxing for both of us while she was evolving into her own and me trying to let go of holding her hand for everything since her dad pampers her more during his holidays and visits with us.”