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During her higher studies Nina has fallen in love with Rahul. He is fifteen years older than her, a professor in the English department at the arts faculty. As their relationship develops, Nina unknowingly likes Rahul. It is her first experiences; she offers her heart expects in return she imagines that the combined forces of love and devotion will persuade them into married life. She keeps secret of this relationship from her mother.
In Indian society, arranged marriages are always acceptable and love marriages are viewed as the social crime and are viewed with degradation.
Many Indians notion is that the arranged marriages are more favourable outcome than the love marriages. She seriously thinks and hesitates to say about her love to her mother. She is compel and force to keep her emotions tightly in.
She reveals her love to Rahul but he made it clear that he does not love her. She understands that she also become a cake for Rahul who “eats it too like all cakes this one was chewed mashed into pulp and swallowed (4).
Her self-respect finally forces her to choose loneliness over compromises. Silently she grieves because she loses her lover. She feels hurt and lonely. Her mother does not know anything about the anguish of her daughter. After many days, she experiences the pain of separation. She misses her supportive father, and also she gets anguish about her widowed mother. Both of them miss a strong patriarchal support which leads their life misery. She says If papa were alive, we would not be here.
Nice way to spend my birthday (10).
Nina wants to see her mother happy so she hides all her wishes and she is ready to make a trip to the astrologer. The typical Indian mindset parents consider their daughter as a burden and a liability, likewise her mother also think her as a burden and the responsibility of her mother makes the life of Nina burdensome. In modern Indian society, a daughter should marry in her late twenties otherwise it brings embarrassment upon her parents. Shanti has realised the difficulties of thirty but Nina does not realised that being thirty will be so difficult. Actually she had expected to go on feeling young, alone and wrong till she died. Then her body stepped in to a make difference in her mind (48-9).
The marriage is viewed as flesh and blood to life for the middle class Indian woman. As Myles Munroe has stated in purpose and power of love and marriage, Marriage is two imperfect people committing themselves to a perfect institution, by making perfect vows from imperfect lips before a perfect god (469). Thus the marriage is the final destination where all women should enter after the successful completion of their education.
Inspite of being educated and independent, the marriage brings disappointment to Nina and her mother. In an attempt to make her daughter well adjusted in the domineering social set up unintentionally she becomes the voice of patriarchy in order to bringing up Nina. But it creates an inner turmoil in the daughter and makes the mother-daughter relationship unpleasant. Manju Kapur asserts:
The conflict between mother and daughter is inevitable in all ages. I suppose I was a difficult daughter myself. The conflict carries on through generation because mothers want their daughters to be safe. We want to make the right choices-right in the sense that they are socially acceptable. My mother wanted me to happily married. (107)
Like Kapur, Nina over comes every problem an d understands her Indian mother mind set.
Her mother often asserts to Nina that women get respect and recognition through the marriage and motherhood and not through education. Here the mother does not create a pleasant atmosphere for the development of her daughters personality through education, self-determination and independence, but in reality she offers the suffocating and domineering set up which crushes an autonomy and individuality of her daughter. Kaushik remarks:
Her education and professional attainments are underdeveloped, her ambitions and aspirations are curbed or trimmed and she is taught to play a role to in-laws in general and to the husband in particular with self sacrifice. Her physical and intellectual potentialities are thus subordinated and subjected to her assigned domestic roles and duties (167)
Nina knows the importance of higher education in the life of a woman. She knows that her education brings a philosophical and visionary outlook that helps her to improve her personality and articulate herself. She believes that through her education she will get self-reliance and a broader outlook that enables her to claim her rights on equal footing with her male counterpart in the future. Nina states that Yet education was a gift and she would not exchange the life of the mind for any humdrum marriage (3).
When a marriage proposal comes for Nina from an NRI, a dentist by profession but settled in Canada, her mother happiness has no bounds and she prays for the proposal to materialize. Shanti wants her daughter to settle down in the foreign place by saying, If you are married an NRI or someone in the foreign services, you could live abroad nicely (11). This is what every Indian dreams of. Every Indian wants to settle in abroad for the better opportunities but in reality it is very harsh to swallow the experiences of being immigrant.
Nina is caught in a dilemma state that she does not wish to leave her widowed mother alone because she thinks that after marriage she cannot look after her mother in the hours she need her daughter. Because she is the only daughter and has the responsibility to take care her mother and also she does not wish to leave her career. Nina knows that her mother cannot claim any rights after her marriage. After long struggle, she agrees to get married for the happiness of her mother Maybe she should just say yes. She wanted a family, she wanted children, she wanted to make her mother happy (70).
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