Ammi and MeEven now, as a 60 year old woman, I have problems with my Ammi (mother). Ammi was young when she had me, 15, similar to the age I was when I had my first daughter. although she was young, she was prepared for motherhood, unlike me. What she wasn't prepared for was motherhood with a daughter like me. I had 7 other sister, Meher, Farida, Noor, Randa, Shabna, Sajida, and Haseena. My other sisters followed the advices of my mother and did exactly as she said. As crazy as it is, my 13 yr old sister Meher actually agreed to an arranged marriage before I did, but my father decided she was too young.
When my parents told me about getting me married to my husband, I initially resisted. I wanted to continue learning at school and being a child. My father was ready to drop it, but my mother insisted I marry. When I told her no again, she said that she would throw me out onto the street. I would have to live like a beggar. I had no option; my mother was not joking.
Ammi was a hardened woman, after losing both of her parents before age 6. She was taken in by in aunt who she resembled greatly. SHe had no time for nonsense, and her word was bonding. With the threat of being made a beggar hanging over my head, I agreed to a marriage. Although your mother is supposed to compliment and comfort you on the day of your wedding, all Ammi said to me was that I hadn't put my shalwar on correctly. Always criticising.
After my marriage began to sour, and my husband began to hit me, I looked to my mother for help. She told me I should get over it. My father had hit her on occasion. She told me my husband wouldn't have to hit me if I could giver him a son like he asked. By this point, my father was very sick, bedridden and delusional. I would have gone to him but it was too late. After enduring years of abuse with my husband, I left. I showed up at my mother's doorstep with my children with me. She was furious. Sajida and Haseena were still living in the house. How was she to make ends meet. My father had not been collecting a pension, and she was living off of the inheritance she had gotten from her Uncle. But although she had been cruel to me, she loved my children. She would not turn them away.
While living with her, I worked a seamstress from the house, doing what little i could. She was moan all day about the fact that I was not pulling my load, but I was working as hard as I could. Nothing made her happy. She said that I should give my husband custody of the children to lessen the financial burden. She said that I should marry my daughter Saira off when she was only 13. She said it was my fault for getting pregnant after my husband had raped me. And most importantly she was ashamed of me for "failing" as a wife.
I think my AMmi treated me the way she did because my situation was similar. Minus the constant abuse, we were almost the same. My mother had 8 girls and no sons. My father wanted a son, but decided to make the best of us daughters. I had 5 girls and only 2 sons, and my husband still wanted more boys. I married when I was 16 and she was 14. I had my first child when I was 16 and she was 15 when she had me. Maybe she saw her mistakes in my life.
Even today, we do not speak often. She is 76 years old, and her time is running out. Her eyesight and hearing is failing and she cannot walk well. my son wanted to bring he to US but she refused. SHe wants to die in India. I hope we can make amends before it is too late.