I have wanted to share my life experience for many years. In fact I started blogging 20 years ago, but I was mostly writing for myself, wondering who the heck else it might interest. Although I still (of course) write for myself, today I want to reach out to more people because I think my life can inspire many, at a time in which the world desperately needs more love.
This site is dedicated to other Western mothers and women living in India. My guess is that it will also interest many educated Indian women as well…
I have a pretty damn amazing life, although perhaps not amazing in the sense most people would expect. My journey has been vibrant, with many ups and down, and overall it has certainly been making me feel very alive. But it is far from easy.
I think I really puzzle my French family, and they often worry about me. Many of my friends admire me, but many don’t understand the choices I have made and I can’t think of a single one who ever told me they would do what I do. All of them would have run away if they were me. Basically, I am a highly educated woman living in a small rural Indian town, with my Indian in-law family. I have lived in six different countries of the globe and spent almost ten years of my life studying in higher education institutions in France, Canada, England, Scotland and India, yet today I live in a small city in rural India where the female illiteracy rate is about 40% (source), if not more, and where English teachers in English-medium schools don’t even understand English. In my twenties I was completely against tradition and took little interest in my own biological family, yet today I live in a place where most of my neighbours are highly traditional and superstitious rather than forward-looking and educated, and where family means everything.
It is far from easy for an educated Western woman to live where I live everyday. Actually I wrote about making choices a few lines above, but deep down I believe it is more true to say that I embraced Life and accepted where It was taking me. Often I wish I didn’t love my husband as much as I do to run away and start a new life somewhere easier. I must also admit that even though in the most difficult moments it is hard for me to see, the love I hold for my Indian family by far outgrows the frustration, the anger, the exasperation and the tears that Hindu customs, traditions and blind faith have regularly caused me over the years, and still sometimes do today. When my mind is still and my heart is clear, the love and sense of belonging they bring me is very warm and comforting, like an expanding wave of well-being.
As a dear India-loving friend has put it, “[my] life in India is an Indian one lived by a Western woman who is freer in her mind than Indian women.”
- I have always found it difficult to lie to myself and to others and I am deeply expressive. I think honesty can be very painful on the moment, but it is always the best policy in the long run. I have put myself in awkward situations because I was ‘too’ honest, but in the end it was always worth it and I never regretted it.
- This blog is about my own experience. India is a huge country with great diversity and differences from state to state, from area to area, and even from family to family. My experience can only be representative of the area in which I live. Everything I write also reflects my own perceptions, although I do inform myself as much as possible before I say anything. I may be wrong though, and if you think you know better than me, I will be happy to read your comments and suggestions. No hate mail though please!
- I have modified the names of all members of my Indian family or avoided naming them altogether, and I shall not publish any photo in which they can be recognised, apart from my husband who doesn’t mind. I personally have nothing to hide, but I want to protect my loved ones. It may be silly and pointless in this age of social media, as readers can easily investigate on the Internet and eventually make connections for themselves. It comforts me nonetheless.