Just over two months ago I set off on a journey, that unbeknown to be, would potentially change everything.
I have loads to share with you about my trip to India, and I will in time, again the combination of intense work and lack of computer don’t exactly make blogging easy for me right now, but it will come.
But what it boils down to is that unfortunately staying in India is no longer an option for me. I found it tremendously difficult being there, until I went, I had been open to the idea, and even willing to make big sacrifices and adapt, but this was too far for me. In the two weeks I spent in Babu’s house I experienced complete isolation and lonelines, no a reflection of his family in any way but a reflection of circumstance.
As previously explained his mum doesn’t speak English, his elder sister was staying when I arrived, and having not practiced since leaving education she was unable to speak it either, they felt awkward about this and it wasn’t unusual for them to leave a room shortly after I enter. His dad spoke English but it was hard work for him, after a few days he pretty much gave up talking to me too. Babu of course spoke to me, but that was mainly in a one-to-one situation, as soon as a family/group situation arose (most of the time) the language reverted to Oriya and conversation moved so fast it was very rarely explained to me.
On top of this, in the two weeks I was there we left the house maybe 4 times in total, and upon asking about it, Babu told me him and his dad often would visit the market, his dad also attending a prayer group most nights, but it wouldn’t be unusual for his mum to not leave the house more than 1 or 2 times a month. This is partly though practicality – you really need to go places by car or bike as it’s too far to walk, but I feel also through culture -I was told it wouldn’t be safe – nor acceptable for a female to move around alone there, and neither necessary when the men can go instead. I never appreciated the fact I can just pop to the shops anytime I please, go out in my car, or go for a walk as I please, as much as I do now.
In short, being in India with his family would deprive me of my independence, but also leave me isolated and lonely, I honestly never believed it possible to feel so lonely in a house fill of people, but it is.
Where does that leave us? Well, being out there was difficult, it only took about 4 days before the above became clear to me. Babu had always said that should I not want to settle in India, he would have to marry someone else- something I now realise was a threat (for want of a better word) to persuade me in that direction. I became more and more miserable as the days passed – interspersed with occasional joy when we went out- but generally sadness as I knew what me not coming to india meant for us.
Eventually I broke down, I told him I can’t be there and that I understand that means he will break our relationship, I was surprised when he said the opposite, that there’s no way he wants to leave me and we will find a solution. For a few days after I think he believed (or hoped maybe) that I might change my mind, but after reiterating it several times he understood. This man clearly loves me as much as I love him.
So where does that leave us? Well the tables have turned and the decision is on his shoulders. It is now Babu’s heart being tugged in two directions. So here we are, in complete limbo, he doesn’t want to leave me, he doesn’t want to leave his parents, he dared to suggest marrying to keep his parents happy whilst keeping a relationship with me: the words of a desperate man trying to please everyone, the words that came to my lips being “over my dead body”.
There’s never going to be a solution to please everyone, choices need to be made, and honestly, I still feel I may be the one left heartbroken, but only time will tell. The only way this will ever work out for us is if he can overcome the guilt of leaving his parents to come to the UK: a guilt resulting from a lifetime of culture telling him he is the son, he has the responsibility to look after his parents, and no way is that a bad culture, just one that makes our situation much worse than it could be.
So things are hard right now. He has retuned to the ships in the last week, so he is closer by for the next few months, and like I did yesterday I will enjoy every moment we have together, even if it is only a few hours, and then just hope, maybe pray, that somehow it will work out for the best of us.
Hopefully I can take some time soon to share a few if my more positive experiences in India with you.