True story of A Sikh-atheist mariage

Holding handsTaken from MixTogether.org, this is a personal account of what Ruba experienced as a British Sikh 19 yr old girl falling for a British, white atheist lad. Please forgive my ‘bullet form’ style account, but I still find it difficult talking about what happened. Apologies if you find it difficult to follow but I found it to be the easiest and briefest way to record my story.

The sikh upbringing: life pretty much planned out. School, then college.. then uni… then a job.. then an arranged marriage.. then children.. then a house… then looking after the inlaws. “It’s the way us Indians do things.. god will reward you for doing the right thing.”

Uni- met someone.. needed affection- hadn’t realised how unhappy I was until we connected so strongly.

Lived for the moment.. never considered the long term effect or possibilities… our love grew stronger without even realising it…

Fell pregnant… emotional turmoil

The GP; he was sikh, not only the same caste as me but also my fathers Dr. (no other appointment available!).. Prejudices and assumptions… decisions made for me. Termination booked.

Weeks later… realised that it wasn’t what I or we wanted. Morning of termination… life changing moment.

We decided…..no looking back….

We were running out of time.. scared of pregnancy showing.. scared of GP letting it slip….

Made plans.. thinking with our heads more than our hearts.. no going back.

Six months into pregnancy.. closed the front door to my home for the last time.. locked the house keys in my car.. Left a letter with the police.. telling them that I had left of my own accord and that I was safe and well.

With nothing but personal belongings and just enough money to keep us going for a few months, I caught the bus that would take me away from the life that I once knew, forever… always keeping in sight the final goal.. there was no other way.. no going back..

Why didn’t I tell my parents and family?? I couldn’t face their disappointment, hurt, anger. They would never accept my partner,  ultimately reject me and my baby- force a termination/adoption… they would ‘deal with the situation’. “Far more practical than ruining the family name and honour”.

They’d sweep it under the carpet… deny it ever happened.

My greatest concern was for the safety of my baby’s father. I had witnessed too many violent outbursts. I could all too easily imagine how it would unfold.

We had made our decision.. run away.. start afresh… I would forever be looking over my shoulder.. I saw no other alternative.

In hindsight.. I made the right decision.

We got married when I was 33 weeks pregnant. 3 people present at the wedding.. my christian inlaws.. supportive but not happy. My family; unaware, not invited.

A beautiful, healthy baby girl was born 6 weeks later.

I phoned my parents a week after she was born. Hoping I could explain.

A mistake.

Arguments, threats, cries of the pain that I put them through. My dad had had a heart attack. “Because of you.” My husband slammed the phone down for me.

He had been watching me closely since I had runaway. Somebody described it once, light-heartedly…”Sounds all a bit cloak and dagger!!” Easier to see the humour later…? I couldn’t agree less.

My guilt began to outweigh our goal. My emotional balance was verging on collapsing completely.. then to find out that my father had suffered a heart attack two months following my “bid for attention”.

My husband had no option but to watch as I became less like the person he had married. He was hurting… knowing that he was helpless.

Months later.. I felt brave enough to call.. to learn of my fathers health. More emotional blackmail.. lies about my husband… “Did you know he did this behind your back.. He has been lying to you and us”.. “Come home, we can still fix this. Your aunt in Canada will keep the baby… you can finish your education, we’ll get you married properly” “no body need ever know”.

“But I am already married..” They were living in desperate hope.

My biggest problem was that I could always understand why they were doing what they were doing. They loved me so much, they wanted to help. They only wanted to see that I was looked after, healthy and not suffering in anyway. They blamed my husband for brainwashing me.

Twelve months after I had left home, my father was diagnosed with cancer. For the first time, they asked about their first and only granddaughter.

Eight years later.. My husband is now accepted and welcomed by my family. My father is in remission and understands the fragility of life and the importance of family bond over family name and ‘what others might say’. We now have three beautiful children, the youngest just twelve weeks old. We continue to have our ups ands down, but we are told “that’s life!” Our relationship has grown stronger after all we have overcome and ready for the things we are yet to go through.

Oddly, the greatest rejections and prejudices have come from my siblings.. I find it hard to understand how people of my generation can be so narrow minded about such things. They tell me it’s because it was them that had to deal with my parents anguish from the moment I left. For that I am sorry.

Hindsight.. as always, a wonderful thing….or is it? My brother once asked me…

“Are you happy? Any regrets”

With much thought, I answered,

“I am so glad I made the decisions that I have. I am happy with my life and love my husband and children dearly. In hindsight, I regret to say, I couldn’t do it again.”

“My naivety and ignorance of the continuing, and emotionally draining journey, has brought me to this point in my life. For that I am grateful.”

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One response to “True story of A Sikh-atheist mariage

  1. Thank you for writing this. I’m glad everything worked out, even though this post is 5 years late. I’m a Atheist who was born a Sikh and is being pressured to find a Sikh wife, with threats from my parents, but I’m hopeful from reading your story.

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