The Status change...

I've been married a couple of years at this point. Being a married woman in the west didn't change anything significantly - at work, with friends, the social circle. Sure, we probably hangout more with other couple friends now, but that would have been the case even if we were just dating. Sure, that puts me in the league of married women at work who don't celebrate Valentine's day but again, neither do couples that are in a long-term relationship. In short - my identity, how much fun I have, my work, my social circle - has not been affected by marriage.

It is the polar opposite in India - a marriage essentially elevates a girl to the status of womanhood. It gives her the legitimacy in a society. Any socio-religious function - whether it is someone's marriage, baby shower, house warming etc etc requires you to be married - the mangal sutra is your stamp of approval. And since I haven't lived in India in almost 9 years now - my single days didn't affect me adversely, neither does my married status get me any perks now.

Until today. My Indian neighbor knocked at my door and invited me to a "women only" function. I didn't think much of it, the ladies were all decked up. I had just returned from work , so I showered, changed and threw on a salwar and a bindi and went there. Amidst gobbling all the yummy sweets and food, I learnt that today is a pooja for Goddess Parvathi - a Goan tradition apparently, involving married women and little girls. I felt a bit excited, because this is probably the first time the married thing is counting "for" me if you will.  This and the three time we've visited the temple in these two years we've been married. Because those are the only times I have been offered the Kumkum, and could wear it on my Maang (forehead) as opposed to between my eyebrows , like I should have been doing all these years.

I wonder how much of a big deal and an enormous life changing event it is for women who live in India. Believe me - it is daunting enough to get to know someone, fall in love, move in with them and make it work between just the two of you. Add these societal status changes and everything else to it, it must be a big-bang change, and, women of my grandmom's era had to do this when they were in their teens.

The more I've lived away from my own culture, the more alien it seems to me. But the more I live away from my own culture, the more I can relate to it as well. Immigrant Paradox ?