Athazagoraphobia: Fear of Abandonment
Athazagoraphobia: Fear of Abandonment

OR” leaves me to the predicament that I am in, but much to my chagrin,
I still remain confused to the day those decisions were made. This is for my kids, i.e. if you ever find your way to this blog.

You see, in India back in my day, we couldn’t get a part time job, so every bit of need or luxury that I could afford were met by my parents . Unlike in  America we didn’t have the benefit of getting loans to study through college and beyond (This doesn’t apply anymore) . There were exceptions, but I am talking about regular folk. Affording good education was  an expensive affair in India, and it generally cuts into a big chunk of money that could have been saved otherwise. There is an unspoken rule that the male child would take care of the parents. In my dad’s family, there were three male children. My grandpa taught my dad, my dad educated the brother next in line (the middle one) and he in turn (pay it forward) educated the youngest brother. The youngest brother took care of my grandparents, because he inherits the ancestral property  (i.e. the property where the parents reside.) There is a misconception that women do not get a share of the ancestral property, this is simply not true. Women do get a share of the ancestral property as dowry. The amount of the dowry is usually decided by both of the parents. In an ideal world, its a fair share.

In my case, I was an only son, so by default my parents were my responsibility. I studied in Manipal Engineering College Its by far the most expensive engineering college in India
(Notice I didn’t say the best, although it has given the world its share of CEO’s Rajeev Suri -CEO of Nokia, Satya Nadella- CEO OF Microsoft). Suffice it to say, educating me was an expensive affair for my parents and it was only fair that I would watch over them in their old age.

Enter the US citizen & my wife. She and her relatives had their own set of ideals, which were completely contradictory to every thing that was I was used to (but not so apparent when we got married). You see, their favorite verse in the bible was  “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his  wife, and the two will become one flesh.” Eph 5:31, Gen 2:24. They interpreted this to mean that I was responsible for my wife and her parents and they brought this up ever so often. We have had several fights on this little predicament that we had cornered ourselves into.When we got married we were in love and we didn’t have time to think through about the  practicalities.

And so it brewed for 14 years, until my dad got really sick and I had to attend to him. When he passed away, I was pressed with a hard decision stay back in India and care for my mom and have my family alongside me. I had the kids attend the same school that I attended. Everything was going fine until the MIL stepped in. She raised her kids as Americans and this didn’t sit well with her (neither with my wife). Predictable there were a lot of  inconveniences for my wife. I guess I took it too lightly and hoped that she would get adjusted eventually. The only other option was to go to US with my mom tagged along with me. But then I shudder to that thought, because last time around, when my parents were visiting me in US, my wife called the  cops on them and complained that my 80 year old father was abusing her. Even the cops had sympathy for my dad,  because he was so fragile; they advised him to go back to India.

So here I am wondering should I go back to US with my family and leave my mom here,
or stay with my mom and let my family go back to US.

I chose the latter. I am still not sure if it was the right decision. I am paying a very hefty
price for that decision, because the kids (you) have been completely cut of from my life.
Do I miss my wife? Yes… but let’s leave it at that.

So, as you grew up, you would have heard a lot of horror stories about me and my family. Some of it, would be about how heartless I was to abandon my family.  I am sorry it had to come to this; I really am… and I miss you and think about you every other minute.

I could have stopped you from going to US and let your mom go back alone, but what’s a mother with out her children, so I erred in her favor.  Maybe some day we’ll see each other on the other side of hell.


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17 thoughts on “Athazagoraphobia

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  1. This is so sad Prashant. My husband – well fiance (I call him that cause we’re practically married. But officially we will be this December.) is also Indian. It’s so hard to be torn between these two incomparable decisions. Culture and Tradition have affected each of us in enormous ways we never imagined. Until we are faced with these consequences, that’s the only time we realize we should’ve deviate ourselves from such immersion.

    I would’ve let my husband’s mother come with us with a condition that I would have to be the decision maker at home. I don’t have a problem with his grandma cause she’s kind and reminds me so much of my mom. In short, I would take them with us. That’s first option. Second option is find a care taker for his mother and we will shoulder all the expenses so she doesn’t have to worry about them – this is the practical side of the matter.

    You are a married man. You belong to your wife and kids. You are the head of the family. This should be understood reasonably by both sides. But because of traditions passed through generations, most of you are led to believe that you should live in remorse and guilt if you choose your own family (your beloved wife and kids). There’s always a way to make things better without having to give up so much.

    I’m not saying leave your mom. I’m saying -stay – only if necessary. Stay – only if she is not able to take care for herself anymore. And then go back to your family. I have high respect with the elders and we have tried our best to care for our parents because we love them deeply. But we also try as much as we can to not sacrifice our own lives and our future.

    As a wife, it’s intensely painful to be left alone knowing that somewhere, there was a husband so great and amazing who promised to commit himself to you and your kids, a husband that could provide all the emotional needs of the family, but unable to do so because of profound conditions beyond her control.

    And it’s so difficult to comprehend a belief so different from ours. I know how strong these cultural responsibilities, ties and expectations are in your country. I’ve learned them. I’ve seen them. And sadly, it’s IMMUTABLE.

    I apologize if I have said to much but I was deeply affected by your post. I’m not trying to offend or make you feel even more down but as a reader, I totally dig this thing. Not because I’m facing the same situation but because I’ve seen it happening around me. And personally we need to have a better- perhaps a new approach on things. If technology is moving so fast – forward in India, I think it’s about time relationship strategies should too.

    It shouldn’t be this difficult. Honestly. If the world is just open for changes…and compromise.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your response…It would have all worked out by itself but the MIL got involved. I felt that she was making the decisions for my wife.. and that’s when the scales tipped towards my mom. If I went back to America, I would eventually have to shoulder the responsibility for her mom and she is a very opinionated woman. It would have been easier if she was regular american Jane Doe. But she is an Indian and she knows our culture. So her logic didn’t make sense to me. She was quoting the scripture to get her agenda moving.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hate politics in relationships. But anyway, let’s hope for the best. You have my prayers Prashant. You’re a good man. Have faith. All is well.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There are a few couples from India at my church. A few year ago, I remember one giving their testimony. Similar to yours! It all worked out. With God ALL things are possible! I pray you, your wife and kids have a big family reunion someday soon! 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

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