„Ich wollte auch einmal im Leben verliebt sein!“ – Nina über arrangierte Ehe.
Ich traf Nina in der etwas verrückt anmutenden Osho Tapoban Kommune in den Bergen am Stadtrand von Kathmandu. Dort nahmen wir beide an einer einwöchigen Meditation teil „Neovipassana“ bestehend aus zwei Stunden aktiver Osho Meditation und drei Stunden stille Vipassana Sitzmediation. In einer der kurzen Pausen treffen wir uns auf meinem Zimmer und während Nina mir ihre Lebensgeschichte erzählt, versucht eine Affenfamilie über die offene Balkontür hineinzustürmen. Nicht das einzige Affentheater in dieser Woche wie ihr hier lesen könnt. Nina ist Inderin und aufgewachsen in einer steinreichen indischen Familie in Nepal mit Butler, der ihr morgens Tee an ihr Bett brachte, dann mit 21 wurde sie zwangsverheiratet mit einem indischen Naviguy in Amerika. Sie verfiel dem Perfektionismus, zog zwei Kinder gross, machte den Doktortitel, obwohl alles schon genug anstrengend war, und als ihre Kids das Haus verliessen und ihre Menopause eintrat, kochte sie über vor Wut und bekam ein Burn Out. Nina konnte ihrem Exmann nie sagen, dass sie ihn liebt und wollte dieses Gefühl einmal in ihrem Leben erleben. Nach 30 Ehejahren liess sie sich scheiden, ein Tabu in ihrer Kultur. Bei Osho schlägt sie ziemlich müde und verzweifelt auf und erzählt mir von ihrem Leben in der arrangierten Ehe, vom Ausbrechen, ihrem zwanghaftem Perfektionismus, dem Streben nach Geld, und vom Suchen der romantischen Liebe.
I met Nina at crazy Osho Tapoban Commune in Kathmandu. We took part in a one week Neovipassana course, doing some active Osho Meditation and some classical Vipassana. Nina is Punjabi Indian, she grew up in Nepal in a rich family with a butler that brought her tea to bed every morning. As they had good connections to a rich family in America, she was married to an Indian Navyguy – strictly arranged – and she tried her best. She became a perfectionist, she drew her children up, made career, then a doctor in pharmacy, and when menopause came she got very angry and a burn out. Nina was never able to tell her ex-husband that she loved him, as she did not. So after 30 years of marriage she got divorced, a tabu in her culture. She arrived at Oshos place tired and desperate. She speaks about arranged marriage, getting divorced, her perfectionism, her past urge to make money and about her search for romantic love.
Yvi: Who are you?
Nina: Nina, that is how I am identified. I am from New York, 53 years old, mother of two beautiful kids. At the moment single (means divorced) and by profession I am a doctor of pharmacy, spent the majority of my married life in New York Pennsylvania, born and brought up in Kathmandu, by birth I am a Panjabi Indian, but Nepalese by citizenship. Now from the last 30 years I am American. I speak four languages, my life has been very unique. I come from an affluent rich family and coming to USA was a beautiful culture shock. I had to learn a lot, had to learn how to speak the language, had to learn accent. I went to US to get married, and it was a strictly arranged marriage, so I had with my husband three brief meetings and that was it. It was all planned organized by the family, it was within relationship, so I was hoping everything would be fantastic, but it was a bit of a rocky road, a struggle, because I was kind of a northpool, he was a southpool and him being also being navy army kind of a guy – very strict and regimented, I was a very free spirited who used to love singing and dancing and full of life. Hiking, biking, trekking I was an outdoor kind of a girl.
Going to USA I had to change my lifestyle altogether. First I was seen as some alien from a kind of third world country, so it was quite a challenge, that was not what Nina is all about I am not an alien, who knows nothing. So I had to proof it to myself and my community and my new familiy. So I put myself through school, went for years to business school, then did some business, made some money and I had kids in the meantime: it was rough raising two children focusing on my career and that was not good enough for myself, I was a very ambitious woman and I started going back to school for a doctor of pharmacy at the age of 37, I graduated 6 years later. It was very rough again, because my environment expected somehow to be a perfectionist. My husband was a perfectionist as my mother in law. It was rough raising to children, trying to make them to two beautiful kids, at the same time keep my husband happy – serving him, serving my mother in law, serving the kids, so pretty much I found myself serving the world and somehow I forgot to take care of myself. So yes, here comes the menopause, unfortunately like in very woman’s life, so the hormones takeover and I was totally burned out to a point that I felt crushed. My relationship with my husband was very civil, but we had nothing in common, we were like two strangers under the same roof. Three times I thought about divorcing him, but then looked at the children and I just couldn’t do it. For the kids I just stayed in the relationship and it was very rough trying to keep a balance not to show it to the kids, that there was any kind of struggle at home. We would never fight in front of the children.
You know when menopause came, I find my kids leaving the nest going to college, there was an emptiness. The combination of the emptiness and the menopause and not having the greatest marriage and on the other side so many expectations of the community the society and financial that stress sort of killed, it pretty much changed me.
It was very bad. I really lost my own identity. I did not even know who I was at that point. The person who was a good mum, good wife, I always had a very powerful job, I was managing 85 people, so having all that and here I find myself totally crushed. The children are gone, the marriage sucked, it was bad. I asked my children, I sat them down I asked my son. “You know my marriage is not been the greatest. How would you feel if I told you that I would like to divorce your father?” his answer was: “Mum, why didn’t you do it 15 years ago?” Even though we didn’t express any anger or frustration at home somehow the kids observe it. I did not expect that at all this kind of answer, and I spoke to my daughter about the same thing and she says: “Mum I know, worked so hard all your life, but you don’t seem happy with yourself, you have only one life to live mum, you do what makes you happy!”
Yvi: What makes you happy?
Nina: I wanted to be like I was in my childhood. The freespirited person who wants to dance, who wants to sing, whenever she wants to sing. Go hiking, biking….I don’t wanna ask. It is rough when you constantly ask for permission to do those things. And not only that permission, there is no time to do that. I feel like I lost my life. It was a rough decision and I decided to break up. Divorce after 30 years of marriage.
Yvi: What does that mean for Indian and Nepalese culture?
Nina: It is a tabu. In Indian culture and in nepalese culture. It took a lot. It is funny a lot of my friends came to me and said “I admire your guts Nina!” Alot of women in our community probably would wanna do the same thing, but who haven’t had the courage to do it. So I did it. Then the emotional balance was extremely rough. So I started going towards yoga, as the unity between mind and body and your soul. I thought maybe that would help me so I pursued with Isha foundation and Sadguru, but it was so rough, because I was constantly so angry at myself for doing what I did. I think the major reason for my divorce was that I lacked that companion.
You know every girl has a dream of falling in love….that fantasyworld never happened to me. I never had any boyfriend before I got married and even after I got married the love was never there. So sadly to say, but in 30 years I could never say to my husband once “I love you”.
Even though it was a civil relationship, the love part was not there. I was lacking that friend. I thought a lot “if 30 years of my life, I have spent like this, do I wanna spent another 30-40 years with this kind of relationship without the kids around anymore? So that is the reason why I decided to move on. And here comes another guy.
I knew this guy for the last 15-20 years, very good friend of mine, I kind of got very attracted to him, and he was also single and available. We had a good talk and we klicked a lot in the beginning and we started dating. It was beautiful, he made me laugh a lot, he did the same thing that I did, hiking, biking, nature, singing, dancing so it was really beautiful, but then kind of reality kicked in again. I thought he was the man of my dream, we were so alike with our personalities . I was also very selfmade woman, very independent always in power, in charge and he is the same guy. He came in this country with two dollars and he made millions out of that. He is very proud of who he is, very reputable in the society. And I think we are so similar that our personalities started clashing.
Yvi: What clashed?
Nina: It was always like what he wanted, when he wanted how he wanted. And Nina had a very hard time digesting this.
Yvi: What is the status quo at them moment with your boyfriend, because in the beginning you said you are single?
Nina: We have been together for almost a year now, but from last six months it has been nothing but fights. It is all about what he wants, when he wants, how he wants, I feel like dictated, and we are 30 years apart (he is 82) so I feel like treated as a child, he tells me what and when to do. What not to do and what I should be doing. And secondly whenever we have plan to go somewhere it is all about his way without even asking me.
Yvi: So he posesses you?
Nina: Very possesive. He is a nice guy, but he thinks he is god, the angel of the community, that he is born to do good for everyone. He is always trying to please people to a point that he is ready to let go of women that he let go.
Yvi: So what does it mean for you now, for your inner life?
Nina: I am having a hard time digesting. He likes to be in contact with his Ex despite me telling him that it does not make me comfortable the way he handles those women. But he does not want to understand. I feel constantly angry with big emotional pain. I do not know how to take care of it.
Yvi: I met and spoke to Jessica Walker a fantastic wise theatre director, actor and yoga teacher, she says “Come back to yourself!” (see the interview here). You have this feeling of anger, you feel lost, you want a companion, it does not work at the moment, so what is important now in life for you?
Nina: Yes. I need to come back to my own self. It is sad, because the reason I divorced my husband, I lacked that romance, that companionship, I thought that new man would be just that, but just that I feel crushed, because all he is doing is to control me, the love is not there, the romance is not there. Whatever reason I left y ex-husband for those things are not there here either. Sad!
Yvi: So now you are here finding out for yourself what makes you happy besides being in contact with this kind of relationships.
Nina: Yes I came to the point with the guy that I thought that I have a mental disorder, so I told the guy to go away. And he did not like that idea, I thought why am I running away and from what and why.
Yvi: Could it be that you run to yourself with doing Vipassana mediation here at Osho?
Nina: Yes. I heard about a bit about Vipassana and I learn it and one thing I get out of Vipassana is awareness of your own mind, your body your thoughts. Basically learning about your own self. And if I am aware of my own being, hopefully that will help me manage my anger. And my pains.
Yvi: You come from a family with money and now you are staying here with this community some people seem to be a little bit crazy, they are freespirited, seem poor, how is it for you?
Nina: Fortunately enough my father was an affluent man and then me working and with my husband we both made decent money I had a very comfortable decent life there as well, but you know I see back I look back and say “What caused all this distraction was partly me running after my career trying to make money to prove to people that “Yes I can be a doctor, I can make decent money.” So that money is somehow now I really getting turned off by. Coming back to nature, today here I went for hiking down the waterfalls I think is one experience of my lifetime. I have never done it in the past, it was mud, dirt, leeches. Rain and all stuff that all uncomfortable things you can imagine I was doing it, but I was laughing and enjoying as if like a child. My child was brought out in me. It was the best experience of my life today and there is no money here no fame, nothing. Just hanging out with countryfolks. And in a small like the tinyiest hut of the hut I am having a cup of hot tea with all these cute people around me. A wonderful experience – money cannot buy this at all!
I reached to that stage in my life, I just want to make enough money, that I can survive. Beyond that I am not interested, I have saved enough for my kids, I can get them married, giving them good education, have enough to retire, no decent living, but I am done running after the money. Coming here to Vipassana was a fantastic experience, I think I am going continue pursuing, wanna learn more about it, wanna continue with yoga and Vipassana and hopefully sooner or later I get over my hormonal imbalance. As far as with this man, I don’t know. Being a perfectionist, I always feel like no matter what you do, first you have to give your 100 percent. First I take care of my angermanagement, my emotional pains, once I am done hopefully successful then I am going to reevalutate my relationship with this guy. I am going to give him a second chance. I wanna be fair to myself and to him I will give him my 100 percent, because I really liked him, and I was able to tell him I love you.
Mucho Love Yvi,
& You can also listen to Ninas Interview here!