“You’re A Mom, What More Do You Want?” But What About MY Identity?

Posted: May 9, 2019

This process not only snatched away my 13 years but also made me older, yet with no experience to join in any job or not eligible to pursue my higher education anymore.

“Ahh! At last I am sorted out!”

I was supposed to be content while holding the letter of renunciation in my hands. I was just a few more months short of being awarded with the Indian Nationality by marriage.

“Why my eyes are welling up? Why do such moments of gratification churn up a cloud of emotions?”

What would have you done if you had been uprooted from your past? And awarded with a muddled future? Whereas you already knew that you were having nothing except a chaotic present?

Citizen of no country

The letter of renunciation from the Bangladesh Home Ministry to me, an Indian housewife, was a candid eye-opener in every aspect. The letter clearly stated that as I was married to an Indian citizen and had applied for my Indian Nationality by marriage, and as India does not support dual citizenship, therefore, Bangladesh Government had renounced my Bangladeshi Nationality by birth.

“I am not a Bangladeshi anymore. At this very moment I am not even awarded the Indian Nationality yet! So, which country do I belong to? The country where my parents, sibling, relatives, friends are living their lives has renounced my Nationality. The country where my husband, children, in-laws and some new friends are staying has not granted my Nationality yet, after 13 years of my marriage! What is my identity now? What about my career and passion that I had decided for myself since my childhood, and that I could not start yet because of the rules, regulations and procedure of being an Indian?”

I sighed.

You are a mom, surely that should be enough?

People offered me advice, “Just focus on the kids and family! You are Mrs. Mukherjee, a mother of a 9 years old and a 2 years old as well. What more do you want? What’s your worth, to desire more?”

Motherhood was, of course, the precious bliss in my life, and had taken up most of my time and energy. But it’s not what could define me. It’s only one part of my Identity, I agree. The rest I had completely lost in the process. My eyes were flooded with tears while my mind did a supersonic time travel.

It was exactly fifteen springs back; I met my destiny, love of my life in my motherland. I was a strong-headed, extroverted girl with a very clear vision of my future, waiting for my BBA result. He was an Indian youth by birth and by roots, there in my country for his professional enhancement.

We were not supposed to be but fell in for each other. Somehow, love and emotions crept in smoothly and over-shadowed my ambition. After a 7 months stay there in Bangladesh, he came back.

It took exactly two years to convince both the families, complete my MBA and arrange for the wedding. I flew for India on January 28, 2003, my parents followed me within a week and we had tied the knot with the blessings of the two families after a month. It was like a fairy tale with a perfect ending: “…And then they live happily ever after.” I was all set to start a new life and career.

I wish I would get au fait with my coming days!

But things changed unexpectedly after that!

My life took a complete U-turn as I went to apply for my Indian citizenship by marriage. I had been informed, that marrying to an Indian person could not be the only eligibility to apply for the citizenship. Rather I would have to extend my VISA after every few months without crossing the Indian Border, for a year, to be eligible to get a PR VISA, which was also extendable after each year, and required continuous stay in India for 7 years.

My eligibility to apply for the citizenship also required me to hold my valid Bangladeshi Passport (subject to renewal of the validity each year) without even visiting my own country, to not allow me to open any bank account or buy any property in India, pursue any further education in India or as an Indian, to not join in any job or earn a single rupee.

I achieved the ability to apply for my Indian Citizenship after 7 long years and continued staying against a renewable PR Visa, once in a year, as instructed. After 12 years, the Indian Government ordered me to surrender my Bangladeshi passport officially.

Citizen of nowhere

As a part of the process, I had received the letter of renunciation today. How worthy it was for me at present? This process not only snatched away my 13 years but also made me older, yet with no experience to join in any job or not eligible to pursue my higher education anymore.

That’s where the weariness set in and depression crawled over. I felt the urgency of diverting my thoughts, pursuing my passion (sans profession). It took me a few months to figure out that I needed to fix things on my own and make my life more meaningful for myself.

Yes! I was (and am) proud to be my children’s mom, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. But I wanted them to know; a mom also has her own dreams, goals and desires. Her passionate move towards her dream, for her own soul, wouldn’t make her selfish or neglect motherhood. I wanted people to know, I was worth more than being just a mom.

Therefore, I had to find an outlet. I had a strong passion for writing since my childhood! Honestly, I aced playing with words. I started writing again since 2015.

Three and a half years since then!

My debut book, a novel in Bengali, named ‘Mayasm,’ has been published at Kolkata International Book Fair, 2019 (on February 3, 2019).

My identity has been redefined. I have finally learnt to embrace positivity in my life. I am more balanced now. Balancing does not mean to be the “Supermom” or “Superwoman.” It defines the ability to be more than just a mom, to dream my own dreams and to push for them even as I do what I want to for my kids.

What happens in a social milieu like ours that anyway tells a woman that she is not important enough? That her dreams are secondary? That everything else comes first, and maybe after everything is taken care of, can she dare to dream for herself? What happens once she becomes a mom? 

But the badass woman of today doesn’t have to put herself last – maybe she can do both? Being a mom AND being herself? Finding a place for her dreams too, and going after them, without attempting to be the ‘superwoman’ society wants her to be? Do you believe in being #MomAndMore?

Editor’s note: Munmun Mukherjee is the first winner of our #MomAndMore blogathon for Mother’s Day! Congratulations from Team Women’s Web! Munmun wins an Amazon gift voucher for Rs 500.

Image source: Munmun Mukherjee

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Munmun is the author behind the Bengali Novel, Mayasm: The Subtle Conflict between Inner Affinity &

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