This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Santwona Patnaik. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

“I’d Never Felt So Alone Before”: Confessions Of A Newly-Wed Indian Bride To Her Father

More from Santwona Patnaik

Disclaimer: Before people start reading this article with a preconceived notion, let me clarify that this article is not about baseless allegations or any form of reprimand on the ‘in-laws’ in our country. I have been lucky enough to have considerate and kind in-laws and the views expressed in this letter is a generic summary of first-time experiences post marriage, based on both personal experience and the observations of others. Since daughters are dearest to their fathers, my letter is addressed to all the fathers, who I believe are the best confidants and the biggest support system for all their daughters. Their actions always speak louder than their words.

Dear Dad,

With pain in your heart and joy in your eyes, you bade me goodbye while I embarked on a new phase of my life. Having ensured that I married the man of my dreams, you proved yet again that you have always wanted the best for me. Now, I wake up in a different house, with a new set of parents and siblings, who are trying their level best to make me feel as comfortable as their daughter. But I still remain a ‘daughter-in-law’ here, and will never get the same vibe as I got from you.

  • In the first few days post the wedding, I was expected to stay confined to a room, dress up well, talk softly and keep smiling at gawking strangers. Loads of expectations were involuntarily set up to portray me as a perfect new bride. With you around, I’d never felt even an ounce of burden before. I missed you asking me to walk out of that room to get a breath of fresh air and not get bogged down by any social obligation.
  • In the presence of elderly ‘new’ relatives, I was expected to wear sarees only, no matter how uncomfortable I was in them. And the rule could not be bent slightly, even while travelling because I was the perfect daughter-in-law, after all. I missed sneaking into those good old cotton blue pyjamas that you bought for me last year.
  • After a long journey, my room was swarming with relatives, who kept coming in turns after taking a much-needed nap and equally concerned that I need some rest too. But, my room was never empty that day, and I hardly slept. That day, I missed the way you scolded me always, to complete my 8 hours of sleep daily.
  • Every single day, for the first few days, seemed like an examination day. I was being judged for the way I spoke, the way I walked, the way I ate, the way I sat, the way I laughed and what not. I’d never known how it was, to get judged for normal day-to-day activities in my life. You’d never made me feel that way before, even when I learnt everything about life from you.
  • I prepared tea for the first time in my new home. Someone felt that there was too much sugar, someone wanted lesser ginger, while some chose to stay mum thinking that it would make me feel better. And then, I was told that I would learn to make tea with time. It’s just that the taste of tea varies for all. Not that I didn’t know how to make it. I missed how you eagerly waited for a cup of evening tea, prepared by me.
  • I was asked to wear gold anklets for a family function, which I didn’t like at all. I had to stand my ground and keep saying no, till the relatives got disappointed. I missed how you always let me be, just the way I am.
  • One fine evening at the dinner table, someone made a very casual remark about me sitting idle, while my father-in-law washed one plate in the kitchen sink. He was already in the kitchen and was just helping out. And I just chose not to snatch that plate from him as an ideal daughter-in-law would have done apparently. So, does that make me less ideal? I have grown up seeing you pick up my plate from the dining table at times. Was it that big a deal?
  • The next morning, someone passed a sarcastic comment on my cooking skills and they had a good laugh. Now it seems like a very harmless statement, in good humour. But back then, I felt as if they ganged up on me and I did not even have the liberty to react. I’d never felt so alone before.
  • My in-laws wanted to meet my ailing grandmother, before leaving the city. To this, I casually mentioned that they could join you and visit her at her place, since I had a lot of pending work assignments for that weekend. I was told that I should anyhow accompany them and we should visit my grandmother separately, as representatives of ‘our’ family. So, does that make you any different from my idea of ‘my’ family? I’m in a strange state of an identity crisis now. Which family do I belong to?
  • I took up a short-term work assignment outside the country, and I was immediately asked to act sensibly and prioritise family over work. I realised then that earlier I’d prioritised so many things over you, both with or without your consent, and never felt even an iota of guilt doing so. Maybe, I took you for granted! Perhaps, you were always confident about my decisions which had shades of your values, and that was your way of showing your unconditional love for me. Thanks for always letting me spread my wings and fly.

Today, I’ve realised that the only man who can genuinely be happy in my happiness, is you. You’ve always ensured that I have the brightest smile on my face. I am what I am, just because of you. Thanks for giving me all the liberty, along with your values, that made me a confident, resilient and independent woman. I’ll always make you proud.

You are my best man, until eternity!

With love,

Your Daughter

You must be to comment.

More from Santwona Patnaik

Similar Posts

By dr.afshan afreen

By Pallavi Mudgal

By Abhishek Prakash

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below