Recently a dear friend told me that he’d just met another man who felt
“The day my mother dies, I’ll also die.”

In this piece, I will attempt to draw parallels between the love of Nirjara and Radhe in Tere Naam, our first attempts at romantic love, and this declaration of a life without mother being unimaginable.

Sudhir Kakar is one of two well-known Indian psychoanalysts (yes, both men) who in the book “The Indians” talks of our Ganesha complex. Viz, an emotionally starved wife relies on her child for succour, who has his head cut off by the patriarch at the suggestion that the latter’s masculinity is now under threat.

Baby Ganesh, wanting his father, needing his mother, goes through life tip-toeing around the former, nourishing the latter; somehow parenting them instead of the other way around.

He finally gets out in the world and has the chance to get some loving, the last he experienced at his mothers’ breast. He watches “Tere Naam” and thinks –
“Well that’s a stupid length to go to, but wouldn’t it be nice to have that kind of love, that gives my life meaning?
Surely there’s more to my life than trying to make my parents happy, especially when they’re insatiable in their anxiety…
Any child of theirs could have erased himself for their sake….
But is there anyone to love me for me?”

At a stage before the inevitable quarter life crisis hits, a young Indian is looking to access their true self through another. The media, peer-pressure and our emergent sexuality only accelerate this process and give it a direction our parents aren’t too happy with. They’d rather we find our true selves in a marriage.  

This heady cocktail of our own insecure attachments from childhood, films like “Tere Naam” based on legends like “Laila Majnu” and “Romeo Juliet” have us all getting into incredibly soul sucking relationships where we find ourselves doing anything to keep the other person.

Ring a bell?

Let your parents hate on you for getting into disappointing relationships. And keep making the same mistakes for as long as you need to. Just remember, you also need to mourn the love and protection you didn’t get from your parents to seek a healthy relationship where you’re not looking to complete each other.

Don’t feel guilty, they’re angry at their parents too.

You be the person to live “Mere Naam” rather than “Tere Naam.” Not tere ma ke naam, not tere baap ke naam, and certainly not tere romantic partner ke naam. Mere naam.

  • Aqseer Sodhi

Aqseer Sodhi is a Delhi based psychotherapist specialising in depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and personality disorders. She likes to work with clients by getting them into their bodies, and in touch with their attachment styles. Check out the Aaina subreddit for free, anonymous peer-support.

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