Jilpa Shori, a 26-year-old housewife from Mumbai, spoke out about the unfair and undue pressure being placed on her by her parents — who recently became besotted with western culture — to comply with their newfound beliefs and arrange a highly-public acrimonious divorce from her husband, Deepak.
‘I’m so happy in my life with the husband they so wisely brought into my life in the first place, and we’ve been hoping to start a family soon,’ said Jilpa at her home yesterday, ‘but ever since maata-ji got that overseas subscription to OK! Magazine she’s been clipping stories about Ulrika Jonsson’s colourful past with husbands or Madonna’s break-up with Guy. She says it could be great for my career and that if I want kids there’s plenty of places I can get one.’
Jilpa’s parents insist they only want what is best for their child, which to them means being free to express herself, independent of the shackles of conventional marriage, ‘Afterall, what’s Liz Hurley’s done since she got herself an Indian husband?’ asked her mother Ayati. And according to Jilpa, her parents also maintain that they don’t dislike their son-in-law, but believe the divorce could be in his interests too. ‘I think it’s going to take me a while to get the image of my mother winking at Deepak and saying it would be a chance for him ‘to get around a bit’ like Peter Andre out of my head,’ she commented.
Jilpa’s siblings have also been brought into the conflict, as the family tries to come to terms with their parents’ western views. ‘I know they’ve been tough on Jilpa as the oldest daughter, and at first I was relieved when they said they were still making plans for my wedding’ said younger brother Madesh, ‘but a gay marriage wasn’t exactly what I’d had in mind. Apparently this guy is outrageously funny and we’ll have a great time all of us shopping together, but I’d been hoping for more of a Shilpa Shetty type myself. I suppose they know best and I’m just being selfish.’
Yet despite the stress on her relationship with her parents that the conflict between her long-held Indian beliefs and values and their adoption of western attitudes has caused, Jilpa believes she may have found a way to compromise. ‘I know it’s different to what we’re used to, but my parents are right, sometimes they do know how to do things better in the West,’ she explained, ‘Which is why we’re chucking them out of the family house and packing them off hundreds of miles away to an old people’s home next week.’