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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Chandrika Dalal, July 22, 1999. Interview K-0814. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Tense relationship between Dalal and her husband

Dalal provides a window into her relationship with her husband. Due to her traditional Indian background, she performed conventional gender roles even though her husband failed to assume the traditional male role in the family. Dalal again illuminates the key concern for children, for it was not until her husband beat her children that she separated from him.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Chandrika Dalal, July 22, 1999. Interview K-0814. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

CHANDRIKA DALAL:
That is the reason-, then one reason my husband is alcoholic, so I don't have enough time. When he is here, I don't have enough time to look after my daughter(s), because I'm busy with my job, and busy with my husband's cooking, and job-, and business-, to helping him. Because every time he say(s) they are your daughters-, means my daughters. So he don't want to take responsibilities, so I have to work with him for daughter(s), and then-, I lost my daughter because I don't have enough time for both. I have time-, little, but not enough time-, in business and job.
ANDREW JILANI:
What do you mean you lost your daughter?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
Means-, I don't have-, er… too much time for both.
ANDREW JILANI:
Okay.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
To spend with them. You know? To sit with them, or talk with them, ask about school, what about your friends, or what about this and this? Because I am too busy. When I go home, I have to cook for my husband. All food. Rice and curry, and vegetable, and chapati, then I don't have time. When my Daughter-, both daughter(s) come from business-, school, then my husband is busy with business. So, I have to do laundry, I have to make—he can't make the beds, I have to make the bed(s), I have to out the laundry, he can't cook, I have to cook for him. Two, three time(s) make tea for him, so I am so busy, to service him, and I have don't have time for my daughter(s). My both daughter(s) 9are) so upset, and angry, but I can't help it, because he come in this country, but he don't want to change. He (is) just like an Indian husband-, every thing wife has to do. He don't share anything. He just take the money, and I have to work with him. That's it. Use me to work, and make money, so he can drink, he can spend. Every time he go(es) in the store, he like(s) something, just buy it. He don't care (that) I need (it) or not, I can afford or not—I have two daughter(s), I have a wife, I have a business, he don't care. Just go there, spend the money! Go in the store, drink the beer. Is enough—, finished—, bring it—.
ANDREW JILANI:
Bring more. That's it. Where is he now?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
I kick him out. Before-, ten years, in-, er…. nineteen ninety, June-, January eleven. Because he is scared-, beating my two daughter(s) to kill-, and I can't take that risk.
ANDREW JILANI:
He threatened-, he threatened you? [pause] Uh-huh.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
he threatened to kill me, my two daughter(s), my brother and sister-in-law in California, (and) all my family in India, too. I can't take that risk. I don't need a husband to kill my family or my daughter(s). I can't take that—. I don't care (if) he kill me, but I don't—. I don't take risk for my two daughter(s), or my brother and sister-in-law, or my family in India. Because he has a violent nature.
ANDREW JILANI:
[unclear] about your husband—.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
Violent nature. He is drinking. Every time—.
ANDREW JILANI:
So you kicked him-, you kicked him out?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
Yes.
ANDREW JILANI:
Okay.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
Because three time(s) he lose license-, in DWI.
ANDREW JILANI:
DWI?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
He don't drive, so he call taxi driver-, private taxi driver, give ten dollar(s) every day come in Franklin Street, sit there and drink. And come night time, one o'clock, two o'clock, three o'clock. So, after (my) job, when I go home, I have to help my two daughter(s) for homework, I have to cook, I have to run business, make money for him, and when he come, he ask how many customer come, and how much money we get. That he asks! Okay.
ANDREW JILANI:
Hmmm…. Nothing else? And-, is he now in India?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
He died-, before-, two years.
ANDREW JILANI:
He died—.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
I'm glad!
ANDREW JILANI:
You're glad?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
Yes, because he is trouble for (the) whole family. And scared me from India to kill me. Until he is alive, I'm scared for myself, and for my daughter(s). It's not safe.