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It was a long time ago. I was newly married and me and my husband were having the usual discussion. About his mother. As we lived in a joint family back then, our bedroom had a heated discussion, big or small everyday. That particular day, it was about my mother-in-law inquiring about my honeymoon dresses.
Our honeymoon was getting nearer and my mother-in-law cornered me in the kitchen one day and said that she had bought a few dresses, very costly ones, silk tops to be precise, for me to wear on my honeymoon, to which country? Italy! That's right, my outdated, horrible taste waali mother in law wanted me to wear "silk" tops to a foreign country. I wanted to strangle her with the silk clothes that she bought without my permission.
I went up to our bedroom and fired up on my husband. Why you ask? Because he was the only person in this house I had the liberty to shout on. He was the only let out I had. And therefore, I shouted on him. He was a little bit defensive. He tried to soothe me down that my mother-in-law always wanted a daughter and 'I' was the daughter she never had, so I should be a little bit understanding and treat her like my mother.
I was mortified. Mother? I was very much mortified. I told him,
"Man, no, please don't say that I should treat your mother like mine. I am sorry. I will never treat your mother like mine. Don't you dare insult my mom like that! Do you have any idea what my mom did for me? Do you know the pain she underwent to give birth to me? Do you know how we grew up first loving her, then hating her, then loving her and becoming her best friend? Do you know how she was there with me for my failures, for my success? She was there when I first had that stomach pain of menses, she calmed me through. She was wide awake for me every night that I read. She was there to calm me before every exam. She was there to shop with me, to buy things I wanted. She silently understood that my choices were mine and I would wear and buy what I wanted. Did you know that she comes shopping with me every single time but never forces me to buy anything of her choice? Did you know that she would defend me whenever my dad said even a single thing about my choices? Do you know the sacrifices she made to make me the person I am? She cried for me, she became sick for me, she was there for me, always and always. And now you come along and tell me that I should give that position to some control freak who doesn't even make a chapathi for me? What has your mother done for me that I should give her the name of "mother"? What are you asking from me? My mother is mine, that place can never be taken from her. No, your mother cannot be my mother and she should not even try to do that. And a mother is not a mother only in some circumstances. Your mother is horrified at the idea of making food for me, she thinks I have to make for everyone and not she for me. She is no mother to me. She will never be. Please don't insult my mother by saying that."
I was angry and lashed this out on him and that moment, he did not understand me. It took time to make him see the difference. It took time to make him understand that his family will not be my whole world. Now, he understands this, very well indeed!