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I have survived a very disturbed childhood, have witnessed very strained relationships. If you cannot imagine how detrimental a family can sometimes be, welcome to my ex-world. There you will see deep craters where there should have been deep trust, incendiary remarks, where there should have been torches of hope and happiness, all out agonistic outbursts, where there should have been hugs and kisses. And why may I ask? Because this family was made by two individuals, who thought that others had been cruel to them, and therefore they earned the right to neglect and cruelty. This story of dysfunctional family is not very unconventional. Flagrant families are not inconceivable either. Must say they are invariably complicated.
When I got married I had no idea what relationships were made of. I did not know what love is, when it is exercised within a family. I decided at the very beginning, that I would treat my In-Laws as parent of my closest friend. No strings attached. Completely ignore whatever I did not like about them and appreciate everything good about them. This is the recipe for the best of relationships. Did my blistered past not come in between? Yes, it did indeed. I have seen many futile incongruous events, which I partially caused and partially got drawn into. Relationships are not for the faint hearted. You have to make your heart several sizes bigger, to take in all that comes with those relationships and to still keep them working.
Going by my experience of complex relationships, I have concluded that, most important thing in a relationship is the face time. If you know a person with whom you can have a quality face time, never leave her at the wrong side of you for too long. If you do not have quality face time with a person, don't even bother with complaining about him, he should be pitied.
But here is a woman who is the master of positive face-time, my MIL. In her presence time just flies. It’s like sitting with a dear friend at the bank of a silent stream and lazily throwing stones into the water or just pulling out random blades of grass from around where you sit and listening to tales old and new. We can chat endlessly. And she is like my friend philosopher and guide. She taught me, 'Love thy neighbour', 'Never deduct from your maid's pay' and many such nuggets of wisdom, which only a seasoned home maker knows. And oh yes, how to make momos and jalebies. After my daughter came in our world, I have taken every sound advice she ever gave to me. Massage her well, speak positive in her presence, give her lots of love, "girls need a lot more love", as she would put it!
I remember many times wishing she was my girlfriend rather than my MIL. She is neither perfect nor extraordinary. But there is one thing she has done extraordinarily well. Love her children and raise them tenderly. I am just learning that tenderness and love watching and learning her little tricks and improvising upon them. It would be nice if I did not have any reserves with her. If we could just chat and giggle and be friends no matter what. It’s a good thought to hold on to.
In many ways she made up for the things my mother had no idea even existed. My mother as much a sufferer as the cause. It’s the same for all of us. You either solve the problem or be it. You are never on the fence. So I would not like to complain about who caused the most havoc, the wildfire does not ask which tree started it. It just engulfs and cinders the entire jungle, innocent and guilty!
Sitting at the edge of a little place at a very scenic spot, in a school, as my daughter takes her art class, I listen to four happy women, chatting fondly about their childhood, home and memories, I cringe once again. That is exactly what I don't have in common with them, fond memories. But ask me about creating new ones and I would be the most verbose in the group.