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Every time my Sasu ma asks me to come and sit with her, I understand in advance of what she is going to talk about. Her introductory questions after my marriage were pathetic; Didn't your parents give you any expensive sari? Didn't your parents give you any other jewelry? Is there no sofa cover with the sofa your parents have given? Is there no carpet with the center table your parents have given? Have you brought curtains for your room from your parents? Ahhh… I used to complaint about this to my husband but he said she is just asking so that things are not misplaced or lost, you know, there are many relatives at home these days, they might steal things. But I was never convinced by such explanations because my Sasu ma kept telling me what all I have not been given by my parents.
She used to call me every time when my husband’s big brother’s wife means my sister-in-law returns after a visit of her parents’ house. She opens her bag and shows cloths and jewelry her parents have gifted her and my Sasu ma says, “See, this is the least to be given to a daughter every time when she visits her parents after her marriage”. Then she shows the gifted shirt and sari for my brother-in-law and my mother-in-law by her parents and my mother-in-law adds more to her description, “The mother of a daughter must give a sari to her mother-in-law every time or else the mother-in-law is not going to let her visit her parents” with a lustful smile on her face.
I had an illusion for a short while that she would be a changed heart if I give her a real lot of love and care. I tried to be a Bahu she wanted but she could not weigh my shower of care anything before the drops of pennies.
These things used to turn me very uncomfortable in the early years of my marriage. I have no words to tell you how broken I used to feel over my degrees and qualities. I started feeling that a few notes can change someone’s fate. This negatively affected my relations with my husband too. He used to say every time that she is not asking you to bring things form your home but there was no other intention his mother’s taunting words actually had.
We Indians have a festival almost every day in a year. Beginning from Makar Sankranti to Diwali and from Holi to Karwa Chauth, every festival is meant to worship the parents of your daughter’s husband’s family is the most rubbish knowledge i could collect in the every first year of my married life. Every time I used to raise a complaint everyone used to say, “You don’t get her wrong she was not asking things from you, she was just telling you about the rituals.” Hence, nothing worked out.
One day while she was telling me about how she refused the proposal of the daughter of an IAS who had income in crore, I could not resist myself from asking her, “Mammi ji, Do you even know how many zeros are used to make a crore?” She turned furious and started abusing my parents for not teaching their daughter how to talk to elders. I asked her again why she always keeps lowering and insulting the parents of a daughter, they give their daughter no less than the parents of a son do for him. She raised her voice to the level of making is audible for the neighbors and tone was threatening. After showing me her actual face, she asked me again with big eyes and killing tone, “Even King Janak had fallen in the feet of King Dashrath when her daughter was married with Lord Ram and you tell me that the parents of a son and the parents of a daughter are equal. They can never be equal.” I looked into her eyes to show her my confidence and said, “I would like to correct you here Mammi ji, When Sitaji’s father was about to touch the feet of Ramji’s father, the great Ramji’s father had stopped him from doing so. He had said that the hands of an accept-er are below than the hands of the giver. You are giving your daughter and I am the accept-er. There is no way I am bigger than you.” This turned her furious and she went into her room abusing me and parents in an even worse manner.
She told my husband latter that she was insulted by me when he was out for work. He asked me for this and I told him the entire story. However, the mother’s son did not believed that her mother had instead insulted me and my parents and she keeps doing this since when I am married. He made me say sorry to her mother and with no heart I had to do that.
The incident made me realize that people can have several faces, especially the parents of a young boy. They show themselves clean hearted people who believe that daughters are blessings of God and Daughter-in-laws are the asset (Laxmi) of house. However, for them a daughter’s birth is a reason to cry and daughter-in-laws are Laxmi only when they can keep filling their hands with money from their parents’ house.
A few days after this incident I played it smart. I told my sister-law that I have a recording of those abusive words my mother-in-law had shouted that day about me and my parents. I told her that I will make a complaint in police with that recording as proof if she ever uses abusive words for my parents again. I knew she tells all my talks to our mother-in-law with more drama added. This trick resulted in something positive for me. My mother -in-law has been forced by others in the family too for not talking to me like that again.
I never felt my parents have given me anything less than that given by the parents of my sister-in-law or any other girl. They preferred making me well qualified and duly cared for me all my life and even if they give me rupees I don’t accept it because I am already filled with their love that no money can match.