|   May 03, 2016


“Mohini, from now on you would be called Mohini.” My mother-in-law declared. “What? How could she do this? Without my consent?” The feminist in me looked at me with a crooked smile. My husband pinched me, smiled sheepishly and signalled me to follow customs and rituals of “Grah Pravesh”- the ritual of entering your in-laws home first time after wedding. Phew! How I hated this type of Indian Male whose umbilical cord were still attached to their mothers. “TTYL-talk to you later” was the encrypted message we gave to each other, he smilingly and me sneeringly. He knew how stubborn I was and how possessive with my name and parents. Since a daughter-in-law especially the new bride, is supposed to be coy, shy, silent, answering only by nodding, I was no where near the perfect model and oblivious to prevalent norms. I thought it was my duty to introduce myself( as I was the best person), so the moment I opened my mouth, my sister-in-law, who was my friend also told me to hold my tongue. I was wondering if this happens in Love marriage then God knows about Arranged marriages. Any how I was being made to fall in the trap.


Initially when my mil used to address me Mohini, I didn’t answer her but I had started liking her. She didn’t ask me to do any household work, instead she served me all my meals. She took care whether I was comfortable in my new home. Soon a month passed, and I realised how our relation was turning out to be good. But being a Bollywood buff, my mind often told me to search her Lalita Pawar avtaaar( Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna Kirron Kher came quite late) but found none. The more I tried to find her real self, the more I got close to her.

 Living in a joint family was a novel experience for me as I came from a neutral family. My culinary skills were pathetic, though they haven’t improved much (ask my husband). Back to saasu maa. Yes, even I don’t remember when I started calling her Maa.

Working with her in kitchen was quite enjoyable, she knew almost everything. We talked for hours. She used to tell me about her childhood, how she loved studying but had to abandon school after class5, her hard times in a big joint family, tricks to survive in  a joint family, how she raised her kids, difficult financial, emotional times. In short, we became each others secret holders.Whenever I was sick or during my pre and post delivery time, she was always by my bedside. When I suffered from Chicken Pox, she slept on the floor for two weeks and didn’t leave me alone. She would sneak at night with a glass of milk and feed me forcibly. She didn’t let me do any work for 40 days after my delivery. I lived a Queen’s life in those days. Even my mother wouldn’t have taken care of me so much. She takes so much care of my kids that they call her “ma”.

  We go for outings, restaurants, movies, shopping and even dance together on family functions. (Cadbury ad reminded me this). We fight, argue at times because of difference of opinions and but then we make up. We even help each other in getting ready for functions and exchange our dresses and jewellery. I inherited her gardening skills and we proudly flaunt our plants to each other

It’s been 18 years, kids have grown up but our bond has faced the litmus test and has become stronger and our lives inseparable. Bharti instantly becomes Mohini only for her. During ups and downs of life, she has been my constant supporter, companion sometimes at the cost of annoying other family members. I wouldn’t call her flawless but then no one is perfect. During my marriage discussions, my mother had asked her to take care of me and my belongings as I was very careless. She indeed has taken very good care of me. Some say our stars match but I would say that we have Karmic Connection. When I look back, I see myself as an immature person carrying a bag of prejudices entering into wedlock.The story would have been totally different had I continued to be stubborn and strong headed and she behaving like a typecast MIL. No doubt,it takes time,patience,love,trust respect and understanding to nurture and develop a relationship.

Wish God gives my daughter a loving MIL and I too become a good MIL to my DIL. Please share your views about MIL-DIL relation specially yours.

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