I hadn’t planned to write this post. Ok, I did… but I probably wouldn’t have written it. But then I thought- I critique everything and everyone… so, why should in laws be spared? Because KC may not like it… change that to ‘will not like it’. Am sure my parents would hate it if they read what I’ve written. That’s no reason not to write it.
In India, irrespective of HOW you get married, the expectations remain the same. Marriage is ultimately about 2 families coming together… the 2 individuals getting married be damned. Most in-laws (because I do know people with cool in-laws) want a piece of furniture in terms of a daughter-in-law who will fit into their house with minimal adjustment on their part. And heaven forbid if she has views, feelings, thoughts, expectations, lifestyle different from theirs. That’s a catastrophe.
KC would like to say that his parents never really pressurized me into doing anything. That is true. But the fact is they had expectations. They expected me to wear a mangalsutra, wear sarees, touch the feet of friends and family, learn to speak Marathi, learn to cook Marathi food, live with them, change my surname and keep their darling son at the forefront of our relationship. Of course, slowly and steadily those expectations fell away when I refused to do any of these.But the last one remains… it always will. Because how can any woman not feel lucky to be married to their son?
I am a rebel. If you expect something from me, I like to go out of my way to make you miserable.
What the fuck is with this touching feet business? I wouldn’t touch anyone’s feet…. ever. Ok, I may have done that once in a while as a kid when I didn’t know better BUT never again. Thankfully, in Sindhi culture daughters don’t touch anyone’s feet and so this is one thing less I’ve had to rebel against. But I don’t get it. Like, why? I am game to bend down and look at your feet if you just got a super hot pedicure and a ravishing nail paint. But otherwise, please spare me the germs and the sight of your ugly feet
Well… the resentment for the above will always remain. Now, you may think am being a douche bag. Because… I cannot expect them to understand and change who they are. The thing is… I had expectations too and none of them were and will ever be fulfilled. I didn’t go around telling them what my expectations are. Right? Neither should they. Your DIL cannot be this generic person from who you have the same expectations. Like, I could be replaced with anyone else and the above will still remain. What everyone wants… clones of the perfect DIL… your parents want it… my parents want it… and every goddamn parent of a boy wants it.
In fact, in-laws have the same expectation from DIL as they do from their son without even knowing what kind of person the DIL is. MIL loves to call KC- all the time. And he puts up with it. When we got married, I was shocked to start receiving calls from her 3 times in a day- WTF!!! Even in hostel days, my mother would ask me to call once in 2 days to let her know am alive. There was no need to talk everyday.
So, this one time I had a flight to Cochin for a conference and it was mentioned in passing to her. She wanted to know exact time of flight… what time I would leave house… I told her without thinking too much about it. And then she called me at 6 am when I was leaving for the airport. Fucking… 6 am… to tell me ‘Goodbye’. ME… She called ME. Without even getting to know who I am, what I like, how often we should speak… Because her son puts up with it, I have to too. Because, how can I not? I am the fucking DIL.
Indian marriages are not about exchange of cultures. In an inter caste marriage, It’s not about saying- we do things this way, tell me… how do you do it? It’s more about- this is how we do it, and fuck, I don’t care how you do it. So, you’ll be force fed Marathi food but expect them to suck it up for one Sindhi meal and it’ll be a disaster.
Some of you maybe inclined to sympathize with the son. Poor guy. Stuck between 2 impossible women. I wouldn’t want anyone to live with my parents for even a week… hell, I wouldn’t live with them for a week. Why the fuck should I have to do it for someone else’s parents? Why? How do sons deal with it? By pretending nothing is wrong. So, they will go about their day like life is so great and act like there is nothing amiss.
What should they do instead? Come to their wife every night, hug her and thank her for putting up with his mom. Anything less than that and it’s time for war.
What is it with mothers and housewives? They never stop playing that role. It doesn’t matter which situation you put them in- they will always play the same role. Stop being mothers once your kids have grown up. Stop cooking and cleaning everywhere you go. Please be more than a caricature of yourself.
And here are things MIL should never do… ever:
– Cleaning. Yes- the house is messy… suck it up and deal with it… by not caring
– It is NOT your house. It is your son’s and my house… that does not make it your house. Just like your house is not my house and never will be
– Your son is not the center of my universe and never will be. Makes me a terrible DIL? You think I fucking care?
– No… I will not ask the cook to make khichdi the way he likes it. He will eat whatever she cooks if it’s edible. He wants it his way… he can cook it himself
– Carrying his plate from the kitchen to the dining table… does not make it ‘household work’… and no, am not fucking grateful he carries his own plate. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t have a wife or even a woman in his life
– I don’t fucking care what he was like as a kid. I married a grown up man. Maybe we should talk about a grown up like grown ups
– Yes – he has sex… you may not like to think of him that way… but yes, your son isn’t a virgin anymore
– I will not mollycoddle him… he is not my child… he is a fucking grown up… to be treated that way
– Stop noticing everything I do… what I eat.. when I eat… why I didn’t dinner. Fuck… give me some breathing space. Stop evaluating everything we do… every minute
– No… we will not order food that your son likes… we will order food that WE both want to eat
– I am not a second wheel in this marriage… am an equal. And if you don’t understand that, I owe you nothing
– Get a hobby because household work is not ‘hobby’. And no, I will not sack the maid and cook so you can keep busy. Not happening
– Get out of the house. Delhi is an amazing city. Why do you want to live your life the way you have always lived it? This is an opportunity you didn’t have earlier. You can either cry about what life has thrown at you or you can suck it up and try to be happy. Happiness is a choice… every single day
– No, I don’t think the sun rises out of your son’s ass. Sorry, but I don’t. Deal with it
– Stop squashing my padded bras. They are not supposed to be folded. If DIL wearing padded bras is scandalous, then stop folding those clothes. Nobody asked you to
– You are not my mother and am not your daughter. I am too realistic to suddenly treat strangers like parents. I have one set of parents… thank you… I may be pissed with them… fight with them… but they are and will always remain my parents and cannot be replaced by anyone else. I cannot wake up one fine day and pretend like I have another set of parents. So, No. I will never call you ‘mother’ and you should not even try to treat me like your ‘daughter’
Ok. Am done. I feel better. I wouldn’t need a post if KC wasn’t such a jerk. But he is… like all sons… he is a jerk when he has to pick between his mother and his wife. And no, I am not being unreasonable. I would never expect him to live with my parents for more than 2-3 days… EVER. So, I don’t think I should suck it up for 10.5 days in a year.
You know how upset I have been? I came to office at 8.30 am (most days I struggle to reach by 9.30 am) and had 4 slices of white bread slathered with butter. There goes weeks of hard work down the drain. Thanks a lot.
But I feel better now… I just wish I didn’t have to go home tonight. I’ve not had the house to myself for even a second.
I am not saying that am easy to live with. On the contrary. But that’s why, I live in my own house and visit people for not more than 2 days.