An excerpt from an unpublished comment in response to, ‘From an Anonymous DIL, Wife and Daughter‘ :
“The biggest and most funniest thing is that it is a tussle between TWO WOMEN RPT TWO WOMEN. No feminists mentions this. This reminds me of an old saying in Hindi — Woman is the biggest enemy of another woman. Mother-in-law and newly DIL fighting over a bone. Pity the poor husband.“
Why do I feel there would have been no saas-bahu post if it wasn’t for an invisible member?
Because no bahu would need to worry about what the saas thinks she should wear, eat, cook, drink etc … if there wasn’t a man who quietly conveys that he would not like it if she did not.
He has the society, custom and tradition by his side. He and the society forget that he is the reason why the daughter in law is in this relationship.
And it’s supposed to be a partnership.
Who should be held responsible if she feels, “...petty things seem impossible to handle and everything looks like its going to collapse…“? [More here]
Here was a girl working, studying, meeting friends, living a normal life.. and then suddenly everything changes. It doesn’t have to.
Times are changing. Whether we like it or not, women are beginning to have choices. They are realising that there’s more to life than getting married to a man who doesn’t think they are an equal partner. Soon, it’s not going to be possible to force a young girl to live an unhappy life.
If we want families to get along, or even stay together, we better make it worth while for the one member without whom it would be impossible to have this family system.
If we do not acknowledge that the system is biased, and if we do not change it fast, husbands will increasingly find themselves having to choose between a divorce or moving out with their spouse to make their own homes. (And nothing wrong with that either).
Maybe then Live-in relationships will find favour because they might free women from one-way-relationship responsibilities?
Traditionally husbands could live in reasonable comfort while remaining invisible. Infact they were discouraged from ‘interfering‘, which basically meant they must not support the wife. This generally made a new family member feel isolated. Today it should not be difficult for a middle class husband to imagine the wife’s discomfort – more so if they have had a similar upbringing, studied in similar schools, read similar books – how would he like to live with her family in similar circumstances?
I know of this man who stopped his wife from objecting to being bullied by his mother. He even convinced her to apologise to his mother sometimes. He claimed to be stressed and fed-up with the situation at home, but continued to subject the equally (or more) fed up and stressed wife to it. His younger brother joined in finding faults with everything his brother’s wife (bhabhi) did. The siblings said everyone is their house must obey their mom. Then the younger brother got married. He moved to first floor, made it clear that his wife was ‘modern‘ so she could wear whatever she liked and they went out whenever they pleased. I wonder how the older brother felt when he saw this? The family accepted the situation, they knew this son always had a mind of his own, while the elder one was the dutiful, obedient one.
I think the younger brother learnt from the example of the older one. He realised it was not possible to have a happy family unless his wife was happy. He refused to stay invisible.
*Bahu – Daughter in law
Saas- Mother in law
Bhabhi – Brother’s wife