Because of my initial submissiveness, my husband and his family volunteer to take care of my chores, to let me resume my career.

This is a comment by Ananya in response to the discussion on the previous post – “Just earning a degree does not mean she is superior to my mom who does not have a degree and does not work in some software company serving yankee clients.


I am aware that Ananya (and many others) genuinely believe what is stated in the previous post, this was her comment.

My response is red.

So far I wrote as a sister in Iaw in a similar situation (to the Brother in law in the last post). I am revealing another side of me – a DIL and a young assistant professor of Chemistry, married to another professor of Chemistry.
I tell you what, this guy has had the guts to take on 4000+ people like you on some public forum, so he cannot be prejudiced,* IMHO. It’s possible he’d have had such bitter experiences with his SIL in his family that someone can write so much publicly.
Somehow, I really admire his courage. And despite the thrashings he has received, I admire him, but somehow, he is a little boyish to say all that in public 🙂 … bravo, little boy 🙂
You see, cleaning baby’s bums by dad is ok if it’s an one time thing, but I can never dump a mother’s role on my husband that too in front of his brother.

(Why not? Why shouldn’t the father care for his own child because an outsider feels it’s not right? In a healthy society, everybody should be able to do what they find fulfilling, so long as they are not hurting anybody. Here the brother in law’s interference might pressurize this happy family to move out to a Nuclear set up.)

And yes, I will not hang up my thalli in the name of modernity, if the family customs demand I do not do it. Doing so is imposing my will on others and hurting an entire family.

(Such restrictions are damaging ‘Indian family values’.DILs are are finding it more peaceful to live in Nuclear Family, even if there is more work and less money, because they seem to prefer peace of mind. Some DILs find they have no choice but to take off the thaali the moment they are out of their (in laws’) homes. Customs are created for us, we are not created for customs. A symbol is of no use unless it is worn out of choice.)

I would rather play by the new rules and EARN the respect rather than DEMAND/BEG for respect.

(What about your respect for them? Don’t they care if YOU respect them or not?  Do they demand or beg you for your respect? Or is your respect not worth having?

Also, if somebody gives you respect only because you do what they want you to do, that is not respect, that’s control.Can you respect someone who threatens to withhold respect unless you do as you are told? )

I am a new DIL and I have a great rapport with my MIL and co., because I was willing to LISTEN and make the necessary changes in the beginning. I showed IN ACTIONS that I respected them. I reap the rewards now.
I Understand and acknowledge the fact that their home is radically different from mine. They are way way wayyyyy too orthodox than my own home. So what? I made it clear that I am learning. When they scold me, I took it as if my parents were chiding me.

(Thousands of women before you have tried this for centuries. Why has obedience and servility not made it easier for women to live with their spouse’s families?

Until recently it was taken for granted that a woman would leave her home and move in with her spouse’s family and then do as she is told, in the name of adjustment. It is not possible to be truly at peace or happy, when you are constantly trying to be what someone else thinks you should be. Indian women today are the most stressed in the world. What’s worst is, these efforts are not appreciated, they are taken for granted as can be seen from this post.

It’s common for in laws to expect a young bride to love them more than her own parents, in return they would respect/care/love her if she does as she is told. Like in this case, many families see not taking dowry a a favor to the SIL.

And yet there are families where women can be like other family members, joke with their in laws, wear whatever they are comfortable wearing, nobody is superior or inferior and everybody’s  personal space is respected.

Many women find that they are  happier if they can live in a Nuclear family, this is sometimes not respected. In the past women had no choice, they were kept in dependence so that they could be forced to stay with the in laws (this BIL suggested the same thing) Now that DILs have a choice, they do move out. What makes the in laws want daughters in law to stay with them when they are not able to accept her ways? Why do you think does this BIL want the SIL to stay with them?

In a family, we are interdependent. There will be no autonomy in a family setup.

Interdependence should not be forced. The general attempt is to keep the DIL in dependence and she is the lowest in the hierarchy. Sometimes if she is not dependent and has the option of walking out, say she has supportive husband or parents or if she has an income of her own, then we see reactions like the BIL’s in this post.

My husband is elder to me, and I respect that. I value my duties as a mother and a wife more than my career.

What if a woman realises that she and her husband can both have fulfilling careers and happy families if they both contribute an support each other? If they become more like partners less like a ward and a guardian?

Because of that smooth and initially submissive relationship, My husband and his family volunteer to take care of my chores, to let me resume my career as an assistant professor.

Why such deviousness to make someone do your share of work? Why won’t you do your chores yourself, or hire help, or request them honestly to help you?

Also consider, what chores are your chores? Making coffee for them is your chore? Washing their clothes is your chore?  Coking for the entire family is your chore? Changing baby’s nappy is your chore alone? Why?

My co-sister who also happens to be in the teaching field does not have their support, as she has not tried to understand their side. I have tried to talk to her, but she does not listen, so I stopped!
This should not be an ego clash.

So she does not receive any support from the family? How does living with the family benefit her? How does it benefit the family?

And a husband is entitled to be my leader (not dictator) and there is nothing wrong in me being the obedient and submissive wife. he respects my views and implements them when they are good.

Do you mean all husbands should be leaders? That is not a very realistic expectation. Many men would like to be life-partners and friends, to be able to enjoy their partner’s company without constantly needing to prove they always know better (as leaders).

In fact, most men who would demand to be leaders would be like this BIL, whiny,  petulant and very immature. Demanding leadership is in itself a sign of insecurity. And what kind of life would an intelligent woman live trying to convince an immature man that he is her ‘leader’? What if she starts earning more than him? Or if she is not afraid of the dark while he is? Or if she drives, negotiates, packs etc more efficiently than he does?

I respect his masculinity and he respects my femininity.

Respecting each other the way you are is a healthier thing to do. Would you disrespect him if he makes excellent coffee? Or if he is afraid of cockroaches, if he shows his emotions, say, is nervous or afraid, or cries when he is upset? Or would be stop respecting you if you can drive a car?

My co-sister does all that this SIL of Shree. Srawan Kumar does and more. now, who is at loss?
She or me? I am happy, I am content, I am respected, I am valued and I am cherished – I have not lost my life. Same family, same MIL, my co-sister does not get all I have. And her husband is a perfect gentleman, like my husband (they were twins). But she treats him much the same way Mr. Srawan Kumar describes.

Are you suggesting she should start wearing her mangal sutra, breastfeeding her baby, changing baby’s diaper, standing up when her father in law passes by – and start treating her husband as her ‘leader’? But why would she do that? Who does that benefit?

There is nothing wrong whatsoever in being quiet initially, learning the ways of a new home – 10 people to change completely for me is unreasonable. They have made subtle accommodations, that’s the best they can do.

I think the only thing they need to do is to consider seriously if they have the maturity and tolerance to live with a new member joining their family, if yes, then they must welcome her and make an effort to get to know her. Her personal habits should never become their business. They must respect the fact that she has agreed chosen to live with them, although she has the choice of living in a nuclear family. It’s unethical, inhuman and criminal to attempt to create circumstances that take that choice away from her. Insecurities do not build healthy relationships.

I do remember, we will be MILs tomorrow!

Wasn’t this post about a Brother in law wanting to be a leader to his wife?


189 thoughts on “Because of my initial submissiveness, my husband and his family volunteer to take care of my chores, to let me resume my career.

  1. Hi IHM,
    Do you mean to say if I earn more than my husband he goes below me and loses his status? Is that your attitude?

    Me – No I mean even if you earn nothing or your mother in law earns nothing, you are all still equal.


    • Ananya,

      That’s the thing. That is what we are (well, a majority of us anyway) are trying to say. In a family, no one NEEDS to bend low for ANYONE. Your husband doesnt need to bow before you, neither should you. No matter how much both of you or even if one of you doesnt.
      Marriage is based on MUTUAL respect, love and support. That was what I was taught, that is what I have observed growing up, and that is thankfully what I have in my life right now as well.



  2. This post made me really angry! ( I know to each his/her own..) but I want to go and shake her!
    I dont see any direct relation between this and the earlier post. They are two completely different things.. and this person seems like someone who has risen from a Ekta Kapoor soap and started writing a plot. I dont know what to say!


    • Ah, my dear Geet!
      One needs to play every ball on merit, as they say in cricket.
      One needs to assess every situation and person on merit and not by popular opinion.
      Don’t buy the rhetoric!


      • Don’t do such masculine things as talk about cricket. It’s not pleasing at all. Now go back to the kitchen and make some popcorn while your husband watches the match. Shoo!


      • Woah, there’s no need to personally attack Ananya here! I am surprised at how people who normally talk about ethics and equality on this blog have no qualms about abusing Ananya just because she has a different perspective about her own life.


      • Nish,

        Only because she shows this moral superiority over her SIL, and others who choose a different way of life. Among my own friends, there are women who choose not to stand up for themselves, and I don’t go taunting them because they fully respect my right to stand up for my rights. If it was herself alone, Ananya speaks about, then I would have no problem. But as long as she claims superiority over other women for being the way she is, and shows this superiority, she must be open to accept such retorts.


      • Nish,

        When Ananya claims that what she is doing is right and the rest of us are wrong destined to have nothing but unhappiness in our lives, she opens herself to responses like Fem’s below.

        I didnt feel this despairing even when I read Mr. Srawan’s email below (the breastfeeding complaints gave me serious heebie jeebies though. And you see her standing and applauding the whole thing. Yuck). But when I read Ananya’s response and this post, I feel defeated. If this is the attitude adopted by even .5% of the female population in India, where do we go. How do we stop men like Mr. SK from feeling the way they do then?


  3. I would not enjoy being with a power hungry man, but I would not be so bull-headed woman as to keep asserting my voice in every matter. There are matters to give way and there are matters to assert.
    Every man gets a sense of satisfaction in being a king in his family. When my husband treats me like a queen, respects, protects and loves me, guides me in my career as my senior, I have no qualms in satisfying him by acknowledging his leadership at him, especially when he is such an able leader.
    If he were a drunkard or is irresponsible, the story would be different.
    Even if I earned more, that would make no difference to my way of treating him. he is still the head of the family, he is honest and protective. I’d give my salary to him and be normal.
    I know how he has cared for me during my pregnancy and childbirth. I know he has spent sleepless nights caring for me in the nights when I was ill. So, I am obligated to be considerate of his softer feelings and give way. And I derive a great pleasure at being his wife that way.


    • I also know how much my MIL suffered for me when I went thru the tough times….. Not all MILs are bad or draconian…… the bandwagon is not to be jumped upon……
      People who denounce and abuse the poster of the previous post are equally judgemental.


      • So what IHM, if it’s the BIL? Is he alien? If you really believe in the new home accepting the new DIL as a family member, the BIL is like a brother to the DIL.
        This guy Srawan is still single when his bro has a 9 year old kid. So if I were his SIL, I’d have sensed he has some prob and talked to him. I wonder if his SIL did that.
        When I treat him as a younger bro, he is very much part of MY family, so where is the boundary?? My husband cannot enter his room when he is married, but since he is the younger kid, he can come when the door is open. So why fuss treating him like an outsider?


      • This guy Srawan is still single when his bro has a 9 year old kid. So if I were his SIL he would have been younger to me in all probability. I’d have given him the leeway as a younger bro and tried to accommodate him, talk it out. I am sure his SIL did not do that!


      • Well that has always been a snag in not only IHM’s blog but also any blog that bases its data on one side of the story. We’ve had countless instances here where we hear one person’s view and pass judgment on the other person when we have no idea how factual or biased the original narrative was. It’s also rare that the person being judged gets an opportunity to comment here or to rebut accusations. It’s a free-for-all here when that happens. It’s not IHM’s fault though, it’s an automatic side effect of this sort of one-sided commentary.


      • @Nish- The comments on this post are entirely based on what Ananya has said and Ananya is right here to defend herself and post a rebuttal. Similarly, the Srawan Kumar post was written by himself- not someone else summarizing the situation- and I think GV has also directed him to this blog. Most of the comments on the Srawan Kumar one talked specifically about the points he’d made himself and why the commenter disagreed. I don’t see this blog as a mere rant space. Gender is a very strong construct because it’s a part of our life from the time we’re born. Even if some of us have managed to break out of its limitations later in life, we’re sure to have missed out on some aspects of it. A blog like this where several people voice their views on different gender-based issues can provide a lot of food for thought. I remember GV acknowledging that his opinion on the Slut Walk had changed somewhat after the discussion on the subject here. Similarly, there have been differences of opinion amongst commenters on giving ‘advice’ to people who’ve emailed IHM specifically asking for advice. Like the guy from the US who was married to a traditional woman….some were pro-divorce and some were not.

        This is a brilliant blog and it helps me sleep better knowing there are more women like me out in this world and I’m not alone in my rage.


      • @Gounder

        I did not mean this specific instance. There have been several cases in the past where we’ve all (self included) passed judgement on some hapless person after hearing just one side of the story.

        But again, like IHM said the responses here are meant to be hypothetical ones based on the assumption that everything the OP stated is accurate and factual.

        And for the record, I love this blog too 🙂


      • Ananya,

        The boundaries for a BIL or anyone else in a joint family DOES come. Especially for intensely private matters like breastfeeding and wearing the thaali. Who the hell is a BIL to question her?


    • Umm….so what happens when an older woman is married to a younger man? Does she get to be king? Also, I think I read somewhere in my Biology textbook that it takes two people to make a baby. Caring for the baby takes two too. It is not a favour that a husband does for his wife. Why is cleaning a baby’s bum the mother’s duty, may I ask? You do not need a uterus or breasts to clean the baby’s bum…a man is perfectly capable of doing it and should do it considering the physical, mental, and emotional toll that pregnancy and labour takes on a woman. There is nothing lowly about cleaning your own child. Even princes have bums, you know.

      There is no need for obedience or servitude in a husband-wife relationship. There is no need to feel grateful for being respected and treated well. That is how a human being should be treated in a civilized society. Where there is mutual respect and love, there is no hierarchy.

      – From a woman and a new mother whose husband wipes the baby’s bum with much joy.


    • Asking a father to take care of his own child is a privilege. My own father has been there for me every step of the way when I was growing up, and that has built up a very strong bond between us. It would be rather cruel if you do not allow your husband to participate in childcare.

      Caring for you during your pregnancy is the least one can expect from a husband, You need not repay by being a slave. You can care back for him when he falls sick. Simple!


      • I totally agree that a father has equal responsibility over his kids as the mother does. Unfortunately the Indian legal system does not see it that way. In divorce/child-custody cases, the mothers almost always get the kids when they are under 12. It’s as if the Indian courts are saying to the dads, ”sorry, but the kids belong to the mother”. I think the two are different sides of the same core issue. Once there’s true parental equality irrespective of gender, maybe our society will adapt to the fact that dads need to be as involved as moms in raising their kids.


        • Nish the Indian legal system still sees the father as the natural guardian of the child – though I could be mistaken. And I have faced problems once when my husband was away and I applied for our kids’ Transfer Certificates – in 1996, and found that only the father’s signature would do. This has changed now. Until ten years or so ago, mothers could not invest in their children’s name (again not sure of the exact details) – so all these years when the law favored the fathers, was it the norm for fathers to change baby diapers? I don’t think bonding with and caring for a baby has anything to do with legal equality in parenting. Though one thing that could encourage fathers to do their bit is workplaces being required to give Parental Leave instead of only Maternity Leave.


    • But Ananya, he’s your husband. If he wont look after you when you’re not well then who will? Why does it come across as you’re grateful to him for doing something he needn’t have done? Why the word ‘obligation’ between husband and wife?


      • See, it’s his duty alright….. but won’t you feel grateful if your husband does all that to you???? Do you see this as normal and just walk off? How ungrateful! Sorry, not impressed.
        And don’t call me a slave.
        There is a big difference between being a slave and being a respectful and considerate DIL+wife+SIL. Just as I have dreams about my married life, they expect me to help their tired legs in some chores. And I don’t see any crime in it.
        There is nothing wrong in being submissive when the person who we submit to is a person worthy of respect, in my case – my husband and his mother. When you do not know them personally, making a comment on a public forum that I am a slave means they have enslaved me – which is an insult to them and me too.
        I will not be exaggerating if I say I am incensed at that word slave.


      • Respectful ≠ submissive
        Submissive = slavish
        Sharing & caring ≠ submissive

        There is nothing wrong in being respectful of another person, in fact we all should strive to be respectful of each other, irrespective of whether or not we are man or woman, old or young.

        Some people like to be submissive to other people, in return for freedom of decisions. If you are that kind, go ahead. You cannot CHOOSE to be submissive. If you are making a choice, you are not submissive to someone else.

        And you have no right to expect other people to be submissive and leave their decisions in other people’s hands. They don’t want to be such a submissive, and it’s as simple as that. Now, if you try to force them to be submissive, how are YOU submissive in any way? You are the bully here, if you want to force others in certain paths.

        Actually, I don’t see the need for anyone to be submissive at all. All adults should be able to discuss and come to an agreement or at least RESPECT each other enough to agree to disagree. Yes, dear Ananya, that is true respect.


    • Ananya,

      Girl, all your arguments are sending my head into a spin. The last post actually got me really worked up but I was happy he wasn’t married(yet).

      About this attitude of feeling obliged because your husband looked after you during your pregnancy and when you were ill seems like you had absolutely no expectations from a life partner. I mean “Hello” …….. what did you expect lady, for him to walk in late in the evening bash you and ask you for food and then thrash you further because you were ill and couldn’t cook. Come on now. I am sure you do that for him as well but he doesn’t feel the way you feel obliged.
      This leadership business is also quite vague to me. I and my husband discuss both our careers and none are an expert on each other’s career. We give our take on matters but ofcourse the final decision lies with the person who is doing the job. And also about not asserting yourself in every matter … Why not? I hope that is a badly framed sentence. I hope you don’t mean that your husband takes decisions involving you and doesn’t consult you at all. And you just accept his decisions because he is the king. Somehow, you seem to imply that having a different view from your husband is an unpleasant scenario and so you avoid it to keep the peace. Discussing matters with each other and arriving at a conclusion together is so much better.

      I hope you see the difference.


    • Hi Ananya,
      I was you once. I embodied these very thoughts when I got married in 2012.
      I started off living with my grandMIL, BIL and husband. My PILs were in another city. For a newly married woman even in a joint family, this was an extremely odd setup. I wasn’t with MIL, who could at least have developed SOME rapport with me, being closer to me in age than her MIL was.
      Anyway, since the grandMIL was 70 something, and I was the only “lady” in the house, I had to do EVERYTHING; from laundry to cooking to picking up after the two dirty men in the house who were yet to mend their messy bachelor ways. Mind you, I had absolutely ZERO household management skills, and NO ONE to help me. My day used to start at 5:30 a.m. and end at 12:00 p.m. where I, a newly married woman, would spend some time with hubby. All this was a result of what you call “initial submissiveness”.
      Did it work? GrandMIL still bitched about that one odd chore I’d miss. I travelled a hell lot of distance to work and the same back in bitchy traffic, standing or hanging off the footboard in crowded buses. It was a 8-8 day for me on weekdays. I still got bitched about. Every time my PILs came visiting, they emphasized on how what I was doing was not enough (I was compared with my ever-submissive housewife MIL). In fact, I was told to quit my job if I couldn’t manage the household and DO EVERYTHING they asked me (To put it in words – You don’t have to work if you cannot manage both. We are absolutely fine. Your decision. But either way, YOU have to slog it out at home and serve us. Working or not!)
      I tried suicide two or three times, but stopping myself midway as I didn’t have enough courage to go through completely. Moreover, a part of me kept urging me not to quit so dishonorably and to fight back.
      So, while being “submissive”, I was still bad enough for them.
      Also, this routine took a toll on my health. I collapsed in office twice due to severe headache and had to be rushed home by my husband. Eventually, I had to quit my job. I hadn’t even stuck out for 6 months and I had already changed a company at 3 months, so this was a stellar record on my resume. Moreover, it was recession time too.
      Did I receive support at least now? Nope! There are days I have slogged in the kitchen at 102 degrees fever, while the remaining three watched TV. Husband would come around to help, but would be chided by grandMIL. Most of the trouble came because I never spoke to him as to what my real situation was and he was mostly clueless about what was really going on in my mind and in the house. GrandMIL, you see, was playing a nice double game to keep us both warring always.
      The three months I sat at home were ridiculously harrowing. The little liberties that came with work were gone. Now, I was expected to serve them at ANY time they pleased, 11:30 p.m. dinner or 5:30 a.m. coffee. At least while working, they had some consideration and let me sleep early.
      I started working from home as the mental rot was too much for me. But, nobody cooperated. Again, the headaches returned due to my skewed up schedule.
      I was so rooted and convinced in your philosophy, I did not even realize why despite DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT I was actually unhappy and suicidal. I wasn’t able to SEE my own ABUSE because I thought this was what EVERYONE did.
      I meditated for hours and talked to liberated women (like IHM here) who drove sense into my head.
      Finally, my PILs also came to live with us. I had got a job in my present company. By now, I was done with this “winning over” shit and talked out to my husband. We both went for marriage counseling and finally moved out.
      To this date, I have never actually FOUGHT with ILs, but the very act of moving out (joint family home was 40 kms from office and we had a clear “valid” reason to move out apart from familial issues). But, despite all the sacrifices I have made, I am still a “vamp”. I cried a lot.
      You know what, I genuinely love my MIL. But her being timid doesn’t help my cause, so I am forced to keep my distance. My FIL and grandMIL, I started out with a lot of love and respect. But, forcing me to bend their way even at the cost of my health and happiness made me lose it all.
      Today, I could easily have earned Rs. 2000/- more in my present salary, if I had stopped obliging them at the very beginning. Your much hailed “initial submissiveness” cost me my career, marriage and sanity.
      I and my husband are a happy couple today. We share everything – the good, the bad, the boring and the ugly. I still do a huge chunk of the housework, but I don’t do so because he refuses to do it. I do it because I can. I have the choice to delegate it to him if I want to. My husband has literally come out of his cocoon from a caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly. In fact, in one year of my marriage, the first time I tasted his cooking was now. And contrary to my sexist remarks on his abilities, he proved to be an excellent cook; much much better than I am.
      But what was the cost of this happiness? Becoming a vamp in my ILs eyes. Refusing to submit. They bitch about me now as they bitched about me when I WAS SUBMISSIVE. The only difference is, we don’t give a damn anymore. And, we are happy.
      You ought to realize that you can love others only if you love yourself first. Even animals know this. Not even a stupid donkey or a pig actually gives up its food, comfort or sleep to serve its mate’s parents.
      Surprising that human, the most evolved of creatures, breaks this very basic law of nature.
      For your information, some people are born leaders and some are born followers. My elder BIL has a typical “Indian soap” wife. And, she is so by choice – not because BIL enforced that. They are happy.
      But also, some people lead in a few aspects and some in others. For me and my husband, it is like this. He often acknowledges that I am the more intelligent one between us. So, some decisions go to me. Some to him. But none of those decisions are made without mutual agreement.
      There is no reason a husband must be a default leader. In fact, he may want NOT to be one. My husband, for one, does not like LEADING or taking responsibility, despite being the eldest son in the family. This was one of the reasons he fell in love with me; I am a largely independent person and that complemented him. And HE IS VERY MUCH A MAN.
      By mandating that husbands should be leaders, you are robbing men of their choice not to, as much as robbing women of their choice to lead.
      You know what, it is OKAY if you decide to live your life like this. But your SIL, who is being judged by you, could be in my position. You have no right whatsoever to pass diktats on her life and decisions. She is not YOU. You are not her. Don’t try to patronize people. You could end up killing them. Respect people and respect your differences.
      BTW, one question for you? Do you intend to “win-over” your folks by “being submissive” for every single decision you want to make – be it your career, clothes, food, children and a lot more to come in life? Tough call, if you ask me, and not really “freedom” in the real sense of the word. Think about it, but I am cool if you still stick to your old way. None of my business indeed.


      • Oh and BTW, my husband is 5 years older than I am. He asks and rather seeks my advice or even judgment on matters ranging from finance, his own career, investments, big or small purchases to even whether we should take the car to office or the bike.

        Sometimes, I gladly give him the pocket money (when his account goes empty from paying EMIs and loans). He has no qualms asking for it, even in front of his own family or mine.

        Being a submissive follower robs the husband of his right to have a PARTNER and a BEST FRIEND. Not all men want child-adult dependents for spouses.


  4. Dear IHM,
    In your zest and zeal to assert equality, you have forgotten one fact.
    My MIL and I are definitely equals as humans. But she is definitely a person I respect for her age and experience.

    And for all that she has done to make my husband what he is.
    I am grateful for that.

    She has ruled that family so far. I cannot come and go wham bang! I am the queen now.
    There are unwritten rules of hierarchy. As long as they are not abusive (in my case they were not) I am fine.

    How do you justify taking away her son from her when he is her support in her old age?
    I am the only daughter and my husband and I make sure my parents are taken care of. My MIL has no issues. Now how can I be cruel and walk out for small issues?


    • Dear IHM,
      In your zest and zeal to assert equality, you have forgotten one fact.
      My MIL and I are definitely equals as humans. But she is definitely a person I respect for her age and experience.

      Me – That’s really nice. I am sure the respect is mutual. Old and young, experienced and inexperienced, even children who are easy to disrespect, deserve to be respected.

      And for all that she has done to make my husband what he is.
      I am grateful for that.

      Me – Why grateful? Do you think you need to be grateful to his parents for raising your husband… Your parents raised you too, would you expect your husband to be grateful to them for that? Would both your parents be grateful to each of you both for marrying their child?
      Mutual love, respect and perhaps mutual gratitude for all the joy the children and parents gave to each other is what I would expect…
      Some couples could feel grateful in the Indian scenario, I guess! If the spouse is well brought up, it does make the other spouse’s life better. So if his mother/parents raised him to be a good husband, taught him about equality, live and let live, respect for women, honesty and self discipline, and if the wife didn’t think that should be a given, maybe then the wife has reason to feel grateful too…

      She has ruled that family so far. I cannot come and go wham bang! I am the queen now.
      There are unwritten rules of hierarchy. As long as they are not abusive (in my case they were not) I am fine.

      Me – I am not able to understand this. Why do we need unwritten rules of hierarchy? Who do they benefit and how? Why does one person need to be a queen or the king? It’s a family, not a kingdom…

      How do you justify taking away her son from her when he is her support in her old age?
      I am the only daughter and my husband and I make sure my parents are taken care of. My MIL has no issues. Now how can I be cruel and walk out for small issues?

      Me – But the husband is an adult, a married man, no? Was he cruel when he took you away from your parents? Of course not. Same way you are not being cruel if you make a family and home with your husband. You can still take care of (and must) both the sets of parents. Having or not having other siblings is no reason not to care for them.
      And if you walk out for an issue, I am not sure it can be called a small issue, generally there is more to these things than what is seen on the surface.


      • A woman of this generation aiding and abetting AND subscribing to the patriarchial mindset. Oh the horror.

        “Log” (aka Society) will be happy to imagine that Ananya is a real person, and not Srawan Kumar in disguise, as I first thought when I read her comments on the previous post 😀


    • Why does there need to be a queen in a family?

      Why does a family need a leader, when outside the home all are adults and capable of making major decisions?

      Why is being taken care of in a family seen as a favour?

      How about the guy taking the SIL away from HER mother when she is her only support in old age?

      Do you live with your mother? If not, how can you say you care for her? And if that seems stupid to you, how can you ask how a guy can take care of his mother if he does not live with her?

      Why SHOULD there be hierarchy in a loving relationship? Can’t everyone grow up, learn to give and take, and respect each other’s privacy?

      Think a little?


      • No Fem, we absolutely, utterly cannot have that. 🙂

        If all Indians grow up, and learn to give/recieve respect regardless of caste, religion, gender, social/economic/educational background, then what will happen to “Indian Culture”?

        Will it not wilt away? What is Indian Culture but the selective giving and getting of respect/authority based on all these factors?


    • You can respect the elders in a family. I hope you understand that no one here is saying you shouldnt. But the problem is, your definition of respect is completely different from ours. I do not need to show respect to my MIL and FIL by being submissive. If they say something I dont like/agree with, I either tell them that or remain mum. If I changed my ways to match theirs, I would be miserable and that would reflect on the entire family.

      I am happy that your parents are being taken care of. I understand, I am only child as well. But why do I sense a feeling of gratefulness from your part to your husband and MIL for that? You do the same for the MIL, dont you? Then why should it be anything out of the ordinary if the husband takes care of your parents??


    • Wao, you are one self righteous cookie who is not even clear on dictionary definitions of words like respect, submission, mutual…

      How do you justify taking away her son from her when he is her support in her old age?
      Is the husband/son a piece of meat? Who is asking anyone to do that and why do they need to snatch a piece of meat from another hungry mouth? Doesn’t the person called husband/son have a volition of their own. Are they so helpless?

      And for all that she has done to make my husband what he is.
      I am grateful for that.
      Just asking are daughters a bag of Tilda basmati raised with no effort at all just picked up from the grocery store? And are the husbands thankful for their wives?

      There are unwritten rules of hierarchy…
      All cultures have privilege of age but none has the kind of system where aged bully the young like ours.

      She has ruled that family so far. I cannot come and go wham bang! I am the queen now.
      Why did she have to rule the family? Is she a despot or what? Don’t other family members have a voice. And why do you, a DIL need to go and establish her own monarchy within the family?

      …Now how can I be cruel and walk out for small issues?…
      Who is asking you to walk out on any issue at all? Do you think walking out is the first option people especially DILs adopt as means of conflict resolution. If it were so then this poor guy would have been free from the tyranny of his own parents long back.

      If you think you are happy follower of a leader of your choice then good for you stop proselytizing others. Let them find their own way. Climb down your holier than thou horse.

      Desi Girl


  5. No body is supporting the legendary draconian MIL here.
    There are normal MILs with a little bit of natural insecurity. A mature approach from the DIL can make the stay pleasant.
    Why should it always be the old lady to make the adjustments? At her age, one would expect atleast a little bit of respect from the DIL.
    Many many DILs have an attitude problem. I am sorry, I am being brutally honest, but the surgeon must wield the knife to save a life.
    They come with a pre-conditioned mind (courtesy her parents’ advice, others’ advice) and expect to see a bad MIL. When you expect something bad, you’ll miss all the good points.
    An open mind helps.
    And her son does not become my private property the moment I married him. There is no proper old age care like in canada or US here. So my husband is her hope. I WILL NEVER take away that support from another human being in her old age.
    To me, that’s way too cruel.
    My personality is this: “Irrespective of how others are, I will conduct myself with kindness and love, poiseand dignity; i will never do something that will demean me in my own eyes, let alone others”.
    TRUST ME, I a reaping the benefits.
    in my 31 years of life, I can say I have not one enemy or one person who wished me bad.
    that’s what unconditional love can do. It takes time, but it works.


    • You have taken away that support from your parents? How does it justify? You have chosen to move away from your home when your parents would have enjoyed your company. How is that okay? IS it okay to let your parents live alone in their old age and just helping them whenever possible?

      You feel that is okay? You have been conditioned to believe its okay to leave the girl’s parents but the boy’s parents must be with their son always and enjoy it!


    • //”There are normal MILs with a little bit of natural insecurity. A mature approach from the DIL can make the stay pleasant.”//
      Well I can’t stop laughing at this. A “normal” MIL with “natural” insecurity. And the “mature” approach is expected from the much younger DIL. Lol.


    • Ah, the self-righteousness of her reply!

      It could be stored in little bottles and forced down the throats of all those awful feminist-minded, son-snatching DILS. 🙂

      That’ll teach them a thing or two about “stooping to conquer”.


  6. I would never disrespect my husband for anything – even when he is bitterly opposed to my opinions – he is another human, equally entitled to all rights as I am.
    Yes, he is scared of spiders – but why would I disrespect him for that? I am puzzled. Ya he has cried, so what? Don’t men cry? Are these grounds for disrespecting one’s spouse? I am baffled.
    tell me, is your aim to establish the superiority of wives and DILs, disguised as a fight for equality?


    • All I did when I came to know of his arachnophobia was to make sure no spider entered the home, for the best of my abilities and to get him out of it with therapy.


      • You know with you repeatedly using the word “respect my husband” , I have to ask …how do you show respect? Obeying him, taking down his orders to the T, no expectations at all, looking after his family, giving your salary into his hands and feeling grateful and obliged if he looked after you or your child. What of these is showing respect to your husband. With all your arguments, the only thing I can conclude is you don’t give your husband much credit at all. You don’t think he can handle your opinions or expectations. Nor do you think he can stand up for you and so you do all that is possible to avoid any confrontations.


      • Shail,

        I agree. It scares me. Here we are fighting against inequalities that makes our blood boil and then comes an argument like this – which throws us and our case back to the Stone Age.

        I almost feel like giving up. But. I have a son and the one way I can do something about this situation is to make doubly sure that he grows up to be a man who doesnt fall in love with someone who treats him like a superior being/God/boss.


      • It need not be aeons. I’ve quoted this before and it;s worth quoting again: Schumpeter said that our grandchildren live by our ideas. That’s how long social change usually takes. And Nitya’s reply shows how the change is already happening.


  7. Everyone is different. If you personally love a submissive life, that is your choice. Be happy in it. On the other hand, if your co-sister gives importance to self-respect and independence, that is her choice. The moment you start saying that she cannot have those things, you step into a forbidden area. As a free citizen of a free nation, she has every right to develop her own self in a way that makes her happy. If she cannot bow down to the dictates of your family, that again is her prerogative to make a choice, just as you made a choice to be a submissive slave.

    If you find you cannot live with her, you have two choices. One is move out of the family, and the other is encourage her and her husband to move out. Live and let live. That is the way civilized people settle their differences. This way you can continue to live in a submissive manner, and she can continue to live in an independent manner. Both are happy. Win-win situation, eh?


    • Hi Fem,
      You are not right in calling me a slave.
      There is a big difference between being a slave and being a respectful and considerate DIL+wife+SIL. Just as I have dreams about my married life, they expect me to help their tired legs in some chores. And I don’t see any crime in it.
      If you and your ilk want to go ahead with your warped, distorted, myopic and bigot views, go ahead please.
      There is nothing wrong in being submissive when the person who we submit to is a person worthy of respect, in my case – my husband and his mother. When you do not know them personally, making a comment on a public forum that I am a slave means they have enslaved me – which is an insult to them and me too.
      I will not be exaggerating if I say I am incensed at that word slave.


  8. Ananya, I’m really pleased you’ve made a place for yourself in your marital home and things seem to be working so well for you. At the same time your comments make me want to hang my head in despair.

    ” I can never dump a mother’s role on my husband that too in front of his brother.” Why? Does it make your husband less of a man to admit that he takes care of what he helped create? As a ‘leader’ does his job end with being a sperm donor?

    “Doing so is imposing my will on others and hurting an entire family.” What about your will? Did you discard it on the way to your husband’s home? Do you feel as a DIL, you dont have the right to decide to what you will and will not wear? Is that the only way to keep peace?

    “I would rather play by the new rules and EARN the respect rather than DEMAND/BEG for respect.” Ahhh, the great sacrificial Bhartiya naari.

    “When they scold me, I took it as if my parents were chiding me.” just asking out of curiosity, when your parents scold you, do you engage in debate with them or take it lying down?

    “In a family, we are interdependent. There will be no autonomy in a family setup.” Really? Like a dictatorship? Sounds like Red China to me.

    ” value my duties as a mother and a wife more than my career.” That’s your choice to make and i respect that. It doesn’t make you better than your co sister and definitely not grounds for moral superiority.

    “Because of that smooth and initially SUBMISSIVE relationship…LET ME resume my career ….”Dont you see anything wrong in your choice of words?

    “And a husband is entitled to be my leader….” Why? His Y chromosome has an inbuilt leadership gene?

    I’ll end the long comment by asking why you feel it is not right to expect your family to change for you. Does your Self have not part to play in any of this?


  9. I’ve been married for 5 years..happily married…we met in college and have been together for almost 10 years now…my MIL have had strong objection to love marriage..but hubby tried hard and convinced them and he has always been a rock solid support…one thing we must understand that respect has to be fine day you cannot start respecting someone just because you are expected doesn’t happen like even if I do not really approve many of my MIL’s superstitious action that doesn’t make me respect her any less..infact my parents and and my in-laws are poles apart..but i don’t expect them to be my new set of parents and mend their way and similarly i do not think they also have that kind of dont have to switch parents …you just have to accept the way they are..everyone has their own belief system and you cannot just force someone to foolow the same path..I’ve been working for almost 9 years now and both my parents and in-laws probably becomes happy the same way when i get promoted at my work…we’ve help in our family and my MIL does the most of the cooking..she would would have loved if I was also helping her everyday..which i don’t fact i’ve hardly cooked 10 times in the 2 and a half years i stayed with them..(rest of the times we were abroad for an assignment)…but she doesn’t expect me to…as i come back real late in the evening..and we do not have any stereotyped role in the husband hates driving (he does not drive at all) and i love long drive…when i came back from hospital my husband cooked me the most delicious chicken rice i ever had…as a family we do have drinks together at birthday parties and other occasions..ofcourse they probably do not agree to this whole hearedly but they respect us as individuals…i dont follow any of the so called rules of being a DIL..but i guess we are happy that way…so the point is respect has to be cannot be bought…we cannot manipulate our way and impress them by acting like we are listening to them and respecting cannot be conditional..either you respect their action or’s simple…also if both of us are working i did not quite get you what you or anyone would try to prove by “giving the salary to the husband”..


  10. Dear Ananya,
    I understand how you feel about your husband and your In laws. I can see that you are greatly pleased with your husband being supportive of your during pregnancy and the support that your MIL had given you during the same time. Yes it is nice to feel happy. But what you don’t realize is that as a wife if you are giving birth to a child, as a husband it is his duty to stay awake and help you with the child birth. You feel by default its your duty to give birth to your child, but when your hubby helps you with it you feel as though he has become God and helped you through it, as if its a gift, as if you were blessed with it. Dont you feel he has to be that person he is now, by default? Isn’t he supposed to be your better half and help you around by default? Why do you think its a great thing! Doesn’t it prove that men in India are so bad as husbands (Not all, but many of them) and that makes you think that if your husband has done (what is normally expected of him as a husband and father of your child) is something great and that you need to be full of gratitude for the same. I would have appreciated your perfect life if you had made what your husband did seem fair and right, but you make it sound like he did something out of ordinary and that you are extremely blessed, lucky etc to deserve it. Come on lady! Don’t you feel you deserve it by being his wife?

    Regarding the post,

    I had a friend who got married recently and I’m really ashamed of the way she has lost all her independence and she feels proud of compromising. She did not attend a death at a friend’s house because “she was not in the position to do so” – Meaning she cannot visit friend’s house without her husband or she needs to get permission to do so. What is more appalling is that she feels that its right to live this way and is proud of her family’s customs and policies. What happened to just rushing to a friends home when they needed her? I am ashamed of her now for losing her individuality, her identity. She is no more a individual, but she is someone’s wife and someone’s DIL. She as a person is now dead!

    As for the guy who wrote the previous mail, Grrrrr! What rights does he have to dictate how the DIL Lives? Just because many women lead ignorant lives in the name of compromising and being a “DIL” or “mother” , he cannot and must not demand it out of a woman who has enough sense to not give up her individuality and smoothly waltz into a stone aged role of DIL – whose characteristics are predefined to lead a life, she may not agree upon.

    Ananya’s mail makes me feel like she is like a circus animal doing tricks to make the family happy and with gratitude receiving the biskuts they throw at the animal. When will women understand that they DESERVE all these wonderful things by default? Sigh!


  11. @ Ananya, I do accept if the DIL takes the first step it will help her more in the longer run than being in the ‘offensive’. But the problem is not every woman is the same. What you and I see as initial adjustment may be thought as ‘manipulation’ by some others ; And I tell this through personal experience. Maybe the SIL is just a product of her experiences. Maybe she has seen daughter in laws being submissive and then completely demolished after that. Maybe she is so affected by that incident that she doesn’t want it to happen to her? Maybe that’s a possibility.

    As far as your SIL is concerned. It must be pretty difficult for her to be always compared to you – The good bahu. Comparison is the worst thing that can happen in a family. Be it to your mother, your father or your own SIL or BIL.

    I think IHM is right in the sense that it’s better to move away. Not only for the SIL but also the whole family. Maybe the SIL will learn to appreciate the things which she takes for granted now? It is a Win Win situation.


  12. letter about the DIL. Okay so you feel that you should be submissive and the husband should be head of the household. Fine. Great, good for you, you’re fine with how your relationship is. I’m not even going to comment on you giving your money to him.

    If you’re fine with doing that then by all means, do so.
    Everyone’s marriage isn’t like yours, I’m guessing part of the reason why you reacted so strongly to the previous post and comments is maybe you’re not used to seeing women have such strong opinions about these issues. Also I personally don’t understand why you have to bend to your in laws. Yes, of course they’re going to have their way of doing things, but do you always have to bend to their rules? IHM has discussed these issues on her blog in depth.

    Because of that smooth and initially submissive relationship, My husband and his family volunteer to take care of my chores, to let me resume my career as an assistant professor.

    Why do I feel there’s so much wrong with this statement?


  13. To continue with the corporate ladder example, since it’s so clear you expect a family to function the same way, you’ve been promoted. You’ve joined the ranks of the powerful. And you’re not satisfied with your SILs performance. Review after annual review, it’s Does Not Meet Expectations. And you can’t fathom WHY she wouldn’t want that promotion. Why doesn’t she push herself?! Why would anyone in their right minds not want that promotion, right? That’s what you mean when you ask “Who is at loss – she or me?” Mere paas bungalow hai, gaadi hai, naukar hain, chaakar hain, uske paas kya hai?!

    If your promotion was really giving you as much fulfillment and pleasure as you claim, you wouldn’t be the one asking that question. You wouldn’t need to derive fulfillment out of putting down someone else’s choices. Her choices wouldn’t even evoke such a strong reaction from you, if you were happy with yours. You’re just upset that she’s living life on her own terms while you had to be so devious about it. You’re upset that she had it in her to upset the apple cart while you had to scheme and plot.

    That’s right, uske paas integrity hai.


    • Couldn’t help myself from laughing out loud while reading this comment. Well said The wild Child.
      ‘uske paas integrity hai’…LOL!!


    • You’ve hit the nail on the head. It’s all a mind game. This woman seems to have plotted her way into gaining so-called respect and acceptance into the family. It isn’t as if she is really ‘submissive’ and docile. It certainly does not seem so from the arguments and counter-arguments she has posted in the comments.

      This is something a lot of newly-wed brides are advised to do. They are told to get into a Jekyll and Hyde personality to make their place inside the household, without undergoing much struggle and conflict. That’s what “initial submissiveness” means here. Such ‘acceptance’ gives these women a voice in family matters, and often a bigger share of resources. They can then also use this compliance and “sacrifice” as a ruse to get what the want. Some husbands may not be inclined to give care and attention to a pregnant or sick wife who has refused to seamlessly accommodate into the family, or has caused conflict in it, or shown disrespect to a family custom or member.


      • Very true. I was given the same advice (that I didn’t pay any heed to and now it’s all lookie! she’s a divorcee now!)

        My co-SIL on the other had lives by it and people don’t tire of talking about how she “has it all.” My ILs in fact EXPECTED that kind of two-faced behavior and were upset when they didn’t get it from me…..because to them it meant I didn’t even “respect” them enough to put on a show. “Hamaari absence mein jo marzi karey, hamaare saamne to lihaaj karna chahiye.”

        I’ve asked myself over and over and over again if I should have listened to my parents and played along, if I would have been better off in that case. And I’ve realized I can’t live with myself if I have to earn “respect” that way. Such respect is meaningless to me. But in the Indian context, that is apparently the key to HAVING IT ALL: happy husband, happy ILs, kids, home, career, the whole shebang.

        How low have we sunk as a society if that’s not merely acceptable behavior, but EXPECTED behavior?! How dysfunctional are we?


    • lol.. so true.. all through the post and comments section that exactly what I felt.. Ananya seems to be defending her choice to be the best by putting down her SIL. Comparing what she does, what she doesn’t.
      Is the reason for becoming close to your MIL because you bitch about your SIL with her and others?


  14. Why changing the diapers or cleaning the baby by is ok only if it’s an one time thing? If the husband is helping in taking care of the child, that doesn’t mean you are dumping the role of a mother. As a matter of fact, this means the bond between father and child is strengthening, which is good, for both of them(kid and dad). Raising a child is not just mother’s responsibility and duty, fathers must be involved in it too.

    And if his(husband’s) brother feels ashamed because his brother is a good father, then it’s his problem right?

    And about you believing that your husband is entitled to be your leader and you are happy being submissive wife, if this works for you; good. To each his own. Some like being submissive, some don’t. Nothing much to say here. 🙂


  15. IHM,

    The following is a comment by Raj from Melbourne.
    Article in TOI : Republic Day Parade: Woman leads Indian Air Force contingent for the first time in history (

    “This is it ! The Downfall starts .Take examples from history and your own religion .Woman has always been the reason for the downfall of many races and nations .Mahabharat, ramayan , the demise of teh great MAYA race etc etc etc .All because of a woman .The current sad state of the western nation and now the Indian society all due to giving too much of leverage to the female gender .Never mess with the wya how nature created that gender .A homely character to raise kids ,impart good upbringing that leads to a better society .RESPECT woman,but if one tries to change things drastically doomsday is not very far”

    Obviously, Mr. Sravan Kumar is not the only neanderthal alive in this world…


    • Other comments on the same article:

      “watever they do men are men women are women…they cant come even close to men..all these r just show off..”

      “Another woman – the waitress – is leading us in corruption”

      “he indian airforce was already at the bottom now it means its cannot even stand up to a country without airforce women are inferior to me in every way mentally physically intellectualy and while non indian women strive a lot hard to overcome some of it indian women hardly even try – she must have got promote due to women reserved seats – there is still time save the indian air force shoe us which foreign airforce has women leading – none and thats for a reason – emotional illogical revengeful vindictive indian women cannot even lead a herd of calf much less a squadron this is a low caste dravidian plan to undo upper caste aryan india”


      • When men like these are writing such nonsense does it occur to them that they are calling their own mothers “emotional, illogical, revengeful and vindictive”?

        Men are born out of women.

        So if women are inferior to men mentally, physically and emotionally, how do we give birth to men who are superior to us in all these ways?

        What genetic miracle takes place here?

        Can such men ever respect any woman? Even their own mother?

        Rank, vicious, heart-breaking misogyny. 😦


    • Another gem,
      //… low caste bakwas get to your senses using this women is a deliberate plan to weaken india india was at strongest when all command and top politics was in the hands of upper caste aryan indian males but now its going down //
      And yet another,

      //the top chefs anywhere are males the top everything anywhere are males yes i agrees men cannot breastfeed babbies but now with surrogate mothers who needs a women//

      Who are these people??? I wonder if they really mean what they say?


    • Er, did “Raj from Melbourne” ever wonder what magical apparatus he popped out of?

      Could it just, horror of horrors, be a WOMAN? Oh Raj, you poor thing.

      Imagine the pain of being born from that vile, contemptible civilisation-destroying gender. 🙂 God what a loser!


  16. As i said in my previous post also , I wonder how most of us behave behind our own doors .. writing here and commenting and what we do in our home are TWO different things that i have seen ..

    How can one decide what one does is good or bad .. right or wrong.. isn’t it individual way of living .. who are we to say if someone is submissive they are wrong.. or if someone is overpowering that is right .. if the man does that or woman does this

    I do think this man – woman .. mil-dil sometimes GOES toooo far

    I wonder how a lot of lovely ladies here when they become MIL’s how will they behave .. now that they have experienced the DIL phase 🙂


      • Sorry, my husband has never asked to be treated as a king because to me, that’s ok and he deserves to be treated so. I do so at my own choice, please do not twist my words.


    • @Bikram,

      Guess everyone agrees to what you are saying the problem here is this person is trying very hard to prove that submission is her choice and so and it will be a good choice for everyone else too because it worked for her. And most of all she is putting down the co-sister to prove her point.

      How about acting as adults in any relationship instead of being boxed in MIL, DIL, Son, Daughter… boxes. It is high time parents started treating their adult kids as adults. 🙂 Then there will be no problem in becoming a MIL does the right thing.

      Desi Girl


  17. Oh God I have nothing to say to this woman! She’s too far gone in her thinking.
    She’s been trained this way from the very beginning and in her mind there is a very clear right and wrong.

    Sadly enough, this is how majority of the population sees their lives and their place in society and would actually be upset if their husband wanted an equal partner or were open-minded and liberal (remember that guy who mailed in months ago, he arranged-married this girl like this and took her to the U.S and now he regrets the decision but doesn’t know what to do? A lot of women are like that! and too few men like that guy. )


  18. I just have a feeling you are a product of indoctrination with no opinions of her own. If it were left to you, we would just have females robots being the ideal DIL as in the movie stepford wives (1975). Why do we have equal mental capacity huh?

    You want to be submissive DIL, great go ahead, but you cannot say no other woman should have her own views and independence. There will be conflict if we do not let other people take advantage of us.

    I pity your co sister, she has some robot like you in the house. I def will want to move out.


  19. Please, my husband has never asked or demanded to be treated as a king/leader because to me, that’s ok and he deserves to be treated so. I do so at my own choice, please do not twist my words.


    • Love it. Please keep worshiping your king/leader. just spare us. Our definition of happiness and equality don’t match. We are comrades and we partners in the journey we hold hands we refuse to follow even our shadows.
      Desi Girl


  20. Dear Ananya,
    When you say your BIL is a ‘gentleman’ what do you mean by that? If you’re happy being submissive and passive you have to understand that some people (like your SIL) have a very different character (read more assertive) than yours so it’ll be very unfair of you to judge her character or morals using yours as a yardstick.
    It’s easy for you to pass judgement on other women because you have an easy life, remember that some women are married to men that beat them, rape them, cheat on them regularly or are just plain mean to them sometimes in ways so subtle that the woman cannot put it to words. What would you do in this case? Be submissive and ‘adjust’?! Also remember that some men are very good at playing Jekyl and Hyde so someone who’s a ‘perfect’ husband in public may also be a demon in private.


  21. Ananya, I am trying to make you understand my point in terms you can associate your warm personality (that never failed you) with.

    As you say, your MIL is from another generation and you couldn’t expect her to change. But over time, you managed to earn her respect and she even does your chores. Did it occur to you that you now have the power to change her mindset? As an older DIL and co-sister, it was your responsibility to introduce your MIL to the ways of the new generation, so that your co-sister didn’t have to go through all this. Why didn’t you use your feminity and your thoughtfulness for the noble cause of not making her make all the adjustments you initially made? You might have excelled at your role as a DIL, but as an elder co-sister, you failed her. Why didn’t you use your hierarchical position and your warm disposition to make her comfortable? Why are you expecting her to make all initial adjustments that you made? You didn’t have a co-sister but she does. Why are you not showing it to your in-laws that she is a nice person, irrespective of her personal choices? Given your personality, you can and you should.

    When there is unity amongst co-sisters, there is harmony in the house.


    • Well said and very thoughtful …perhaps this is what this person needs to do or may be she is so preoccupied with her own world that her co-sister’s existence and her problems don’t bother her ..”I have won is the sentiment here”….wish she could have used her positive vibes in the family to let her co-sister and BIL stay together in a family..


  22. ” I can never dump a mother’s role on my husband that too in front of his brother.”

    If it is because the brother does not like it, he can close his eyes or go sit in his room. :/


    • There’s so much wrong with that one sentence you dont know where to begin!
      1. She believes its the “mother’s role” to take care of the baby. The dad – oh, didnt he already do his job?
      2. The particular fact that “its in front of the brother” – is it because you think you’ll lose face because your husband helps you at home?


  23. Ananya.. what u r trying to say and the responses u r getting are sooo distant.. i know where u r coming from, bcs thats how i used to think. i know where the others are coming from – because i have been reading ihm for a while.
    let me just say this – you are happy with your life – and we are all very happy for you. like the others have mentioned – please do not judge other women, by your standards. just like they should not judge you by theirs.

    you dont like it when readers of this blog chide you (and not always gently) for being submissive – even calling u devious et al. its suffocating, isnt it, as u try to explain ur perspective and ur love for ur husband to a largely antagonistic crowd? trust me, the women u r judging in ur family, feel even more suffocated this is the family that they came into – to adopt and hopefully make their own. and then, all their thoughts, all their ideas, and all their personalities, were shown the trash can. if they did not use the trash can, they were not “Adjusting” and therefore, they did not reap the benefits of being a good dil/sil.

    we are not saying u change – we are only saying that please dont use your yardstick to measure others, and dont let others use their yardstick to measure you..


    • Oh I really hope she changes or atleast sees the difference. You definitely do not want your daughter to spend her life making other people happy while staying unhappy. You want to teach her to make her voice heard, to value her happiness and life. we have lost too many daughters to adjustments. And you want to teach your son to be a gentleman and who can handle different views and girls at par.


  24. There are so many things that Ananya says that can be challenged.. Clearly this is one example of a person who has been conditioned so strongly to believe in a lot of things, which a lot of us would not even dream of..

    A husband and wife pair should be a partnership – in my opinion. Mutual respect and understanding is the key – not a superior -subordinate role. Ananya’s words ‘let me resume my career’ clearly indicates the dynamics here. Well, if that is what someone wants, brilliant – for them! The issue I have is with expecting everybody else to behave/work in the same way.

    I see a lot of ‘ I would never’, ‘I will do this’, fine, go ahead, live life the way, that makes you happy but surely expecting the SIL to live her life the way you want her to amounts to ‘imposing my will on others’. If everything that the SIL does is so unacceptable, then as so many others suggested, the easiest thing would be to help them move out – why expect somebody who clearly does not believe in the same things you do, to change her beliefs, and do everything to please others?
    And as The Wild Child said, if she had been perfectly happy with her life, she would not be so enraged at her SIL.


  25. I am totally not in agreement with the thoughts expressed by Ananya. However thats the least of the things that bother me here.
    Like all free citizens of free India, each is entitled to his/her opinion. There are no two ways about it.
    What strikes me here is her “holier than thou” approach. This post stinks of moral superiority.
    It is fine what you choose to do with your life – how you choose to treat your MIL/SIL/BIL, husband – how you choose your own priorities in life – career/family.
    What is not ok is to think yourself superior because of your choices. Your choices are your own – why do you want to make it a standard – share it as a formula for success story ?
    Why do you put own your SIL ? Why do you expect from her that her priorities in life should be in accordance with your priorities.
    What right has the other BIL in the previous post to dictate how his SIl should behave ?
    I am not sure if Ananaya is a regular reader of IHM blog – sometime back there was a post on gender stereotypes.
    What everyone has been saying in response to this post is that stop this gender stereotypes. Who decides what is the duty of a mother/wife/DIL ?
    Ananya gets to decide her own duties and that cannot be taken as a standard for other women. Some people here called her “slave” and she reacted very strongly against it.
    I can understand her sentiments. But Ananya are you also not guilty of the same crime ? You refer to your SIL’s behaviour as not correct ? Who are you to decide that ?
    A marriage is made successful by compatible characteristics in partners. In my marriage I have some strengths and weaknesses and same for my husband.
    But our strengths and weaknesses balance each other, so together we form a wonderful team. A leader-follower relationship would also result in a good marriage if both the partner
    like it but that is no standard recipe for a happy marriage. My husband is a “weak” person who cannot be unpleasant to anyone. I am a first born and have always taken care of my
    younger brother and cousins so leading comes naturally to me. Sometimes I do wish he would be my “knight in shining armour”.
    I can imagine how hard it would be for him if he is forced to be the “leader”. And let me tell you he is 10 years my senior and I respect him a lot, admire his strengths,
    love him with all his weaknesses and the feeling is mutual. We do not take each other for granted but we are not grateful to each other though. We appreciate each other – express our thanks.
    It takes two to bring a baby in this world and the baby is the responsibilty of both the mother and father.
    If you like taking full responsibilty of your baby, it is your personal choice. But you must remember – that does not naturally make you a better mother giving you the right to
    put down other women who share less responsibilty in brining up the baby. n the end it is not about who cleans the baby, who feeds the baby, who earns for the baby
    – it is about sharing the responsibility. Growing up, I remember that our neighbour’s son used to come over for lunch many times. His mother was working and my mother as a woman
    and as a good neighbour helped his mother take care of her son. She never considered herself superior that while she cooked warm meals for us , he had to eat the pre-cooked food.
    Instead time and again she invited him. His mother was a teacher and had access to a big library therby fostering my thirst for books. In the end it was a win-win situation.
    Both the mothers played a different but important roles in the live of us children.
    Now talking about MILs – I share a great rapport with my MIL too but not because I am submissive and try to adjust to her life.
    It was not love at first sight for us – my relationship with MIl is something that grew over the years- gradually as we started getting to know each other better as an individual.
    I did have issues with her, it was there my husband helped me communicate effectively to her. She took the effort to hear me out, even if she was not in accordance with my thoughts.
    It was not easy but with time we learnt to talk and to accept differences. She is a strong woman and I respect her for that and she respects me for my honesty.
    A family is where people support each other – there is no hierarchy or dominance. When my grandmother was sick, my mother helped her by being physicall present to take care of her.
    She has grown-up children and could afford to take the time off. Other works in US and sent pots of money – that is also help. Other had school going children and could not help out –
    but she is also very much a part of the family and loved for it. We cannot use a standard measurement to measure all.

    There would not be so many issues, when people learn to respect each other and not force their own ideas and beliefs.
    Your approach Ananaya might have worked for you but it is not a cure for all.
    The other post was BIL was just pathetic – I cannot comment on it.


  26. OMG! Ananya, you are a very submissive woman who has been conditioned as a slave by your environment. (Family? Friends? Neighbours?) Most women are not like you. We don’t like to play elaborate games of pretending we are some Ekta Kapoor bahus, till the groom’s family are fooled by our charade; and then pretend to be a saint to the world. If you like being submissive, it’s your point of view. Don’t come to these public forums where people gather to discuss societies’ inequalities and injustices. You can’t understand them. These are part and parcel of your ‘normal’ life.

    Now, get off the computer, hand over your salary to your ‘king’ and go cook for them. Don’t try to roll back hard-earned progresses for Indian women.


  27. I shall not mince words here even if I may sound offending – it is women as these who make it difficult for the rest who are trying to live their lives with dignity and respect. There is an understood acceptance of male superiority in the post above and I can tell you if god forbid one thing goes wrong in this seemingly smooth submissiveness – the only one who is going to be bitter is this lady here. She uses words like “demand”, “mother’s role”, “too orthodox” already – I wonder how long she has been in this kind of arrangement – that would be some indication of how long this could last.


  28. “You see, cleaning baby’s bums by dad is ok if it’s an one time thing, but I can never dump a mother’s role on my husband that too in front of his brother.”

    Thank God for those men and women who diverge from this ‘ideal’. Hands that do not want to get dirty do not deserve to be held.


  29. You know IHM, the first thing that came to my mind after reading ananya’s response was the “tu hi tu” song made for woman’s day on start plus. You had even done a post on it saying why it is so bad.
    That is the case here, i think. This is the case of the supposed “perfect” woman as shown in that song. Who does everything, who WANTS to do everything. Right from taking care of kids, husband, MIL etc to being the successful career woman. And yes, of course, everyone in the family just love her, dont they?! But the problem starts when such perfect women and the society start measuring all women based on this “perfect” yardstick. But you know what, most of the women are not perfect. And they dont have to be. They are just humans. Just like the men, who are not perfect (in fact, far from that!!!) and they can very well afford to be imperfect and “still” get the respect from people around them. But women? Well, they have to work hard for it. As you said, they have to do things around, behave in a particular way to get the respect.
    It is ok to be the superwoman ananya is, but it is not ok to expect everyone to be like her. If ananya is happy with her choices, they thats awesome. But it is very wrong to judge the SIL (in the last post) because she is finding it hard to fit into the family.
    Let us not equate feminism to being submissive and being a good DIL and being the perfect mother who does most of the work related to the kids. Because you know what, I have known women who are none of these things but are just awesome awesome individuals. Why not respect women (and men) as they are. As individuals?


  30. Dear Ananya,

    Most of the commenters have responded very well to may of your narrow-minded values (sorry about the bluntness), particularly the infamous one of “making the dad wash your child’s bum” (how unmotherly!!). But I will point out those statements of yours that I think were missed.

    “”See, it’s his duty alright….. but won’t you feel grateful if your husband does all that to you???? Do you see this as normal and just walk off? How ungrateful! “”
    I do not feel “grateful” when my husband washes the dishes or changes my child’s diaper or takes care of the house when I’m sick. And that’s because I have seen my father, my grandfather do all this and more, and I think it’s NORMAL, and what every GOOD husband would do. Your expectations for your husband, my dear, are very very low.

    “”And for all that she has done to make my husband what he is.
    I am grateful for that.””
    Why, oh why, does Indian society expect the DIL to be “grateful” to the MIL because she raised him and “because of all she did” ? I have a son, and I have given up some aspects of my career, etc after he arrived, however, I DO NOT expect him (or his future wife) to be grateful to me. All that I do for him, is because I ENJOY RAISING my child, and none of what I do (to facilitate a comfortable childhood for him), is a SACRIFICE that I want him (or his future wife or anybody) to be thankful to me for, years later.

    It’s also interesting you mention the thaali business. For reference, I wear my thaali everyday, because I LIKE TO DO SO. However, my co-sister (for whatever reason), does not like to do so. And in a few private conversations, I have been able to make my MIL see things from her point of view, and not make an issue of this fact, which is her personal business after all. Since you are the embodiment of the glorious bahu, who keeps the family together, maybe you could try something similar? After all, when change is required, isnt it better that the change is focused towards more tolerance, more personal space, and more personal freedom; than a temporary change (like making you co-sis wear her thaali) that doesnt really change the source of the problem??


    • All I can tell you is wait for some more years. My thoughts were not very different from yours , I thought it was my responsibility to make everyone like me with my behavior, of course it works, of course they will LOVE you, why won’t they? Everything is happening like they want. Just once or twice try to do something you want that they don’t like and see the change in attitude.


  31. oh god i hope “ANANYA” is not my co-sis, her name is not ananya, but who knows with aliases these days.

    Ananya – I have a SIL coul dbe your twin, lovely lady, but since we are not born together oour natures are like chalk and cheese. and thanks to her my MIL compares me to her – every much so that i can’t stand either of them.

    My fault , having a career which i value A LOT.. I’ve spent years studying and training that i’m not about to let it take a backseat. so i let my hubby do the bum cleaning 🙂 when he’s home na dwhen i’m tired, when my hands ar busy and baby’s bum needs cleaning . It was not an issue until he did it in front of his mum. So tell me ananya why does it bother his mum to see her son cleaning his own baby ( a boy mind you) bum but my mom should not care?

    You may want to have a leader follower relationship ( like my exalted SIL) but don’t , I didn’t marry so i could be glad my husband took care of me and be greateful, i married for an equal partnership, meaning if he’s sick i care and viceversa, no thanks/gratefulness required or expected.

    As for adjusting to my in-laws family, I’m young nad have a long life ( or so i hope) ahead, i cannot change and live with myself just for a few people . they should be able to accept me just as i am , just as i accept my MIL and co-sis just as they are.

    OK hope i havn’t stirred a hornets nest adn hopefully this ananya’s no tmy SIL , cause that would be v bad 🙂 🙂
    have to run and tell my husband.


    • If she were your SIL, , be happy you conveyed your point and asked her politely to stay away from your life ! 😉

      I really hope all the women & men reading Ananya’s and Sravan Kumar’s post understand that they have no business judging or commenting on their Brothers or Brother-in-law’s lives & wives!!


  32. Ananya, I feel for you because I see you are being publicly criticized for having a different opinion. However, you are the one responsible for landing yourself in this situation. I am not sure of your intent, but your choice of words to say the least, is poor.

    – It is okay to be submissive to your partner at times. My husband submits to my opinions and desires at times. At times, I submit to his. It all depends on the situation we have at hand. The point is, we BOTH do it for each other depending upon the need of the hour. That is what makes it a ‘balanced equation’. It is not one sided.

    – In any marriage or partnership, both partners play different roles at different times. At times I might be a leader, at times I might be a guide, at times I might be a follower, at times I might even be a tantrum throwing child. The same goes for my husband. There are no defined ‘titles’ that we have to constantly live up to.

    – You seem to have definite, unchangeable titles in your relationship. Your husband is your ‘leader’, and you are his ‘obedient’ wife. Are we sitting in a classroom? I used to ‘obey’ my teachers in school and consider them to be my leaders. This is not what I would expect in a marriage concerning two equals. No one partner is above the other. No one partner should have to constantly “obey”, while the other gets to be the constant “leader”.

    – You further spoilt your case by commenting on your SIL’s personal choices. If you enjoy this submissive life, I will refrain from commenting on it. (Although I feel like, because by doing that, you are giving rise to unfair and incorrect expectations that are dumped on a million other girls who do not want to live that way) Why do you think you have a say in the kind of life your SIL has chosen for herself?

    Really, if you were trying to say that you respect your husband and in laws and they respect you, and that it is okay for a daughter in law to want to accommodate her in laws, you failed in conveying the right message. Your choice of words really diluted the credibility of your argument.


    • I agree. It’s easy to make a coherent and articulate case for compromising and adjusting as a new DIL in a new family. In fact, a happy family is one in which EVERY member is well-adjusted and tolerant of each other However, putting the onus of “adjusting” as a wife, DIL, SIL etc solely on the new bride reeks of the patriarchal mindset that many people on this blog are trying to identify and get rid of. Ananya, if you want to do so, however, by all means Godspeed and God bless. However, if you feel virtuous and morally superior to your SIL who isnt as “submissive” as you are, I would advise you to reflect more on why you feel so. If you were content with your submission and compromises, you would support her or at the very least, NOT support opinions like our dear Mr. SK’s.


      • I don’t mean to offend anybody, but many people, women especially, have a herd mentality.

        Such people believe that there is safety to be had in numbers, and will follow and internalise the dominant cultural paradigms.

        It is unfortunate that the prevailing cultural zeitgeist is pro-male and pro-submissive, traditional women.

        Women like Ananya have clearly decided to side with the current winners of the cultural wars.

        I staunchly believe that we are in the midst of a great, roiling cultural shift, at least in urban-educated India.

        I also believe, that in the next fifty years or so, women like IHM and the rest of us will increase in number, and women like Ananya will be that much harder to find.

        The wheel in the sky keeps on turning…..


  33. I think I am going to send this link to my mother, so shell understand why I do not want to get married.. 😛

    Jokes apart,

    Dear Ananya,
    Writing slander on internet community boards hardly takes any courage. All it takes is a very small person (figuratively) with an internet connection.


  34. BTW @IHM
    The first link at the top of this post does not work.. the text you linked to is …

    “Just earning a degree does not mean she is superior to my mom who does not have a degree and does not work in some software company serving yankee clients.“

    I think you have entered the URL twice….


  35. According to Ananya , her BIL’s wife and the Bro’s wife are not as perfect as her and she minces no words to show it to the world. I am sure her parents and her in-laws feel the same too and may often show Ananya as an example to change and become perfect too in their married lives.

    She is the typical Indian SIL or co-sis that many of us complain about.


  36. What’s with supposedly “submissive” women and their irresistible need to nag and hector other members of their sex? It reminds me of the closing scene of the Taming of the Shrew, where Katharina delivers a long harangue to the other women concerning their duties to their lords and masters. You see, she hadn’t been tamed at all; her shrewishness just became redirected at a more acceptable target. I get the impression that this is also the case with supposedly sweet, docile Indian women; they’re shrews by stealth, as it were. 🙂

    Anyway, I hope Ananya never has a daughter, and that when she becomes a mother-in-law, her daughters-in-law have the good sense to move far, far away. Her smug, vindictive, uncharitable attitude towards her sister-in-law shows that she isn’t fit to be a guide or a role-model for any female.


  37. While I think it is important for a woman of today to have her own source of income (so that she will be ready to face any situation and cannot be bullied into obedience), let us agree that in our workplaces, the bullying and subjugating others does happen. I wonder why no one writes about them? Why is this always only at home, and only to women?

    But then, there are always two sides to any coin. I think we should look at both of them, before generalizing anything and everything. Are joint families always bad? How can we come to such fleeting generalizations? Are people in nuclear families always happy? Another assumption. Independence is very different from happiness. Its not for all people that independence makes them happy.

    Why doesn’t someone write about how nuclear families have come to disrespect / throw elders out of homes or at least make them live in solitude (totally alone) during their old age? Every system has its advantages and limitations. Things depend on the people involved and the people who try to take advantage of the systems very much get back, during the long run. A system (relatives, type of families, gender, etc) has nothing to do with much of this, its always the people.

    Destination Infinity


    • @DI
      //”I wonder why no one writes about them? Why is this always only at home, and only to women?”//
      In every other place bullying and subjugation is understood as such. But in the case of women, the subjugation and bullying UPHELD by all and given the romantic name of “role of women”. What is worse, it is believed to be the right way for women to live, by the society, most men and most of women themselves too. The same father who may support his son who is being bullied in office will NOT support his daughter who is harassed by in-laws and leaves her to her fate. I am yet to find a father or mother who will not stand up for their son at least give him moral support if he is being bullied at work place. But in the case of women, parents leave them to die at the hands of in-laws if not kill their own daughters for transgression.


    • What do you have to say about those people who are left totally alone after their daughter/daughters have been married off. How do those people manage to live? Are they not part of the society? Our society respects only those people who have sons and pities the parents of daughters.

      Joint family system benefits only the parents of sons and neglects the unfortunate parents of girls. This is the biggest flaw in this system. The very reason Indians pray for sons and not for daughters.
      The problem lies with fact that in India, sons are seen as an investment and a support during old age.

      People should be encouraged to save for their old age instead of depending on their son/sons. A nuclear family is definitely more beneficial for the society than a joint family that upholds patriarchy and does more harm than any good.

      I think you should read some posts by IHM on the Great Indian Joint Family.


      • @Anjana: We are talking about a system which was formed when every family had 3 or more kids (usually many) and there was always a mix of sons and daughters as there was no birth control back then. So, if the daughters are sent off after marriage (after giving their share of the property through dowry, due to which they did not have a share in the property later on), it was still fine for the parents as some sons always remain and take care of the family business.

        With the introduction of birth control, obviously the system needed refinement and it is being refined now. But then, there are always people who want to take advantage of anything and everything and hence their selfish motives takes over their mind. I am talking about both the older generation and younger generation. It varies from person to person/ family to family.

        However it is interesting to note that women fight for so many things, but when it comes to taking care of their parents, they mostly use the excuse, ‘I am not allowed to do it by my in-laws’!!


        • Stumbled upon this post and comment today. We are 3 sisters. My parents were independent. A couple of monthes ago, my mother fell ill. Initially, my father tried to manage on his own and each one of us took turns to be with my mother. But this was a temporary solution. Now, my parents have moved in with my eldest sister. And me and my other sibling are also ready to take care of our mother, when time comes. We did not use, sorry did not even think of using, the excuse mentioned above.


    • DI, no one here is saying “Joint Families are bad”. We are just saying that there should be no hierarchy amongst the adults at home.

      //Why doesn’t someone write about how nuclear families have come to disrespect / throw elders out of homes or at least make them live in solitude (totally alone) during their old age?//

      Well, technically speaking, nuclear families can not throw the elders out of home because there are no elders in nuclear family. It is up to the parent and child how to forge their relation in their adulthood. If the parent and child have a great relationship in adulthood, children do care for their parents in one way or another.

      Just raising a child into an adult can not give parents the control over the child’s adult life. Parents should stop doing this, at least under the name of tradition. And why are we not being totally traditional here? What about the traditional Vanaprasthashram (where the elders leave their homes to live in jungle)? Why do we not have “Swayamvar”, instead of arranged marriage? Why do we use terms like ‘Joru ka Ghulam’ for a supportive husband when traditionally the wife is supposed to be ‘ardhangini’ (half body or partner) of the husband?
      Have we just been using those traditions that make patriarchal sense?

      //A system (relatives, type of families, gender, etc) has nothing to do with much of this, its always the people//
      A system has very much to do with all this. It induces a fair amount of guilt in people who are in the pursuit of happiness. I have written a post on this:


  38. Ananya’s education, career and views disprove Srawan Kumar’s hypothesis that education and career make women aggressive and disrespectful…What they should both understand is that women are humans and as humans they have different personalities, expectations etc. If SK’s SIL is being disrespectful to her MIL, it’s not because of her education and career but because of her personality and situation…Also, respect is a two-way street – if the MIL wants respect from her DIL, she should also respect her and her choices…Is that too difficult to understand?


  39. Though Ananya has mentioned terms like “initial submissiveness” and “in the beginning”” etc., it looks like she is still being submissive to EARN the so called ‘respect’…

    I think people like Ananya are programmed to be chameleons changing colors according to their surroundings.

    The last sentence of hers which states “I do remember, we will be MILs tomorrow!” looks as if she will expect her future DIL also to act like her because Ananya will then take the Queen’s (her MIL now) position to become the newly crowned Queen and flaunt about it


  40. IHM,
    why did you pull out that post ? I wanted to pingback to that and make my own post on my blog.I had so much to write about it .The one from Chee.Shrawan Kumar !!!



  41. I have gone through all the comments of this very interesting discussion and could not find Ananya’s reply to multiple questions regarding her thoughts on abandoning her own parents and not staying with them to take care of them whereas she would NEVER think of stealing her MIL’s son from her or cant fathom how can some DILs do that…strange!

    Incidently I have come across many people like her who refused to answer to logical questions but change the topic or divert the other person’s attention in such a way that it makes it impossible to have a logical discussion with them on the point that was meant to be discussed…if everything else fails they will simple say ad hoc things like…”tum naukron ke saamne mujhse bahas kar rahi ho…what will they think”….”main to tumhe itna pyaar karti hun aur tum mujhse aise baat kar rahi ho” etc etc and that would naturally be the end of the discussion. I have experienced it first hand with my ex-MIL. Very frustrating 🙂


    • “…could not find Ananya’s reply to multiple questions regarding her thoughts on abandoning her own parents…”

      I was just wondering the same thing. She has commented multiple times to being called a ‘slave’ & her husband being treated as a ‘king’, but has not responded to any other or comments/ questions that people have asked. Maybe she’s choosing only those questions that she has a rebuttal for.


    • According to Ananya, it is the duty of her Bro’s wife to look after her mother! Of course, she does not want to reply. I want to know what she would if she did not have a brother?


    • Have also read the posts so far …and am also on the lookout for the “Model Bahu”‘s reasons of her leaving her parents .. Wonder, it must have been really difficult for her to prepare a “Model Daughter” script and she gave up … ??


  42. Dear Ananya,
    You say your “initial submissiveness” bought you love of your inlaws and now you “rule” over the household. Pretending to be someone you are not and doing the things that you do not like, do not result in authentic relationships. I wonder if you have completed your initial submissiveness stage because once you try to assert yourself you are changing the equation and your inlaws are not going to like it. So it is always better to be who you are. Few adjustments and compromises may be needed in every relationship. But suppressing one’s thoughts, desires, dreams, and your actual personality to keep your marriage intact is not much of a “life”.
    Not all women can “act” to be submissive. Not all women dream to “rule” over their household some day. You insist that your SIL could not adjust to ur inlaws. Can you assure us that your SIL has gone through the exact same circumstances that you have been through? You say your husband and her husband are twins. But even identical twins do not have the same character/personality. There may be many things that you have no knowledge of, that could have ticked her off. You are probably plain lucky and probably ur SIL was not. Please be empathetic towards other women.
    I know of a woman who was visiting her MIL’s home. Her MIL and her MIL’s sister were asking her if she will be visiting her maternal home too. This lady amidst total strangers said that her 4-year old daughter loves her paternal grandmother so will not go to her maternal grandmother and will scold her if she goes there. Wow! get the kids involved in the sycophancy too.
    IHM’s blog is one of the few sane voices we have in this country. Do you realise how many ads, movies, soap operas etc we have in this country that propagate that it is the duty of a woman to make her husband into a responsible adult, get rid of his bad habits, make him love her etc? I am sure you know that these soaps n movies are very popular and very young girls watch them along with their mothers. These girls ending up believing it is their duty to change their husbands and make their inlaws love them. These impressionable minds grow up believing that they should adjust and live in unhealthy circumstances. And if they dont/ cant, it is their failure.
    Please do not make the lives of women more difficult than it already is!


    • That’s exactly my point too. Ananya is just a clay who has moulded herself in whosoever’s possession she has been through all her life…
      In this process she has lost her own identity( if only she had one) by doing things to be constantly in other’s good books and proving her mastery at “The empire of Ananya and family” where all kings and queens reign and constantly fight for the chairs..
      When kingdom was demolished in India, I think people in Ananya’s family started setting one for their own ..


    • Exactly Crescentia.

      Some women just wanted to curl up in a corner with a good book and a dog by their feet.

      That’s their idea of happiness.

      Of course, I am coming to realise that such women will never bag the “DIL of the year” prize.
      Their in-laws wax eloquent about their literary pursuits or their affinity for the four-legged little people (who are more human than the two-legged ones). 🙂


  43. When we were young and my sister and I used to fight. My sister used to block her ears and keep screaming her point of view, until disgusted we used to leave her alone.
    Ananya reminds me a little of my sister from that time.
    “My husband is the king, my MIL is the queen, my SIL and all of you are wrong, I am submissive and always right. My husband is the king….ad infinitum”

    While I am happy that Ananya is contented with her submissive, grateful, joyful life. Its sad that she is not even interested in listening to another point of view with an open mind.
    Because, when all is said and done, the ladies and gentlemen who have commented here are actually supporting her right to live/act/write as a free individual as much as her SIL’s right to live her life as she wants.


  44. You see, cleaning baby’s bums by dad is ok if it’s an one time thing, but I can never dump a mother’s role on my husband that too in front of his brother.

    When did cleaning baby’s bum become mothers role? ananya?????

    So, if you were eating and your baby had to be cleaned, you will rush, wash your hand , smell some shit …and then come back to eating because you believe it is mom’s job????

    words fail me dear!!!


  45. Ananya
    While travelling back from Tenali to BLR, I saw an Indian couple in the train with their 1 yr old and 4 yr old. They stay in the US , the man being a heart surgeon.He was engaging the elder son with story books, narrating stories .. while the mom took care of feeding , changing the 1 yr old.
    I kept looking and marvelling at what that dad did for a very long time.

    Because in a typical Indian family where gender stereotypes are involved, a man can enjoy his TV hour by 8/9 PM but it would be the duty of the woman to put her kids to sleep.!!!!, narrate stories to them ….

    I know men who even clean toilets at home and do the dishes..!! not because their wives want them to, but because they believe they have to help their spouses

    I know you would term such women as chudails!!! dekho kaise badal daala shaaadi ke baaad!!


    • While I appreciate the overall spirit of what you are saying, I object to the phrase ‘help their spouses’.

      Why is it the spouse’s job to clean the toilet or do the dishes???!!!


  46. Ananya & the ilk . Seriously you are doing a lot of disservice to the maybe just thousands (now) of us now who are trying to bring a different world where women get their due, are respected and not made to do stereotype role play.

    Even being the eldest son in the family I had done the utensils in my house when the maid din’t show up just to make a point to my mother/grandmother that why you always ask my sister to do it. (Infact elder of them was atleast 5 years younger to me when I was about 14). And in similar way so many other places- stand out for doing things – which were not suppose to be done by the
    beta (son) of the house.

    Again, after I got married and my Mom tend to ask me wife to help with the chores (after returning home from work (both of us)), I would join in and say – we both should be there. At a period my sister, me & wife lived together – we would all do, cooking, cleaning utensils, washing machine, drying clothes, etc (even now) . And later the baby stuff .. and just about everything that needed attention. And I’m proud of that! And I want the world to become that!

    Do you realize that when you become the MIL someday you will also demand unreasonable from your DIL, etc? When would the chain break?


    • Yes exactly as long as we have this mentality that u are a GAL , he is a GUY, this is GAL stuff, this is GUY stuff, I guess this ISSUE will continue into very many generations

      It is upon us this generation to put an end to stupid rigid customs and make a environment where every one can breathe the same air equally.

      In ur post you say why couldnt the SIL accept the BIL as brother.
      What I ask is, why couldnt the BIL accept the SIL as sister. Wouldnt his sister sit one leg upon another in front of her dad … why then would u expect the DIL to hide in the kitchen when FIL arrives home.


    • //Do you realize that when you become the MIL someday you will also demand unreasonable from your DIL, etc? When would the chain break?//
      Exactly, Anil!
      And I also find it interesting that when she says we all will become MILs one day, she apparently means MIL to a daughter-in-law–which means she thinks every woman has a son or will eventually have one. This, when she is her parents only child– a daughter!


  47. Dear Ananya, Reading your letter and your rebuttals make me want to shout with frustration,however I cannot but help feel sorry for you. Your idea of marriage and how a women should behave come straight out of the draconian era/ hindi films/ regressive Tv serials, where a woman has to make all the adjustments, do all the work, take all the abuse, prove her allegiance time and again to the family she is married into until they deem her worthy of ‘trust’, respect ,basic human niceties ,approval and whatnot else….
    You say you have earned your mother in laws respect. Well, sorry to rock your boat, but the respect is all on her terms. Try standing up to her or speaking your mind, doing things you enjoy even if she disapproves. That will be the true test of her love and respect for you.
    And about cleaning the baby’s bum, its horrible that your husband has been conditioned to believe that its a women’s job, but you are an educated woman, who seems to be rather articulate and a professor to boot.
    I’m not sure if you’ve shared your thoughts with your husband, because if he truly were the awesome man you make him out to be, he would tell you that all these misconceptions of yours are WRONG. He’d tell you that you are both equals in the relationship. that he wants to clean the baby’s bum – not because its fun, but because that is all part of being a parent. And most importantly he’d tell you to start doing and saying things you truly want to do/say ,stop being obedient and submissive (because he wants a wife and not a pet) He’d ask you speak your mind the worry of having to please or confirm because only then would you know true happiness and contentment ….


  48. IHM, you’ve said it better than I ever could.

    A part of me is dismayed that this lady, educated, financially independent and successful, still chooses to rationalise the status quo.

    Perhaps she is in denail? Anyhow, if this approach works for her, then more power to her.

    IMHO, you said it best IHM — if somebody respects you because you fulfill their demands and expectations, then that is control; not respect.

    True respect demands that we respect and accept people as they are, for who they are.

    We do not demand nor expect that they do our bidding. We do not expect them to change themselves to suit us or our families.

    However, if women like Ananya find that this approach of “winning people over” works for them, then well…different strokes for different folks. 🙂


  49. IHM, I was Ananya at one point in my life. Thankfully, not for long. I don’t know when I started changing but being Ananya was not my true nature so I could not stick to it for long. I do remember that I tried to be that way because I thought I could win over my husband’s family. The only thing was, they were already biased against me and no matter what I did, I only got brickbats.

    Then I decided to be me – still courteous, never acted rude towards anyone, but made it clear that I expected to be respected too and was not going to tolerate any name calling or accusations leveled at my parents or myself. Surprisingly, I get more respect and love from them now! I guess they have realized two things – 1) My husband supports me (How tragic, that to get the respect that I deserve, I still need my husband to “prove” it to them. But that is THEIR problem, not mine) and 2) I am firm but fair in my dealings with them. Never disrespect them but also never accept disrespect from them. If they start getting mean, I quietly remind them that I don’t like being treated that way. That works.

    I believe Ananya is a product of the social conditioning of her environment. I was too – a tiny part of my “environment” (my in-laws, some aunts and uncles) tried to mold me into that but the bigger, and constant conditioning I had received from my parents since childhood (to be independent and confident) won in the end.


    • The other unfortunate part is that there are so many Ananya’s who needs to become Anna(ya)s (couldn’t help this play on word) to fight and change! I forwarded this article to my friend who I believe could benefit. Well, the response is as expected- Not ready to shake your boat. So, don’t even try to read a thing like this so that you can still feel good about your present (dilapidated) state with amazing compromises! sad…


    • “no matter what I did, I only got brickbats”
      That was where you were lucky. In Ananya’s case it seems to have made life easier for her when she was deceptive. Now she can’t get out of the hole she dug for herself. If you had been able to win the “love” of your in-laws by pretending to be someone else, would you rock the boat? All you could do was make sure the new SIL is shown in a bad light so that your hard earned position is not lost!!

      My older co-SIL was terrified of our MIL, and pretended to be a dutiful DIL and never “talked back” even when she was suffering and cursing inside. She felt she couldn’t disagree and had to just follow orders. I was respectful, but behaved the same as I did with my own parents. If I didn’t agree with something, I explained why and my in-laws agreed (most of the time)! Some things were really stupid, for example, I had given both my MIL and co-SIL bottles of hair conditioner. My MIL had never used hair conditioner before and apparently asked my co-SIL why we would need such a thing. My SIL assumed it meant she disapproved of hair conditioners and returned her bottle to me and said I better take it back for myself as she couldn’t use it now that MIL disapproved. I instead talked with my MIL, explained the use of hair conditioner, and we had a fun session when I persuaded her to let me wash her hair. Now she is a big fan of hair conditioners! My co-SIL was shocked at my familiarity with MIL and couldn’t believe it was the same MIL. Slowly my co-SIL has started opening up and realized that life is much better with open communication. But it took a lot of courage on her part to change.


      • //Slowly my co-SIL has started opening up and realized that life is much better with open communication. But it took a lot of courage on her part to change.// Courage on her part, and support from you. Hugs and Hats off.


      • I was laughing as I was reading this.

        If I was your co-sister, it would have never occurred to me to return my bottle of hair conditioner just because my MIL didn’t want hers.

        I would have probably asked if I could keep her bottle too since she didn’t want it. 🙂

        When I read anecdotes like these, I truly think that there is some secret DIL-training school that all Indian parents send their daughters to, all except mine that is.

        I never knew that you could have hair conditioner politics. 🙂

        Or maybe, I’m just borderline autistic and bad at reading social cues. My future in-laws are doomed! 🙂


  50. Phew. Had much to say after reading the post, but I suppose many folks (yay Wild Child!) have said it better.

    Personal experience – have been crystal clear from the word go re what is flexible and what is set in stone in my scheme of things. Being honest does not mean being disrespectful. In fact it sets expectations correctly and is the only foundation for genuine relationships to build upon. Respect is not equal to agreeing with everything the other party says – that would be plain suffocating and unnatural and therefore unsustainable in a very short time.

    My folks-in-law are great pals now. Of course we are often on different wavelengths but that is okay with both parties. For instance, I come from a hardcore ghaas-phoos background and they are passionate carnivores.

    The point is this – people CAN disagree and yet be friends! True of the ILs, the husband, my own siblings, their spouses and even my own parents, and I hope with my children too.


  51. OMG…what drama
    how many of you feel that this “ananya” person does not exist at all and our dear shrawan kumar is coming here as ananya and trying to prove that women can also think like him?


  52. You know, I wonder if people who hold those “a woman’s place is to let her man feel like a king” views ever think about what they are really trying to say. Are their menfolk little kids who cannot do simple household chores, take care of their own children and so emotionally unstable that they get offended at being addressed by their names. Are those elders who take offence at completely ridiculous things- women being “helped” at household chores by their husbands, the darling son changing the darling grandchild’s diaper , or whatever- are they really being respected when the daughter-in-law follows these strictures to “keep peace”. IT sounds like some sort of weird hostage situation to me. I would be very offended if my spouse had to walk on eggshells around me all the time- or if people close to me had to pretend to respect me or show it in obvious fake ways. Is it really “respect” and “family feeling” or is it “working the system”- you know like kidnapped hostages do what their captors tell them so that they are not subject to abuse. That is not my definition of a family- but hey whatever works for you.


  53. Dear IHM,

    I’ve never commented on your blog before but I’ve been an avid reader. Sometimes the posts and comments I read on the blog makes me cringe. At other times, I am pleasantly surprised. Ananya’s post and the post by the single man, ‘Mr. Sravan ‘ would have made me angry in the past. Today, as I read these posts I wonder, what it would take from all of us as a collective public to bring about a change in perspective amongst the aam junta or mango people like us.

    I am a single woman from India who just turned 30. I’ve been living abroad and supporting myself since I was 22.. I moved abroad when I was 23 to pursue my education and have lived here since. Living the single, independent life with no family around has taught me a bunch of things. Some of these were easier to imbibe as I was fortunate to come from a home where my parents taught me and my sister the importance of being self-reliant, educated and finally financially independent.

    Being responsible for my own self actually taught me more than my parents or society ever. I am financially and socially self reliant. Therefore, expectations of equality of the sexes is something that I usually tend to take for granted. No individual is better than the other because of his/her gender. However, I find gender stereotypes still prevalent both in the US ( to a lesser extent) and India where we believe to a large extent that the man is still he tour-de-force of the house. I fail to understand the validity of this argument for my generation since we are more educated and financially independent than the generations before us. One would have hoped that these notions would have changed with education but cultural stereotypes and social values don’t change only with education. True emancipation comes from change in power structures and social and cultural beliefs which when combined with financial independence and education can go a long way. However, what we see today is mere education and some amount of financial independence, which by themselves don’t do much for anyone as the case with Ananya or Sravan Kumar proves.

    Ananya’s post says that her husband is older so I am assuming she thinks age and wisdom come together. So Ananya, do you feel you are comfortable letting your husband make the decisions and take the lead because you do not have the experience/education/or knowledge required to do so? If yes, why is this the case? You are fairly well educates since you are a professor. What if you had to make decisions with out consulting anyone? Would you be comfortable doing so.

    To me the fact that you have to pretend to be someone else to able to fit in with your family is wrong because it sets a bad precedent. Pretense and compromise are not the same. There is a huge layer of difference between the two. Being valued for something you are not is essentially useless. Your SIL on the other hand is being herself but being one-self, does not mean that one is nice or respectful. Since your point of your comparison is your SIL, I would debate with the limited information that you offer, that your MIL likes you more cause you are mouldable. Now the true litmus test in your life may come if and when you have a difference of opinion with your family regarding issues regarding values or principles. If and when that happens, you will know your true self and how much you are willing to tolerate in the name of family and what are the beliefs that you will never compromise on.

    I also want to point out that tradition or culture does not come from wearing a thali or bindi; the same way that modernity does not come from wearing mini-skirts or having a job. Culture and tradition mean different things to different people. My culture lies treating people with dignity and respect and not being dis-honest. My modernity comes from believing that women, men, gays, lesbians, transgender etc. are all equals and deserve to be treated alike. My modernity is not solely the product of education and/or a well-paying job while expecting to come home and have my working wife/husband serve me a warm meal on a daily basis. In my world, modernity, culture and tradition can all co-exist without a compromise in values or giving into stereotypes of gender and culture. If you give it a chance, these could be true in your world’s as well. After all more than MIL or FIL, you will be parents someday and trust me you want to set a better example for your children than this.


  54. Whoa!! didn’t see this post or the earlier one until I saw Sak’s post on FB.

    I think Ananya talks for a large section of society. It just works for them and she manages to maintain peace in the house. This is the sort of Star Plus advertisement for the PERFECT BAHU that makes an imperfect person like me cringe!

    I’m sure most Indian men and their mums will be overjoyed with an ‘adjusting’ DIL like Ananya. Sadly though, some of us are not like her!

    The point is, if a woman DOES NOT think like Ananya, why is she considered vile??

    I don’t believe that a DIL should be submissive, I don’t think a MIL has the darn right to scold the DIL (No, Mil does NOT equal mother – atleast in a majority of families!!!)) And I certainly don’t think that the ‘man’ (literally) of the house should dictate terms. If a woman does not believe in compartmentalisation of ‘male role’ and ‘female role’, then why is she bad??

    The man ‘listening’ to his wife is NOT a virtue, but basic courtesy and common sense! Just the same, when a girl enters her marital home, it is the duty of the people there to treat her as family and not as an intruder. It is not an act of kindness, pardon me!!

    I think IHM hit the nail on the head when she said ‘DILs are at the bottom most level of the hierarchy’.

    I don’t understand why we have this dying need to worship men and their mothers!! I think that is where we need to change our mindset.


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