“This would help people realize that happy Indian families like this also exist.”

Sharing an email.

Hi IHM,

I’m not a blogger myself but i happened to chance upon your blog and trust me it got me hooked. I loved reading your posts and it felt like someone had put words to my thoughts.
What really disturbed be is that I also happened to read about so many instances where girls/daughter in laws are still being treated badly even in the so called “educated upper class society”. It is really sad. No matter how much we try and convince ourselves that our nation is developing, in reality its far from that. Real development should be measured by how much we as  citizens grow and evolve as human beings and not by the number of malls and technology.
Well while reading about the cruelty of society I thought I must share with you my story. Amongst all the stories about oppression maybe this would help people realize that families like this also exist.
I am 27 year old, recently married, advertising professional. My parents are both working. My mother was a teacher for the first 15 years of her professional life and then wanted to do something different with her life. She got an excellent offer from a leading media house. My brother was a year old and I was around 7 at that time, and it was a very difficult choice as media jobs usually come with erratic working hours. My paternal grandparents pushed her to take it up as they realized it meant a lot to her. They assured her that she need not worry about us as they were there to take care of us (they lived with us).
She eventually went on to love the job and grow and continue in the same field for many years and still does. My Grandfather was a man who believed that work is number one priority as that is what gets the food on the table and one should never compromise on demands at work place. This rule was not just meant for my father but also my mother and paternal aunt (my father’s sister, who is a school teacher, never married and also lived with us). There was never any discrimination between them. I have seen my grandmother stay up waiting for my mom when she worked late in the night, make sure her food was kept aside before we had dinner and serve her hot food when she came home tired. Please note that my grandmother didn’t study beyond school got married at 18 and lead a very simple life.
My grandfather passed away in 1998 and just a few days after this my mother had a huge event in office which she was coordinating. We Bengalis observe a 11 day mourning period and during these 11 days relatives and friends keep dropping in to visit and offer condolence. The fact that the daughter in law will not be present during this time was unheard of. But my grandmother put her foot down and insisted that my mother join office the very next day after my grandfather passed away and fulfill her duties there, she would manage the rest at home. My grandmother was one of the most progressive and open minded ladies I have seen of her time (she would have been 88 if she was alive) and I have learnt so much from her. I always maintain that the person I am today is entirely because of my grandparents, parents and aunt. I have never seen my grandparents lament about my aunt not getting married. She had her own reasons and they respected that, She has a stable job, a wide circle of friends, an active social life and happens to be one of my closest friends and second mother. She is single and very HAPPY.
My parents have always given my education and later my career a lot of importance. For me working was never a time pass till i got married or had kids. It is an integral part of life. My dad had always told me that no matter what, they would not even think of my marriage till I had a stable career and the ability be financially independent.
I consider myself lucky that I fell in love with and married a man who has been brought up with the same values. He respects me and my job (advertising and the long working hours that go with it is still looked down upon by many). His parents celebrate my achievements career wise and motivate me to achieve more. Never for once have I heard them criticize my job or the fact that I hardly see them throughout the week.
My husband and I live in an apartment (where my in laws stayed before shifting to a bigger house a few years back). The house is a 5 min walk from where my in laws live and is perfect for us. We get our privacy and we are still near enough to drop in whenever we want to. This was my mom in laws idea when we decided to get married. My husband is a great cook and is excellent in all house hold work and the onus for this goes to my in laws who have brought him up with such values. We share our responsibilities and give each other the space that is required in every marriage. Yes we have fights and life is not always rosy and smooth. But that is just part of life.
My husbands family and my family are financially at different levels. My parents are in service and his parents have a business. Yet never for once has this been an issue. In fact they are very good friends and love spending time together even when we are not around. That is because their values and outlook match.
I am sure there are many families like mine and I pray that one day all families and in laws would be like mine.
Thanks for the posts IHM. I love them and look forward to them every day now🙂 do keep in touch.
– A happy, married and working Indian woman.
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43 thoughts on ““This would help people realize that happy Indian families like this also exist.”

  1. At last a sweet family tale … a much welcome change from an otherwise gloomy fare on this blog.
    Of course there are many such families but since there is contentment no one mentions them. It is like Indian news channels that cover mostly depressing sad news. I guess that grabs more eyeballs.
    Hope we get to see more stories with sweet endings since it is my belief that there is more good than bad in our society.

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    • Well, this “gloomy fare” you are talking about is as much a reality and appears more on this blog because not many people have platforms for open discussions about this “gloomy fare”. And I am sure glad IHM writes so much about these issues… I know many women (and men) who have benefitted from reading this blog and other similar blogs. This is hardly a news channel out to grab eyeballs:/
      And whether there is more good or bad in society is not something that can be so easily concluded. Because the very definitions of good and bad are not absolute to start with.

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    • I strongly disagree with your ‘grabbing eyeballs’ comment. Most of India’s societal problems stem from centuries of silence and acceptance. We have been silent on far too many issues for far too long. Breaking the silence and acknowledging problems and asking questions is the first step to finding solutions. It is here, for the first time, in blogs like this, that we are talking about things that have always been taboo in our culture. And that’s a good thing. It’s healthy.

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      • The normal fare on this blog IS gloomy. Believe me, There is more good than bad in this world and we can certainly do with stories that bring out the brighter side of humanity. What someone may term as “advise” is actually option of people who share similar perception…. mine is bright. ..you decide how is yours😉

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        • Nice little passive agressive reply, that. If you find IHM’s blog gloomy, you’re welcome to start an online journal where you post testimonies that run counter to those posted here. Please, share with us, some first person accounts of educated Indian women who do not find our cultural gender-specific norms restrictive, unjust and rigid.

          The way a woman’s experiences the world is vastly different from the way you would experience it.

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  2. You and your family are blessed to have each other.

    It is the mindset of people which has to change. Education and having bags of money does not mean that they treat others well. In many families the son is the apple of the eye. But the moment he gets married, whether its a love/arranged marriage, the DIL is seen as a threat-someone who has come to take away the son’s love and attention (and money). But the Son-in-law is treated with great respect and love. Even the grand-children are treated differently. The daughter’s kids are showered with love, whereas the son’s kids are treated a lil bit differently because “she” has given birth to them. Among all the friends that I have I feel very sad to say that EXCEPT ONE, all my friends whether they had a love/arranged marriage do not have understanding MIL’s.

    Unless and until people realize that caste, class, religion and money are not so important and that the girl and her family also need to be treated with love and respect, things will not change. Unless and until people understand that the Boy’s side is not “greater” than the girl’s family, things will not change. Until and unless they realize that their happiness does not lie with the society’s approval / disapproval, things will not change.

    I hope the younger generation are able to bring a change in the mindset of our people.

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    • Agree with you, want to add that women have more problems than men, but men’s lives in India aren’t problem-free either. My friend is still waging a battle to get his girlfriend’s parents accept the fact he isn’t the “IIT/IIM” graduate they hoped to find for their daughter – he isn’t allowed entry at their place now (even with same caste/language and on top of it, the girlfriend’s father is nowhere near as successful/financially stable as my friend). The father faces pressure to find a boy who is as successful as his peer’s SILs, more than ensuring a happy life for his daughter.

      I think our folks need to learn to respect everyone’s choices, and stand up to unwanted pressure like this when required.

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      • Also wanted to add: This father makes stupid statements like ‘what good are men who aren’t successful and who don’t earn good money’. Too unfortunate these are the only things that men are expected to have in our society. No empathy, no sensitivity, no character is required of them.

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  3. It is so heartening to read this post. My best wishes to the writer.

    I am a recently married female and had the same atmosphere at my parents’ home, where both my brother and I were taught the value of education and that work comes first, no matter what. Once my father was to have a major operation and I was not let to skip even a single class in college by my mother! I was good at academics, learnt to work hard and enjoyed independence because of my parents’ attitude. Similarly, when I started working there was immense support from home; I worked passionately, traveled to many places and enjoyed a good professional reputation. The same support was extended to my sister-in-law as well, who works very hard to manage a corporate job, house and a baby.

    But things turned 180 degrees when I arrived in a joint family after an arranged marriage. The exact reasons for which I was ‘chosen’ by husband/in-laws (my educational qualifications, gold medals, work experience, traveled India) have no value now… I was emotionally pressurized to give up my job at a reputed organization, which I loved (no reasons given to me, while to all relatives the reason was ‘hectic travel at work’; although I traveled only once in 5 months of job after marriage). According to them I am free to take up another job (Read: teacher, lecturer, govt. job). My parents, too, fearing conflict in my married life agreed to these views, which was the most disappointing part in this matter. My husband was a mute spectator in all these proceedings, who spoke only after I quit my job saying that I should not have left my job. I stay at home now and my in-laws don’t talk to me except instructions on how I should keep the home ‘clean’. I have lost my confidence and self-respect.

    I sincerely hope all that all females, single or married, are blessed with families like the writer’s who let them spread their wings and not cruelly rip them off…

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    • Awww. I’m so sorry to hear your post-marriage tale. Hugs. I hope you can turn this back around somehow. Wishing you all the luck in the world to be the person that you were, once again. To feel loved and appreciated.

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    • Feel awfully sorry for you. Hope you are able to reclaim your earlier independence and autonomy. Do not give up. All the best!

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    • Hi MRS, I know you are in a tough situation however if you wait for things to work in your favor, they wont. You need to make things happen and for that you will have to make difficult choices. As a well wisher I suggest you have a candid discussion with your husband and understand if he would be supportive if you went back to work (he did tell you that quitting was not a good decision). Do not let go of your independence, it would only make you more bitter with time. Please do not feel sorry for yourself, neither let others feel sorry for you, be strong. Think and act proactively to bring positive changes in your life. Remember while others can sympathise ONLY YOU CAN CHANGE THINGS..

      Good Luck.

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      • Dear All, Thank you for your kind words and support. I thought a million times before opening up on this forum but it was the right thing to do as it is making me feel better. Love to you all.

        I maybe did not make a wise decision by opting for the ‘time-tested’ arranged marriage route…

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  4. Really delighted to read about a family like this. Isn’t this what we all aspire for, not only for ourselves but for all women in our society? The day that dream comes true, we can call our society truly matured and civilized.

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    • So they can be spoiled even more?😀 My paternal grandma and my maternal grandpa were such great buddies(their respective spouses passed away before I was born). They’d wake up every morning at ungodly hours and while away their time chatting about their childhood and counting how many bhindis were in 1 kg this time and such crucial world matters! We grandkids had the time of our lives when grandpa visited…more scope to be spoiled!

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  5. This is always so nice to hear.🙂 It’s a lovely look at what the future should be, and will be, if many of us have our say.😀

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  6. A heartening post indeed.. May your tribe increase🙂

    IHM…how are you ? Got back to blogworld after ages.. I think of you and Tejaswee often.. God bless her …hope sonny boy is doing good.. And its super to see you so active here..your articles are thought-provoking and really food for the mind..tc

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  7. so refreshing to read this! wish OP good luck going forward. though with such healthy attitudes, I’m not sure luck is really needed.
    I’ve become so cynical lately that i kept waiting for the big BUT in the tale. so sad that it’s come to this in our society. happy stories have become the exception… thanks for the smile, IHM

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  8. So nic to her this, see education works and. This lovely smiley will continue this tradition and give the future generation the same fantastic values and sense of togetherness.

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  9. This letter sounds too good to be true. Didn’t grandparents require no help from daughter in law,son and the aunt? There is no mention of what the LW does in return for all the support given by her in laws. Maybe both the LW’s in laws and her grandparents had lot of support for day to day life from servants etc.
    No nok jhok, no issues about their presence taken for granted by DIL ? because from the letter it seems LW and her mother and father only takes and there is no mention of reciprocation!

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  10. What a lovely read! Made my morning. Am going to go all superstitious on the writer and put a giant kala teeka on this post – may you remain so happy all your life and many kudos to both families concerned for being such gems.

    Like

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