“I remember how tensed my family was at the time of my marriage 2 years back. Every time they were forced to do ‘Milnis and Teekas with heavy envelopes’.”

Sharing an email from an anonymous Indian daughter in law.

I am writing this email with a very heavy heart. I am sad, disappointed, trapped and moreover frustrated. It’s not that I am a victim of physical abuse or something – but Yes. I am a victim of mental abuse…. A regular mental abuse which makes me more dry socially and disappointed.

On the first glimpse, it may look like another MIL – DIL disagreement. People may feel that DILs always cribbing about similar issues… But before I proceed I would like to make a polite request that – Peeps, it’s not that DILs always crib or want to crib… They are forced to be the victim of frequent unsocial issues at their in-laws place.

It’s not that the so called ‘Sasural waale’ are always wrong but considering the age old Indian traditions and mindsets, there is always a huge difference in the mindsets of both the families.

It’s not that I am less attached with my sasural and more with my maayeka… both are my families and I love both of them but yes I agree there is a difference which is born due to continuous disturbing issues.

My heart cries and my mind goes blank. I am born in a well-educated Indian family who focus the most on moral values, education and independence. I am a girl but my parents never treated me less than a boy… I was always supported, understood and respected. Fortunately after completing my higher studies and after I grabbed a decent job, my parents got me married to a guy of my choice. I was happy and was in a dream world, when I was thrown back on the ground of reality – The reality of being married to an orthodox ***** family!

In India what I feel is, that once you get married, your in laws treat you as their private property. You have no rights on your desires, your likes, dislikes, thoughts, and decisions. Even, you can’t go to your parents, who stay just 2 Kms away, on your own. Ladki ko maayeke jaana hai to bhai yaa papa lene aayein sasural (Translation: if a married girl wants to go from her sasuraal to her parents’ house, her brother or father should come to take her) and then wapas aana ho to pati lene jaaye (Translation: and then when she has to come back from her parents’ home to her marital home, her husband should go and bring her). But being an independent and financially stable girl with clear thoughts and mindset, obviously I can’t tolerate this.

Both my husband and I belong to the same city and I have grown up there, then why the hell do I require any one to accompany me to my sasural or maayeka?

What I feel bad about most is that be it any any any occasion, it is always a question that ‘Maayeke se kya aaya’? (Translates to: What has (gifts, dowry etc) come from her parents’ home) And this is one question which always leaves me feeling violent. Whenever I hear this question my heart shouts out loud – Why?? Don’t you have enough money to meet your expenses or desires?

Whenever there is any kind of occasion, the most common thing which I hear in my ‘sasural ka khandaan’ is ‘Bahu k maayeke se kya aaya? ’And my MIL, being a typical old fashioned, closed mindset woman she always wants to show off, that too without appreciating, the items received from girl’s parents. But most of the time she is like ‘Kahan kuch aata hi hai.. yaa unke yahan ( DIL’s home) kuch nahi hota) despite of the fact that my parents do their best.

Be it festival or any occasion – My in laws always expect a call from my parents but never ever they will take pain to call them. Diwali hai to mere parents call karein, (my parents should call them) New Year hai to mere parents call karein (my parents should call them) – But why? Is it a one sided relationship? Can’t you call? My parents are tired of inviting them on dinner past 2 years and till date they didn’t bothered to turn up even for once and still my MIL expects them to invite them every time. – Why? Till date, I don’t remember a single time when they felt comfortable at my sasural. I hate myself for that – Being parents of a daughter, can’t they come to my sasural without even a single line of tension on their mind?

I remember how tensed my family was at the time of my marriage 2 years back. Every time they were forced to do ‘Milnis and Teekas with heavy envelopes’. Kisi ke kaka… kisi ke chacha… Unke dada… unke par dada – Sabki milni teeka… (Translation: somebody’s uncle, somebody’s grand uncle, each had to be given envelopes filled with cash) Which is itself a huge financial burden on girl’s family? And, trust me, till date, after marriage, I have never seen those kakas, mama’s taus etc upon whom my parents were forced to spend huge sums of money in the name of marriage ritual. Lakhs of rupees wasted in the so called ceremony and now when I think of purchasing anything of my choice I am always asked to compromise as money is ought not to be wasted. – Why saasu ma? Aapke blind faiths mei jo mere parents ke paise waste hue wo aashirwad tha aur meri ek demand fulfil karne k liye if your son has to spend money – it’s a sheer wastage? (Translation: Why mother in law? My parents’ money wasted on your blind faith was ‘blessings money’ and if your son has to spend money to fulfil my one demand, that is sheer wastage?)

Every time my parents visit they are expected to bring big gifts and envelopes… They are expected to be very polite and always nod ‘Yes’ to their every point of view. And it’s not a cry of only mine; it’s a cry of thousands of DILs across India.

Just like any other girl, I also want a family of my own: my husband and my kids. But, trust me, I feel scared of being a mother. Scared of not the pain and responsible upbringing of my future kids but scared of those unsocial beliefs of my in laws which will make my parents suffer once again.

In my husband’s khandaan – once a child is conceived till he is born there are many rituals associated. These rituals demands huge financial expenses on ‘to-be-mother’ parents. Chauk, Chatthi and one more thing, I don’t remember the name.

During chauk, which happens in the ninth month – A huge list of items is given to girl’s parents and they have to bear it and gift it to sasural waale for the sake of the upcoming grandchild. Again the same shit of sabki milni and teeka.

After the child is born, there is chathi – in which again the same old shit of milni, teeka and gifts. In the sixth month, the girls’ parents have to send sweets for MIL and her relatives and they eat only those things – and I am like – Kyu bhai. Ladki k maayeke se khaane ka saamaan nahi aayega to bhuke rahoge kya? (Rough translation: Why so? If there are no freebies/eatables from the girl’s family would you remain hungry or what?)

There is no point in such rituals which are making me scared of even think of motherhood. Tell me. Do you think it’s good? Ek ladki sirf in unsocietal norms ke chakkar mei maa banne mei darti… ki kahin uske parents ko suffer na karna pade? (Translation: A girl is terrified of motherhood just because of these un-social norms, because she fears what her parents would have to go through.)

I am just fed up with all this. It’s not that only my MIL do this to us (we are 2 DILs)… At the time of her daughter’s (my nanad) child birth –  she spent almost 10 Lakhs rupees just to meet the demands of her daughter’s in-laws. And that was the day I realized that it’s not that only I suffer… It’s the case of thousands of Indian families all across. It’s just that some speak and some don’t.

If someone wants to disobey these so called MILs, they come up with the same dialogue – hamare zamane mei to ye hota tha wo hota tha… aajkal ki bahuein to aisi. (Translation: In our days this used to happen and that used to happen, but the daughters in law’s these days are such… ) Ohhhh godddddddd…. When I listen to these dialogues I am like man kill me.

Every time my mother in law comes with some or other crap in mind… And it’s my bad that both my Jethani’s family and my nanad’s family ( i.e my MIL) are comfortable with each and every huge ritual and they never feel irritated.. They are like – Bhai ladki ka sasural hai karna to padega hi… ( Translation: It’s a girl’s sasuraal, we have to do all this)

They are also tied with these age old rituals – but my family is like – humne apni ladki ko padhaya likhaya and kamane layak banaya (we have educated our daughter and made her capable of earning) then why the hell are we supposed to follow these non-sense rituals.

And ya – before I forget to mention, I also belong to ***** (same community) family but yes there is huge difference between the mindsets.

Dear MIL, I agree that you gave birth to a son. I agree that he is your world and you have every right on his life, his choices, his likes and dislikes. But wait!!! Daughter is also born with the same process. She is the world for her parents and they have the same rights on her life just like you have on your son – Then why such a huge difference between your son’s parents & his wife’s parents? — Just for the reason that the girl left her home and came to your house to light up your son’s life?

Madam, you are wrong!

My husband always tries his best to support me… but since he has seen all this huge rituals since the childhood and his mom being damn superstitious, even he feels helpless most of the time. He has 5 brothers (including first cousins) and all of them and their wives parents are following these superstitions blindly and when I rebel that why my parents are supposed to follow these illogical customs, I land nowhere more than arguing with my mother-in-law and spoiling my whole mood with tears.

And the saga continues ……………….

Related Posts:

Can dowry ensure happiness and security for a girl?

Can Dowry be compared to Inheritance?

“My story is not an extreme case of abuse or discrimination unlike some stories shared on your blog, but it makes me deeply angry and resentful nonetheless.”

Marriage Vs Live in Relationships : Twelve points to note.

Instead of eyeing their husbands’ ancestral property, why don’t Indian daughters in law make their own homes?

Some basic questions on joint family finances and daughters in law.

A daughter in law’s legal rights in her in law’s house are the same as her husband’s rights. Whatever is his, is hers.

An email: ‘My MIL called up my aunt and my mother and told them that our family has raised horrible daughters.’

“Is it possible that some women secretly want a dowry – perhaps to enhance their social standing?”

How many women would dare to say this?

49 thoughts on ““I remember how tensed my family was at the time of my marriage 2 years back. Every time they were forced to do ‘Milnis and Teekas with heavy envelopes’.”

  1. If your husband understands and supports and feels helpless against his parents, its time to move on, no? Find a job elsewhere, move out and live in peace.

    No ladkewale ever died because ladkiwale could not pamper their fat-ass egos. Stop doing all these envelopes, chathi, milni, teeka etc. They will crib. Let them. They will raise a hue and cry. Let them. Be unconcerned.

    Discuss your points of view clearly with your husband. No hush hush crying and keeping him in dark about your issues. He has to be a part of your troubles, just like you have to be a part of his. So let him know. Discuss your options. And no, your parents giving away their hard earned money to polish some chacha kaka tau’s self-worth in your sasural’s family is not an option.

    Liked by 4 people

    • You are absolutely right. It is high time, women stop thinking about the ‘hue and cry’ raised and trying to fall into the trap of docile daughter-in-law. There are places wherein even the girl’s parents will not support the girl’s logical and realistic stand. Nevertheless we should fight, just not for us, but for the next generation to overcome these obstacles faster.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t understand why the LW cares so much about what they think. Is she ok bringing her family down to the ground to pander to the egos of these extemely stupid, regressive, selfish, opportunistic in laws of her?

      I suggest speak to the husband, and both of you together take a stand against this rubbish. Say no. Be unconcerned. Go to your parents’ as and when you please, don’t even bother asking – just go. Tell them not to bother calling your in laws – they have no compulsion to do so. Create boundaries. People treat you badly because you let them trample past your boundaries. No one can stop them from doing so but you.

      I don’t think the problem is so much with your in laws being complete A-holes, as it is with you being unable to say NO. What are you afraid of? Try it, and you’ll see that it can only make you happier. Assertiveness training can help you (you can find a therapist who will be able to help you with that).

      Please move out together, if you can. And from today, STOP following these dumb customs and traditions. You DO have a choice, you know.

      Like

  2. I’ll tell you this – no matter how much you scream and shout and fight with your MIL, she isn’t going to understand, because there are five other DILs conforming to “tradition”. The only thing that makes a difference is your husband saying he won’t allow it any more – he is her son, the ‘man of the house’, so to speak; and therefore has more “authority” than you in her eyes.

    So I’m going to ask you this: When you say your husband tries his best to support you, do you mean he agrees with you when he’s alone with you, or do you mean that he stands up for your beliefs (which I hope are his beliefs as well) in front of his parents? If so, why is he not able to take a stand and firmly say no to “gifts”?

    The solution to your problem is fairly simple, but very difficult to actually put into practice.
    1. The next time they demand something, say no. Politely, but firmly. Stop pandering to their whims. You will be labeled the black sheep, and there may be rude taunts and display of blatant favoritism, but bite the bullet and stick to your guns.

    2. Make sure your husband supports you. If he needs to have ‘the talk’ with his mother, he should do so. She needs to see he’s on your side, unequivocally and unambiguously. No “you are right, but she wants…” – only “this sort of tradition is wrong and manipulative”.

    3. Be patient. Pick one tradition/issue at a time. Don’t go all guns blazing, or they will become super defensive. Maybe you could start with the biggest issue – gifts. Once the family has gotten used to no gifts, assess the situation and gradually ease into the “you can also call once in a while” theory.

    4. Talk to your MIL without apparent agenda about how the world is changing. If she goes to a kitty party or has a social circle, quote examples of ladkewale-ladkiwale equality. Provide positive reinforcement without talking about your family situation. Eventually, see if you can coax/cajole your MIL into following these new rules with respect to her daughter. She will need to be counseled a LOT before she acquiesces, but if you can do this, she will probably embrace your new rules whole-heartedly.

    5. If nothing else works, consider moving out of their house and separately with your husband for a while. Your house, your rules. That way you can also plan children without their interference or pressure.

    At the end of the day, know that living with so much resentment is bad for your relationship with your husband. And that is the only relationship you need to save. Do whatever it takes and make sure that he does the same.

    Good luck!

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Just recommend your husband to read this blog and specially this post, I hope soon things will start getting into his head.

    I would suggest all other love seekers to know about the family of the person with whom you are thinking to spend your life. In India again its not the person to whom you marries its the whole big family including kaka,chacha,tau etc (What a bad luck).

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    • And LW, Even when your parents meeting their demands, they still don’t acknowledge it.When your parents won’t meet their demands at all,your MIL still gona comment the same “kahan aya bahu ke mayeke se kuch.”
      Then why bearing this pain n suffering?

      Have these envoleps full of money made your life any better ?
      Its just a greed and total selfishness, there is no shame to stand for your point. Dont feel embarrassed for not being able to fulfill their demands.

      Talk to your husband, see his response. If he stands with you, good. If not, then you will feel how you wasted the money of your parents for such man.

      Having a child is your dream, dont let it be affected by any any other person.

      The praise you wil get from them by giving them money is not worth having.

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  4. Break the cycle, Stop pandering ot htis, every time they ask tell them you and your husband are capable of buying what you need an ddont need parents to get it. tell them you dont believe in this at all and neiter do your parents.
    Sure you’ll get a bad name but they wont kill you right ? You will be at peace and after a few years the taunts will stop or not, but who cares.
    Enjoy life, have a kid if you both want and provide for the kid as millions pf parents all over the world do. and tell everyone clearly this nonsense will not be perpetuated on your kids, spouses families.
    there you go change one family at a time.

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  5. I have seen this in my house. My Grandmother was worse than what you have written. But my Mom always fought with her on all issues. My grandmother never use to keep enough food for my mother , never use to give enough cereals for cooking, use to flee away maids, make comments on my naani etc. My Mom fought and in this I will say my father was supporting.

    She divided the kitchen and started living in her own part. My grandmother stopped talking to her and Stopped caring for me.My mom never cared for it. She was a working women with 2 kids and managed at her own.

    So talk with your husband. Have a huge fight one day and move out of the house. If your husband is a sane man and really loves you, can see through what your parents are going, how you feel humiliated. Then he will move out of it.

    There is no other solution for your problem.

    There is one more story posted by DIL in which she told that how she moved away on 1st floor in her joint family and started her own kitchen and lived happily. You can go through it.

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  6. I agree with regular Indian girl, I have no clue as to why people think that it is the girl’s father’s responsibility to do all the splurging. Sadly the thing is that everyone suffers but dare not raise their voice against these stupid spending sagas, the change comes with one. If you take a stand and refuse to budge despite repeated taunts from “relatives” and samaj waale, there will be others too who will start following the same albeit it will take a while to do so.

    As for your current situation, if you aren’t happy with the spending tell your parents strictly that they aren’t to do the same, visit your parents regularly and defy them at every step you feel is wrong. Will it kick up a storm? No doubt! But then also try to reason out the same with them.

    In case everything else fails, shift some place else and live in peace with your husband yet don’t stop drilling sense into your in-laws and other relatives even though you may come off as rebellious. Like I said, change does start with one person.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Seriously, Why do we need to involve money in everything I don’t understand !

    I see food getting wasted at lavish wedding receptions and I think of the people who paid for it,
    the farmer who toiled under the Sun to grow that food, what a shame it is that we don’t value the real worth of things.

    I see envelopes being handed at family events and I think of the people who toiled away numerous hours of their life to earn that money.

    I detest this obsession with money, especially other people’s. I hate when people tell other how much they spent on their family events, when they ask the same questions. And how crassly and casually people ask each other’s salaries and about material possessions. I simply do not understand it.

    Older people in our society need to learn to have a life of their own. Instead of seeking happiness in their kids’ lives, they need to live their own lives and seek fulfillment in their own actions- go join a book club, travel alone for a few months, learn a language, pick up a new hobby, paint, run, ride a bicycle, write a blog, fulfill the aspirations you couldn’t earlier, get some more education.. the possibilities are unimaginable. But most of them are stuck with chasing their kids to get married, then to have kids and to show off their status in the process. What a waste of life that could have been reclaimed !

    Liked by 8 people

  8. Dear LW, this is not “blind faith” this is culturally endorsed entitlement, greed and exploitation. In certain situations like these, actions speak louder than words. A simple refusal to comply with anything that defies common sense is all that is needed from you. Just stop complying. Dont try to reason with them. Reasoning and words must be reserved for those who are willing to listen, understand and be rational. Do not waste your words. Build the courage to stop doing anything that goes against your better judgement.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. You might never do any of the above things. Writing this itself must have made you feel better. Trying to make a change will seem a herculean task and much easier to confirm to the norm and continue. These issues will continue to wreck your mental health and eventually you will lose your strength and stop even worrying about them.

    But let me tell you, if you do take a step away from this mad place, you will love it. You will love yourself for giving yourself this luxury. And slowly this luxury will become your routine and nobody will be able to take it away from you.

    If your husband does not agree, please move away. If he is the kind who realises things and corrects himself, he will seek you. Else, move on.

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  10. Thishas s because time and again indian society has failed its individuals. It shows no strength to stand up to injustice.. It doesn’t allow you to standup and say this is wrong.. It does not encourage questioning. It can’t absorb individuals who go against the grain…

    Your mil is not going to change. She has other dil who panders to her.. She panders her daughter.. In her mind.. This is her right

    You have to tell her you don’t think it is right. She should not expect this from you.. And then walk the talk

    Such problems can’t be solved in one day if ever.. She won’t see she is wrong.. You won’t accept her behavior. Distance in between is the only answer

    Like

  11. Honestly, I have no patience for this. My course of action would be –

    1. Talk to your husband. Explain how hurtful it is.
    2. Move out to a separate home. No MATTER what anyone says. Of course, as long as they are benefiting, they will say nice things, when they lose, they diss on you.
    3. Take a clean cut. Band aid hurts when you pull it out slowly. Just ONE rip and end the agony. Flat out refuse to follow a bit here bit there. The moment you give in a bit, people will start piling on more and more traditions. And also, we will have tendency to do one little thing. Cut it out. Stop this MIlnis and teekas. Go visit your parents when you feel like. Every storm will calm down. They will say ” woh bahu aise hi hai.” Good that you know. End of nuisance.

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  12. Is confrontation the only option? I’m not a confrontational person by nature and that causes a lot of issues in my personal life (but avoids others!) Before I start out let me agree wholeheartedly with everyone who says what’s happening is wrong and it needs to be stopped. However, saying a flat out NO is not in my nature. I could never do it. Here’s what I would do.

    First have a talk with my parents. Are they doing this only because it would make my life easier in sasural? If so, they don’t need to. They just stop the cash and give a token such as a box of sweets to acknowldge everyone at the next occasion. Slowly that would get phased out also including calls and invites. Nothing dramatic just slow and quiet change.

    If MIL asks, reply that our family’s tradition does not have gifts even 3 years after marriage. We consider everyone to be part of the family and make no distinction between the two homes. In fact we made the exception at the wedding out of respect for your beliefs. It’s time to return the favour.

    I would be more vocal with my husband in protest and reduce all interaction with his family unless they accept the change. Only do the bare minimum and be pleasant but never go out of the way or initiate coversations.

    Finally, slowly make plans to move out. I am against cutting off relations so I prefer to increase distance to reduce constant friction. There’s no need to sugar coat here. Say you’ll never see eye to eye and to avoid future problems you need a separate home. They’re welcome in your home to visit but it’s impossible to live together. Only after moving out would I plan for a baby.

    There’s no need to try and change anyone IMO. It’s a waste of energy and I’ve learned this the hard way. So my goal now is always to find the path of least resistance and move on. It’s not easy when surrounded by people you never will agree with but my health usually suffers when I care too much about too many things and my own life goes off track. So I’m learning to be more focused on my personal goals now than in fighting every injustice I see. I use my blog to voice my opinions. But all of this is easier said than done! Remember to celebrate every little change and give yourself credit for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • @Simbly bored, Loved your comment..

      Such old mindset is harder to change in one go. But the good thing is that, atleast that family’s next generation i.e. LW and her kids won’t follow such traditions which are of no use.

      Like

      • @minds
        Thanks! And yes, I totally agree with you about the next generation. I strongly believe that people repent and reform only in daily soaps and melodramatic movies. In real life, we can only look forward. What’s important is making sure our partners agree with us in raising children who are critical thinkers capable of questioning idiotic customs.

        Like

  13. You can not go to mayka which is 2km away on your own?
    Seriously?
    Start by changing this.
    And please discuss how toxic this environment is and how you are not willing to bring a chiod into such a mess.
    Explain to him that as an educated, financially independent, responsible adult, you prefer not to be treated like a child. You do NOT need people accompanying you for a mere 2km distance unless its in the dead of the night.
    Once he agrees, talk to him about how pointless the extortion is.
    Then you express clearly to him how this makes you feel and why it is not conducive to raise a child in such a hostile environment.
    Are you going to raise the child with the same values! If not, why? Because you do not believe in these customs! Why not? If you do not, and are not willing to impose these values on your child, then how canyou live a lie while preaching the opposite to the child?
    Start on those lines.
    All the best.

    Like

    • Don’t worry Shagun. Just go about life clear-eyed and alert.

      Ensure that you discuss everything from sex, to birth control, children, life goals, financial goals, domestic expectations, religious outlook, personal freedom, caring for your respective parents, personal habits, family traditions, expectations from a son or daughter-in-law and anything else you feel concerned about.

      Please get to know your future husband and his family well.

      Lastly, DO NOT believe that “shaadi ke bad sab theek ho jata hai”. Things only go from bad to worse unless you are prepared to deal with them head-on.

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      • That is true, Neha but we all have seen, heard and read how DIL as well as MIL are treated. Our society has turned a blind gaze towards the callous behavior of individual. Any relationship is made from trust, love and compromises. Both MIL’s and DIL’s have to change their attitude towards each other. It is only communication and compromise that makes marriage works. But since I am not married, I can also not know what I am speaking about. But I guess, all of has seen our mothers and grandmothers making their relationship work.

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        • I don’t think it is individuals as much Shagun1593, as Patriarchy is.

          A woman is not a woman’s worst enemy. Patriarchy is.

          //Also consider, who exactly are women expected to get along with the most, but often don’t? Do they have a choice here? Often women are expected to get along with their spouses’ female relatives of all ages, backgrounds, expectations and attitudes. Traditionally, they are not encouraged to stay in touch with their friends. So they are deprived of the support system that friends could provide and are expected to get along with those who see respect (etc) from them as their right.

          Patriarchy does not put the rest of the population under pressure to win the approval of their spouse’s relatives, so the rest of the population has little opportunity to find out just how unfair and dis-balanced the system is.//

          Like

        • I think it is more often women than.men who indulge in patriarchy. Most of the times it is mother of the bride who tells her to get along with every female relative of her spouse’s family. This thinking that when a woman marries she leaves everything behind has been part of out thinking, not traditions or culture, since end of time. And if we look closely it is more often female gender who indulges in patriarchy in order to be in power in family.
          I believe that everyone should be treated with respect especially our elders unless they give us a reason not to. I don’t think getting along is necessary but just making sure that you really dont hurt any feelings is more important. There are times that we get our feelings hurt to make sure other’s are happy and this happens a lot when a girl gets married. But I think there should be times when we should put ourselves first and do what makes us happy

          Like

        • I think it is more often women than.men who indulge in patriarchy. Most of the times it is mother of the bride who tells her to get along with every female relative of her spouse’s family.

          IHM: So what would be the more practical advice? If the daughter has no option but to live with the in laws – then how would her life be if she is not able to get along with them?

          This thinking that when a woman marries she leaves everything behind has been part of out thinking, not traditions or culture, since end of time.

          IHM: Traditionally women are made to give up their name, surname, parental homes, freedom, life style, friends, family, opportunities for self reliance, and move to the spouse’s parents’ home. Patriarchy is – the man’s name being passed onto the spouse and children. We also follow Patri-locality which is – relocating to the spouse’s home.

          And if we look closely it is more often female gender who indulges in patriarchy in order to be in power in family.

          IHM: If we want to understand this – maybe we could ask – What makes these women seek power over other women? What do they think/fear would happen if they did not have this power? What prevents these women from seeking power outside? Why don’t they have anything better to do? What do they think are their options?

          I believe that everyone should be treated with respect especially our elders unless they give us a reason not to.

          IHM: Everybody. Old, young, man, woman, rich, poor, differently abled – deserves to treated with respect. Rather than disrespect – if we don’t think they deserve our respect, maybe, if possible, they should not be a part of our lives? Creating a distance is an option?

          I don’t think getting along is necessary but just making sure that you really dont hurt any feelings is more important.

          IHM: Sometimes it may not be possible to prevent hurt feelings. Many in our society are made ‘happy’ only when they can choose what other people eat, wear, when they sleep and wake up or when they have their children, or what kind of food they cook or eat etc At such times it is difficult to prevent hurt feelings. Or hurt sentiments.

          There are times that we get our feelings hurt to make sure other’s are happy and this happens a lot when a girl gets married. But I think there should be times when we should put ourselves first and do what makes us happy

          IHM: Our society refuses to acknowledge that if we are made unhappy because somebody is not doing what makes us happy – then the problem is with us. Many of us might feel guilty when we fail to make such people happy.

          Like

    • Scared as well as, wise, I suppose.
      Now you know precisely what needs to be discussed with hub and in laws BEFORE the wedding.
      I think IHM did a post about list of negotiables and non negotiables, to be discussed BEFORE entering wedlock.

      Like

      • IHM has very clearly pointed out negotiables and non-negotiables but still I wonder that despite our society is part of the 21st century, mindset and views of many individuals are rather backward. Is it really that important to get married?

        Like

  14. I’ve said the same thing over and over again – if you participate in patriarchy, i.e. move in to your husband’s house after marriage as if by some sort of norm, then patriarchy will bite you in the buttocks.

    So I won’t repeat myself again. I would just like to point out one thing to the LW. Demanding of ‘gifts’ from a daughter in law is illegal in India. Don’t be victim of a legal crime, and don’t allow your family members to be criminals.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. I totally get it. Almost in every Indian household barring the understanding and sensible families (which are so difficult to find) this is an ongoing issue which is so sad.

    But the point to remember is that the in-laws will never stop trying to get what they want, that is, from the Bahu and her family. And this does not end immediately after the wedding ceremony, or after the child is born or after the child is six months old or after the child’s first birthday or even the birth of the second child. It continues to go on and on and will probably be till your own kids get married (ask your mothers ladies!!!) if you are lucky.

    So pathetic, I know.

    What is the solution??? Moving out?
    Even if you move out to a different city, hey!!! Phones work !!!!!
    Most of the time, In- laws have such a hold on the husband that he always gets swayed by what they say even on the telephone. Parents are always right !!!! Correct? Husbands do not try to think in any way which their parents might object to.

    If you ask the husband that if their daughters or sisters have to face such a discrimination on the basis of silly things like milnis or tikas or stuff from their parents, he might say “Aisa hota hai, toh hum bhi karenge”!!! which he might conveniently forget when his own daughter grows up.They are scared that their parents might stop caring for them, or meeting them, apply societal pressures.They would not want to angry their parents at any cost. After all, blood is thicker than water. And yes, they are more important in his life than you are.

    The husband might take a chance with you, because he knows, where will you go????
    Now that you are married you wont go anywhere just because they control your life, carefully project displeasure. Hey they don’t hit you or verbally abuse you!!!!
    In the process if you feel sad that you have been mistreated or looked down upon you will go cry on his shoulder and he will take care of that. Try and pacify you with some I love yous. You are good as new !!!

    But what can you do if you came to observe (which takes a lot of time, your lost wisdom and thinking) that your own husband secretly compares “kiss bahu ke ghar se kitna aata hai?”, secretly judging you as to how much your own parents and siblings love you. This btw will not be made clear to you openly and will be cleverly camouflaged under gentler,kinder language.

    Have you ever wondered how he comes to you and says lovingly “dekho bhabhi ke parents to kitna bhejte hain, but I love you no matter what”, secretly giving you signals that please comply.

    How he says ” tumhara bhai shaadi ke baad pehli baar aa raha hai. unko bolna acchhe se gifts kare”. And when you object to this how coyly he says “maine bol diya toh kya hua, you are my wife no.”

    How he has always conveniently forgotten to gift you anything (since your wedding) on birthdays, diwalis, anniversaries, karwachauths, (actually as instructed by the higher authorities of the family so as to save money). And when confronted will say how many gifts have you given me. But such an amazing son as he is, how he always remembers to sweetly remind you to get gifts for his mother on karwachauth, diwali etc.

    I have seen that it is the husbands mostly (well at least my own) who secretly want their wives to get things for himself and his family so as to maintain the authority and honor in his own family (which he never has in the first place). But will not express his desire to you openly as he is scared of how you might think of him. And boy, he expects you to love and respect him and his family with all your heart in spite of all that.

    If you tip toe near you in-laws room you might hear them teaching your husband secrets of controlling wife.
    1. How he should not never take her for holidaying alone (without the in-laws) as she will get free spirited and it will be difficult to control her.
    2. How you should never attempt to buy her any clothes, indicate (not ask) her to get them from her parents place as it is their responsibility,
    3.Tell her to keep all her money in the joint account so we can keep track of it. Convince her that her money is our money and spend hers first. Never discuss you own money/salary issues with her. She will know that you give us money and will not respect us. She will know you have money enough and even then not giving her. “Beta hamera nahi banta”(She is not our responsibility financially).
    4. Do not give her any money whenever she is going to her place. She is her parent’s responsibility.

    Note :And you might even hear some disturbing words against yourself from your own husband who seems like a different person in front of you.
    When you attempt to confront him and he blankly refuses and tells you that you are mistaken, you over-analyze things, that you are loved in his family like everyone else.

    How to deal with the ongoing saga. What if the saga never ends…
    What is the solution? Separation? On the basis of what?

    Liked by 1 person

    • My heart goes out to you!

      Your husband seems to be a spineless puppet in your in-laws’ hands.

      Leaving aside custom and traditions, emotional manipulation, deviousness and duplicity seem to be a way of life in your husband’s family.

      Your husband seems to have no concern for your well-being, emotional or financial.

      Do you really want to live under his manipulative thumb?

      Why don’t you just stop complying with your husband’ s requests. Stop playing along.

      Look him in the eye, smile sweetly and say, “Darling, no can do”.

      If you really wish to put the fear of god in your husband’s family, record their “bahu ke maayke se kya aaya” conversation.

      That would be water-tight evidence that you can use to threaten to file a case under 498 A.

      Believe me, the thought of even a few hours in jail will be enough to set them straight for some time.

      Like

    • If the is what’s happening to you then it is out and out abuse. Please know that this is not normal, all marriages are not like this, all men are not like this. If yours is then yes separation is the answer because yoga re being slyly manipulated and used for dowry (yes gifts are dowry too if they are expected and are unidirectional). The thing about hearing your in-laws say those things your husband? Sounds like a bloody horror movie. Certainly enough reason to separate! I’m sure this stuff would add up as abuse legally.

      I cannot imaging my husband or indeed ANY person saying those things to me in kind or unkind language. Some have said much less and are either not in my life anymore or have learnt to never show such thoughts to me anymore. Because I tell them that what they’re saying is DISGUSTING. That expecting women’s parents to pay men’s parents is DISGUSTING. Not only that, it’s illegal and wrong. Millions of girls are killed or aborted or burned alive for these reasons. I would say that I am his equal and would not tolerate such thoughts.

      Birthing a child with a penis does not entitle the in-laws to payments. What for? The penis is not a magic wand. I do everything my husband does and demand the same respect that society gives him. Demand it for yourself, don’t accept any less.

      The history of such expectations is that men earned and women were kept dependant. So they were a liability that parents transferred to husbands.. quite like ‘property’. Then the parents had to keep paying the in-laws to ‘keep’ their daughter as she was dependant and had no way to support herself. Simple economics tells you how being dependant financially has damaged women. Well times have changed, women now earn and are STILL subjected to this nonsense.

      Liked by 5 people

    • If you are stifled and suffocated in a relationship like this, what more reason do you need for separation? I am astonished at how much we go through and yet cannot point out reason why we need to move out of this helpless and inhuman situation!

      Reading your response made me choke! This is so unbearable. Please speak up for yourself, women are not supposed to be damsels in distress. Earn. Have friends. Move out of this hell-hole. Stop giving heed to the fabled “char log”. And let us understand this – getting married, popping out kids and staying married no matter what is not the purpose of life. There is much more to life than that.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I often wonder why people put up with emotional abuse,both in marriages & in other relationships.
    (I am not talking about physically abusive and potentially dangerous situations – that is a whole other topic. I am talking about the kind of emotional abuse where the needs of a person a completely ignored under the facade of social obligations,customs & traditions,gender biases & social pecking orders.

    The biggest block to most people is this twisted concept of ” love “.

    1. “Love” does not exist without “respect”. By respect I mean the basic dignity that every living being has a right to – to be treated as an equal with feelings, desires and aspirations, to be seen and heard.

    2. Loving someone who continually disrespects you is not love – its dependence, it is the lowest,vilest form of self-loathing.
    (unless the other person is a troublesome child under the age of 18)

    3. This applies to “oh I am the boss” husbands, greedy parents-in-laws, “oh you better get married” parents,”oh who will marry you” sisters, “oh you cant do anything” brothers and “oh why cant be like everyone else” friends. No relationship is worth sustaining if it does not involve basic mutual respect.

    4. Staying in a job where you are unhappy is acceptable to a certain extent – you need the money, and its is largely about stability. Staying in family where you are disrespected(when you are not being blackmailed) is downright cowardice – an inability to accept that YOU deserve better, an inability to tolerate being alone and an inability to stand up for what YOU believe is right.

    5.Do something about bad relationships. Talk it out,issue ultimatums,get rid of them…whatever it is, DO SOMETHING, no matter how long it takes. It is WRONG to passively accept abuse because you are too scared the leave the so-called stability of your abusive environment.

    LW, you may think this is too confrontational,too aggressive and too extreme, but I have to ask you :
    What is the point of maintaining a relationship with people who see you only as a cash cow?
    If your husband truly loves you, how can he accept you being treated this way?
    Most importantly, where is YOUR self respect? Where is your love for your parents?

    Please think about this farce of a marriage.

    Liked by 5 people

  17. Sweetheart whoever you are .. let me tell you that u are not alone taking this b*********t … these millnis and tikas are pathetic part of rituals for the gals family… there is no one to help you but only you yourself… and the best part is we women make it more difficult for the other women with these so called rituals… u cannot change the age old beliefs of these people…. start resenting in a polite manner… dont just gulp in these Tauntings and humiliation, reply to them then and there so that you do not keep thinking about it…. later on. Once they receive a good reply they will stop doing these things after a while..

    whatever you do or say keep your husband in loop…

    Trust me your parent in laws will never give a call to your parents… so please do not bother about it and make your life hell ….. confront them saying that how many call do they make to your parents.

    Please don’t cry in front of these people … it will only weaken you

    Like

  18. Do you really believe that men and women are equal? Then why do you accept this treatment? Please ask yourself honestly. What would happen if you simply refused? A bit of drama.. which happens anyway. Most likely what will happen is that they will realise that you ‘don’t listen’ and will move on. It doesn’t sound like there’s a threat of physical violence, so what’s stopping you?

    If you were fully convinced of your equality, you probably wouldn’t have moved into your hubby’s family. Why should only the girl move? You probably wouldn’t refer to your future child as a ‘he’ (as you did in this letter). You wouldn’t accept this treatment. Please understand, I’m not trying to judge you, I’m trying to help you understand what might be blocking you from having a more equal marriage. If you understand your own personal programming, you can change it and change your life in the process. You allow this treatment because you are programmed to believe that this is ok on some level.

    Let’s suppose that I said you need to walk down the street naked every time an upper cast/ richer man stops by. I will taunt you if you won’t. Would you do it? You wouldn’t allow me to treat you like this, right? Women used to have to do this in old days when it was the ‘norm’. We do what we accept as the norm and are conditioned to carry on (sometimes under the threat of violence but often without that threat too.. just because it’s ‘normal’ and ‘log’ expect it).

    If you truly believe that you are not inferior as a girl and your parents shouldn’t be punished for birthing you, you would refuse to be treated like this. You still can. Please do!

    1) They don’t let you go 2 mms to your parents house without an escort.

    Simply say ‘I can go myself. I do not want an escort.’ If they insist, simply repeat that line. If they say it’s for your protection, tell them you lived in that city your whole life and you know how to get from A to B. After all you must go to office/ markets/ other places on your own. Then repeat the above line again. One man cannot protect you against a gang rape.. this escorting is more to control you than to protect you. They will get trained eventually

    2) Demands and expectations from your parents.

    Say no. Say it’s illegal. Say that women are not ‘bojh’, their parents should not be financially punished. Tell them you are as educated as their son. If you work outside the home, tell them you also shoulder financial responsibility like him.. so you will now allow yourself to be treated like a liability for your parents. Tell them to not expect anything from a woman’s parents that they’re not doing for their son.. otherwise it’s discrimination. Just say no. Every time.

    Put a foot down with your parents. If in-laws taunt you, tell them dowry is illegal and wrong.. that this is a form of dowry.. that this is why people kill their daughters and MILs.. that it’s a disgusting practise and you will not allow yourself to be a part of it. SAY NO.

    3) They ask you not to spend their son’s money.

    Do you work? It sounds like you do. Tell them you’re spending your own money. If you don’t work then tell them your husband’s money is both your money since you contribute equally in the home so he’s free to go out and work.

    Understand that money is power. Girls are treated the way they are in India by keeping them dependant and hence unable to protest or walk out of bad marriages. If you work, start contributing financially to the household and buying things for yourself. Tell them if you contribute outside the home equally then you should be an equal within the home too.

    Conclusion: First make yourself believe that you truly are equal, you will automatically stop tolerating most inequalities. Remember, people treat you the way you allow them to. Unless they’re the extreme evil bride burning types, they’ll taunt you a bit and give up forcing you if they see that it doesn’t work. If they are violent, tell your husband you must move out (or indeed call the police). The majority do give up in the fact of consistent refusal to conform though. Just say no. Keep saying no. Don’t fall for blackmail, don’t feel guilty when you’re simply asking for what is rightfully yours. Say no.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. How about your parents stop giving huge sums of money in envelopes just a little amount at some ceremonies only ! Maybe they can phase it out slowly !
    Your parents need to get over their inferiority complex of being a girl’s father and mother too !
    You know my sister has married a Tambram person,…I don’t know about castes and all but since we are Muslims and they haven’t given anything to my sister (gold during wedding) or their grandson! They play with grandson but don’t give any gifts to the boy but gift their other grandchildren (same Tam bram) !
    Their son chooses to look away at this partiality and this behaviour !
    If elders can do like this,why not young people/bahus !Gifts should be decided by you not how much the other person wants !

    Like

  20. Even my ILs never made a single call post marriage….all the festivals, occassions my parents would call my ILs. And when I confronted this with my husband, he said its his parents wish to call or not. I said ok and then told my parents to stop calling at all. My dad still forced my mom to call my ILs but I strongly objected and stopped my parents to behave like a doormat. Now my parents dont call at all and our both parents dont talk to each other. But whenever my parents talk to my husband, they always ask him about his parent’s well-being but whenever my MIL talk to me, she never asked about my parent’s well-being. You know what i dont care now. I live abroad and I tell my parents that I am happy with my hubby, so I ask them to chill.
    They are his parents, but if they cant respect my parents, then they are no-one to me. its as simple as that.
    You should try to move out…find a job in some other city….and give reason to your MIL that your boss in this city fired you….wait for 2 months then tell your ILs you got a job in another city and you wanna join it. Do something or anything to move out.

    Like

  21. You are not alone in this , there are so many such emails on this blog itself!!

    My 2 cents on this from my experience of a love marriage in “same” community.

    – What is seen by us as “ridiculously” bad does not seem like that all to a “ladkewale” family members.
    – We are capable of tolerating such stuff in the name of “love for the guy”.
    – Our parents are capable of tolerating and offering these stuff with so much “happiness” however its a financial strain for them in the name of “love for their daughter”
    – Not all guys parents understand in one day/few days of gyan from the “son – the authority”. This means even if ur husband understands this is plain right wrong, it wont change.
    – i have seen a family where the “understanding” husband offered to give all the money to the in-laws to provide what is asked by his parents. Even in such cases, i have seen girls parents saying no, we wont take that, we are supposed to do!!

    What worked:
    – You need to stand up for yourself to everyone including ur husband. He is not your saviour in this situation, he can empthaize, talk/argue to parents but cannot get what you want always unless you are there for urself.
    – As one reply mentioned, love comes with mutual respect.. atleast not at the cost of your self-respect.
    – Draw a firm line on what cant be done by you .Something done by ur parents is totally a no. it might sound rude, might brand you as ‘outcast’ of traditions..whatever worse.. dont bother!! It is really really necessary.
    What I did is just cut my family from the picture, i told my family if u really love me, stay out of this, i need to sort it out here. Neither bring them materialistic stuff nor advise me this is how it is. (They are the best in my life , but i had to do this to not have them on the stupid receiving end of this life long drama my husband’s family would be doing). My MIL came around to be little normal after 5 yrs.. so this cannot happen in one day!!
    -if you think you can stand to some extent, this “extent” will only become longer, no one will stop these.

    The only part of your letter that i couldnt agree was the last para saying parents of both girls and boys have “all the rights” on them. Though this thought seems rational when we think of what guys parents/family do, no one has all the rights on you except you!!

    Good luck for your patience and strength!!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Pingback: ‘Older people in our society need to learn to have a life of their own. Instead of seeking happiness in their kids’ lives, …’ | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  23. Hey LW, can you make an omelette without breaking eggs? Finally, suppose your husband says “I’m trying to help you make an omelette” but neither brings the griddle, nor does he whisk the eggs, nor does he flip the damn thing over, would you still say that he’s “trying to help you make an omelette”?
    The omelette here is your happiness. The eggs are your freedom, your self. The shell must break. The shell is that of a patriarchal culture pervading your marital home. It absolutely must break if you ever have to be happy. If your marriage deserves even a chance to be successful. This is not to count your hubby among the guilty, no that is not my point. I wish to tell you that you need to communicate to your hubby that the time has come for him to make a stand, make that stand known, and act on your behalf. The onus is on him. Not you. You must step back and tell him you are doing so. Maybe that will also reveal how far your hubby is willing to go with you in terms of making omelette. Hopefully it will be something beyond just appreciating the idea and finally complimenting you on the results after the enterprise has been handled by you.
    As for worries about having a baby/not having a baby/desire to have a baby, trust me, I totally understand your predicament. I am glad you are thinking so deeply about the issue and I side with you on this issue. We have a terrible cliche: Bachcha hone ke baad sab theek ho jayega. Don’t fall for it. If you’re not ready, you’re not ready.
    Lastly, along the lines of Occupy Wall Street, ReOccupy your own mind. Be free of these stupid expectations, rules, etc. Inform your in-laws you are going to see your parents, rather than ask for permission. Of course, stop doling out so much money on ceremonies. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. If someone makes you do it, know it is not love. Are you okay doing things that way? Ask yourself. The answer may make you feel bitter, lonely, scared, scared also of being misunderstood and unsupported by your own parents. Know this, for any woman who thinks so hard as you do, it’s difficult to thrive under these circumstances. No, it won’t get better with time. Nor will it get better after kids. Nor after your platinum anniversary. You have to seek a solution. actively, unabashedly, intelligently.

    Liked by 1 person

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