Sharing an email.
In ‘Astitva’ (a Hindi movie) an Indian woman turned down her would have been father in law’s offer to find her some job in the same family business where the son also worked. What made it possible for her to turn down that offer?
My answer at the bottom of this post.
Also, what can give any woman the confidence to turn down any such offer that she does not want to accept? What can make anybody trust their own judgement?
How easy are these choices for most women seeing that getting married, making the marriage work, family and parenthood have traditionally been viewed as almost solely a woman’s concerns?
What do you think could the email writer have done? What would you recommend now?
I came across this blog a couple of days back. It is funny how I arrived on this page searching for “woes of an Indian daughter in law” on a search engine. Funny because I never really thought I would have to look for a solution to such grievance ever in my life. I grew up in a family where we were continuously taught to focus on how to get a good career which shall lead to an independent(financially and otherwise) life. Never really bothered much about learning to cook or do household chores. My mother was an academician and evidently those values were instilled in me and my sister since a very young age. Both us eventually got through good colleges, completed MBA from Tier 1 school and landed up with good jobs.
My sister went for an arranged marriage settled in a different city with completely non interfering in laws. All these years, I had been dating this guy (who did his courses from the same B School) until last year when I decided to get married to him. By then, I had switched 2 fancy corporate jobs, lived independently, managed my own investments and was fairly satisfied with my life.
My husband decided to join his father’s business in our hometown despite having the opportunity to crack MNCs in campus. It was his decision (not sure if influenced by his parents) and I respected it.
When the time came to discuss our marriage, it was understood that one of us had to quit and move. His being a very established business, I was given an option to join family business (after all they were not asking me to be a housewife). Discussions went on for months and finally I gave in. He has been the best thing to happen to me, I could have made that SACRIFICE and I did for the sake of our marriage.
So I had a fancy wedding and moved to a business family ready to stay with in laws. There were so many who warned me against it but I thought nothing could really impact me as long as I’m working and I have my husband by my side.
Days passed, I joined work but realised slowly how my work is not acknowledged or appreciated as much as I expected it to be. My mother in law is a very quiet lady, does not socialize much and is totally obsessed with her children. She sits at home entire day, constantly seeking attention from every family member and reacts vehemently when others do not reciprocate. I tried to manage her mood swings for months giving her company during the evenings, managing her fights with the domestic help. I was uncomfortable but I thought she does no harm to me, so I should be more considerate.
My father in law is a complete extrovert to the extent of being an absolute braggart, sometimes even lying or creating false stories of his fake glory. It was always hard to digest because I grew up in a completely different environment.
Now months have passed and things have not changed, only gotten worse. They have relatives coming in from the village who would stay for months and comment on the way I dress (Oh, the bahu in jeans or a suit minus the dupatta?), would want to evaluate my culinary skills and also question me on the knowledge of customs/rituals. My in laws are extremely traditional, they never really forced me to follow anything but the expectations are very clear. Both of them are in the habit of chewing tobacco, which I absolutely detest. There are many other things that makes my day to day life unbearable but I have no other option.
Although my husband is extremely supportive, I hate to share these problems everyday with him. He is torn between me and his parents. Another house is out of question as long as we stay in the same city (log kya kahenge?) and moving to another city is very difficult for him since he has been managing the business for 4 years now. Corporate options are limited in this city and even if I move to a company here, it leaves me with the same house and same set of people. My husband and I dreamt of a very different life and I truly feel am transported several decades back in time, away for the progressive world.
And the answer to the question I asked above: Only one thing – she valued her happiness and freedom more than she wanted to get married.