“I had written an email about being a DIL in the joint family, I am happy to share my current state …”

Sharing an email.

Subject: Thoughts on how my life improved_Publish this to thank all the readers for their support.

I had written an email about a year back about being a DIL in the joint family:

An email from a DIL living in a Joint Family: Should I adjust or should I leave?

I am happy to share my current state and how the quality of my life has improved as a whole.

We (Hubby and me) have slowly worked things out and turned the tide around  the house. As discussed in my previous post, I was struggling against the gender discrimination in my marital home.

There came a time when my parents returned from US (after visiting my sister) and visited my town as well, on the way. I informed my inlaws about them being in town. But against my hopes they dint bother inviting them home. This hurt me badly. My parents on their part sent lots of US chocolates for my inlaws even though they were uninvited to their own daughter’s home. The inlaws accepted the sweets without even a  thank you. I embarrased them further by telling that my parents have enquired the health of everyone at home and sent their regards for the same (in a sarcastic way). Their attitude started having a profound affect on me and my hubby and we realised my shoddy existance in the house, the scant respect for my parents etc

This attitude of theirs made us (hubby and me) more united,more rebellious.

Finally there came a time when my dad visited my town yet again and had to stay in a lodge (because he was unwelcome at my place). I found it ridiculous that the in laws,who have taken loads of dowry from this man, the same man who even provided the plates and spoons you eat in everyday, is not even eligible to share a tea with you and meet his daughter. Hubby said enough is enough and slowly and gradually we stopped participating in the inlaws kitchen and started our independent life upstairs. We cooked what we wanted, we ate out when we were lazy, slept when we felt like and wore what we wished.

It was awesome and liberating. Of course there were many awkward moments with the inlaws, where the whole family had food in one kitchen and just us in another.

But it was worth it. The inlaws were cold initially but gradually warmed up to us. It was a clear case of them doing things wrong and facing the consequences

We would meet and greet them, would visit them and talk to them but never get lured by their hints of asking us to come back and depend on them

Eating together can in many ways enable inlaws to control their child and child-in-law’s life.  Every time we wish to eat out, we need to inform them, every time we come home late(for dinner) we need to inform them, we need to participate in the kitchen chores and this makes us stay before their eyes and less time together/any other activities of our choice.We are bound to a routine and little chance of exercising any deviation from the set routine. If after a tiring work week we wish to unwind by going out for breakfast,a spontaneous long drive later, a fun cooking activity of trying new recipies etc are discouraged by this eat together culture. Basically we can’t do anything unplanned, exciting and thrilling.

Eating a snack outside becomes a crime. Not to mention rising early on weekends to cook and slog out for the whole family. Cooking (for 7-8 people 3 versatile meals a day) becomes the primary activity of life.

We can as well meet without having to compulsorily ‘eat’. The family was very rigid in terms of the ‘bahus’ slogging and everyone else enjoying. Father in law proudly claims that the family has to eat atleast one meal together a day. If that is the case why does discrimination creep in, in terms of who cooks that one meal. Why does he (along with his son/daughter) shy away from cooking? Why only eat together? Why not all cook together, work together and then eat together. I was considered the house breaker who changed the son, took him away and broke the family.

But by moving out of the kitchen, I have rediscovered myself and really enjoying my marital life. It takes one firm strong step. My funda has been ‘be polite’ but ‘be firm’. Learn to say ‘no’ in a smiling way.They may blame you , say all sorts of nasty things but it is only so much they can do. Rise above it, sometimes without reacting to it, in a calm and composed way. Do what you believe is right, but be nice to them.They also have their own insecurities.They are also scared of the society .They also will not go out on a war with the son cause they also need him and value his relationship with them. But they ‘try’, try to see how much the controlling can happen ,and raise the bar each time we are quiet.

As a result of this, my whole family has visited our home multiple times.

They also go visit our in laws and have a cup of tea with them. We also hinted to our in laws that if any uncomfortable vibes are passed during any of my family visits then we may leave the town or shift to a neutral home where both sets of families are equally welcome. Fearing this, they treat my family well. When my family visits, we all visit my in laws first, have a cup of tea and then move on to my floor where my parents spend their rest of the time.

Every mature educated couple unfortunately goes through a vicious cycle after marriage.The cycle begins with the parents of the boys trying to play around with the bahu by placing expectations on her shoulder, inch by inch, level by level, and see how she deals with it.Usually in India, the bahu is new,shy,coy bride and is testing the waters so does not resist initially.This encourages them and her discomfort increases. At this time she is not even on a completely comfortable platform to discuss these issues with her husband because they are also still getting to know each other. Mutual trust is still not strong enough for her to liberally complain against his own folks to him. When she finally does, it is a bit of a surprise for him also, he has never seen his parents in bad light before, never felt his parents can be wrong. But if he is a mature guy, he slowly sees all the discrimination, all the wrong. He takes time to come to terms to it, validate it, and agree to act against it, but things start going out of hands by than. And his struggle to gather guts to fight his parents, the actual showdowns,the emotional blackmail are very stressful for the couple, especially him. This is because for her, she knows her wrongdoers easily, but for him its his own people,who have always wished him well till he gets married.The people who behave irrationally are your own people, you have to fight for justice and risk losing all ties with them .

Once the showdown happens, ultimatums given/received the marriage and also the relationship with the in-laws reach some stable state.

All this I have written about is true if husband is a fair,mature guy. I don’t even want to think what happens otherwise.The sad part is,every couple goes through all this, reinvents the wheel each time. Most in-laws try to fit old marriage templates to new modern women. There is struggle, friction as a result. Its high time new customs, relevant for today’s youth are popularised.

We need powerful mediums for that.The religious leaders (who are of this generation) should speak out about such things. The media also needs to grow up to cater to the new lifestyle. I don’t see a single popular soap where the bahu is working in a challenging profession and the Indian families adapting to it. We need to telecast everyday lifestyle changes in positive light.This would solve the major stress problems every couple invariably goes through. I hope to see such soaps/films which educate the society to rise to the modern day demands rather than spewing patriarchy nauseatingly.

IHM’s blog  is the first step which has achieved this purpose in a fearless way. Thanks IHM for your efforts in solving the major concern the Indian youth is facing.

Related Posts:

An email from a DIL living in a Joint Family: Should I adjust or should I leave?

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

An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…

An email: “But my parents, fearing the society and their reputation begged him to take me back.”

Say it Loud, Say it Clear – Dew Drops

Stay Hungry. Stay Oppressed. – There and Their

 

 

It’s not about hot hot chappaties.

Somewhere in the blogosphere …

The topic of discussion : Some women make hot chappaties for their family and finally eat alone only when everybody else has eaten.

The comment: But, if a woman loves to give “garam garam roti” to her husband and kids without any compulsion, straight or oblique, then we should not snatch her joy by being judgmental in a superior sort of way. It is not what you do but why you do what you do that is important. / Did I say there is anything wrong in the whole family eating together? It is something to be cherished…but if someone follows a different way, without compulsion ..

Why this bothers me:

1. We all know how much real choice do Indian women have in most matters, so let’s not even talk of no compulsion, oblique or straight.
Is it really okay for a woman to have cold chappaties after the family has eaten ?
Why should one family member ignore their own comforts?
Does she feel this will make her more likable ?

2. It also means that the girl who does not stand in the kitchen making hot chapatties for her family and is perhaps a little less willing to suffer for them, is not as good …

3. But most of all it shows that the men and the children in that family feel no compunction in allowing this sacrifice. Why don’t the sons, the daughters, the husbands and the in laws put their foot down and refuse to let her eat alone?

Obviously she believes that they can enjoy a meal without her?
What in their attitude made her believe that they will not mind her eating alone, after they have all eaten?


The Comment:we should not be judgmental and disturb the harmony that exists.

The biggest myth is this harmony. There is no harmony here, or else we will not have anonymous blogs, emails and comments from wives, daughters in law and girls who hate this system and all that it stands for.

The Comment: At the same time, positive education is needed to ensure that discrimination based on gender, that which is in the mind, is eradicated.

Reminds me of our politicians “I condemn the dastardly acts of terrorists/violence against innocent citizens…We will /not tolerate /make sure this never happens again …
Why?
Read the next sentence!

Comment: Frankly, I feel that this thing about “equality” is being stretched too far in some cases.

How does equality NOT get stretched too far? By accepting a little equality and an occasional inequality?
As in we will allow a daughter in law to visit her parents but only twice a year…?

As in we will allow the first child to be a baby girl, but second daughters not allowed?
Or as in we will permit you to work but we will not help with house work?

The comment continues : Why should it mean only doing what men do?

How many women has this commenter seen trying to do what men do?
And what do only men do that women mustn’t?
Play football? Have careers? Be independent? Drive? Wear jeans?
Enjoy a late night outing? Be self reliant? Have fun with friends?
Refuse to live in a joint family? Love her own parents even after she is married?
Or just wish to sit and eat with the rest of the family 😦

I know of real women, brought up with this sort of conditioning, who are actually annoyed that men do not have to undergo labour pains and go through nine months of pregnancy…why should the woman alone suffer, is the argument.

When I had nausea during the first trimester of my pregnancy we were at a party and this bachelor (from Haryana btw) said “All these problems happen only to city girls, in my village women go back to working in the fields soon after the baby is born.
I did not ask (always think of it later) what the Pregnancy related mortality rate in Haryanawas, but today we know why with this attitude, has Haryana got the worst girl:boy ratio in the country.

So please understand why women say such stuff. I am sure I would have loved it if this guy whose face and name I don’t remember, was given one day of my nausea.

I know you will find it silly, but try telling that to them and they will say that this discrimination exists because God is a male!

You mean, you know for sure that God has a gender!!?
Sita, Durga, Laxmi are male?
Who created a male God? Who decided that God is male?
You will never hear me say any such thing because my God is gender less 🙂

Related Posts:

Stay Hungry. Stay Oppressed. – There and Their

Can a Veetodu Maapilai rightfully ask for the 4th coffee of the day or whatever he wants in his in-laws’ house? 

An email from a DIL living in a Joint Family: Should I adjust or should I leave?