This is a true story that has provoked me to write it down. It is disturbing enough as it seems that platitudes still lurk around when you are born with the tag ‘She’. But should we keep letting it happen on this land of India?
So, he is the girl’s father!
And today, just being the bride’s father, he had to fall on his knees on behalf of his daughter, who did no wrong except uttered a word in her parents-in-laws’ financial matters. But, it was because they were being careless that she had to put an opinion that day.
It all started when her in-laws started to make some silly, extravagant expense, making no savings, without any regret. A well-to-do family’s daughter, who herself is educated enough, her family knew at the time of her marriage that she is going to marry the man of her dreams, and not his entire family.
Yes, it was an arranged marriage, but it was not solely so. The then would-be bride and the then would-be groom did fall for each other with all their heart and decided to marry finally, when the meeting of both their parents also received a big shining blue tick from both ends.
But now, when she’s finally married to the guy of the same family, she found that the only earner of the family was their son, who works hard day and night, not just for one family, but also for his other family (his in-laws) that his parents failed to value. Today, it’s they who are not caring about the earning of their only son, who now has to look after two families.
One family that he takes care of is his newlywed family in which he has a doting wife, who is playing the role of a daughter-in-law, who doesn’t give up sorting out things for her in-laws when in trouble, and who has to manage out balancing things whenever she smells any ups and downs in the family. After all, no matter if they did wrong or not, they can never say sorry, and she being the girl, their daughter-in-law, always has to make the first move (just being ironical to what it was actually in the picture and this real-world ).
The other family is his very own mother, father, and his younger sister whom their son loves too dearly, caring not about his stress or his insurmountable workload. Just to see their happy faces, he is always ready to nod a ‘Yes’ even when it was at times not required.
So, unfortunately, he is born to a family who does not care for their son and his newlywed – their journey has just started – not to make any fuss unnecessarily for some silly misunderstanding just because she uttered a voice against her in-laws. They do not care for their son and his loving wife just because she pointed out a mistake and was bold enough to stop making her in-laws’ to commit any further silly mistake.
Yes, of course, she was bullied about that too, not in front of her face, but at her back, where constant bullying kept happening with bitter words of exchange among the father, son, and mother. The son with all stress just stayed dumbstruck because he was just helpless when situations got rather worse and sour than expected.
It is the same family, who did not care for their daughter-in-law who felt lonely and left out when she had to spend time with her in-laws when her husband was out of town. It sounded more like a duty than a self-willed approach. It is the same family that she got married into, who does not care for the her father, who was at no fault but had to fall on his knees just to save his daughter’s marriage life.
And alas! The same in-laws family turned more stubborn and hostile to the innocent daughter’s family just because of their egoistic pride and domineering demand to be strong enough just because they’re on the groom’s side. A typical Indian bizarre mentality, isn’t it? They kept conditions and challenged their only daughter-in-law to not mess anymore, for they can go to any extent if she dares to interfere in their financial matters again. They warned her not to pinpoint anything, no matter what they feel like doing.
Whereas, it could have been the other way round, if at all they would have stuck to their so-called words, “from now on, she is our daughter, not a daughter-in-law”, usually uttered by the dearest parents-in-law in front of the whole crowd after a successful engagement ceremony. I still do not understand why throw such words just like that, when you do not have any respect as in-laws and for the two different worlds: “a daughter and a daughter-in-law”.
Neither did she dare to pick up any further talk on the financial matters, or any of their family matters, no matter how carelessly they spent their money, with no urge of saving, or how profusely they’d hurt her or corner her as best as possible. She has been warned abusively, and been accused for hurting them, whereas, the girl and her family have been hurt to the core as well, but no one bothers. Ironically speaking, why should they, after all? It is a bride’s family in India.
Their only son who is working abroad slogs with all hard work for the same family who ill-treats his wife and her family, and taunts her repeatedly, ignores her concerns, and constantly makes ill remarks and indirectly warns her and her family to stay off from their life.
But, after all of this, she chooses to stay mum! For the sake of her love, her husband, her family, and the society. She has to prove repeatedly that she is stainless in her viewpoints, for she is the targeted woman in her husband’s family. She is helpless, for she fears the pain will be faced by her husband whom she loves. All at distress, but again it is she who is seen as guilty, for she fears her husband would not trust her or believe her word for what had happened that night. He was unfortunately not present by her side when she was solely summoned and charged, with tears trickling down by her side.
Is it nature or a man-made society’s taboo that the girl, the bride of the family, the daughter of the father’s loving family, and the daughter-in-law of the groom’s family, has to take the brunt of all, just saying sorry repeatedly to mend it all for the sake of all? To keep those people happy again who have made her parent’s cry, who have created rifts between her and her husband (although they haven’t been successful), who has given her so much stress and also to her parents now, who are only left worried for their daughter and son-in-law’s future and nothing else.
So why is she to blame? Why just for the ‘She’ tag our society makes the bride of a family stoop down? What was her fault? Are we making it so?
Why is she being charged and pressurised when she refuses to stay with her in-laws’ family, who doesn’t respect her, love her, and instead makes her feel insecure? Why is she condemned by her in-laws when she denies staying with them alone without her husband by her side? If her family happens to be in the same city and she feels more comfortable to spend her time there when her husband is away, why do they have a problem with it? Why do some people of the society still have a problem in discussing that someone’s daughter-in-law is not coming for staying over, or just staying for a day or so, or just for making a day trip and leave?
Why can’t they see from the perspective that had their daughter been at her home, what would they have done or thought so? Why do they fear what the society will say about the daughter-in-law, no matter if she is comfortable or not, or if she is okay or not, about her staying with her in-laws? Isn’t it the responsibility of the parents-in-law to make her feel like home after marriage?
Why do they forget their words when initially, when the knot was fixed, they’d given their word to her that she’d be considered their daughter rather than a daughter-in-law? Why can they not see from their own daughter’s point of view, when their only daughter-in-law suffers and her life turns all messed up right after her marriage? Why can they not understand if she is in pain, if their son will be in pain, for she is the love of his life and for her, it’s him and his family? Is it because she is a woman, and a daughter-in-law?
It is not clear, right? Because we do not make it happen? We do not allow justice for a woman, for the bride, for the daughter-in-law, just because she is still the woman, and she bears the tag ‘She’, in poor typical Indian mentality. Where on Earth are the ‘Dos and Don’ts’ for a daughter-in-law written, and will the bride’s family ever be able to condemn their son-in-law, if, today, he would have interfered in their financial matters or would have offered any suggestion whether good or bad in any of their family matters in the same way? Or is he never questioned for all this because he is the man and son-in-law?
In reality, and as a harsh truth of life, a son-in-law is usually and often well-treated as a son rather than as a son-in-law. Because, when a girl loves a boy, and gets married to him, her family falls in love with her love too, and the boy is always adored as a son than just a son-in-law. This is what is not felt necessary to be declared by the bride’s family to utter in front society, right after tying the knot of their children.
When a girl’s parents agree for their daughter’s marriage and give her hands to a guy, they hand over with all convictions and believe that he will take care of her, and now, it is him after her no matter how much bad or good happens in her life. They love him and adore him always as more of a son, for they do not know how to paint any words of fakeness. They consider with all pride that they both are equal from now on concerning emotions, love, and respect.
But this is never appreciated by the groom’s family, by his dear parents, for they become stubborn enough to consider and like to continue seeing their son’s bride as only a ‘daughter-in-law’. Thy never feel like giving her the place of a daughter, although so easily they can if they want to.
Nevertheless, in our society, a daughter is first judged in her family by some of her petty relatives and neighbors when she takes time to get married, as her age increases over years. While she gets married and starts the role of a daughter-in-law again, the judgments prolong with a much bigger community that mostly involves her in-laws. They are the same judgments that society imposes on her to consider it to be her family, her new home whether she is okay or not okay with it.
Firstly, for a daughter-in-law, for the family she gets married to, it is still and can never be her house unless she feels accepted and adored with all her imperfections and their genuine considerations as part of the family through all thick and thin. It cannot be imposed on her to consider the in-laws’ house as her new home, a new family just because she got married into it.
It is indeed the responsibility of her in-laws to make her feel at home, accept her as one of the members of their family, and put the same effort constantly for the new member who joins in leaving everything behind. If they can expect things out of the daughter-in-law just for the tag she now bears, then the response of effort should be stronger and louder even from their side.
We, therefore, still need to go a long way in performing our duty and respecting each other especially on marriage as, it is not a joke. Marriage is the reunion of two souls, and the prosperity of three families, not only two; it is the journey of more beautiful roads to build on. We need to get over the stains of societal cliches, but when will we get over it fully? It is the 21st century! Mind it! Do not waste time in breaking relationships; rather, put all your effort to hone relationships and make them shine like a diamond.