Mira was a shy girl, timid and soft-spoken, unaware of the brutality that life was about to surprise her with. She was happy in her own little world, busy knitting her dreams of a perfect life, a future husband who will love her, adore her and most importantly, support her in every way that a spouse is expected to. She harboured a love for singing and dreamt about becoming a music teacher. She never liked studies, neither harboured any desire to build a career that would make her financially independent.
She’s the second child among the three children. Her father was a disciplinarian who emphasised on the need to excel in academics and become independent. But Mira never paid attention to it. One day, with much courage, she disclosed her desire to learn classical music and, to her surprise, her father agreed. She never understood what it is like to earn our own money, but started deriving joy out of financial independence once she became a music teacher. Her father encouraged her to open a bank account and save money so that she could gradually learn the art of saving.
Time flew by and she got married to a groom chosen by her parents. From a nuclear family, she was now suddenly the eldest daughter-in-law of a family of 18 people. Many of her dreams died as she began to fulfill the duty of a wife, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, granddaughter-in-law…oh ,the list was endless.
But a part of her died when she was no more allowed to pursue her career in music. She wanted to learn music further, but was asked to forget about her dreams and focus on the household. Her parents understood with time that they have got Mira married in the wrong family, but instead, asked Mira to follow what her in-laws and husband wanted; that was the only way for her to live a peaceful life. Really? She lost all her independence, her choice to be who she really is and what she wants. Doing anything for her parents was a distant dream, either financially or physically. After all, she was paraya dhan (someone else’s wealth). Her sole duty was to look after her husband’s family, isn’t it?
Mira adjusted every day, hoping that things would be better one day. She became a mother to a girl, and it terrified her, thinking about her in-laws as her first child is a girl, not boy. Do you understand how deeply this thinking is rooted in our society? Years followed, and she became a mother to three beautiful kids. She got busy bringing up her children, taking care of household chores, in-laws, husband…and taking care of herself and her parents? Well, that’s not her priority, right.
Not being financially independent pinched her now, she couldn’t do anything for her parents, as she feared the taunts that she would have to listen to if she asks for any assistance (read favour) for her parents. Well, aren’t a daughter’s parents a responsibility for the son-in-law, not just financially, but emotionally, morally?
Mira’s eldest brother died too young, and her younger brother lived abroad. Mira’s father expired long ago, and her mother was all alone. Mira had to bring her mother to stay with her, to take care of her in old age. But it was not an easy decision. She had to face a lot of taunts, humiliation, backlash from her in-laws, husband and society too.
But she is a daughter too, and can’t let her mother die on the streets. She is fighting till date to stand up for her right to take care of her mother. There are uncountable women like Mira who are fighting this inhuman behavior where a son and a daughter are treated unequally. Why does Mira need external validation for her own choices? Think about it.