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Clash of the Titans: The Mother-in-Law & Daughter-in-law

Clash of the Titans: The Mother-in-Law & Daughter-in-law

Pbar_ww_badegeut a group of young women in a room, and you are bound to have at least seventy percent of them rant about their mother-in-laws. From time immemorial this relationship has been the butt of all jokes. Scores of forums across the internet are flooded on a daily basis, with questions pertaining to tackling the Mother-in-law. Often conflicts turn bitter, and may well become the reason for many a marriage to crumble down.

The Modern Day Mother In-law & Daughter-in-law

The modern-day Mother-in- law, is far more educated than what her own Mother-in-law was. From the personification of pure dominance, today, she is a more sensitive individual. She is more suited to treat her daughter-in-law with respect as she has learnt that to get respect, one must give respect. The Daughter-in-law of today is independent and is well aware of her rights. She believes in equality and thrives on mutual respect. She is receptive and is open to expressing not only her feelings, but her views too.

“Yet, despite these changes, there seems to be no end to the conflicts between a Mother-in-law and Daughter-in-law.”

The Clash of the Titans

I consider myself lucky, to belong to the small percentage of women, for whom, the Mother-in-law factor isn’t really a big issue. Of course, we have had our share of differences too. But over the years, we have managed to settle down these differences amicably.

You’re the daughter she never had, is what it all begins with. And well, you do assume that this purely means she’s going to be supportive of all your choices, staying out of your life and marriage, just being there at the time, when you ask her for help. Looks perfect, isn’t it!! On the other hand, the Mom-in-law has her own little picture of what the Daughter-in-law must encompass. She knows you are crazy about her son. But she also assumes that you see her as an authority on her son. She assumes, you would seek advice from her, and the end result, she can’t wait to start helping…

What ensues is the clash of the Titans, and the reason why women begin to discuss how strained or infuriating their relationship with their Mother-in law has become.

Tracing the Problem

The problems can be traced back to the unspoken yet conflicting expectations and assumptions. For the Daughter-in-law, no matter how modern is the Mother-in-law, she is constantly judged on the standards of a traditional housewife– which is her ability to cook, maintain a home clean, and raise children. On the other hand, for the Mother-in-Law, her decade old pattern of decision-making is suddenly under threat, as the daughter-in-law now likes to do it all her way.

There is, thus, an underlying disappointment felt by both women, giving rise to a distinctive negativity. Add to this, a mother’s possessiveness over her son and a wife’s difficulty as she balances work and home responsibilities. You have the perfect formula for years of trouble. These tensions do more than cause friction within families. They can put even the best marriages at risk.

The Solutions Lies Within Both

As long as there is no abuse, there surely is a solution in tackling this age-old problem. By abuse I mean, dowry harassment, physical, mental and verbal abuse, irrespective of who inflicts it on whom. When such issues arise, there should surely be no compromise and it is not to be tolerated.

“Love begets love; let it once begin and none can tell its end.”

For the mother-in-law, who may feel her domain threatened, must accept that the son is now the object of  his wife’s affection too. Don’t pin down expectations. The mantra is to forgive and forget without any animosity against your son’s bride.

For the daughter-in-law, remember she comes with years of experience. Do not take offense at the smallest of things. Give a relationship time. If your mother-in-law expresses a view that differs from yours, you don’t have to accept it in entirety. Show respect for her experience and at the same time, make it clear that you want to do things your own way.

What surely worked for me is the assurance I gave my mother-in-law that she would continue to be respected, and be an integral part of the family. It made her respect our boundaries, which she seldom crossed over.

For the man of the house, you may feel like as though you are between a rock and a hard place, with a possessive mom on one side and a sensitive wife on the other. But remember you are the link between the two. Either you ease out the tension with your calm and collected way or, simply allow the tension to mount by being a silent spectator.

Featured Image Source: India Opines
Hope is All that I Have #AtoZChallenge

Hope is All that I Have #AtoZChallenge

h“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness”- Desmond Tutu.

Before I started out on the #AtoZChallenge, at the time I was choosing an appropriate theme, I decided I will write positive things about India. A country that is so incredible must be spoken about and, a few of its unknown facets must be shared with the world. We are one of those countries rich in culture, heritage, regions and people and I feel good to blog about it.

But for the past two days, I have been immensely disturbed by a little newspaper report. This news snippet left me with a sullen feeling. As I sat staring at the newspaper this morning, the greatness and marvel of the country seemed to lose its sheen in front of my eyes. And I realized, behind the veil of our culture, hides this one big venomous snake that just doesn’t seem to be getting out of our society. Yet again, his fangs have snuffed out another young girl’s life.

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Image: For Representation Purpose Only

On Wednesday afternoon, 27 year old Himanshi Kashyap was found dead with a single bullet shot on her head, in the bathroom of her Ghaziabad residence. She was the daughter a former minister in Uttar Pradesh. Himanshi’s father has alleged that her husband’s family constantly abused her over their demands for a car and Rs. 50 lakh cash in dowry. Himanshi, a post-graduate was married to Sagar, who is pursuing his higher studies in medicine, three years ago. The couple has a son aged one-and-a-half years. With prima facie evidence indicating abuse and violence (Himanshi had burn marks on her neck and bluish-black marks over her eye); the police and their team are yet to file a charge sheet.

It just makes me wonder. Despite all the advancements we seem to be making in almost every field, why is it that we are yet to eradicate dowry from our country? How many more Hiamanshi’s would lose their lives, before we wake up as a large and embrace a positive change?

Hope and hope is all that I have.

The Great Indian Damaad

The Great Indian Damaad


Indian Bloggers

If there is one person in this huge wild world who enjoys utmost royalty, it is the Great Indian “Damaad” (Son-in-law). So revered and honored is he that often a girl’s parents could go to any extent to keep him happy. It is like as though the Good Lord himself has entered their family and wed their daughter.

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Saroj, my laundry lady, seemed unusually anxious.  “Didi paanch hazaar rupaye chahiye” (I want Rs. 5000/-), she said. My eyes popped open for a moment. Not that I had issues extending the loan, but the amount seemed large for a daily wage earner like Saroj. In a city such as Delhi, with high costs of living, it would probably take her months to pay me back. “My Damaad and Beti (daughter) are coming from Itarsi (a town in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India) during the “Navratri” Festival. I have to prepare a feast for them and also, get a new sari for my daughter, a suit piece and a gold plated wrist watch for my Damaad. We can’t send our Damaad empty handed. Damaad Kush tho Beti Kush (If the son-in-law is happy, the daughter stays happy),” she said with glee.

My eyes popped wider. Of course gifting your loved ones is indeed a good gesture, but stretching it beyond one’s financial capability was something I failed to understand. As I handed Saroj ten crisp 500 Re notes, I casually mentioned, “I am sure you must be getting something new for your newly wedded son and daughter in law too”. Saroj was quick to snap back, “Arre, who tho Bahu he, usko thode hi dete he” (She is just a daughter in law, why should she be given)”. I wondered in my heart…Why is the same loving gesture of gifting and pampering not extended to the daughter-in-law of the family? What about Bahu Kush tho Beta Kush (If the daughter-in-law is happy, the son stays happy)? Why didn’t this logic apply?

Anyways, I brushed these thoughts aside, thinking that probably, such practices were common among the economically weak, where the women are seldom financially empowered and need to be dependent entirely on their husbands. I was almost sure this would not be the case in educated families, where equality would prevail in relationships. But I soon realized how wrong I was.

I bumped into my next door neighbor Mr. Mehta at the local grocery store. He was pushing two over-loaded carts and seemed ready to strike a conversation. “Priya and Alexandro are coming this Sunday,” he said brimming with excitement. Mr. Mehta’s daughter Priya had recently wed Alexandro Gubbini, an Italian college professor. After a lavish County wedding, she moved to London with him, settling down into matrimony. “This is my Italian Damaad’s first visit and we want to make sure he feels at home. The feast would include all his favourite Italian dishes so that he feels special”. I asked Mr. Mehta casually, if any Indian dish would be served to his Firangi Damaadji. “Oh no, what if he doesn’t like it? How could we upset our Damaadji? It is our Indian tradition to treat our Damaad with utmost care and pamper him with all that he likes.”

I nodded and walked towards the billing counter. My thoughts wondered to the conversations I have had on multiple occasions with Nita. She was the daughter-in-law of the Mehta household. Being of the same age, we often went for long walks in our colony sharing tidbits from our daily lives. On many an occasion Nita had expressed her feelings of displeasure on how she was expected by her in-laws to change her tastes, lifestyle and dressing habits as per her sasural (in-laws home). After all, she had moved into their family and was expected to eat, sit and move the way they did.

I wondered why there really wasn’t an Indian Tradition to treat the daughter in law with care. Did Mr. Mehta, put in effort to make his Nita feel comfortable in her initial days of marriage? Did he ensure her favourite dishes were prepared so that she felt at home? Why was she expected to change her habits to suit their needs?

Itarsi or Italy, the Indian Damaad surely enjoys a privilege treatment in comparison to the humble Bahus. This is common in almost all households where the Damaad is place on a pedestal high up, a place where a daughter in law never reaches. I wonder why…