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Why I Will Not Teach My Daughter To Be The ‘Good Daughter In Law’ [Short Story]

Posted: January 23, 2016

Kriya was brought up an independent, modern woman. But the minute her marriage was fixed, things changed. After all, wasn’t she supposed to be the ‘good daughter in law’? A short story.

It all started the moment Kriya’s future husband’s parents come to see her for the first time. Kriya was always considered pretty but suddenly she had to hear her future in-laws and their random neighbors comment:

She is dark! She is too short, look at her heels! Her lips are too big!

Any comment at all. Anything to suggest that she was not good enough for their son and that he could have done better, and it was her biggest fortune in life to have attained him. Whether they themselves looked ugly or if their son would put the Frankenstein’s monster to shame with his looks was immaterial.

Kriya had the most loving and fiercely protective parents. Normally if anybody pointed a finger at her, her parents would have showed them their worth (or the lack of it). But that was in some other life perhaps. She was no longer their beloved princess. She was about to become a wife and daughter-in-law, her biggest validation in life, and was being taught the contrary of what she had been taught in the other life:

Don’t react to their demands, however unreasonable and unfair. Be sensible.. Maturity lies in learning to tolerate/ ignore.

Why risk the fragile future relationships for trivial matters? What if the very privileged groom’s family called off the engagement at the drop of a hat?

Kriya’s mother was a very progressive woman.  She had raised her daughter equal to her son. She had given her good education, reasonable amount of freedom, love, affection and independence. But the moment she was to be married, she wanted to cut her wings. She only hoped and prayed to God that Kriya was lucky enough to get a good husband and good in-laws. Her happiness was now a matter of her destiny.

The engagement survived as Kriya followed her mother’s advice and it was time for the wedding. Nothing was of Kriya’s choice but her mother-in-law’s, including her dress, the venue and the catering. But her mother told her it was okay. The wedding was just one event and there was no need to come across as a dominating woman by expressing her choices.

Kriya’ family spent half their life-time’ savings on the wedding, all in the name of culture. Kriya’ soon to be husband had once told her that he could never marry a woman who earned more than him. But surprisingly, his ego and masculinity were not shattered when his father-in-law paid every single penny on his wedding. Not only did he and his parents reach the wedding as complete VIPs (read beggars), but invited unnecessary guests to show off, all at the expense of Kriya’s parents. They even complained about the arrangements and added much drama to the already cinematic wedding. But Kriya was not allowed to object to anything.

These things happen in weddings. Her parents said.

Once the marriage had solemnized with so much injustice already inflicted upon Kriya and her family, the irrational become more powerful. It was a vicious cycle that she had got herself into. She was expected to earn, pay for living expenses, cook, clean, all with a beautiful smile and not complain. Overnight, Kriya who was once an intelligent, free-willed, thinking individual with likes and choices in life was expected to transform into an epitome of selflessness and sacrifice.

The partnership was unequal from the outset. She could not visit her family without prior permission from her in-laws – a monitored, short, approved visit. Our culture may preach family values and respect for elders but such elders are only the privileged ones who have given birth to sons. When Kriya expressed her desire to stay separately with her husband, she was shamed and labeled as selfish and uncultured. Even though her parents longed to see her once a year, the very thought was outrageous for her husband’s parents.

Her father wondered where did he go wrong? He gave in to the demands of future-in-laws in the hope that his daughter should not be taunted for anything. What a surprise then, that this greedy and materialistic family made his daughter’s life miserable anyway, irrespective of how much he spent on the wedding?

Kriya’s mother was devastated too. She regretted that she taught her daughter to tolerate little misbehaviors and misdeeds, small taunts and humiliations, minor restrictions, and let her suffocate, breath by breath. Kriya’s family could have acted upon the signs they saw early on, but they did not. They all thought that such things were common in our society. Their sense of normal had been skewed for generations. Nobody realized that she was making a choice all along by choosing to tolerate, to endure and to suffer and encouraging her perpetrators.

Kriya resents her husband and his family. But more than that, she has grievances from her own parents. Why was she taught that it is a good thing to let herself be treated this way? As a daughter, she was raised to be independent, but nobody taught her that it was okay to be an independent daughter-in-law as well. She was conditioned to believe that it was her sole responsibility to save her marriage even if it meant compromising on her self-respect. She was asked to keep quiet for the sake of maintaining relationships. She had to keep everybody happy at the cost of her own happiness. She was told that her biggest strength lies in being submissive. But now she knows that it is not her strength. It became her weakness. Her resilience did not pay off.

She could have stood up for herself the day her fiancé’s aunt commented that she her nose was too big. But she did not. She was already engaged.

It was too late..

She could have refused when her father agreed to gift a car to her husband. But the wedding was a week away.

It was too late..

She could have retaliated when her husband refused to let her visit her ailing grandmother. But she did not, for she was already married.

It was too late..

She even complied when her mother-in-law directed that she could not have her baby in her mother’s comfortable home. They were going to be a family.

It was too late..

Now she has a daughter and she feels stuck in the marriage, much more than she has ever felt before.

It is too late..

Or is it?

Kriya has decided that she will not take it anymore. She will not raise her daughter in this home and set a wrong example of what a wife or daughter-in-law should be. She is going to teach her daughter to be a good, respectful human being – not a good wife or a good daughter in law. Not until people learn to be good husbands or good mothers/ sisters/ fathers-in-law. Respect is a two way street and nobody attains it by virtue of their age or relationship or the convenient culture. They better learn to earn it.

Kriya feels that the day we teach this to our daughters, the progress in the social fabric will complete a full circle.

Image source: Indian bride with a mangalsutra by Shutterstock.

I like to write about the problems that have plagued the Indian society. I feel

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109 Comments


  1. The earlier you get out the lesser your losses to cut!

  2. This is what we experience in our day to day life. Not easy to come out of it

  3. BULLS EYE….wow you expressed everything very clearly. Time to pass it on to others who are having patriarchal mind set…
    Do continue to express and write more.

  4. Moral n social values should be taught in a same manner irrespective of the gender of the child for a healthy relationship n healthy society.

  5. Very true what you wrote

  6. Normal for Indian culture . Out there so many people are like thT. I appreciate ur daring to change our mother in laws attitude

  7. So true… they need to realise tht jst like their sons even their daughter in laws have studied equally and had no time in the kitchen to learn hw to cook or to learn any other domestic work.They need to understand and support their daughter in law.when vl our society change.

    • TANVI SINHA

      Hi Rhea, some people’s mentality is so messed up that we can’t even reason with them. Somewhere we have to choose to live by our principles, instead of compromising.

  8. Mothers in law , son or daughter in law should understand that by not giving rights of others means you are humiliating your own upbringing . Love , respect and willingness to help each other reduce the burden of day to day life is what the family has to understand . If there is no mercy for each other , then however rich they may be , but they still are poorer at heart .

    • TANVI SINHA

      Yes, you are absolutely right that respecting and accepting a new member in the family for what she is would be a reflection of good upbringing. If only people understood this..

  9. Hi Tanvi…
    Very nice article.I don’t say all are facing same kind of issue but I can say majority of Indian women faces this issue.I dont know why girls are meant to leave our parents after marriage.What in case if our parents have only daughters(no son).We leave them alone after marriage.In that case even daughter and her husband should take responsibility to take care of her parents when she is taking care of his parents(her In-Laws).
    Instead our Indian system In-Laws restricts and controls all such things .Not even give freedom to invite parents to home without in-laws permission and approval.
    Now a days even daughter is getting bought up equally as son.If the society still continues to carry on this system of daughters leaving parents after marriage and they are no more belonging to their house but they belong to In-Laws home,how can Indian system want to change people mind set of not accepting girl to be born in her family.
    The above title You mentioned “Why I Will Not Teach My Daughter To Be The ‘Good Daughter In Law”.It means a lot and can be understood for those who really faced situations with their in-laws where women is taken for granted.
    RESPECT — It is really very valuable thing to be earned with our love and kindness but not a rule to be given either we like or dislike the person or their behaviour.When women is being loved and treated as a individual,she will always doubles her respect towards them.But women when get hurt or degraded though she doesn’t give up on her family aspects(due to some reasons),that is not called as respect.

  10. U r correct. Mothers in law shld b taught to respect their daughter in law. WL they accept such a behaviour in the place where their daughter is getting married. How can there be two different rules for daughter n daughter in law?
    But again it is a lady giving trouble to another lady forgetting that she also was a daughter in law in the beginning.
    Nowadays there are instances where the girl gives false complaint against the boy n his family n joins wt her mother who gives ideas to take a ransom amount of 50lakhs to crore of rupees for settlement. Now many innocent boys are being screwed by girls n the boy n their family suffers badly. Such things ae also happening. This issue also has to be looked into.

    • Appreciate your initiative of looking into the other side of the story… Thanks..!!!

    • TANVI SINHA

      Hi Sree Lalithaa. Women who file false dowry complaints have ruined it for all those who are truly suffering. Absolutely horrible thing to do and no woman should misuse the laws.

  11. Great story for traditional Indian parents! Children learn subconsciously from their parents. This calls for strength, confidence, compassion and tolerance. But not injustice!!!

  12. No use of writing this. ….our society can’t accept kriya type girls……and they will never do in future…atleast for the next 50 years

    • TANVI SINHA

      I don’t know if things will change Vinny..But I still want to express the issues, and maybe if we all unite in our endeavor, things may change. That is the hope..

    • I disagree that its useless to write about this – things are changing albeit slowly. I know that in my case, my parents do stay with me after marriage. We can’t quit trying – only if we try can we see the desired change. Be the change you want to see as they say.

  13. V nicely expressed

  14. I felt the same way and decided to walk out after 1.5 yrs. When you are treated a doormat you forget that you were a masterpiece! Once I walked out my life changed and today I live with my head held high.

  15. Wondering what the values are that lead parents to marry off their daughters to rich but arrogant / abusive families. Wealth does not compare to kindness, compassion and a welcoming family who realize they are gaining a daughter, not property / a slave. Are Kriya’s parents really surprised they have so much drama to deal with after the wedding when they got a preview of what they were signing up for?
    I will be teaching my daughter to be a good human being and yes, to be a good daughter to her in-laws, BUT, I will be making sure that her husband and in-laws DESERVE her goodness.
    This article could also be called ‘Why I Will Look For Good Character Rather Than Wealth If Arranging My Daughter’s Wedding’.

    • I like your points but I don’t agree that a daughter is “married off”. She still stays a daughter to her parents and a son also needs to be taught to be a good son in law! Practically a girl does not or should not leave her parents after marriage. Marriage is the coming together of two families and parents should be able to stay with either son or daughter after marriage.

  16. Celine Dsouza Mlore -

    It’s really disheartening to hear about the in laws relationship, Its a humble request for all Mom in laws: Plz go through the story, what if Ur daughter was treated like This

  17. Dear mam ur words were really true I this each individual women has to face na.we loose our identity after becoming daughter inlaw wife and mother….

  18. Perfect! This is what I learn and preach I. My everyday life!

  19. Agree totally. Practically a girl does not or should not leave her parents after marriage. Marriage is the coming together of two families and parents should be able to stay with either son or daughter after marriage. Fortunately that’s happening with me and my parents feel as comfortable staying with me as with my brother. I think its about time we tossed the Pariah Shan concept off the window and gradually that’s happening .

  20. Nice article.

  21. V true Kriya. Every bit of it… I haven’t yet met a woman who says that her in laws dote on her as if she were their daughter.. or equal to their son..

  22. Ur every line reminds my life .. But thank God I hv supporting husband .. That’s s only reason now I m baring everything.. I wish I make m in laws to read this story 100times .. So they understand not to hurt anyone feeling.. Ur lines are really touching

  23. Dear Tanvi, the article is nice and appreciable had it got few more lines of conclusion.

    It may not be important if Kriya teaches her daughter to be a good wife or a good daughter-in-law but is quite important to teach her to be a good mother-in-law for which she might be in her future. Also, if Kriya had a son though not in your story, it is quite important that she educate her son to respect her wife and not be inherit these qualities from his father.

    Also, Kriya herself can learn a lesson that she should not be an unkind mother-in-law as hers was. Right.

    I always notice this sad thing that stories are always explained from the perspective of wife or daughter-in-law. Who are these husabds or mother-in-laws? The husbands described in your stories are not just born but males raised by irresponsible and heartless mothers who are none other than daughter-in-laws once upon a time. The mother-in-laws pictured in these articles are none other than daughter-in-laws to someone who never learnt the most critical lessons in their life that they should not be a nagging mother-in-law when the turn is her’s.

    I may not seem convincing to many(mostly women) because I’m calling the same women for action when they are in pain; to realize their responsibility as a good mother in nurturing her children towards the direction of love than advantage. Since, such things require attention and sacrifice which women never did since ages and are just meant to either take or put blame based on their roles, cannot understand how a value system can be brought into the living standards of the society be it male or female.

    It is my humble suggestion to please write articles going forward that comprehend an issues from all direction instead of taking sides and leaving behind values just because women suffer. If Kriya does not want to teach her daughter to be a good wife and a good daughter-in-law then she should also suggest her to not marry. If all men are bad and perpetrators as the article indirectly indicated, then women kind always has the choice to stay single all their life and never tangled into the bond of marriage. At least the article could have been like Kriya never does any mistakes in her daughter’s marriage that her parents did in hers or teach her daughter to be bold to face any situation and be a good wife or daughter-in-law to the good ones instead of never be good to anyone. If Kriya is so apprehensive or unhappy about marriage do not ever make her daughter to be a wife or daughter-in-law rather than letting her to be bad in the roles. Be wise and unbiased.

    • Thanks for the reasonable reply Ravi..you said it all.

    • TANVI SINHA

      Hi Ravi, you have highlighted the role of mothers in the article whether it’s Kriya or her mother in law, and their failure to instill good values in their children. I agree that Kriya’s mother in law has raised her son poorly. Interestingly, you have not shared a perspective on what Kriya’s husband could have done differently. Just blaming all the female characters in their role would not help. Kriya’s daughter can stay single, if that is what she wants. But that is not for Kriya to decide. She is only telling her daughter that she should not accept such treatment for the sake of marriage. I would like you to share your views on Kriya’s husband’s responsibilities.

  24. I agree with the author . It’s more or less its Same with every one. I have a daughter I decided on the day she was born that she should learn to say no when she feels it is not acceptable. Some times parents also won’t listen what a girl is saying . When it comes to marriage they ask the girl to compromise . How much ever we do a daughter in law cannot satisfy in-laws so why to try for some thing that is impossible at the cost of our happiness. This I realised after 10 years of marriage. As you said age does not matter we respect people who are younger to us at our work place or at home . It is a two way thing give respect.and take respect it is applicable here as well

    • TANVI SINHA

      Thanks Leena. I would not have a problem with mothers telling their daughters to compromise in the marriage provided sons were told the same too. My problem is with the inequality.

  25. Thank you for writing this article. Fortunately or unfortunately I am that daughter that you were trying to raise. I had forever been the perfect child, the pampered daughter and the independent woman. My parents were always around to guide me in knowing the difference between right and wrong but never forced or coerced me into taking any decisions or changing my behaviour to suit the idle society chatterboxes.
    I married the man I chose despite their initial disagreement as I felt that he was the right person for me (and today they completely agree).
    However i would like to add that the 1st year after marriage was sheer hell. It’s not that I didn’t care about what my in laws thought, it was just that I missed my mom from time to time and wouldn’t wait for their permission to go meet her. I wasn’t lazy but I did need my me time now and again. I never allowed any gift giving from my family to theirs as I think presents are supposed to be earned by good behaviour and not given just because you exist.
    I was lucky that my husband tried to support me where he could but as always generations of inbuilt training saying that you can’t give the new girl more importance than your mother came between us more than once. It was only when I said No Thanks to their patronising behaviour did he realise I would actually walk away before bending my principles. And then everything worked out. We got our own place, had a daughter and rest as they say is history.
    Funnily enough today when my hubby says that I shouldn’t “teach” my daughter to behave like me as she might not be as “lucky” as me in her choice of life partner I just say I am teaching her to stand up and think for herself. If she can do that then partner or no partner she will be happy. And that’s all I ever wanted.

  26. As long as the parents of the son continue to be controlling every aspect of their son’s life including finding his bride and courting her, these problems will remain. Marriage is between two individuals, not families. After marriage it is the responsibility of the two individuals to set up their nests. The girl should not have to go and adjust in some one else’s nest as per their wish. And they both need to be responsible for their own and each other’s parents.

    • Agree completely – especially the last line. Both should be responsible for their parents! I too don’t believe that a girl is married off or becomes paraya for her family because she is married. That’s not a relationship of equals

    • TANVI SINHA

      Hi Debbie, agree with what you said. Unfortunately, in Indian marriages, the daughter in law is the outsider who has to struggle for years to be accepted into the husband’s family and dance to the tunes of each and every member of his family. Don’t know when Indian men will understand that the worth of their wives.

  27. This is just another story of a standard Indian family, who worship their sons and suppress their daughters in the most subtle and shameful ways. Blame the mother for raising her daughter with such double standards. Blame the mother-in-law for having forgotten her origins as a girl and now a woman. Only a woman can liberate another and sadly this woman comes in the form of a hapless mother and an dutiful wife and sometimes even a suppressed sister and a devoted mother (to her son), who trains her daughter to put up with the atrocities around…for the sake of peaceful co-existence…Shame on such women!

  28. A very well written article. It’s so sad to see so many girls/women experience this in their lives yet no one is willing to put an end to the ‘good-fortune’ of families with sons. About time we make a generation change.

  29. Hi Tanvi,
    That’s one nicely written article. Some age old Indian customs and also the patriarchal system needs to get a throw out of the window. But who will understand? Mothers teach their daughters to be good daughter-in-law and teach their sons that someday they will get married. This so called “pratha” will continue for the next generations because till the time your son/daughter gets eligible for marriage, people who believe in these rules and regulations etc will still be alive and will still be attached to their “puraane khayalaat”. Marriage is coming together of two families, so as per this contract between two parties, both the parties should be equally responsible for each other. And girls parents needs to realize that they have not married-off their daughters but earned a son, a human being!…
    Nevertheless, with changing times in-laws are changing too. Husbands are becoming a lot more supportive bunch but are still under the influence of their parents and sometimes forget that their partner is also a princess of her own parents. Hopefully, eradication of worthless and unimportant yet sexist rules are awaited badly!!

  30. TANVI SINHA

    My sincere thanks to each one of you who read the article and provided valuable feedback, and your encouragement. 🙂 Some people have felt that it was not a balanced story, and there could be completely contrary scenarios as well and I do not disagree. I did not intend to hurt the sentiments of any husbands, in-laws who work towards maintaining a good relationship within the family (and may not be able to relate to what was depicted in the story). This article was written from a certain perspective because what happened to Kriya is still happening to a lot of women in India, and we need to stand up for ourselves and put a stop to it.

  31. huh.huh@hotmail.com -

    Are you saying, I will train and make her like the mother in-law?

  32. Pingback: Patriarchy has not fallen- yet.

  33. Very Nice write up Tanvi , I felt as if its just my story. I dont have a child now, but if ever i have a daughter someday i will surely not raise her to be a good daughter in law. I was just thinking ..is there someone who is a ” GOOD DIL” . I dont think so , how much ever you do for this family , you can never be a good DIL , infact will all the sacrifices you make which go unnoticed , still you are treated like a second class human being. Nowadays even after being independent and many times even doing better than any one in this great family , still the girls have no right to live the way they want to live. Why DIL have to take permissions to even meet her parents, even there are restrictions put on girls on when and how many times they would meet her family. Inlwas have different rules for their own daughters and totally different for their DIL’s. All the rules, regulations , giving respect , taking permissions come into picture when the matter is related to DIL’s resonable demand/expectation . I used to myself blame in-laws for such behaviours however now after a devastating experience in my life , i think its not inlaws who need to change , its us this new generation which needs to change, its those sons who need to change who take a very convenient shelter of patriarchal society and give a lame exuse that ” i did not make this rule , this is how things run from long back ” . Unless guys dont understand that someone has left everything for them needs their support to live happily in this family , they need to understand that its their spouse who would be with them all their life and will stand with them in all the thicks and thins. Guys gang up with their parents to fight with their own wife(who they think is a threat to his parents ) , is already emotionally torn after leaving her parents and what best she gets is …an outsider treatment. I think men should start showing some spine (not for all those supportive men out there) and start looking beyond your blood relations. At the back of our mind we all know where we are right where we are not , where are parents are right and where not. No one knows better , so start thinking rational and dont give air to whats wrong just because thats done by your own parents. Think in a manner that what your wife is facing today could be the same what your daughters might face tomorrow.

    • Absolutely agree with what you have written . Its very important that such husbands ( the one like Kriya’s in the article above ) should realise that they are not just sons but also husbands who have promised to do their part in the marriage wholeheartedly. Age old customs and traditions were created long back and not all of them are feasible to follow for either the guy or the girl today – Hence its absolute foolishness to force those systems upon the girl alone and make her life miserable. And the parents in law in such cases need to understand that this DIL is also someones daughter, a girl in her younger age with lots of hopes and aspirations about her future and basically a human being – not some money minting , child producing machine or a robot that is meant for household chores or a trash can to collect all the insults and hurt thrown her way .

      All the people in general need to realise that when the marriage has lots of understanding and rationality , the husband and wife will get a best friend for life who stands by thick and thin. And everyone should focus on making their sons and daughters as good , rational, sensible and understanding human beings so that atleast the upcoming generations have a better family life and values.

    • TANVI SINHA

      Agree with every word you said!

  34. Pingback: Why I Will Not Teach My Daughter To Be The ‘Good Daughter In Law’ [Short Story] – Why Not Say It

  35. The only point is son and daughter have become equal…….but for the beta- bahu equality, there is a long way to go….

  36. Good write up Tanvi. Though i would say nobody can teach anyone to be good. Being submissive and fearful may make one to act good. There is always two sides to a story and Kriya here seems to be one aspect. All educated women don’t give in so easily. Individuals make a society and well changing a society is not that easy. But I still feel the story has multiple solutions and need not be so depressing for such a title. We have to make our children better human beings so that they play all the roles in life to the best of their ability. Keep a positive outlook!

    • TANVI SINHA

      Hi Lalita, I feel too strongly about Kriya’s perspective. Probably there is the other side too. But in-laws, husband always have society’s support. From generations, it has always been their way. Kriya gets no support – neither from her husband, nor his parents or her own family. Everybody asks her to adjust. So I feel her side of the story needs to be shared. Thanks for your comment and I will try to be more positive 🙂

  37. very nice story!

  38. Awesomely written.. i felt like someone had written my feelings better than i could ever articulate.. hatsoff to all the women who have stood up for themselves.. you are doing your bit to build a better tomorrow..

  39. Sangita Srinivasan -

    very true.. reflects most of the women’s life… i felt like reading a diary page of a helpless women… including my own life… no freedom… no one to hear u or have a concern for ur feelings… will it change.. as a mother of a girl of 9, i felt i too should do the same as kriya… we could not change our fate but very well our daughter’s… they need not be slaves as us… education in school cannot bring this… but every mother should wake up and teach her daughter.. we may be taunted by our so called society but how long should we fear for those who are just spectators and do nothing… wake up mothers… wake up… I’m a mother from a orthodox family from Tamil Nadu who had to nod my head for everything my father said and now to my husband(?) who will never ever try to understand or view from a women’s perspective… they never realise that women too have feelings.. and desires… WE REMAIN SLAVES FOREVER … how much ever u earn or educated…

  40. Stories trigger the emotional wound in us,just awareness can be starting of healing, excellent story written with highlight to perception and social fears,it enables people to see their true limitations and choose to change.Glad you wrote it,shared it with many women.

  41. Nice article…but just blaming mother-in-laws alone is not unacceptable. ..the husband plays a major role here…a man should marry only if he is able to take care of himself and ready to take care (making right decisions n supporting) of his better half…if you think marriage is just a ritual to be done at a particular age, then that leads to such problems. ..he would not listen to his better-half n would always leave the decision to his parents choice because he is still not ready for it.
    A husband is the main link for two families…it is the belief on him, that he would take care of the better-half, guide her n support her as his own family, just like how he feels responsible n supportive for his own mother, sister, father or brother, a girl is been married to him. He needs to balanced with his own family members as well as with his wife n her family. Every mother should teach their son as well as daughter to treat their better-half as BETTER-HALF n not any less. And as a man, still more specific as a husband he should be bold n responsible in correcting mistakes in both sides without hesitating as well as without humiliating his own family n wife( n her family members). If men become such good husband then neither does his better-half need to suffer nor does his parents would think to ill treat his wife n have to get those bad labels.
    Thanks to all those great gentlemen who although have lots of problems out in their work, still maintain a good, honest n smart balance between his better-half n his own parents.

    • TANVI SINHA

      I agree, if the husband is sensible enough, he can manage his wife and parents. But unfortunately most husbands are happy to side with their parents and don’t realize that he is supposed to support and protect his wife.

    • Very very true article Tanvi,more out of that I want to add one more thing along with In- laws, sister In-laws are also reason of this as they don’t consider that they are ruining their brother’s life and happy family only for the sake of her bullshit ego and attitude.I have seen one of the lady like this who is well educated and has so old and narrow thinking and sister In-laws for their ego and to get center of focus, mind washes the parents also so that the In-laws of the bride won’t give importance to her.

    • TANVI SINHA

      @ KITTY JALALI: I have seen not just sisters in laws, but the husband’s brothers also interfere and poke their nose. The entire family gangs up against the poor wife to make her life miserable. Why should any girl tolerate such behaviour?

  42. Exact representation of Indian in-laws system. I see that the society has moved forward in many things but when it comes to this marriage system we are still the same. The girl is chosen for their prince after so much of investigating and filtration. They boast that they have chosen “The Best”.. But this “The best” only down the line becomes “have never seen any woman like this. Never heard of such disrespectful Dil anytime” The so called devils… Insecurity, jealousy,arrogance rules their minds.

  43. Now after Kriya went through the turmoil, she might teach her daughter to be a good human being; which Kriya already is..maybe the daughter might take bolder steps if I may call so…but what about Kriya..how should she be leading her rest of the life..should she break down and take a step now by walking away, how should Kriya work things for herself…

  44. Dear Tanvi, Good job on presenting Kriya’s version of story. Present day Indian girls are not dumb, they know that the law is on their side, and are taking advantage of the laws by filing false cases on their in-laws. I studied 100 + stories about the girl’s accusations and shockingly they were actually twisted when their in-laws spoke the truth in defense. If it is dowry, bullying or extra-marital affairs, then the in-laws and husband are at fault, but Kriya accuses on very dubious things and we have only one-sided story…Try being devil’s advocate 1) If Kriya was really pretty, then several families and boys must have chased her with marriage proposals. if she is dark, short with very big nose and still considers herself really pretty, then she finds it insulting when her future in-laws state it with disappointment, isn’t it reasonable to hope for an attractive wife?. If she really stood up, then her future in-laws would have backed out anyway knowing how differently she feels from the reality, so that’s why she stayed silent. 2) She mentioned that her husband shamelessly accepted the car gift, but did he ask for it? Her father was really trying to show-off their false money since they realized that their daughter is not attractive enough to find an eligible bachelor…Very greedy that she is complaining about paying her own living expenses, that means she wants “spend” her husband’s earnings. but “save” her earnings! ..she doesn’t want equal responsibility to support her own family(which is her, her husband and the child).. Also it is really cheap to complain about the gifts they gave with their own will..but not mention what gifts they received…she wants to make her family look better over her in-laws finances 3) She would have visited her grand mother if it was really sick, may be her husband couldn’t stay without his new bride, so out of love if he says “I can’t let you go”. she twists it now because she wants to add one more item to exploit them…4)Her in-laws are apparently more willing to take care of her during her delivery time at their home not to burden her parents, but she portrays it as though they are selfish…who knows may be her parents were more than happy to let her stay at her in-laws place at that time since they are already crying that they spent their half of their life time savings on her wedding…5) How is she stuck with her in-laws family if she has a child? May be she and her husband can not afford to live separately.without getting some assets from her in-laws, and they tend to give when she becomes problematic and starts bad mouthing, they have no way out but to give assets since they can not really divorce her since she is already a mother of their grand-kid….6).Apparently Kriya and her parents are not only aggressive “to show their worth” in Kriya’s defense, but also aggressive “to show off their false wealth” to make their daughter’s story marketable…..Remember that the “mother-in-laws & sister-in-laws” are also suffered and harassed by their daughter-in-law’s attacks and false accusations…but the law is not protecting them….Please help the women by getting both sides of the stories….All the best to your writing…May god bless you..

    • TANVI SINHA

      Dear Tanvi, Good job on presenting Kriya’s version of story. Present day Indian girls are not dumb, they know that the law is on their side, and are taking advantage of the laws by filing false cases on their in-laws. I studied 100 + stories about the girl’s accusations and shockingly they were actually twisted when their in-laws spoke the truth in defense. If it is dowry, bullying or extra-marital affairs, then the in-laws and husband are at fault, but Kriya accuses on very dubious things and we have only one-sided story…Try being devil’s advocate

      – It is wrong to file false dowry cases. Because of false cases, the treatment of genuine cases also suffers.

      1) If Kriya was really pretty, then several families and boys must have chased her with marriage proposals. if she is dark, short with very big nose and still considers herself really pretty, then she finds it insulting when her future in-laws state it with disappointment, isn’t it reasonable to hope for an attractive wife?. If she really stood up, then her future in-laws would have backed out anyway knowing how differently she feels from the reality, so that’s why she stayed silent.

      – She is a woman and not an object. Commenting on her looks is unacceptable, especially when the man’s looks in not discussed. Whether she is pretty or not is not the point.

      2) She mentioned that her husband shamelessly accepted the car gift, but did he ask for it? Her father was really trying to show-off their false money since they realized that their daughter is not attractive enough to find an eligible bachelor…Very greedy that she is complaining about paying her own living expenses, that means she wants “spend” her husband’s earnings. but “save” her earnings! ..she doesn’t want equal responsibility to support her own family(which is her, her husband and the child).. Also it is really cheap to complain about the gifts they gave with their own will..but not mention what gifts they received…she wants to make her family look better over her in-laws finances

      – The point is accepting the car from in-laws did not affect his ego. On every other aspect it did, as per his convenience. She is earning herself so she doesn’t need to spend his money. He on the other hand wants a working wife plus a perfect homemaker.

      3) She would have visited her grand mother if it was really sick, may be her husband couldn’t stay without his new bride, so out of love if he says “I can’t let you go”. she twists it now because she wants to add one more item to exploit them…

      – Out of love he did not let her visit her ailing grandmother? It is called control, not to be confused with love.

      4)Her in-laws are apparently more willing to take care of her during her delivery time at their home not to burden her parents, but she portrays it as though they are selfish…who knows may be her parents were more than happy to let her stay at her in-laws place at that time since they are already crying that they spent their half of their life time savings on her wedding…

      – It should be her choice where she wants her delivery. She is the one carrying the child and giving birth. And why shouldn’t they cry about spending their life savings on the wedding?

      5) How is she stuck with her in-laws family if she has a child? May be she and her husband can not afford to live separately.without getting some assets from her in-laws, and they tend to give when she becomes problematic and starts bad mouthing, they have no way out but to give assets since they can not really divorce her since she is already a mother of their grand-kid….

      – What you said is possible but in the present case, she has the financial strength to stay separately. But she is not allowed to because of culture and control.

      6).Apparently Kriya and her parents are not only aggressive “to show their worth” in Kriya’s defense, but also aggressive “to show off their false wealth” to make their daughter’s story marketable…..Remember that the “mother-in-laws & sister-in-laws” are also suffered and harassed by their daughter-in-law’s attacks and false accusations…but the law is not protecting them….Please help the women by getting both sides of the stories….All the best to your writing…May god bless you..

      – I do not support false accusations against in-laws. What is wrong is wrong. Thanks for showing another side.

  45. Dear Tanvi, the story echos with so many and many lives throughout the world in all sects and cultures. This is a very good article and should be sent to Time Magazine and a few other popular magazines around world if you can. Thank you for speaking the lives of so many.

  46. your article is really heart touching.. sometimes it feels like its a crime to get married.. be under the constant judgments of people.. as a daughter our parents treat us like princess not so that we one day get married and become the slave of some family.. A marriage should be a beautiful union of two people who choose to start a life together with equal contribution.. if only people could understand this..

  47. Absolutely. It is better to spend less money on marriange and save the rest for the future. People have a grand wedding planned for their daughter and son but I think nobody is really worried about their future. If the girl is not good enough for their baby boy then why get him married to her. I think in india is nothing but torture for women (not all may be but definitely many!). It doesnt matter if the girl is educated or no. The main focus is on torturing the DILs rather than accepting her as a new beautiful family member who can earn for the family as well as help the women of the house at home. We want to become the Queen but not of the house but of our husbands heart. Is it so difficult to accept?

  48. very good article

  49. You have written very well about the trauma of a daughter in law and appreciate your advice that she need not be submissive if she doesnt get respect.

  50. Hi Tanvi,

    Great story, great writing. I agree that a lot of women are facing this problem in India, but I STRONGLY disagree with the title of the story, or the learning that your main character Kriya took from the incident.
    If every girl’s mother decides to teach her daughter to not to be a good wife or good daughter in law, then every boy’s mother should also explicitly teach him to not to be a good husband or good son in law.

    If anything, Kriya should learn to NOT to impose her decisions and choices on her daughter, like Kriya’s mother did when she fixed or agreed to fix the marriage for Kriya. Kriya should learn to let her daughter decide her husband and parent in laws.
    If anything, Kriya should learn to not ignore her daughter’s problems when her daughter comes to her and asks for help.

    Somewhere in the story you mentioned that Kriya also had a brother. So Kriya’s mother would also have been a mother in law at some point. I think it is safe to assume that if Kriya’s mother asked Kriya to adjust with her in-laws, not to object to their unjust demands or expectations, then she would have also expected the same from her daughter-in-law. Then what is the difference in Kriya’s mother and her mother-in-law.

    So if anything, Kriya should decide to NOT be like Her own Mother.

    • TANVI SINHA

      Hi. Interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing. I am happy to see that readers have different analysis of my characters. The title “the good daughter in law” refers to the quintessential, submissive, ever sacrifing bahu who tolerates injustice in the name of tradition, someone Kriya does not want her daughter to become. Ofcourse, everyone should try to be a good human being.

  51. I haven’t read it fully because some thing dons’t let me to( not due to anger sorry i am lack of word ,Word Anger is a way bigger than i expect ). I should’t be comenting this but whatever that will be combination of modern mind, i can see how modern minds looks at things.

    We are in a society/country of too much invasions for last 200 years with completely mixed ideas of life. We are following the westerners blindly or even i would say too much thinking , thats seed is so an import from them. We as a culture is strongest in handling the mixed ideas, mixed thoughts. still now we argue a lot but we hold the hands go home with smiles, thats the real us.

    Coming to family situation- I see girls are like ( if i have to say an example ) ligaments for the bone joints, without ligaments bone has no roles to play. This is the highest complement any one can give if you know what it means to be having a bone with out ligaments.

    I would say , Instead of thinking of the situations, zoom out more to see how these setup occured/formed and how to reslove.

    you can’t deny i respect girl. Infact i dont have gender difference unless in a situation we have to.

    your thoughts pls.

  52. Mu daughter name is “TANVI NILA”, i was so moved by your article i read it when i was not a mom and suddenly today it came in FB memories ,now being a mom of my princess i took an ooth myself that i should teach only human values , I was an independent woman before marriage, After married to the man i loved for 5 years i was so happier being dependent on him, I parents have the freedom of selecting my husband. I should give the freedom to my daughter too , Thank you Tanvi nice article 🙂

    • TANVI SINHA

      Hi Janani. I also saw the article in the memories in my FB news feed, and was tempted to share it again! I am touched to see that you were influenced by my writing! Much love to your daughter 🙂

  53. Hi Tanvi, I read your story, and felt like, It was mine. Currently I am going through exact situation, my husband is not supporting me , and fails to see how my MIL is abusing me verbally. They expect me to work 24/7. I had severe depression because of fight that happened with me against DIL,MIL and FIL.. I tried to take my life in front of them, by banging my head to floor to kill myself. Things got even severe, my husband things what I did was a good acting. I have never felt so helpless. They even dont keep a maid to help me with utensils n clothes citing that they dont have money. When infact I earn good salary, they even dont want me to hire one maid for myself. My parents are supportive and I have to my place for staying. I have no solution as to what I should do. No one is helping me saying it was my decision to go for a love marriage. I still love my husband, but god how i make him see his mother true colours.

    • TANVI SINHA

      Dear Hope,
      It is not easy but you have to decide what is best for you given the circumstances, and be strong about it. You have supportive parents and a good salary, which is your strength. Why should you compromise on your self-respect and dignity? And please, don’t ever hurt yourself again. Your life and happiness is important, for you and your parents.

  54. I was 21 and my husband same age when we started dating. I married him at 28, now I am 30. I have know my husband for 10 years. It is so hard for me now, seeing he has completely change after marriage in time span of just a year. I cant think of divorcing him, I love him so much. I just cant think of anyone else. But he just doesn’t see his mother and sister causing me pain verbally, by saying that I have to take interest in household work, and since they are getting old i am the one responsible for their unhappiness.
    I tried all the solution to handle them but they are never satisfy with me blaming me for their unhappiness.

    My husband has changed overnight and started supporting them.

    1) I still love him, cant think my life without him
    2) Can there be any solution if anyone can help me. It has been a month i am at my parents home. They too pray they we patch up things.
    3) Please help..

    • TANVI SINHA

      Dear Hope, I am sorry for such a late response. I just saw your comment today. I really hope things are sorted by now. Maybe you could try to go for marriage counselling but that will not work unless your husband is willing to listen, and acknowledge his responsibility of making things right, instead of putting the entire burden on you. Womensweb has an expert panel that may be of some help.

  55. so do you also disagree when the girl’s family always want a “well settled” guy with his own house? Or is that double standard acceptable?

    • TANVI SINHA

      How is that relevant to my article? If the girl’s family wants a well settled guy with his own house, whose parents will pay for the wedding, and who will do household chores and take care of her parents, and not visit his own frequentl, listen to their taunts all day and yet try to ‘win their hearts’ then yes, we do have a problem.

  56. Very unfortunate state of affairs indeed. And the problem is compounded by the parents of the girl who often want her to go on adjusting and compromising. If she has the sense and gumption to get out before a child then it’s easier for her to attempt to survive without parental support but once she has a child particularly a girl then it is next to impossible to get out. ‘Safe’ accommodations for single mothers are few if any.

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