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A harrowing account of how a mother in law made the life of a woman difficult for no real fault of hers. A downright soap opera!
Today I pen down one of the most painful and tragic truth of my happily married life. I was studying in the USA when I met my future husband. He seemed like he came from a modern family with his western lifestyle. Our thoughts and views clicked.
I had come down to India on a break and decided to meet his family. Sadly right before the important event, my grandmother passed away. Shattered mentally, I still went ahead with the meeting. I was wearing my traditional Bengali saree and my parents went with me. I was in for a shock. My in laws were this very traditional Bengali family. I did not conform to their rules and regulations. My future mother in law felt I was kiddish and she vehemently said no to the relationship.
I went back dejected. My future husband tried for 1 and ½ years to convince them but of no use. He wanted to get married without parents’ approval. Finally I decided to write a letter to my in laws where I honestly stated that without their blessings I would not get married. My father in law was touched with the honesty in that letter and agreed to arrange our wedding.
My parents met the in laws again and in 45 days I got married. One of the things that had to made earlier was a bangle. My mother in law spoke to me rudely and took the measurements. I still extended my courtesy and called her ‘Mom’ as per Indian traditions. She told me that her son and I were yet to be married and that I should call her aunty. She told me that if I get her in her bad books, I will be in deep trouble. I was a simple girl and all this really scared me.
I got married. The next day I had to go to my in laws with my husband. My in laws are a massive family. There were so many new faces and my husband was not allowed to stand next to me. I was so scared. And my mom in law further ensured that I was further traumatized by dictating me and lecturing me continuously. It seemed like an uphill task as this family had very different ways of talking, I felt. I could not talk much and yet I had to talk. It seemed so confusing.
After a few days, I left for USA with my husband. I started to talk regularly with my in-laws to build on my relationship. I started to learn their customs. I would call up all the relatives on special occasions or when they did not feel well. I tried my best to connect with my mother in law. But every time I saw that she would find a fault in me. If I tried to talk to her, she would say I think too much. She once thought I was psychologically ill and should consult a doctor.
Then she would always tell that my mother does not like my husband. She would make up stories to my husband about how my mother hates my husband. This was all false. I tried to reason with my husband but in vain. This lady was poisoning my husband’s mind.
Then came our main festival Durga Puja. It is custom for my parents to give my in laws clothes. My mil insisted that my parents again give clothes to the whole family which meant 30 members. My mother said she had done this for the marriage. But my mother in law would not listen. I told my mother that I would give her money for this as I did not want her to spend so much money. I was furious.
Problems continued. After every phone call with my MIL, my husband and I would quarrel and I would cry. Then I decided to go home and spend some time with my in laws. This was my biggest mistake. I had come to the devil’s house without my husband. Everything I did, my MIL mocked and ridiculed me. She told me that I had come from a small family and I would never be able to adjust to this big family. I wore the terrible sarees they gave me. I spoke nicely to everyone. I realized that everyone loved me for my sweet nature and it was only my mother in law who did not like me and felt I was immature. I spent my nights crying.
I went back. I realized that I was expecting. I was nervous. I was excited. But alas my pregnancy was marred by my mother in law. Everyday she would say I will have a unhealthy baby if I did not listen to her advice. My gynaecologist I trusted and he would explain in detail every process. I had been his son’s teacher for a year and he wanted to take care of my pregnancy as a thank you gesture. My mother kept telling me to not cry and to not listen to my mother in law. I was grateful to my husband who loved me and took care of me. But the nagging kept on and on.
And then my mother in law decided that since I was her only daughter in law, she would come for my baby shower and be there when I delivered the baby. My heart ached. I wanted my mother but my mother said I should oblige to my mother in law. She came and immediately started finding faults in my doctor. I was miserable and it showed visibly on my face. My friends felt sad for me. Then after the baby was born, I wanted to be with the baby all the time. But my mother in law felt a mother should not be with the new born baby. My motherly instinct burst forth and I said no. I let her have my baby at times. But my mother in law told everyone back home that I did not let her do anything and that she wants to go back home. Again fights ensured between my husband and me. My husband and I would talk, and purposely my mil would sit in front of us and smile and laugh. She loved to see us fight and she was the one who instigated the fights. I wanted to walk away with my baby. Anyways she left eventually. It left a bitter taste in our minds.
Whenever my mother in law was not in the picture, my husband and I had a solid good relationship filled with love and care. Months later with the problems still going on with my mother in law and her sarcastic comments, my father in law had a stroke. We immediately rushed home. My barely one year old son used to stay with my mom while my husband and I were at the hospital day and night. I got a last smile from my dear father in law. There was heavy money crunch. My mother in law was completely clueless in every department. She had no idea that my father in law was penniless and all she had been concentrating on was partying every day and night. I did not once hesitate to sell off my gold jewellery. But I was shocked to see my MIL avoiding selling her things. Her husband was dying. He needed urgent medical care.
I stepped up as I could not see my husband drown in financial despair like his father had done. My good nature towards my in laws paid off as my husband’s uncles stepped in and took care of the finances. My mil was shocked as she could not believe that they would help me. Sadly I went back and came back when my father in law was no more. I stood by my mother in law like a pillar of support. But again I was in for a big shock. On my father in law’s funeral day, I saw my mother in law applying make up on her face and wearing jewellery. She even asked me to do so. Seriously your husband just died and you are wearing makeup to look good in front of the guests?
The next one year was painful. My husband was in a shock. I tried to be there for everyone. Not many people knew that I too was close to my father in law. But I hid my grief. Alas! That was my mistake. My mother in law told the whole world that the pain was only hers’ and her son’s. Shocking gossiping news like these were common to me. Yes I would cry and bite my lips. My mother would encourage me as always.
Then we moved back to India. Even though I was away from the cunning devil, she still continued to harass me. My son would be told that his parents only scold him and that they don’t love him. He would be told that his grandmother was living all alone because his parents did not want her to live with them. Playing with an innocent mind was my MIL’s next agenda. She would laugh it off when I told her these disturbing thoughts made my son cry out loudly in the middle of the night. I was an English content writer and used to work from home. This allowed me to take care of my son who disliked nannies. I happily devoted my time to my family.
My mother in law continues to sarcastically taunt me. She spreads rumours about me that I wear teeny tiny clothes and then on my husband’s birthday, she spills the beans about how everyone is ridiculing and feeling ashamed of my western wear pictures being posted on facebook. Yes on the one day I love cooking for my husband and spending time happily, I spend the day in crying. It is all false I know. When my mother calls to wish her on her birthday, she tells my mother how ashamed she is of me being the only one amongst all her friends’ daughter in law’s who does not work. And my mother in law tells my husband that my mother said that I purposefully did not want to work. This is not a soap opera but my real life reeling forth.
I have tried my best to please her but today I stop. I don’t need her approval in my life. I am tired of crying.
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