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All human beings thrive on a little praise now and then. Why, then, can there not be a little praise for the daughter-in-law? She’s human, after all!
Call me a whatever, but I usually refrain from watching all television channel serials with over-painted women with either tearful or wicked expressions hogging the screen. Every time I surf the television the faces of those women flash on the screen with similar expressions across all channels. So I made it a mission to watch some serials on major channels throughout one week to find out what made them so popular with the women that they discussed them all the time.
To my discomfort, all I could see were women pitched against women…getting sons remarried to beget a child while the first wife stands mutely, the mothers-in-law glaring at the daughters-in-law with blazing eyes accusing them of small and big mistakes, punishing them with all kinds of housework, asking them to prove their innocence, trying to create rift between the son and daughter-in-law, manipulating circumstances to create unimaginable situations. And all this while men in the serials behave as props unable to see what is right or wrong, or just unable to speak up!
A dialogue in promos of one such serial shows the mother-in-law thundering “bahu kabhi beti nahi ho sakti”(daughter-in-law can never be a daughter) “lagam kasi hai bahu ki”(I am reining in the daughter-in-law) or something similar…
Really?? Does it even work that way? Does fault-finding bring out best in a person especially a daughter-in-law?
I read somewhere that if a wife appreciates small things that husband does in and around the house, the husband feels happy and contributes more without grudging. A little thank you once in a while makes him happy and keeps their love intact.
I have seen myself that the moment I praise some small effort of my almost teenage daughter, she is happier to help with a little extra work at home. Appreciation by her teacher ensures her good behaviour in school too.
And if I appreciate something, even my domestic help is willing to do a little extra that particular day!
Why is it then different for daughter-in-law? She is a human too who will blossom in the shower of appreciation, isn’t it?
The other day my mother-in-law nodded agreeably and read aloud to me “If daughters-in-law start treating in-laws as their parents there would not be any need for old age homes to exist.” Nothing wrong I say but how about treating her like a daughter too? “Tali ek haath se nahi bajti.” It definitely it takes two to quarrel!
The newly married girl leaves all her familiar things, people and way of living to step into a new pattern. Instead of pointing out her small mistakes, would it not be better to ignore small things and let her take time to adjust gradually? Once she adjusts how would it harm to appreciate smallest of efforts and keep ignoring a goof up here and an oversight there? Don’t we overlook our own children’s small mistakes? But no sir…every mistake needs to be pointed out, every action needs to be scrutinized, every word needs to be weighed and judged for hidden motive!
No woman gets married with the pre-determination to create problems in the new family. Praise makes even the worst enemy calm down and listen… the daughter-in-law is family after all! Why would she not start loving you back if she gets love and appreciation?
A very close friend Soumya, lamented to me few days ago, “For years now, I have heard my mother-in-law say something only when there has been little less salt in the meals… “Aaj namak nahi dala…?”” The good cook that she is, Soumya confided to me over a cup of coffee, “I have hosted many parties at home making food single-handedly for twenty-five people at times and guests have taken portion of some or other dish packed in boxes for the next day but never has any lunch or dinner menu elicited an “acchha hai khana” from my in-laws! The tea I made always either had less milk or less sugar or made too late or too early. The bread slices always had little too less butter, coffee always too watery…”
I wonder if people like Ekta Kapoor and other serial directors and producers will ever make tele-serials where the mother-in-law is all praise for her daughter-in-law from day one and stands by her at all times. May be the trend in serials will ease up and sweeten the real MIL-DIL equation!
Published earlier here.
Image source: daughter-in-law and mom-in-law by Shutterstock.
I graduated as an architect and after working for three years decided to be a
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