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Ridhima was stunned at what her to-be MIL had just said. Her MIL was nothing like what she heard from her friends about their MILs.
Ridhima and Arjun were dating each other from college days. It was almost like destiny for both of them. Friends first and then turned lovers. When Arjun popped the question of marriage after 5 years of dating, Ridhima’s happiness knew no bounds!
Now the telling parents part. While Arjun’s parents were pretty cool with Ridhima, Ridhima’s parents were the ones who took a little time but eventually agreed for the alliance. Both sides had their get-togethers and they were very happy with each other’s families. In a month, the couple was engaged to each other.
One morning, Arjun’s mother, unusually, called up Ridhima. The call caught Ridhima pretty unawares. She had a very formal relationship with her to-be MIL. Ridhima was very careful around her and very cautious of what she did or said. Ridhima had heard tales of bossy and mean MILs from her friends, so she just did not want to mess up her relationship before the wedding.
Arjun’s mother had called her home that evening. “I need to speak to you about something very important. Come home after office.” She had said. Ridhima readily agreed but anxiety and nervousness crept in almost immediately after the call. She immediately tried to call Arjun. He was already in office and busy in a meeting. “In meeting. Call you later” he texted her.
“Oh my God! What is happening? Is aunty having a problem? Why isn’t Arjun picking my call? Oh yes, he said he has a meeting. But is he ignoring me or does he actually have a meeting!? What is the family upto?” Crazy thoughts clouding her mind, Ridhima had a restless day until lunch time.
Around lunch time, Arjun called her back. He did not seem to know anything about why his mother had asked Ridhima to come visit them in the evening. “Mom just asked me to come home early in the evening. She did not tell me that she called you home too!” said Arjun. Ridhima’s restlessness turned into panic. One again she got lost in absurd thoughts – “My MIL doesn’t like me. She is planning to tell me today to stop seeing her son. But she was ok during the engagement, what happened now!?”
Arjun broke her thought flow. “Hello… Hello Ridhi… Are you there?”
“Yes! Yes,” replied Ridhima.
“I will pick you up on my way home. Be ready by 5pm. Ok Ridhima?” After a long pause, Ridhima replied in the affirmative.
Ridhima was not able to concentrate on her work for the rest of the day. She kept looking at her wrist watch. Her heart beating faster as the clocked ticked away.
Ridhima and Arjun reached his home by 5.30pm. His mom had just made some tea and prepared Ridhima’s favorite snack – samosa. Ridhima forgot about her anxiety for a second when she saw the samosa, but then in no time the anxiety was back.
Arjun’s mom made her feel comfortable and offered her more snacks. “You children will be very tired after a long day at work. Eat…” No matter how calm Ridhima tried to be on the outside, her heart was racing on the inside.
After a little chit chat with both of them, Arjun’s mother picked something like a pamphlet from the side table and passed it on to her son. Arjun looked at it “Cooking classes for Beginners” it read. He handed it over to Ridhima thinking that’s why his mom had called her home today. “No…No, son. That’s for you. I will give Ridhima her copy too,” said his mom.
Arjun looked at his mom all confused. Both his and Ridhima’s pamphlet were the same. “What am I going to do with this mom? This is for Ridhima” said Arjun a little arrogantly.
“No son… this pamphlet I have got is for both of you. Since I know both of you do not know any cooking, I have registered you for these very lovely cooking classes in our area. If you’ll start off now, by the time you get married, both of you will at least know the basics,” said Arjun’s mom.
“Mom! I don’t get it! Why do I have to learn cooking? Let her do it. It’s a girl thing!” Said Arjun.
“Oh! Since when did cooking become an ‘only girl thing’?” replied his mother. “Your dad cooks… And he is very much a man as far as I know.” His mother smirked.
“That’s because dad enjoys cooking. I don’t. I don’t even know to make tea.” Said an irritated Arjun now. Ridhima was silent. She was too confused to react to the situation unfolding in front of her. She silently watched the mother and son converse.
“That is exactly why I have registered both of you for cooking classes. I know Ridhima also doesn’t know cooking. Just like you, she was also busy with her studies and then later on started working. Both of you have never been away from home, hence you both never had to learn cooking. But now since you both are going to start off your new life together, you need to know how to cook to survive.” His mom kept emphasizing on the word “both” throughout the conversation.
“Mom! But I don’t want to do it. Let Ridhima do it. I am not interested.” Said Arjun putting down the pamphlet on the coffee table.
“You are marrying and bringing home your wife. Not a maid!” this time Arjun’s mom’s voice was pretty stern. “You both are going to be working. She is also going to be equally tired when she gets home. How do you expect her to do the cooking every day? She also works hard at office just like you! If you both share the tasks, it will be easier for the two of you!” Relaxing a bit, she continued with a smirk, “And if she gets frustrated, you don’t want Ridhima to leave you and go, right?”
Ridhima let out a slight giggle. Arjun stared at her and then looked at his mom, this time understanding what his mom was trying to say. Son and mother looked at each other for some time, and then Arjun uttered the golden words “Ok Mom!”
Arjun’s mom updated both of them about the details of the cooking classes and winded up their evening chat. Just when Ridhima was about to leave, she turned and walked upto her MIL and gave her hug. Her smiling MIL embraced her, understanding every bit of the emotion Ridhima had in that hug…
Image source: shutterstock
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I am a Software Engineer by profession. I have worked for nearly 6+ years in IT. I am currently a Home Maker.
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Shows like Indian Matchmaking only further the argument that women must adhere to social norms without being allowed to follow their hearts.
When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
Here are a few of the gendered notions that the show propagates.
A mediocre man can give himself a 9.5/10 and call himself ‘the world’s most eligible bachelor’, but an independent and successful woman must be happy with receiving just 60-70% of what she feels she deserves.
As long as teachers are competent in their job, and adhere to the workplace code of conduct, how does it matter what they do in their personal lives?
A 30 year old Associate Professor at a well-known University, according to an FIR filed by her, was forced to resign because the father of one of her students complained that he found his son looking at photographs of her, which according to him were “objectionable” and “bordering on nudity”.
There are two aspects to this case, which are equally disturbing, and which together make me question where we are heading as a society.
When the father of an 18 year old finds his son looking at photographs of a lady in a swimsuit, he can do many things. What this parent allegedly did was to dash off a letter to the University which states: