7 Sacred Commandments for The MIL, From The Heart Of Every DIL

We all wish to have a life full of light, love and laughter. For the majority of us, all of that is dependent to quite an extent on the proverbial 'dreaded' and sometimes true-to-form 'dreadful' MIL!

We all wish to have a life full of light, love and laughter. For the majority of us, all of that is dependent to quite an extent on the proverbial ‘dreaded’ and sometimes true-to-form ‘dreadful’ MIL!

Yep, I’ve said it finally, phew!

Twenty years of marriage and countless heart-to-hearts with my gregarious girlie lot have given me enough ammo to arrive at that conclusion with a fair degree of certainty. I’ve got to mention here that I do read with a lot of fascination stray tales of “Mummy-ji’s” love (usually from newly-weds) and once again I go looking out for the elusive unicorn in misplaced hope, but really girls, 98% of the times I come back disappointed. Human nature worldwide is sadly quite consistent especially when it comes to this particularly delicate equation. DIL-MIL gaye* is the classic marriage mirage!

In all of this, what scares me more than anything else is the fact that I have a 16-year-old son and the possibility of my wearing this ‘dreadful’ MIL-cape is very real. Maybe very deep into the future, but real nonetheless. So I have decided to write myself a list of #MarriageMusts in the form of the sacred 7 commandments for the MIL based on facts gleaned out of real-life stories. So here’s throwing some light on a few age-old dark secrets.

All hail the 7 Sacred Commandments for MIL coming straight out of the DIL (is it a coincidence that it means heart too) and for safety sake might I suggest that the commandments be sealed at the time of the pheras itself in full public view, with a back-up recording.

#1: Thou shalt NOT insist that your new bride change her name or surname

Hopefully, it’s an adult relationship and the woman has a right to make her own decisions on that score. Today more than ever, it has innumerable implications on things like passport, Aadhar card, bank account, voter ID, PAN card, visa blah blah which can be a real avoidable headache. What is with this forced change of name anyways? Never understood that!

#2: Thou shalt NOT automatically assume charge of the bride’s suitcases, jewellery and other stuff

Seriously, how tacky is that. It’s her private stuff and it’s entirely her wish to share or not with the rest of the new family. I’ve also heard horror stories of the ‘groom’s’ sisters (real and even sundry cousins) coolly dipping into the bride’s boudoir and picking up things they like — clothes, jewellery, purses, shoes — egged on by this “what’s yours is mine” nonsense.

#3: Thou shalt NOT from the moment the kids say “I do” assume the “give me a grandchild before I do” look!

Really, give them some space. And for heaven’s sake do not pre-define your grandkid’s gender. In the age of Section 377 being scrapped, you have to make your peace with the third gender too, my dear. So giddy up granny, this is the age of dadis like Rani Sharma opening their hearts and minds to alternative sexualities.

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#4: Thou shalt NOT (as a corollary to the previous point) behave like a de facto birth control MIL

…err, pill in case your bedroom happens to be in the vicinity of the newly and later not-so-newly weds by reminding them first thing in the morning how many times the flush was pulled, who coughed, sneezed or made other indeterminate noises. I am not going to elaborate on this point, you know: a nod to the wise and all that jazz.

#5: Thou shalt NOT focus pointedly on your so-called ‘rights’ only but give a good glance to your bidden ‘duties’ as well

Topmost among which is to make the new bride feel at home, respected, loved, welcomed and free to speak her heart NOT  bound, controlled, enslaved, (in some cases of love or inter-caste marriages) despised and treated lightly. Here matters can take a nasty turn as has been proven time and again in many cases even in well-to-do-educated families that the ‘need to control‘ almost always spirals out of control into verbal, physical and mental abuse soon.

#6: Thou shalt NOT force your opinions and methods on the new ‘adult’ member of the family

This holds with respect to everything whether it is fasting, wearing certain clothes, defining time out, drinking, smoking, travelling for work,  entertaining friends, reading, writing, cooking, talking, breathing! She, let me remind you gently, is as human, as free, as much an independent, thinking individual as you and your son.

#7: And finally, thou shalt NOT, seriously NOT, once your son gets ‘honorably hitched’ harp on the many, many “good rishtas” that had come his way

There is no need to harp on that he cast aside despite the 3BHK bangla on offer and that silver Maruti Esteem ki chabi. Marriage does not equal manipulation, marriage does not equal money mongering, marriage does not mean material stuff — it’s a match, it’s a mission, it’s a mindful commitment… do not make a mockery of it! The day your son marries, the baton has been passed, let the bride take it from there with love and ALL your blessings. It’s a win-win situation, don’t you get it?

One quote in Pinterest sums up MIL as “the most criticizing, evil, fake, vindictive person who loves to cause family strife.” Go ahead, prove this definition wrong, so that every DIL “can thank you for raising the man of her dreams,” because “a DIL cannot be perfect by herself, a beautiful MIL helps her be one.”

*a pun on the word DIL which is both daughter-in-law and heart in Hindi, while MIL is both mother-in-law and to meet

Top image is a screenshot from the web series What The Folks, which portrays an interesting MIL DIL relationship

First published here.

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About the Author

Gunjan Pant

Published short story writer-Feature Writer-Blogger-Author-Mother-Human-Work in Progress!! Gunjan Pant believes she learns her lessons mainly from travelling across India & the world, and by interacting with interesting people she meets read more...

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