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Bahu, Maa And Daadi.. No Other Dimensions To A Woman’s Life?

“Your husband, your house and now your son are your only responsibilities." she remembered her mother telling her on the day Harsh was born.

“Your mother gives us no space”, complained Aashi as soon as Harsh entered their bedroom. “She doesn’t even have any concept of space! I can’t live with her anymore “ she said in an angry irritated voice. 

Harsh knew his mother tried to oversee each and every aspect of all the members present in the household from their food to their routine to their clothes to how much they went out. Sometimes, he too felt a bit suffocated but this wasn’t a time to add fuel to Aashi’s fire. “Why can’t you ignore her?” He asked Aashi for the umpteenth time and she replied for the umpteenth time “Why can’t you tell her to just back off?”. 

Shaking his head, Harsh went into the restroom partly because he wanted to avoid any further confrontations with Aashi and partly because he wanted to be left alone to think of a way out. 

Outside their room, an old lady stood listening to the whole episode, tears streaming down her cheeks. “Your husband, your house and now your son are your only responsibilities.” she remembered her mother telling her on the day Harsh was born. “Your world shouldn’t be anything but this,” said her mother in law while placing the house keys in her hands. Like an obedient daughter and daughter-in-law, she had obeyed. She had been a good wife, a good mother and managed every inch of the household well. 

She had been a good runner in school, she loved math but in those days it was difficult for a woman to pursue her dreams. Mrs Rajeev was her identity from the day she got married. Later, it was Bhabhi, Bahu, Ma and now, Dadi. Amidst all these names, she had almost forgotten her own name. Sulekha. No one had called her that since the past many years except for some distant cousins who called her once in a blue moon. 

Her son was a grown-up man now. Her daughter in law wanted to manage the household now. The same household which her mother-in-law had said is her responsibility. Her husband needed her only for laying down the food. What would she be if she let go of the role of a mother, a housekeeper and a wife? 

She walked away, wiping her tears… confused.

First published here.

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Image is a still from the TV show Kyunki Saas Bhi Kyunki Bahu Thi


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