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She can’t be so weak now, she has the moral responsibility of showing her daughter to be strong, to stand up for what she wants and she won’t let her down!
As Swarna stood at the edge of the cliff contemplating how it would feel to jump, she heard her colleagues calling her, “Lets go, all the students have all boarded the bus!”
She woke up and a moment later she realised it was her baby. The baby needed feeding. And as they both dozed off to sleep after the feeding, the noises from the kitchen woke Swarna. It was time to get up. Quietly, she slipped out of the room to start with her morning duties despite feeling very sleepy, lest there be unnecessary tension throughout the day.
A lecturer who turned into a housewife to fulfil maternal duties had already lost some of her self esteem and ‘value’ in front her in-laws. To add to it, was a husband who had to travel for work, forcing her to stay with them.
A shy, introvert who was usually obedient, she went against her parents and married the man she loved. She didn’t intend to hurt anyone, but her parents and family members were hurt and insulted with this decision of hers.
The news of marriage came as a shock to many but her in-laws welcomed her with open arms or so she thought. And the newly wed couple started living with the in-laws.
Having an inter cultural marriage can be tough for a new bride. She tried gelling with the new family and adjust her timings, and taste buds. Even learnt the new language, and traditions eagerly. Her only aim was to live happily with the man she loved… which wasn’t as easy.
Her in-laws had seemed broad-minded in the beginning, but their true colours didn’t take long to show. As if constant feelings of guilt of ‘putting her family to shame with her marriage’ weren’t enough, Swarna had to put up with her in-laws’ spiteful remarks. Constant nagging began for ‘trapping’ their son and getting married in a very simple way as opposed to a big celebration and ‘gifts’ that were expected.
Then came the taunts for not cooking as well as the mother in law, who declares herself an expert in the field. But failed to understand the time that takes to learn and enhance the skill. Comparisons with other girls of the same community, who cooked well, looked after the family well were given as examples to ‘improve‘ Swarna’ s behaviour. This was done because she usually kept to herself when in the house and wasn’t used to all the domestic work. Being an only child with a protective upbringing, she never had to fight for a lot until she made the decision of marrying the man of her choice.
Gradually, her parents ‘forgave,’ and, accepted her and her decision, but now her in-laws had issues with that. Being the boy’s side, they had their demands. One of which was to not visit her parents until she got permission from them, after all the girl’s parents are no longer family to her!
Her first priority should be her in-laws. Overwhelming as it was, she found solace in her work and found reasons to not be home until evening. And her husband, who was usually out on work saw her ‘problems’ as ‘complaints’ and her in-laws’ behaviour was seen as ‘something that would go away if ignored’.
Then came the baby. Her daughter, the little bundle of joy… who gave her immense happiness. But there were times when she had regretted the decision to marry. If marriage was supposed to keep you bound in relations that put a strain on your mental and emotional well-being, is it even worth it? All these questions came to her mind, which was already under postpartum stress. And the needless rituals seemed to be meant to cause pain and distress to her and her parents.
As she walked into the kitchen, she looked her mother-in-law in the eye and said, “Tomorrow I am going to my parents’ place till Amar returns.” And as the drama unfolded, Swarna went back to her room to be with her little girl.
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Mom
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