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By committing the same mistakes she did, I needed to learn that I was becoming the same woman as my mother-in-law.
Today I learnt a very valuable lesson. Before I share what I learnt, I would like to mention that it nearly sabotaged my relationship with my husband whom I fought for and whom I adore the most. But, “To err is human.” However, unless we learn from the mistakes we make, there’s no point in making those mistakes at all. It would just keep on getting worse. And your life would start tumbling down right in front of your eyes.
Here’s how it all started.
I got married during the lockdown. No ceremonies, no rituals. A plain and simple marriage with two people holding hands and the girl leaving her paternal house to stay with her husband. There was nothing wrong. I wished for something like this. Being progressive in my own thoughts, I never wanted our parents to spend relentlessly just for the sake of pleasing our relatives who would eventually only find mistakes with us.
When I was at my in-laws, I realized that my mother-in-law was stuck with some useless rituals that we call ‘Vihaar’. Being a middle-class family, they had their loans and statements, in short, some financial issues. Yet for her, those ‘Vihaar’ were highly important. I called this hypocrisy.
On top of that, she used to pinpoint things which had gone wrong, in whatever my parents did for us as part of ‘Vihaar’ again. For instance, if they gifted my husband a ring and a chain, then she would say that in their culture, the groom is given a bracelet (‘Kada’) too. Not to forget, she never gave me my engagement ring either, saying they couldn’t shop for it due to the lockdown. Though I felt hurt, I kept on letting those things go because they were too small for me, when compared to my happiness and trust with my life partner.
Then there came the month of ‘Saavan’. During this fine month, in their culture, the newly wedded wife stays at her paternal house as the mother-in-law doesn’t stay with her daughter-in-law. While I was staying at my paternal house, the festival of ‘Teej’ arrived and my in-laws were supposed to give me ‘Sindhara’ as part of ‘Vihaar’. Since my husband is working in another state, my mother-in-law brought the stuff for me. I couldn’t help but find fault with whatever she brought. There were many things which were not quite alright; for example, the suits that she gifted me were of very low quality.
I took it all as an affront to my self-respect, relating everything to how she used to pinpoint it all when she was given anything. I didn’t realize that I had not forgotten a single thing which happened in the past. I remembered it all very clearly, word to word, incident to incident. It kept on building up in my head and I started to feel choked. Choked with the hypocrisy and the mentality of my in-laws. Choked at the disrespect she had inflicted by gifting me such a cheap suit. Choked by the thought of everything that had happened till now. It turned out to be venom bubbling up inside me. Trust me, when your negative thoughts cloud your thinking, it results in venom only.
After dealing with everything for the past week on my own, I finally made a call to share all of this with my husband. To seek some guidance on how to deal with this stuff. As I was filled with so much venom, I spit it all out in long text messages to him. He was hurt. He was hurt enough but he said something, which was true.
He was truthful in telling me upfront that I needed to read my texts again. I needed to see that I was doing the same thing which I despise the most. I needed to learn that I was becoming the same woman as my mother-in-law. I needed to realize that despising it all and still doing and thinking the same thing, made me a hypocrite too. He was right in helping me realize that despite being progressive, if I am delving into the same cycle, where is this all leading to?
I learned it today that if I need to end this eon-long MIL-DIL pathetic and venomous, stinging cycle, I need to change. I need to have an open heart to absorb it all, the way a black hole absorbs light, not the way that I ended up with bubbling venom inside me and behave the same with my DIL in the future. I need to be that catalyst of change. And change demands a big heart and strength.
Are you facing something similar or have faced it in the past? Do you feel that you have found a similar solution or a completely different way of tackling such issues? I am new to this. And I can definitely learn a thing or two from your experiences. Feel free to share in the comments below.
Top image is a still from the Hindi serial Yeh Rishtey Hain Pyar Ke
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