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In my experience, when a jamai raja becomes a ghar jamai his treatment by the family changes drastically. Let me explain!
In India, all relations have their own values. And one of the most respected ones is that of the son-in-law when he visits his in-laws’ house. As soon as the news of the jamai raja’s (son-in-law) arrival reaches the family, everyone gets ready. Right from decorating the house to preparing his favourite food, to arranging his room, everything is done to suit his needs.
But what happens when the jamai becomes a ghar jamai (the one who lives at his in-law’s house)?
Earlier when our jamai raja (My sister-in-law’s husband) came home, everyone would go down and greet him. They would ask him about himself and his family. In fact, friends and often neighbours would also come to visit when he came home. But after becoming a ghar jamai, the respect slowly seemed to decrease and now people ask us, ‘Kab jaega ye?’ (when will he leave?)
On the first day when he visited, the dining table was laden with all his favourite food. His mom-in-law and sisters-in-law would fill his plate and mouth with food. However, after he stayed with us for two months, the only thing he would get was khichdi. And two more months later, you could see him in the kitchen making his own tea and that for others too!
For the first few days, people kept asking him if he needed anything, offered to iron his clothes and got him whatever he wanted. But after a month of staying with us, he would be ironing his and everyone else’s clothes too.
When he first arrived, the rest of the family tried to avoid getting into any kind of arguments and disagreements in front of him. However, after a month or so, he learnt all kind of curses that were sometimes, directly or indirectly aimed at him. After six months, his value in the house has only diminished.
To all the people (including me)who claim that sons-in-law are treated better than daughters-in-law, there is nothing like that. From my experience, I can tell you that when the son-in-law starts staying with his wife’s family, he often starts getting the same treatment too.
In my experience, the Hindi poet Santosh Badkur’s lines ring true, ‘Door jamai phool barabar, gaon jamai aadha, ghar jamai gadhe barabar, jab marzi tab lada.’ (When the jamai lives far away, he is treated like a flower. If he is from the same city/village, respect is halved. And if he stays with his in-laws, he is treated like a donkey)
Editor’s Note: These views are purely the author’s personal views. They may differ from family to family.
Picture credits: Dice Media’s series What The Folks on YouTube
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