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Why is the woman the eternal problem solving machine in her marital family? As the DIL and wife, why is she expected to solve every issue?
Trigger warning: This post contains details of domestic abuse which may be triggering to survivors and certain readers.
After being in a relationship for six years, Rishi and Sonali decided to move to the next phase of their life. Their parents readily agreed, and they got married in a very luxurious matter.
After the wedding, they settled in their new apartment which they’d purchased on a loan. And after six months of the honeymoon period and fun, the reality started to kick in.
One morning, Rishi received a call from his cousin who informed him that he would be visiting them from Hyderabad by the night train.
“Sonali, make sure to prepare a grand lunch tomorrow. My cousin would be dropping by,” Rishi informed her excitedly.
Cooking was something Sonali loved, and always tried new dishes for her loving hubby. She waited for his rating so that she could improve the next time.
At the news of the cousin’s arrival, she made a long list and started the preparation the same day. Lunch the next day was a huge hit and after Rishi dropped his cousin off at the railway station, he went to meet a friend at the bar.
A few hours later his cousin called to say all trains seem to be booked and asked him to check for tickets online. Rishi dialled Sonali and asked her to check online.
‘Who on earth travels without a return ticket! How dumb can he be? Why can’t Rishi check? And why am I supposed to do these silly things?’ Sonali thought as she checked online without wanting to.
She called Rishi back and told him there were seats available that she could book.
“Wait, I’ll call him,” Rishi responded.
The discussion continued for hours. Sonali kept saying there were tickets that were available but the cousin kept denying it.
After Rishi came home, the argument only worsened.
‘You couldn’t do a simple thing? I wanted you to check which trains would be available, so he could book them accordingly? See how he has to wait at the station all night and catch the early morning one!’
‘Why should I do the research? Couldn’t you do it yourself for your irresponsible cousin?’ Sonali asked him.
Bam! Rishi slapped her for the first time. ‘You should do it because my family is now yours!’ He yelled at her.
Rishi’s younger sister Ankita had been married two years before Rishi and Sonali. The one thing that Sonali felt was strange was the telephonic conversations between Ankita and Rishi every night before bed.
Sonali had two brothers – an older and a younger one. She occasionally spoke to them. And she wondered what Ankita and Rishi spoke about every day.
One night, Sonali sensed something wasn’t right, she could see that Rishi was tensed. ‘I am going to Pune. My sister and her husband have had a fight and he has left for his parents’ house. I need to be with her.’ Saying thus, he started packing his bag.
Sonali was shocked. ‘If they are having a fight, why do we need to travel all the way? Your parents stay in Pune, can’t they look after her?’ she asked him.
The problem between Ankita and her husband worsened and they filed for a divorce. This, in turn, affected Sonali too. ‘We will travel to Pune twice every month. I am booking the tickets in advance,’ Rishi informed Sonali.
‘Rishi, I am not stopping you. I understand your love for your sister. But why do you force me to travel all the time?’ Sonali wanted an answer.
‘Because you are family and you need to cheer her up,’ he responded.
‘This is her life and her decision. It isn’t really my duty to make her happy. Do you think I am a clown to cheer her up?’ Sonali’s argument only seemed to infuriate Rishi.
Like you would’ve guessed, the second time her cheeks went red.
Rishi had a lot of friends but one of them remained very close to him – Sanjay his office colleague. Sanjay wanted to enrol his three-and-a-half-year-old daughter in one of the most reputed schools in Bangalore. It was difficult to get admission even for kindergarten in that school.
One evening, Rishi ordered Sonali, ‘Your cousin is an influential judge, right? Ask her for a recommendation letter for Sanjay to help him enrol his kid in the school. ‘
Sonali was furious since this was the limit! She may have been willing to dance to his tunes but wouldn’t let her family do the same. When she denied asking her cousin, he struck her once again. And she was forced to ping her cousin.
Rishi transferred a certain amount every month to his father for their expenditure. He did this even though his father got a hefty pension after retiring from a government job.
‘Sonali, transfer 5k to my father’s account,’ Rishi ordered Sonali.
‘Why can’t you do it? This isn’t the first I have sent money to them from my account! Why is this becoming a habit?’ she asked.
‘Because my parents are just like yours. Just do it!’ he commanded her.
‘No, Rishi. They are my in-laws. Of course, they might shower me with some love but my parents are still mine. There has always a been a line between my parents and yours.’ she responded.
Yet again, he coloured her cheeks red. She had no choice but to do as he said.
Rishi soon learnt that whenever he hit her, she gave in to everything he wanted. So, instead of talking, his hands would do the job and the matter would be sorted sooner.
Be it an arranged or a love marriage, no woman deserves to be treated like this. She isn’t supposed to take care of all the problems that arise in her husband’s family, some of them yes, but not all.
How did men handle these issues before they were married? Why does the woman who enters the family as a wife or DIL have to solve every single problem in her marital home?
Yes, she can divorce him. But in several parts across the country, women still cannot take the drastic step. The women are usually brought up believing that they have to adjust to everything and stay with their husbands, no matter what. At the same time, they also need to think of their old and ageing parents who will be shattered if their daughter were to get divorced.
Wives can rarely get their husbands to understand the roles and responsibilities they hold. However, a mother can teach her son about the dos and don’ts of what they need to do. She must’ve been in the same position years ago when she expected her husband to treat her as a wife instead of a solution to every problem.
Just because she adjusted too much and gave in every time, doesn’t mean she can’t teach her son to do the opposite and treat his wife well. Mothers need to stop teaching their daughters to constantly give in to their husband’s needs. Instead they need to educate their sons to treat their wives like humans and not solutions to their problems!
Picture credits: Still from Hindi TV series Kasauti Zindagi Kay 2
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