Who Was At Fault? Mira, Her Husband, Her In-Laws, Or Her Parents?

He knew his wife and daughter were troubling Mira, but he had kept himself out thinking that these were the ladies' problems, and he shouldn't get involved.

He knew his wife and daughter were troubling Mira, but he had kept himself out thinking that these were the ladies’ problems, and he shouldn’t get involved.

Mira was a lively happy girl, married into a simple joint family. Her husband lived with his parents, an elder sister, Ria and a younger brother, Rahul.

With the joint family came responsibilities. No one cared that the new DIL had just returned from office; she was expected to get into the kitchen and start cooking and then cleaning.

Ria also stayed with them with a baby who was being raised by Mira’s husband and family. Mira was an introvert and her husband supported her, but his family left no stone unturned to torture her, they took away all her money and jewelry, and treated her like a slave.

Two years went by. Mira’s brother in law got married, and Shruti came as the new bride.

After the wedding when the guests left, Shruti’s MIL and SIL called her into their room and asked, “Shruti, pack your jewelry and bring it here along with your debit cards. I will put the jewelry in the family locker and you can ask me for money whenever you need it.”

Shruti had seen Mira’s condition in this family and didn’t want to end up like her, “Mummyji, I already have a locker on my name and it is insured for my wedding jewelry, so its better I keep it there. And for my cards, I am sorry but I cannot give them to you. I don’t have a habit of carrying cash, I just use my card or gPay everywhere, so I cannot give that either.” And she left the room, leaving behind two shocked women.

Days passed slowly and Shruti would spend her time on her phone with friends or family, though often helping Mira in the kitchen. She didn’t care about the taunts and jibes that her MIL or SIL passed, and was always ready with a witty answer. Rahul who had already seen Mira and his brother’s condition knew that even if Shruti was like Mira, his sister and mother would still find faults in her, and this way even they were getting some back. Mira had some relief though; with Shruti’s help she could get the work done faster, also occasionally Shruti would take them out.

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A few months later Mira became pregnant and Shruti, Rahul and Mira’s husband took good care of her, but even then the jibes never stopped.

5 months into the pregnancy, Shruti and Rahul had to fly away for a conference for a week. Mira’s husband was busy with his work at office, and with no protection her MIL and SIL made her work even in her condition. Mira was not getting enough food and nutrients for the baby, and being already weak, one day she fainted in the kitchen. It was an hour before her father-in-law saw her, and they took her to hospital.

She was rushed to emergency care, and her husband was called. Immediately Shruti and Rahul were also informed and they cut their conference short to return home. The doctor informed Mira’s husband that she was exhausted, and that she had fainted due to lack of food since morning. It was 3 pm in the afternoon, how could someone be so negligent to not let a pregnant woman eat while the rest of the family had eaten?

Mira’s parents and brother had also reached the hospital by then, and her gynaec too was called in to do a checkup. The doctor scolded Mira’s husband and his family, and asked them to keep Mira under supervision. Mira’s parents were ready to take her with them, they couldn’t leave her with these people to die.

Mira’s MIL and SIL hadn’t turned up at the hospital, but her father-in-law was red with anger. He stayed in hospital with his son and Mira’s parents, blaming himself for not interfering before, and now that could cost them a baby’s life. He knew his wife and daughter were troubling Mira, but he had kept himself out thinking that these were the ladies’ problems, and he shouldn’t get involved. He wished he could go back in time to set things straight, but that wasn’t to happen.

The night passed in fear, and early in the morning Shruti and Rahul also joined them, coming there directly from the airport. Shruti couldn’t stop her tears; in the last few months Mira had become like her elder sister. Fortunately, in the morning the doctors informed them that Mira was feeling better, and the baby’s heartbeat could be heard strong as well.

Mira’s FIL returned home with Mira’s parents and Rahul, leaving the others behind in case the doctor needed anything. At home he found his wife and daughter going through their normal day as if nothing had happened.

“How could you do that? Ria you are a mother yourself, and during your pregnancy is this how we treated you? I am ashamed to call you both family.” He joined both his hands and begged Mira’s parents for forgiveness asking them for a chance to fix this.

“Mira and Shruti will be moving to another flat with their husbands, which I have rented for them. I will myself ensure that Mira gets all the rest she needs. There will be a full-time maid to take care of her and another for the house,” he said. Then he turned to his wife and daughter. “You both can stay here and do everything. Returning all of Mira’s jewelry and earnings to her so that she can use it for her baby as she likes.”

A few days later Mira returned to a new home where she was surrounded by people who cared about her. Her MIL and SIL would visit occasionally when there were society functions but other than that they stayed away, ensured by Mira’s FIL. Soon she gave birth to a heathy baby.

Her husband and the rest of the family were over the moon, and with that things started going back to what they should have been from the very start.

Who is at fault here? Mira for bearing all the mental and physical torture? Her husband for not standing for his wife? Her father-in-law for leaving them to do as they wished? Her MIL to have followed the old rules that have been followed from years, maybe because the same was done with her as well? Her sister-in-law to have no humanity for a fellow woman who was also family? Rahul, who opened his mouth only when his wife came into the picture? Mira’s parents?

Whoever it was, everyone suffered. Mira had to go through an ordeal and almost lost her baby. Her MIL lost her sons and daughters-in-law, and now their relationship was so strained that it could never go back to what it was. Mira and Shruti both lost a mother-in-law and sister-in-law.

This is a fictional story, but almost all stories in Indian households  revolve around something like this.

Image source: a still from A Suitable Girl/ YouTube

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