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I always encourage you and support you. You often keep saying that so many of your friends face restrictions from their in-laws and husbands but I always allow you to do what your heart pleases.
“I always encourage you and support you. You often keep saying that so many of your friends face restrictions from their in-laws and husbands but I always allow you to do what your heart pleases.”
It was a night to remember..
Shruti sat alone at her window contemplating her life; the previous night’s events haunted her. If her husband Aarav hadn’t confronted his mother, it would have been a full blown fight at the dinner table last night.
Shruti worked as the marketing head in one of the biggest MNC’s since the last fifteen years. She had worked her way up the corporate ladder with her handwork and dedication.
She was due for a big promotion and a huge pay raise in the next appraisal cycle. Her life was perfect, she had a loving husband, a perfect marriage and to add to the happiness they just found out that she was expecting their first baby.
Their happiness had no bounds; she was ecstatic! Last night at dinner her mother in law asked her to stop working and quit the job she did for so many years.
She was old school and thought a woman should stay at home and raise the baby by herself. She encouraged Shruti to work in the past but now that the baby was on the way, she thought it would be best if she took a break.
Shruti was heartbroken, she knew in her heart that she could manage home and office with equal ease. Hadn’t she been doing that already? Once the baby came she could hire someone to help her, besides she already had a full time maid to manage the house chores.
Her mother in law wasn’t willing to listen to any of her arguments; she was angry and she accused Shruti of taking advantage of her niceness.
“Don’t we let you work? Have we ever stopped you from going out or wearing anything you want? We let you speak and express your opinions. Have you seen any other women who have the liberty to back answer their mother-in-law like you do? Aarav lets you stay out till late with your friends, he even lets you sleep till late on weekends. What more do you want? How much more do you expect? Look around you and see if any woman is as happy or as lucky as you.”
Her mother-in-law’s words played on her mind.
Aarav asked her to ignore whatever she said, “Don’t you know Ma? She always over reacts, ignore her; she just wants the best for us. Have I ever stopped you from doing what you want Shruti? I always encourage you and support you. You often keep saying that so many of your friends face restrictions from their in-laws and husbands but I always allow you to do what your heart pleases.
When we got married my mom wanted you to wear sarees but I spoke to her and convinced her so that you could wear salwar suits to work. You wanted to stay late for office parties and I let you. Do you remember me calling you and asking you to come home early?
It’s our family tradition since years but you don’t like keeping Karwa Chauth or any other fast and I’ve never forced you to. Trust me, I’ll work this out too, just give me some time love.”
Shruti was quiet, suddenly her life flashed before her eyes. Was her marriage as perfect as it seemed? Was she truly happy? Aarav always said they were equals in every way possible but were they really? Aarav always allowed her to do what she wanted, he let her choose her profession and he never stopped her from pursuing her dreams. Seems perfect doesn’t it? The perfect life with the perfect husband!
She was teary eyed and choked up; her sobs robbed her body of the ability to speak. She gazed at Aarav in astonishment and finally muttered a “Thank You” to him!
“Thank you Aarav for letting me live my life! Thank you for giving me the permission to do things my way. I am blessed to have you truly!
Thank you for giving me what was already mine! You let me do my job, you let me meet my friends and you let me sleep till late. I didn’t know I needed permission from you to do all this!
I studied very hard and topped my school and college, I slogged at my job and worked hours to get to the position that I am in, but nothing matters right? Coz it is you who ‘let me’ do the job in the first place, your permission was what I lacked!
I find sarees very uncomfortable and thanks to you I get to wear salwar suits to work and at home but did you ever ask me if I like wearing them? Maybe I am a girl who likes wearing jeans and skirts but again does that matter? I think not! Thanks for deciding what I need to wear.
I stay at work till late and sometimes I have office parties. Thanks for never calling me and pushing me to come home but why is it that only I need approval from you, and you can stay as late as you want without my approval?”
She took a deep breath and continued.
“You are right many of my friends faced restrictions after they were married, but just because you don’t stop me, does that make you special? Don’t I have the right to do what I want?”
Ma said I back answered her last night but I was just raising valid points and putting my views across. Don’t I have freedom of speech or is that also a gift from all of you? Yes I agree I don’t like fasting, but isn’t that my choice and my decision?
I am so thankful that all you do is give and keep giving me so many things! But did you ever ask yourself that who has given you the right to decide for me?
Who are you to keep giving, do you consider yourself God in the literal sense, or should I call you Pati Parmeshwar? Am I your personal property? Don’t I have dreams and aspirations of my own?”
Shruti’s eyes were now blazing.
“I manage home and work Monday to Saturday, I sleep in late on Sundays and you make the breakfast at times. You always keep telling me that you should be given the best husband trophy. I ask you today – Why? Just coz you made breakfast for one day in a week?! I make it every single day, also lunch and dinner. What trophy do I deserve then? Why do you count the things you do for me? How is that love? Shouldn’t you be doing everything out of love instead of acting like you’ve done a big favour on me?!
I feel sad that I don’t have the choice to make my own decisions. It should be up to me if I want to be a stay at home mom or a working woman. I should be the one to decide, not you or your mom.
Lastly, thank you for telling me my limits and setting boundaries for me so I know the length of my flight is limited. I don’t have the whole sky to spread my wings and fly, but just a little bit of sky that you’ve given me! I dare not fly beyond that!
I always considered myself privileged to have a husband like you who let me do things but I forgot that I don’t need anyone’s permission! In reality it is me who set boundaries for myself.
I locked myself in a cage and gave the keys to you! You dress me up the way you want, you let me speak words that are pleasing to your ears, and you decide my limits.
How did I forget that I am boundless and limitless? Just because I have been listening to you and agreeing to everything you say doesn’t make you my master!
I kept adjusting thinking it was love, and you kept taking advantage and drawing boundaries around me. I am sorry but you can’t contain me in this Lakshman Rekha you have drawn around me. I am a free spirit, I want to fly and go where I please. Come fly with me or let me fly alone and soar new heights, but don’t ever try to cage me again!”
Image source: a still from TV series Yeh Meri Family
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