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Really, Mummy-ji! How Can I Do That?!

Sudha called the boys to help her set the table. This was another thing her mother in law didn’t like. Why did she make both boys help out in the kitchen?

“So late again tonight,” muttered Sudha’s mother in law as she entered the house. Both the kids were happy to see their mom  and ran towards her with their respective news. She hugged them both and tried to listen to both of them at the same time. But all she could hear was her mother in law muttering to herself.

“These modern women, no time for home, for their children even, just want to spend all their time outside the house. Can’t even say anything or their feelings will be hurt. I can’t understand why she has to go work when Abhi earns so well….any excuse to spend time outside…”

Sudha felt angry and ashamed at the same time. She was already feeling guilty about not having time for her kids; why on earth did her mother in law have to harp on it she wondered. She quickly got up and entered the kitchen.

“Don’t worry; dinner is all ready,” said her mother in law raising her voice. She couldn’t resist adding a snide comment. “The children were hungry but wanted to wait for you.”

Sudha called the boys to help her set the table. This was another thing her mother in law didn’t like. Why did she make both boys help out in the kitchen? She had objected when she first came but Abhi had spoken up immediately.

“No ma,” he said “they must know how to be handy in the kitchen. It’s a basic skill. I don’t want them to grow up like me…no idea how to even make myself a cup of tea. My bachelor days were a nightmare.”

Since then her mother in law might throw dark looks but she never said anything out loud.

That night when Sudha settled down with her cup of green tea Abhi noticed her worried expression.

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“What’s bothering you?” he asked.

She shook her head.

“Tell me” he insisted.

“My work pressure has increased so much. This new management isn’t honoring anything we had discussed earlier. They pretend they don’t remember. And on top of that every time I come home your mom starts the same routine about how I should give up my job and devote time to my family and house,” she said making air quotes around family and house. “It’s driving me crazy.”

“I know mom isn’t making easier for you Sudha but give her time. She is from a different era; one where women had to work not chose to. She can’t understand your perspective but she’ll come around. Just try to ignore her comments. I know it’s not easy and I appreciate your patience, besides if it gets too much I have your back.”

Sudha gave a wan smile. It was true Abhi had always supported her.

“But you know maybe you should think about leaving your job,” he continued after a short pause.

“I can’t believe it Abhi” said Sudha sharply. “You too? You too want me to give up everything and sit at home and cook food and be a perfect wife like in those stupid serials?”

“Hear me out before you snap off my nose,” said Abhi. “I think you should quit this job and look for a better one. You have a good work experience and ever since the management has changed you seem stressed. You used to love your work but now I rarely see you smile. Take the time to find a new job. I know you’ll get something better. This is about you …not about Ma or the kids.”

He had a point thought Sudha. She mulled over it for the next few days.

The next time her mother in law passed a comment about jobs being more important than family, she was stunned by Sudha’s response.

“You’re absolutely right mummyji,” said Sudha with a big smile “family should be more important. That’s why I’ve quit my job.”

Her mother-in-law was delighted. This was her victory. She had accomplished her mission of getting her daughter in law to give up her job and stay at home. Now she would stay at home and cook for the kids and take them to the park and be completely under her thumb.

“We can tell the maid tomorrow itself that she can look for a new job from next month,” she said.

“But why mummyji?” asked Sudha. “I don’t want to take away someone’s source of income. Besides Abhi earns enough for us to afford two maids.”

The next month was an eye opener for her mother-in-law. Sudha gave up the job but her lifestyle didn’t seem to change much. She was now using her free time to go shopping and to catch up with friends. They were still employing two maids. And expenses seemed to be going up with her constantly ordering things for herself and for the kids.

“Sudha”, she tried to explain to her daughter-in-law, “now that you aren’t working you must try to control your expenses. You can’t spend money like this” she remonstrated.

“But why mummyji? This is the lifestyle I’m used to. I like to have a starbuck’s coffee every day and go to the gym and the parlor regularly. I’ve always done this.”

“But now there is only one person earning” her mother-in-law remonstrated.

“Haw mummyji, are you saying Abhi doesn’t earn enough to take care of his family in style? I can always start working again if you think there is too much pressure on him” said Sudha with great innocence.

Her mother- in-law didn’t know what to say.

Image source: Still from Mom, Dadi Aur Period/Girliyapa M.O.M.S via YouTube

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About the Author

Asfiya Rahman

Asfiya Rahman, a management graduate, is a teacher by occupation and a writer by inclination. She has published many short stories in different publications and is the author of the sports drama trilogy Wild, Wild read more...

11 Posts | 14,637 Views

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