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My kids and I were pushed over by my co-sister aka my Bhabi and her antiques for a long time, before I decided that it was enough!
I share a very close relationship with my MIL. As in, she bosses me around, and I am a total push over.
I never stand up to her, and simply complain about her antics to my husband, who patiently listens and then says, “We should respect our elders, and ignore their jibes. Thoda adjust karlo na.” My dear hubby advises.
This is a standard dialogue to all my complaints. And I have been programmed to take any nonsense my MIL throws at me.
I have been married for almost 10 years now, and our parents- in-law stay with us. Be it Bangalore, or Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We have recently come to visit Bangalore, and plan on staying here for a few months. In these months, my elder co-sister visited us.
She plans to stay for a few months with us too as she rarely gets time to spend with the parents-in-laws, she explains. But I am already used to the drill, she says the same thing every year.
The men are busy with television, cricket matches, and catching up on politics, and other boring topics that men indulge in. What they fail to notice is the power play happening in the kitchen, or the simple conversations that end up becoming battlefields on the dining table.
My co-sister, Nida has three kids, and I too have three- two boys, and a girl. All six children are of the same age. Nida’s kids are being treated like royalty! They are not asked to lay the table, clean up afterwards, or help with putting the beds and rearranging them in the morning after everyone has woken up.
They are asked to relax, concentrate on their studies, and every time they are questioned if they are hungry? Feeling cold, or need any other help. And if they do, my kids are asked to assist them. Even going down to a nearby grocery store, my children are being told to run around!
My kids unfortunately have gone on me in this regard. They are complete pushovers, and obey their elders no matter what. And when they come complaining to me, I say exactly what my hubby tells me, “We should respect our elders, and ignore their jibes. Thoda adjust karlo na.”
The truth of the matter is my co-sister lives in Bangalore permanently but still never invites us to stay with her. Her children know Bangalore better than mine. Yet we are being treated differently.
Additionally, if she wants to spend time with her parents-in-law, she can always take them to her place, and spend quality time with them! But she and her hubby come up with innovative excuses to not take them home.
Honestly, I don’t mind taking care of my in-laws. But they change completely when the co-sister arrives, and get blinded by her sweet tongue. They fail to notice what I or my children do on a daily basis for them. They only point out the trivial things Nida, or her kids do and praise them in front of me, and my kids who look to me for justice.
Instances like, “Nida has brought such expensive shawls for us, her elder daughter tucked us in bed last night. Her kids gave us medicine in our hand!”
For the record, I can’t do this kind of drama! Because it’s just that, Nida acts like the perfect bahu for a month, and her children behave like perfect doting grandkids for exactly a month, and we are left being scrutinized for all our work!
I am told to do all the chores and directed to cook all my co sister’s, and her children’s favorite meals, and prepare the dishes as per her kid’s taste. Never has it ever happened that my choices or my kid’s preferences are kept in mind. My hubby too gets treated like a servant.
Order this for your big brother, buy that for your bhaiya. Take the kids shopping! Even though we had bought cartloads of gifts for them already!
My question is shouldn’t they be doing the same for us?
All I am asking for is equal treatment. No bias, no comparisons, no partiality.
This time around, I realized that by supporting this kind of behaviour and being a total pushover is giving the wrong kind of idea to my kids. I am teaching them that being a pushover is right. Obeying our elders no matter the instruction given is the way of life. Is it? I question myself, and a strong voice from within says no.
I need to show my children that this habit, or trait they have, needs to change, and for that to change I NEEDED TO CHANGE!
Yesterday, my co-sister complained that my parents-in-law never visit her. And that they always prefer my hubby and me.
“Hamari toh armaan hi reh gayi, ke hum bhi apne saas sasur ke liye kuch karen.” She began. (Our wishes of serving our in-laws have remained unfulfilled).
“Bhabi, I am going to visit my parents. Will be there for 15 days. Why don’t you take them then, and sab armaan nikal lo apne. You’re absolutely right, you too need to spend quality time with them. I will pack their clothes for two weeks. Hubby can book a taxi for you to leave.” I said sweetly.
My MIL’s face looked radiant at my suggestion. But my co-sister immediately shot the idea down.
“Oh no Summi, how can I take them? It’s so cold in Bangalore, your place is so comfortable. How will they adjust in my humble abode? That is why we came over to spend time at dewarji’s flat. And now you are saying you’re leaving?”
She questioned, making me look like the bad guy!
The anger inside me had grown for too long. And this time the words that sprang to my mouth were like a cannonball hitting its target.
“Bhabi, you live in a posh locality in the better part of the city. Your house is equipped with heaters and air conditioners alike. And you call your house a humble abode?” I asked innocently. My hubby was making signs in the background signalling me to shut up.
But I had had enough of this poisonous relationship, which was killing me slowly.
“I have come after four years to Bangalore, don’t you think my parents want to spend quality time with me and my children and I with them? And you are accusing me of deserting you?” I laughed it off.
“Come on, you have been living in a nuclear set-up for almost fifteen years now. I had expected you to come to the airport, fight with us, and take our parents-in-law with you. But here you are, trying to make me look like the bad guy? Unfair right?” I questioned. The words I uttered were laced with poison, but the tone was sweet and buttery.
After all, I had mastered the art of killing sweetly from my bhabi.
“I honestly expected you to ask my kids their favourite food, and cook it for them. Take them sightseeing as you know Bangalore better. But my kids are running around doing everything for you, and you are being treated like a guest visiting from abroad. Kya bhabi humme kab feel hoga ke humari bhi koi care karta hai?” I asked saccharine sweetly.
I was called disrespectful, rude, and absolutely out of line. Bhabi, bhaiya and kids left immediately, minus the parents-in-laws. And I felt relieved that I had spoken my heart out.
My MIL had remained silent throughout the episode. Once the family left, she sat me down, and said, “Summi I am sorry, I never realized that I was treating you differently. The fact is, you have become family, and your bhabhi is a guest. I have always treated her like a visitor who comes and walks out of our lives in a month.”
“I never realized that by taking care of her needs, I was completely ignoring yours. Sorry sweetheart moving forward I will keep this in mind.” She said, hugging me.
I honestly didn’t know why, but I cried hugging her. It felt like a big weight was lifted off my shoulders.
My hubby was looking like a fire breathing dragon. But I can handle that dragon. After all, playing with fire is my thing. Wink wink. But the look of understanding and pride on my kid’s faces was worth the fight.
My co-sister will come around sooner or later. But it was high time to draw a line.
The issues of married life are not just restricted to hubby, wife, and MIL. Co-sisters, sister-in-laws too play important roles.
Image source: Still from trailer of Indu, hoichoi, edited on CanvaPro
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Dentist by day, Writer by night. There are a million stories that need to be told, smiles to be achieved, tears to be shared. Lives to be touched and justice to be served. I wanna read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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