Hey guys, right now I am on page 126 of this collection of MIL stories by Veena Venugopal simply called: The Mother-in-Law: The Other Woman In Your Marriage, and as the season of shaadi shenanigans begins, I have already decided that it’s going in with every shagun lifafa for my loved ones as a ‘special’ gift. No more Tarla Dalal and Kamasutra kids!
There are a whole bunch of cousins in line for marriage and then there are my friends’ kids. If at all these gen-nexters decide to tie into knots, err… sorry, tie the knot, the “loved ones” will definitely get the treatise from Aunty Gunjan, the others I am sorry to say, will have to find “10 ways to survive the mother in law” the hard way. Hehahahaha….
But coming back to the book and pondering upon the unending master list of one-sided “adjustments” that the Indian brides have to make right from that dreaded moment they push the rice kalash and step across the border, it occurred to me WHAT IF, WHAT IF … the situation reverses. What if, from today onwards “opposite day” is declared and now the groom is supposed to make those very adjustments. Tab kya hoga?
Rubbing my palms in glee, I get to day dreaming: To begin with, the bride’s mom will now becomes the coy groom’s dress designer. “Betaji, tomorrow is mooh dikhaye, here you go….” she’ll trill, handing him the gaudy purple kurta and shimmery cream pajamas he’ll have to wear as he gets introduced to the inquisitive neighbourhood oldies. The educated, independent bride meanwhile will wave a cheery ta-ta after a scrumptious breakfast of hot paneer parathas and head office-wards, having none of this Ektaa Kapoorr (oh God was it aa or rr…) charade-parade.
Disclaimer: The goom, just to make it very clear is no ghar jamai mind you, we’re all for equality okay, but since the Pepper Fry tables have well and truly turned, he would duly apply for leave and if required, fast too for the ultimate good of the new khandaan he is now ensconced in! Like it or not!
That’s just the beginning, he’ll haath batao with all the housework; seek permission to visit his folks; get expensive “gifts” for every god forsaken tayaji and doddering mamiji from the gaon; change his surname, and for good measure the name too – from whatever it is to Raj because the bride’s mom has a huge crush on SRK! That doesn’t mean he can wear those crotch-hugging denims and comfy boxers. Na-aa. Pastel full sleeve shirts, properly tucked in and formal pants till it’s time to go to bed, and then – pure white night suit Mummyji got from the Lucknow chicken store.
For him, working late and travelling for office work will be a strict no-no. Already “we are liberal enough to let you work beta!” he’s reminded sweetly and gently herded back into his permanent sanctuary: the kitchen! Mummyji’s kitty kittens are expected and there are savouries to be deep fried and cocktails to be mixed.
OK… enough. I can’t go on any more because it is already sounding utterly RIDICULOUS!
Looking at it from the other angle, you can’t wish all of this nonsense upon anyone. The picture gets so clear now. If the relationship itself is lost in the game of oneupmanship, because frankly that is what it is and NOT Indian culture or tradition puhlease, EVERYONE loses.
If 1+1 make 2, how come “the long life” of only 1 is worth fasting for? Why does the tectonic shift of control only shake the ground beneath the bride’s feet? What is with this whole philosophy of “gau jaise bahu“? How come the direct blessing for a guy is aayushman bhava while saubhagawati bhava and doodho nahao, putoh phalo masquerade as blessings for the woman? Kind of reminds me of Vyasa’s “boon” to Draupadi in The Palace of Illusions – “each time she went to a new brother, she would be a virgin again. Fated to be “passed around like a communal drinking cup” she wonders about the nature of boons given to women – “handed to us like presents we hadn’t quite wanted” because if she had her way, Draupadi “would have requested the gift of forgetting, so that when I went to each brother I’d be free of the memory of the previous one.”
No offence, but the woman may also want to sort of “live long” and perhaps not have children, maybe not marry at all. Then is she doodho nahaoing to moisturize? She may desire a daughter, so she goes on putoh phaloing for the heck of it, till she has one? Is that it?
Dude, WHO made these rules? Like seriously WHO? Where’s the rule book? And per chance if there is one, pray can we hear the rules for “party #2” as well milord?
I’ve just watched Newton and the only proven universal truth is “every action has an equal and opposite reaction!” There is certainly ‘give’, but equally important is the ‘take’. Yin and Yang, to maintain the balance. It’s pure maths with one algorithm: A great relationship is about two things: first, find out the similarities, second, respect the differences! And we all live happily ever after!
(Written in mycity4kids)