I was talking to a friend the other day and then I read this post by Roop. Let’s first talk about the friend.
I think I know her since we were in class 4 or 5. She is/was smart, intelligent and someone with a sense of purpose in life. I would also call her decently ambitious. Let’s just say she was like any other regular girl with a regular life and regular aspirations. And then she fell in love with this guy; a couple of years older to her, from an affluent business family and belonging to a different religion. She was all of 18-19 then. With much resolve and after a lot of protest they got married. All this happened a decade back. She quit her studies and got settled in the life of a home maker. I don’t think she gave all this too much thought then for she was finally getting married to someone she loved and was more than thankful that the parents and in-laws who had first protested had then finally agreed.
Why I told you this story was to set some context. This girl went on to produce 3 children in that last 10 years. First 2 were daughters and therefore she had a third one too, which, much to her liking and to the joy of her mother in law and husband was a boy.
Cut to present – her husband is hardly ever home, is into alcohol to the extent of being called an alcoholic and doesn’t do much work (read: is living off the family money). Her MIL is sort of a tyrant, running and ruling the household. My friend has no social life. And is at times subjected to “a bit of physical abuse” (these are her own words). She hardly ever gets to meet her parents in spite of the fact that they stay in the same city.
Obviously all this hurts me, for I still remember the girl she was when we were still in school. But what pains me more is her total resignation to her situation. She justifies her MIL’s behavior by saying that the lady has accepted a girl from a different religion into the family and that she will always be thankful for that, come what may. When I asked her about the domestic violence bit, she justified that too saying that she calls such behavior upon herself by arguing and fighting with her husband. And lastly, she justified the need to have a son too – she feels she owed it to the family to give them an heir. If her 3rd born was a daughter she would have gone for a 4th one as well.
Here is a girl, perfectly normal, who is enduring all the pains and troubles, because she believes that she deserves it. She suffers at the hands of this belief that is deeply engraved in her mind. A good DIL is one who never answers back, asks permission, thinks more about her in-law than her own parents, has no opinion etc. The parents feel proud to have brought up a daughter who listens to everything her husband and in-laws say. They are happy that she, with her “obedient and polite” behavior, has washed off the stigma of marrying outside the cast and has been totally accepted by her in-laws family.
So who is at fault here? For me it is my friend as much as her family. It is a case of a woman who has subjected herself to such behavior by choice. She suffers but in silence. She thinks it’s wrong to complain. She is making the marriage work. She has been at it for 10 years and will continue doing it till she breathes her last. I have no words. I feel bad for her but I also know that this is the choice she has made. Maybe someday she will realize her worth and maybe someday she will stand for herself. Maybe…