And the unending tussle continues

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 07 Jun 2017 13:01:06







Scene 1: A beautiful and smart girl in her 20s is married to a businessman. She walks down the aisle with many dreams in her eyes of finally settling down with her Prince Charming. The fairy tale sees an abrupt end. The news of a ‘newly-wed woman committing suicide’ is published in the newspapers to the astonishment of all her well wishers, creating disturbance in their minds and leaving many unanswered questions. After a few days, it is revealed in the court that she could not bear the sour relationship with her mother-in-law.

Scene 2: A couple is happily married for over 25 years and have two children. Elder daughter is pursuing Engineering while the younger son is studying in Std XII. Both have a tight schedule and are juggling between college, tuition classes and home. It definitely means that they do not have time to spend with their parents. The father is a Banker and the mother, a homemaker. There is one more member in the house -- the mother-in-law. However, nobody has the time to even listen to what she has to say. She is there, yet not there! She doesn’t want to speak to anyone because of her stubbornness. And the one who looks after her, takes care of her daily needs is her worst enemy -- the daughter-in-law. They are not on talking terms with each other for years.

Scene 3: A pretty girl from a very affluent family has a meeting with a boy in a plush hotel, of course arranged by her parents for matrimonial purpose. She looks confident and throws many questions at the boy. One among many that takes the boy by surprise and wonderment is -- How many dustbins are there in your house? The poor boy could not get it and he simply answered -- one.

She asked, mother or father???
The ugly tug-of-war between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law is existing since ages. This cold war of a sweet relationship has become a routine in may households. No matter what cultural background, or educational qualification or economic condition is, this war is present in some or the other form supporting the above three observations. However, the third scene that is really horrible points to the deepest resentment the young girls are carrying for their mother-in-laws.

In today’s scenario, many marriages meet with an abrupt end because of the fierce tussle between the fairer sexes. In most cases, trivial disputes happen to undermine the ability of one another. Each feels threatened and is continuously evolving a strategy or hatching a plan to show disrespect to one other. Both the mother and wife try their level best to prove she is the best for the man of the house.

Being a mother, who has nurtured her son in the womb for nine long months and knows all his habits from good to bad to worse. His liking for food, favourite colour, his reactions to things, what he loves and what he does not are best known to her. But, as the son gets engaged in another relationship, she starts feeling jealous and insecure. The fear of losing the grip of the family constantly nags her resulting into presumption that the daughter-in-law will take away all the authority she enjoys as the captain of the house. Petty issues like cooking, cleaning the house, washing clothes take humongous proportions in deepening the rift among the two.

Majority of women in Indian society complain that they suffer immense mental trauma and stress because of the discord with the mother-in-law. Here, one is forced to ponder -- why is this discord escalating with each passing day?

When a girl enters a new relationship, she comes with a preconceived notion that the mother-in-law will be her most disgruntled rival. She leaves her parents’ unconditional love and support to enter a home where she looks for the same affection. Unfortunately she meets with resistance as soon as she steps inside the home. This notion gives a negative start to a bond that could be the most cherished one on the earth. And with this beginning, every action of the in-laws is linked with the needle of suspicion and comes under the scanner - even if it is as trivial as asking the son about his meal or the day at office!!!

These small tensions not only cause disturbance in the families but are also the major reasons for many break-ups. The worst situation is witnessed by a woman who is married into a joint family and is expected to be obedient and docile to all the inmates of the house.

A Japanese study published last year found -- “Women living in multi-generational households (grandparents, in-laws, and young children) were two to three times more likely to experience coronary heart disease than women living with just spouse.”

This dimension of the problem was never pondered upon in the Indian milieu. It is imperative for a woman to be on her toes all the time and in the service of others. No matter if she is doing it willingly or unwillingly, but the set standard of a dutiful daughter-in-law who is constantly judged on her action and behaviour, is that she has to abide by the rule of the house.

The ever-growing hatred between the two generations is creating a negative environment in the family thereby raising an alarm bell. The moot question is - Are we able to produce a cultured, well mannered and well-behaved generation in this social fabric of the country? This has a direct impact on the progeny of the family, who in their minds start taking sides, learn to be mean-minded, start back answering thereby learning the tricks of the trade at an early age. Is this the right grooming that we want for our future generation? With elders around, one expects that the child must learn the right sanskaars with more thrust on religious enlightenment, but with a constant dissension in the house, this will never happen, rather this may make the matter worse. It is the responsibility of the leader of the house to maintain an atmosphere of mutual understanding between the parties.

Here tolerance can make a big difference, which is severely lacking in our society. Petty issues take enormous proportion, one should learn the ‘art of leaving’. One should also understand the beauty of each relationship of the house. A mother-in-law can be an ideal figure of the house, who is vying to strike a balance between different relationships. A slight change of role from mother-in-law to mother can turn things around in the house and vice versa. The newly wed bride must not enter the house with preconceived notions, but should take time to judge and adjust with the new surrounding, new people and a new role. A house is not a ‘Game of Thrones’ where one is looking at opportunities to rule over other, rather it should be akin to the measuring scale which changes with time. A little patience, little perseverance, little self-control, and a little serenity can really work wonders in the long run. The Home Minister

and Prime Minister of the house should understand their roles so that the Parliament House functions smoothly!
A tad difficult but not an impossible tas