The proverbial सास-बहु

I dont know whether this is the right time for me to write on this topic or not. But certainly I am not the wrong person. I have been staying with my mother in law for the past 30 years. And shall get a daughter in law as and when my son obliges. Although I have experienced having a mother in law I still have to experience being one.

I was 21 when I got married. Although, in those days there were no TV serials portraying the deadly mother in law (thankfully), we were always told to mend our ways, as the mother in law would not tolerate any nonsense. You can well imagine, how  ‘mother in law’ was used as a phrase even when one had not seen her. One of my friends got married and her mother in law was such a tyrant that even we were petrified of her.

So I entered my married life with all my fingers crossed. I wont lie here, she did appear to be wanting to dictate terms but more or less she was fine. As days went by, she started showing her TRUE colours. At times she would scold me for small things also. And that would remind me of my mother. On other occasions, she would wait for me to come home for lunch. Again it reminded me of my mother.

There have been occasions when I could not do what I wanted to. But looking back, did I tell her what I wanted! We have had our fair share of fights. I am happy the rest of the family kept out of this. I specially made sure that at any point of time, my husband was not put in a situation where he would be required to choose between us.  According to my family our relationship is like India-Pakistan. Always blaming each other for whatever went wrong. In the same breath, they also say, that we are like two small children arguing and again friends the next moment.

Our major arguement is “who will cook”. The problem is that both of us enjoy cooking. So she is happy, if I am delayed somewhere and she gets to cook. and I hate it. Dont misunderstand me, she is an excellent cook. I hope now you will understand the secret of my children’s waistline.

I hate when she keeps correcting me and continuously supervising and instructing me. Probably she still considers me to be a child. I really hate it, whatever be her intentions.

I can write a book on how and when she has irritated me. Probably I can write about only a few instances where she has shown care. I want to share one instance which really touched me and I keep reminding myself of it.

We as a family go out for an  annual vacation for 15-20 days. On our return, the house had to be restarted once again. I mean cleaning the house, the refrigerator and so on. There would be nothing at home to cook and eat. So without fail every time our first meal would be bread and eggs, as it was easier and faster to cook and eat. As my parents in law started finding these trips exhausting, they opted out.

Once when we were on our vacation my father in law had to go out of station on his teaching assignment. They (my mother in law would always accompany him) were supposed to leave two days before we planned to return. So they kept the keys with the neighbours and left.

On our return we entered an ’empty’ house. There was no one with whom we could share our experiences. I saw a paper fluttering under a steel container. It was a note from my mother in law. It said that she had made sabzi, set curds, prepared the dough and kept in the fridge. All I had to do was make paranthas (again instructions!). My eyes filled. She could have just left. We would have had the same bread and eggs. She must have also been hard pressed for time as she had to finish so many chores, before leaving. I wonder if my mother would have been so thoughtful.

I have heard a lot of people say, my daughter in law is my daughter. I hate this statement. Firstly, it can never be true. And secondly, it is unfair to the daughter. I would always want to be special for my parents vis a vis my Bhabhi. Understandably, I dont expect my parents in law to treat me at par with their daughter.

I shall end this by hoping to be a better daughter in  law and certainly a good (read human) mother in law in future.

13 Comments

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13 responses to “The proverbial सास-बहु

  1. Alok Singh

    Lucky you. You just proved that we make our own good luck.

    • Hello! lucky? who? how? when? where?
      I read some where “if two people sit across the table, to share their problems, soon they will get up n go home with their problems”.
      It is not d problem that frustrates us, but lack of solutions, rather lack of hope of solutions. But my dear child, how so ever dark d night may be, sunrise WILL bring in a bright morning.

  2. What a wonderfully candid post! The relationship is certainly khatta-meetha but a unique one nevertheless. I used to keep the others out of our spats too. And no matter how upset I was with her, if someone else were to criticise her, I would jump to her defense.
    As for calling my daughter-in-law my daughter, I can do that because I have no daughter who will feel upset 😀

    • Since you dont have a daughter, you must enjoy now. The sheer joy of daughters and grand daughters is incomparable. And your posts on your blog also reflect this.

  3. freemanfaiz

    Nice post Mam. Good to read some candid posts from otherwise strict teachers 🙂

  4. Mudita

    I dont remember dis incident… but gud to know dat we have sum PEACE even widout d PEACE TALKS… 🙂

    • O! My 0therwise intelligent baby! Is your memory restricted to academics only!!!
      Ask Bhaiya, he clearly remembers this. And what do you mean by PEACE? I shall cut you into pieces. 30 years is not a joke! Yes, it requires a lot of self control and adjustments. Frankly telling you, I can give a big list to prove my point. Probably mummy can also give you a list, where I failed.

      • Mudita

        O my ALWAYS intelligent mummy!!! if u remember i was not born dis old… i was a kid once upon a time and u cant expect me to remember each n every incident of my childhood

    • You Mudita Singh just got yourself into a bucketload of trouble! 😛

  5. Ashish

    Miss,
    Indeed a candid post.. the saas-bahu relation is one of the most delicate and tricky relation. And as it is evident in your post and otherwise, you have forged a great bond with her..I particularly liked the part where you have challenged the usual equating of daughter-in-law with daughter.

  6. Since your mother (like Zephyr) also does not have a daughter, she can treat your wife like a daughter. But please dont expect her to treat your mother as her mother, because she has her own mother.
    Btw, I am waiting for your blog. I know you can write.

  7. Purva

    Interesting one miss…i just hope that the nice things MIL s do, make good for the ‘other’ things they do!
    Infact I am thankful that my mother does not have a son…the poor bhabhi would have died due to complex hhahahah…plus my mother’s standards would have been tough for the poor girl to meet..be it cooking,her sheer enthusiasm at her age, beauty…everything…too difficult…sometimes I even tease her that she is harder to please than my MIL. 🙂

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