For some reason the term ‘In Laws’ itself used to connote a negative feeling for me. In laws – as if they are aliens from a remote planet who only exist to make your life hell. Hindi cinema and some real life incidents play its due role to engrave that awful image in our minds. No doubt, girls getting married are dreaded of In – Laws, specially the mother of all mothers – Mother in Law.
Things were pretty bad even few years back, barring few rare incidents; all married women would plan, strategies, think of various ways to tackle with this other side of family. They had to make hard bargain to work, face torture for producing a girl child, do every house hold work as if they are bounded labor.
But situations has improved tremendously over the years at least in urban India. Females have as much right to work as their husbands, anyway two incomes in one household is the need of the hour; dear mommies are able to see their sons contributing in the house, in fact they take pride in the fact they have trained their sons so well; most couples opt for having only one child, so it doesn’t matter it’s a girl or a boy; the modern mom in laws pitch in to help whenever needed, without making it an ego issue, they also mostly have one/two kids so they want best for their kids; Girls are also not overly possessive about their own moms/families, for them also both the families are equal, and try and provide equal treatment as much as possible and same applies to the new age husbands J
I have seen this with most of my friends/cousins who married let’s say in past five years. And slight adjustment is needed everywhere where adults are concerned. Don’t we have our own sets of fights/arguments with our parent’s too? We just need to be more accommodating for the new family and vice versa.
So now it comes down to my in-laws. Even if there was an iota of doubt about this clan in my mind, it all vanished as soon as I got to know this side of family whom now I proudly call mine :).
The big extended family: Taking in consideration the rigidness of our community and the place TBH’s father actually belongs, this came as a total surprise. My father in law is eldest in his 6 brothers and one sister. So it’s a big family. But everybody is so fun and good at heart. The uncles are really cool. I remember one incident of a big religious ceremony being held for us post our wedding. It was a big pooja and I don’t know anything about our religious customs. In fact my biggest struggle was standing in a saree for couple of hours. I was dreading that everybody would get to know my lack of knowledge as far as our religion is considered. But every single of our aunt was so supportive. They guided me completely. I had to just manage the pallu and keep my one hand spare, they would hand over me whatever was needed to put in the havan on regular intervals. I can’t tell you how relieved I was witnessing this gesture. Even now every time we meet they shower their love, guide me to manage the big gathering, give a helping hand when needed, and generally do not make a fuss about anything. The cousins too shower love at each other and gel well together.
The grandparents: They are two pure souls. Both are very old now, struggling with their old age and the health hazards that comes with it. Dadajee is one enterprising soul, he has nearly done all sorts of business in his time. Even when he is now not able to contribute to the business or keep a check on day to day affairs, he has a fair idea of what needs to be done to grow our ancestral business, where the investment should go. Dadi – she is like beyond all the worldly affairs. She is so gullible that if you tell her its night even in day time she won’t deny you.
MIL – FIL: Super cool in-laws is the word. When they are here it’s a fun riot. In fact when everybody gathers it’s such a fun family time. They love to pamper me, I am like the kid in the family. They never interfere in anything personal. The talks are mostly around investments, new businesses, very productive and enterprising in general. No bad mouthing about anybody or other useless stuff that leaves a bad taste. No restriction on food or what to wear or on taking TBH’s name in front of them. In fact post marriage my mom wanted to see me in some traditional cloths but my MIL she doesn’t like me wearing them, at least when it’ just us. She is the one who got my first ever dress. FIL is this calm composed super active gentlemen who isn’t shy of expressing his love for his daughter in laws. He doesn’t mind sitting on my side when I am driving, or going shopping with me all alone. We have even shared meals in one plate. This may sound nothing to you, but in our community it’s a very big thing. Fuss free people who just want to fill our lives with their love and affection.
BIL and bhabhi: Oh my god, I never thought typical ‘jeth – jethani’ can turn out to be the Bhaiya – Bhabhi I never had. My family was surprised to see the openness we share. It doesn’t need any explanation, it’s like getting doubly pampered and teased :).
All I can say is I am super lucky and amazingly blessed to get two wonderful families in one life time. I cannot thank God enough. To make matters more beautiful, my in laws and parents get along so well, they meet like long lost friends. We are the third party for them when everybody is together.