K was this “good girl” in Indian middle class terms . She was raised among 2 boys, she didn’t date any one. She took advise from her parents.K never left for job or studies outside her home. She got married into another middle class home where the husband stayed with his parents and his brother. They raised money , built a 2 storey home in a new layout in a IT dominated city in India. This layout was pretty far from K’s office.
K led a life of peace- when her baby was born, she didn’t have to worry about her new born, no tensions of daycare or fever to be taken care of. K’s in laws were overjoyed when she birthed their first grand son. K had people around her – in fact both her mom and M-I-L wanted to take care of the new born. A life of bliss- waking up in the morning, downing down coffee, getting back home from work, helping a bit with making chapatis and then retiring to their room in the top floor.
All was fine until a new younger bahu arrived She was silent, kept to herself. Soon it was known that the younger brother would travel abroad for project work.He took his bahu with him. It was also assumed that a big family comprising 6 adults cannot share a middle class home constructed under a 30*40 site.
K, who was ok with the joint living arrangement (well she didn’t have much choice), started complaining. Should I call it nagging ??? She asked the husband to start looking for foreign assignments. She now wanted her own space, her own kitchen, a home that she can call her own
K got a sermon from her parents and her younger brothers, that breaking a family and moving away from in-laws was not a good thing.
It was around this time I went teary eyed to office. I had a new born, who was falling sick often. I had unfinished dreams of my career then, which I didn’t want to end abruptly. So I was viewing all that she said with tinted glasses.
All I told was that she was getting free service done by her in-laws for her infant. The in-laws were nice. Not the kind to pick faults with their daughter in law. Why wouldn’t she want to mingle more freely at their place. But no, K wanted to do the kitchen and the living the way she wanted. She thought all that she had was one room in their home which she called her own. She thought the home was never hers. She was only going back to “some house” where she had one room.
…Eventually K and her husband moved to US with their 3 year old. K gave up her job.She is living her dream of having her own home, her own kitchen and her own living room
Another case. Another family. My work place .The story isn’t very different.My friend thinks she isn’t going back to “her” home. Her case thought is very different- trying hard for a baby, dominating in-laws, a “submissive” elder son.
Whose wrong? Whose right? Was the younger bahu wrong. K thinks the younger couple were scheming and got away with freedom. I mused,laughed/smirked and said ” They would need help when they had a baby”. All is fine during the initial honey mooning phase . The tables tilt when a baby arrives.
K was blinded with her desires. I was blinded with mine.
Whose right? Whose wrong? Sometimes in life ” You cannot have a cake and eat it too“