Breaking the Barrier | Part 2 of 2

Read part 1 of this post here.

Much of the behaviour – right until the attitude – portrayed by the Mother-in-Law is predominantly influenced by the family set-up her son has grown in. For example, if the son has a boy sibling, then the daughter-in-law might just get lucky since it would be the first a girl steps inside. Consequently, it is comparatively likely that she gets along with the Mother-in-Law as after all, while her son was growing up, the latter discreetly willed the sibling to be a girl. Not that she was disappointed with the outcome, it just meant that she had to eventually land up having a void that could have been a somebody with whom she may have shared her ‘womanly sagas’, or bitched openly about relatives without having to feel conscious, or gossiped no matter how short-lived the gratification may have been, or simply shared a cup of evening tea. Anyhow, should this be the circumstance, the lucky daughter-in-law steps in, only to fill that void gradually to become her confidante.

In case the spouse is the Mother-in-Law’s only child, things may be slightly tricky; not out-of-question-tricky, but a-little-difficult-tricky. Not only does the daughter-in-law need to give her some time to come around (although this process may take an indecisively long time) but, first things first, there is an insecurity that prevails over and above anything. The Mother-in-Law’s child has now parted from her only to be with someone else. It is a bittersweet conundrum as countless thoughts spin a web inside her, irrespective of the irrelevance a logical mind may counter those with. She is happy no doubt, having managed to find somebody to settle her son off, while on the inside she battles against countless ‘what ifs’. What if he doesn’t come to us when we need him, now on? What if he switches sides in the event turning against us? Will she be a partner or a dominant counter half? She will keep my son happy, right? I hope we haven’t made a mistake. And in all possibilities, this is not the end of her interminably guarded web.

However, if the son has a girl sibling, there is a chance the scenario may alter completely. The Mother-in-Law understands what is it like to up bring a girl child. When you step in as her son’s better half, it’s natural that she takes time to accept you given she is expected to reconstruct the definition of her family. Let’s face the technicalities here. You neither belong to her womb nor are from her bloodline. She was neither around you when you were growing nor was she aware of the environment you were growing up in. Of course, it is difficult for her to relate to you just like that. You stepped into the family as brand new as yesterday, and today you look for a space to not only fit in, but also share your life with her son. Just. Like. That. Of course, she is not your fan, not yet anyway! Although she shares what you feel deep down – you’re new to the family. While you expect that feeling to be reciprocated with a level of kindness and understanding, the Mother-in-Law’s way of thinking initially senses the other way given you are an ‘added’ member of the family. And so, she seeks her comfort looking for ways in which her daughter may be superior to you by – mind you – failing to miss the minutest habits of yours.

She is not a bad person. Actually and factually. When one gets down to it, she is someone else’s mother too. Her space and stance at her place be retained the way it was before the daughter-in-law entered – this is all that she expects. So what, if she wishes to shower her son with love still? Give it to her. So what, if she wants to cook for her son occasionally only to remind him the way her food tasted? You have an entire lifetime to spend with him, why the frown? Give her time to come around your presence, in the same way that you demand for it.

Was I a picture-perfect bride? Nope. I had my share of ups and downs (and still do). I feel lost when the family starts discussing relatives. I feel lost when there are songs from the black-n-white era running on the television’s regional channel. (While on that topic, colour songs are no less.) I feel lost when the language becomes too specific for me to understand. I feel lost when I cannot communicate back properly. I feel lost when I am not familiar enough with the rituals that need to be performed on a holy day. Earlier I used to get upset – in fact, it was very easy to get me upset. When it all started settling in eventually, I realised that nobody was losing anything in the process except me – I was losing my health over petty issues. So all right, I screwed up today’s cooking – I forewarn her that it may not taste nice. All right, I like wearing shorts inside the house – I tell her I feel comfortable in those. Okay, I stuff something up on a holy day – I expect her to tell me what went wrong and/or how to do it right. If I had known, I wouldn’t have uttered the blooper, right? And (un)surprisingly, she has reciprocated favourably. She has had the courtesy to give me my space, enough for me to hold on to an individualistic viewpoint. And as for the things I do not understand – I stay away. After all, that’s one way you can ensure she is happy now, isn’t it?

I like her. A lot. I respect her. Given the time I’ve known her (and my spouse’s father), I’ve perhaps reached thus far when I can (nearly) unhesitatingly commit to dedicate some of my time to both of them. Although, do I/will I love her? A shrug is all I have.

The views expressed here are solely per the blogger’s understanding, and are presumed under certain conditions – some stated explicitly, while a few others not. The post is not aimed at hurting the sentiments of any of her readers. Any resemblance to any character is purely fictitious and by chance.


Breaking The Barrier | Part 1 of 2

There are a few prejudiced notions that have the power to unite, let alone a country, but the world as one. Naturally, such notions are based on some presumptions, namely – i. The rule holds good for majority of the populace, irrespective of the nationality, caste and creed. I won’t include sex here – you will know why. And, ii. For any such prejudiced notion exists exception(s). For years, certain prejudices have been passed across generation(s) with the side-effect of a clouded mindset. Such prejudices tend to make an impact right from the stage a child begins to understand the worldly nuances.

The prejudice I’m referring to here is none other than the phase when a woman, knotted to somebody else through holy matrimony, comes across her Mother-in-Law. Before delving any further – the subtleties of this prejudice (highlighted eventually) is based on the presumption that it is the woman (and not the man) who faces the Mother-in-Law.

In most occasions for the women, the Mother-in-Law may not be a bad or worse, an evil person. However, for reasons regardless, she is portrayed as a good person neither. Now I’m not insisting that your mother programmed you that way where she must have fed all sorts of cock-n-bull stories about your granny, when you were growing up, only to make you aware of the fact that it could be a cruel world after all. She may or may not have been the only source of your influenced way of thinking. For all you know, stories from your mother’s ladies’ circles when you must have overheard some conversations, or the times you must have caught-up with your friends after all those years by which time they must’ve gotten married, or the wretched online forums today (for all those research buffs) may have played parts to twist your way of thinking.

Let’s face it – it does not take much to confuse/ infuse/ marinate a woman’s way of thinking. However, the one thing that may differ from one woman to another is the outlook. Some manage to embrace this entire phase with an ‘in-the-flow’ open-mindedness where they get on with it the way it goes, while some put it off until the day they need to face it actually (why worry until then). However, there are a few others who become preoccupied with this prejudice the moment they realise of its existence (oh my! What am I going to do).

For those who may not be aware, I’m an Indian. Given the diversity this country brings from across states and cities, I come from a land of cultural differences – so much so, that at the onset I wasn’t even fully quipped with my spouse’s first language. Read here on how I got acquainted with the city in the first place: C.H.E.N.N.A.I.: An Experience.

Coming back to the elephant in the room – did ‘facing the Mother-in-Law’ setup work out for me?

Read part 2 of the post here.

I Don’t Know What to Write About!

It’s been a while since my public journal was last updated…and about time too. On that note, I sit confirmed and looking forward to pin my thoughts on the brand new subject. I have a rough sketch of what I wish to include and start writing. Pen-and-paper does the trick for me usually. Anyway, I manage about 100 words only to switch to a new paragraph when my thought-process goes comfortably numb! Here I was, all excited and anticipatory just about a couple of minutes back, and a paragraph later I haven’t the slightest clue on how to proceed. To cap it up, and as ironically droll as it may sound, the more I tickle my thought-process, the more it stands obstinately poised, indicating [figuratively] — give or take anything, I won’t budge. Period.

Sometimes the ‘chemicals’ inside the brain takes a toll, so much so that all evaporates [well, not literally] to the point of becoming blank. At that moment no matter how much one may prod or poke, the cerebrum doesn’t stir up its lumpy internal. The chunks settle in, resolutely comfortable in their self-created retreat, while the red fluid streams around as freely as ever, not unlike the bluish-green bands. If blood and veins can criss-n-cross this comfortably, then why not my thought-process? What a genius Mr. Murphy must have been, having foreseen the law all those years back!

Earlier it used to be — give me a topic and I will write about it. These days despite having two to three, I fail to proceed after a point. I take this as a sign to become more cooperative with my brain. After all the way we, as a personality, have a switch on/switch off mechanism, our brain must be no different considering it is a part of us, right? So when this happens, after I pen the portion I am clear on, I make pointers about the rest of my write-up, lest I forget later and regret. Then I [re]start with the thought-process from where I left last to figure how could those pointers connect. I’d work on it for a while, sometimes even a couple of hours or so without realising it, waiting for an inspiration enough to wire it all up. Unsurprisingly, no sense of inspiration strikes ever. Off late [and to my great annoyance], the so-called inspiration has failed to smack me even after a day or two, or a week.

At times I start typing, in the hopes that the thoughts would flow faster when typed as against when written. No surprises there either. On the contrary, when I type, call it an intuition or intellect, I start losing interest halfway through thinking to myself — what piece of crap is this? There is nothing in particular I’m getting to; I’m just ranting on endlessly. When I do not have any faith in my writing or its look-n-feel, how do I expect the readers to be engrossed enough!?

Is this what they call a writer’s block, or am I simply trying too hard? Or, is it writer’s cramp — nah, that sounds too ludicrous even in my head. Could it be a sign of progression? A sign that says that I am no longer in a position to bullshit anymore even on my own space, and that I better get to some background check/research before I put up something?

Whatever so, just yet interestingly, there has been an increase in the number of words when I write. That may just be a sign of my thoughts — when they flow the way I want them to flow, they do so with far lesser constrictions. So, should I still complain?