Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Day I Became My Mother In Law


       My mother-in-law was a person of only basic education, just passed away recently at the age of 90. When I became her daughter-in-law, I came to know her more intimately. She was a person, who was very down-to-earth, not aware of the vices and corruption of the society, very straight forward and above all loving to me.

       She didn’t know to walk properly when she went to church or to visit her kids after their marriage and so somebody accompanied her and always, she was scolded for not looking and walking. For me, I am lazy at walking, so I didn’t have the opportunity to walk with her. She didn’t go for shopping, everything is bought for her. As she was not allowed to go or no money was given to her for safe keeping. She doesn’t have many needs.

The one and only worst experience I have had with her was, one fine evening, while I was in the kitchen, she started scolding me, even now I don’t know, why she did it. Because after some weeks, I asked her why she was angry, she forgot about the reason, but from that day forward one thing was sure, she really wanted to be with her eldest son, whom she loved dearly. When with him, we can feel her love emanating for her child. But she was forced to stay with us. Anyway, I wanted to say, how innocent she was.

       I really loved her because I felt she was totally alone. She didn’t say it out loud or anything. All shouted at her for small small reasons, a reason, which I felt was unjustifiable. When my husband shouts her, I felt odd. I used to say to him, “Look, she is your mother; you cannot talk to her that way?” But you know, nothing goes to anybody’s head. She was scolded by one and all children, only her daughter-in-laws and son-in-laws behaved to her with respect by not shouting at her. Everybody had only bad things to say about her. Not a single good thing was said about her.

       Thus in heart I loved her, she used to open up like, once in a blue moon and at that time I could glimpse her hurts and the humiliations she had to suffer from her husband’ s and kid’s hand. I couldn’t tolerate it. It was simply abominable. I used to cry with her. But she didn’t have even a tear to shed because she had turned to stone within herself – an entity who cannot be hurt. She didn’t are what everyone said. She didn’t even exert herself, to make them happy. She just lived.

       So before her departure to her heavenly abode she opened up her past, it was so gory, that she remembered only her past and nothing about the present. There were lots of funny instances too, but that couldn’t erase the worst experiences. Then after two months she passed away, leaving behind her kids and their family who hurt her really really terribly.

       I thought when my husband shouted at me, just two days after marriage, it was just marital bickering. But my father was not like that to my mother, I haven’t heard anything of that sort, like shouting or scolding. So it was actually like a bucket of ice cold water splashed on my face.
I came to the real world from my dreamy clouds. But that reality was too bitter to savour. But life should go on and it went. But when one fine morning, when my kids too started shouting at me, I knew how my mother-in-law felt. I felt I’m going to live a life of stony existence, where I don’t feel anything and when I am manhandled with words and muscles. I tried to just unfeel myself, but I am who I am. I started becoming like a stone statue, because I started feeling, that my family is not worthy of me. But still I tried to stay there, but the shouting spree from all corners started to flow incessantly and I responded – by my absence.

With Love

Meena

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