I have been tagged by Shail, so here's my entry for Indusladies International Women's Day Blog Contest
Now that I've written about my kind of arranged marriage , it's only logical that a post about the "in-laws" will follow, specifically one about the "mother-in-law" . Well, as you know (and if you dont then read this), when I first met my husband the only prospective " in-laws " in ear shot were his.The parents from both sides only met once we had decided to get hitched.At that first meeting,no dowry was asked for, no horoscopes were matched,no engagement rings were exchanged and all that was decided was the probable month for the marriage.
In the months that followed, the husband-to-be and I went out on a few dates, and became friends. There was the occasional special couple moment, but by and large the husband-to-be exhibited a dry sense of humour and a somewhat taciturn manner. This did not quite fit in with my rose coloured view of what courtship should be like, and even though I was falling in love with my strong and silent type , I had serious doubts about his emotional involvement with me.The man had strange ideas about using a phone only if there was some factual information to be conveyed.He would rather discuss the rest when we met , which wasn't often enough from my point of view , given the fact that he lived barely 6 hours drive away, had a sister living in town and STILL would not come over every weekend, citing silly excuses like needing to catch up on sleep lost due to waking up before the crack of dawn in order to be on time and fit to fly a fighter aircraft sortie( or two ) at sunrise on weekdays. Matters were not helped by the fact that I was living in PG digs populated by women perpetually glued to their boyfriend/fiance/"rakhi bhai" 's physical or telephonic presence at all hours of the day.
So I began to express these doubts to my mother , who in turn expressed them in the politest possible way to his mother, who in her turn equally politely assured her that I had nothing to worry about because her son wasn't much of a talker and would "open up slowly as he gets to know her better". Well, thus reassured , I decided to go ahead and marry him, and take my chances on his "opening up to me" since I was(and still am) hopelessly besotted with him. As it happened, my mother-in-law was proved right , but that's another story that will not be told here.
A few days after we got married, on one of the obligatory visits to an old relative of the husband's side, the said old relative
threw a thinly veiled sneer expressed great wonder at my husband's choice to marry me given the vast tonal contrast between his fair and my not so fair complexion. Since she gave expression to her genuine sense of wonder when she was sure only me and my mother-in-law were in ear shot, she was quite taken aback when my mother in law retorted with a look and "She has a very sunny smile and nature" . Of course , when my husband came to know about this, he made sure that we never "darkened" that old relative's house with our presence.
After our honeymoon, my mother-in-law presented me with an incomplete photo album, consisting of selected photographs of the husband from the time when he was a baby till just before we got married. There was a handwritten letter inside the album, addressed to me ending with these lines-
In some ways this is his past and present. I wish you both a meaningful and harmonious future-which you are going to build together. The rest of this album is for those happy moments of the future.- Love, Ma
In the six years that I have been married to her son, our relationship , has seen more than it's fair share of ups as compared to the downs, mainly because she is a fairly reasonable , very mature and honest person.Whenever we meet, we talk about art, life, relationships, her son and mine.We do have vast differences of opinion ,just like me and my mother. There have been times when there were some misunderstandings, but we've eventually sat down and talked it out and in many instances amicably agreed to disagree. She doesn't think of me as her daughter, and I don't think of her as my mother, but our relationship is one of mutual respect, friendship , affection and a common love for one man.