"My mother-in-law drove me to the brink of suicide..."

The tantrums, crying, howling for my bad behaviour became a common occurrence in our home to the point that every day my husband and I would go to sleep fighting.

Life for a new bahu in India can often be a stressful experience. On one hand, women are excited about starting a new life and the romance that marriage brings along. But for those who have to live with their mother-in-law, often have many more battles to fight.

My life was no different. Soon after my marriage when I was looking ahead to love in my life, the number of taunts and cruel remarks I got seemed to exceed all happiness.

My husband was the only son and we used to live with my in-laws. My mother-in-law was a dominating woman. Even during our engagement period, she had laid many rules for my parents on how the ceremony should be. But since in India, things like these are not uncommon we did not let it affect our decision.

Post marriage, things worsened between me and my mother-in-law

But after the marriage, things began taking an ugly turn. I realized this on the first morning after my marriage only when at six in the morning during the cold month of December my mother-in-law knocked our door.

We were barely out of our slumber and I opened the door with disheveled hair. She reprimanded me for sleeping until late. She also said that it is considered 'ashub' if the new bahu hadn't taken a bath and done her hair before she comes in front of the elders.

Things were a downhill from there. Within a week of my marriage, she asked me to prepare a feast for visiting neighbors and poked fun at my cooking skills in front of everyone.

Tired of her taunts and jibes I took up a job as a teacher in a local play school. I was happy that I would be away from home for half a day.

But there was more

However, my absence from home presented an opportunity to my mother-in-law to further interfere in my life. She would go into my room while I was away and would check my cupboards and drawers.

Once she discovered birth control pills and scolded me when I was back home for ruining the chance of giving them an heir. On telling my husband what had happened he refused to believe that his mother inspects our room. Not only this, every now and then when I was away she would call her son and complain of how I had left without even offering chai to my father-in-law.

The tantrums, crying, howling for my bad behaviour became a common occurrence in our home to the point that every day my husband and I would go to sleep fighting.

Our sex life became non-existent

Barely six months into my marriage my husband and I had both lost interest in sex. We would be so stressed with a new tamasha at home every day that we wouldn't even feel like looking at each other.

I tried explaining it to my husband that his mother was a bad influence on our marriage but we were also so new in this relationship and that sort of trust was not built between us.

In order to make my husband believe me, I began exaggerating things when I would tell my husband what had happened during the day. Little did I know that my mother-in-law would often record our conversations, particularly the ones where I would be answering her back and would secretly share it with my husband.

My life fell apart when one day my husband made me hear dozens of such recorded conversations where I was answering back. For my husband that was the ultimate proof of his mother's innocence.

I decided to leave

Tired of this, I decided to leave my husband's home and went back to my parents home. On the second day itself, my mother-in-law enacted a fainting spell and got her son to admit her to the hospital.

She told her son that if she is responsible for our separation then it's better that she consumes poison and dies. My husband came to my home and bad mouthed us all. That night I literally tried to commit suicide myself but my mum called my husband just in time.

He agrees that his mother is difficult to live with but asks me to ignore her and be loving. I am trying to do the same and now I have taken up a job in a daycare that keeps me away from home for the entire day. My husband and I leave together in the morning and come back together in the evening.

This gives her little time to play any new games. However, there is palpable tension in the home all the time. I have shrugged off those suicidal thoughts but life still is not exactly easy.

Why do Indian daughters-in-law have to put up with so much harassment? Will anything ever change?

*names have been withheld on request

Read: 12 terrible things most Indian bahus hear from their mothers-in-law