For this Indian bahu, the troublemaker was not her mother-in-law but her nanad...
Ahana soon realised that all the rules were applicable to her being the bahu, but not to the daughter of the house.
It is said that a woman is born twice, once after getting married and once after becoming a mother.
Yes, Kyun ki Saas bhi Kabhi Bahu thi was made on real-life family drama, and when my long lost friend shared her plight, I realized, it was not all fiction.
Ahana, my friend used to be a chirpy person. One day she wouldn't turn up to college and we would all miss the fun. She was full of life and always helped everyone, known and unknown. Soon as she graduated from college, she had an arranged marriage into a Gharwali household.
Like every woman, she too had dreams and in the hope of embracing a new family warmly she decided she will not go by the rulebook, and be a good bahu and treat her in-laws like her own family from day one without any apprehensions.
The troublemaker for her was not her mother-in-law...
The most cliched and common troublemaker for a newly wed is the mother-in-law, but for her, it was the sister-in-law. Her sister-in-law had a love marriage and happily lived her life for 4 years, but the moment my friend's marriage was fixed, she decided to plan a baby. Yes, no foul here.
She delivered her baby in Maika, a week before she got married, so all the limelight shifted from her marriage to the daughter who had delivered a baby boy, something really huge for the family, more than the marriage.
Even before Ahana got married, the brother-in-law decided to quit his job without getting another one in hand, and due to a complicated pregnancy, the daughter had to stay at her mother's place on the 6th month itself. The family which was preparing for a Bahu, now got a Ghar Jamai.
Ahana's poor husband, who had just started his career, wondered if his elder sister would ever understand the importance of space for him and his to-be wife. But sadly the day he got married, his honeymoon got canceled as there was a baby in the house, and that was more important for the family.
Ahana's mehendi was fresh...
Ahana's Mehendi was fresh, but she started to cook, clean and serve everyone in the joint family the moment she entered the household. Due to the confinement period, the daughter was not allowed to move an inch, except of course she re-joined her workplace while everyone else looked after the baby and everything else that mattered.
Ahana had taken a break from work, wanting to give some time to the new family and marriage, but she got stuck so badly in the new responsibilities, she couldn't join back her work ever after that.
The daughter stayed in the Maika for a year with her husband and Ahana kept working and serving selflessly. The moment she spoke of meeting her own family and parents, she was indirectly not allowed and was made guilty of spending so much money on travelling to another city to meet her family. While their own daughter stayed here, literally; such hypocrisy.
All rules were broken for the daughter of the house...
Ahana, realised one fine day that all the rules were applicable to her, but not to the daughter of the house. Soon she started speaking to her husband about starting to work, but her family didn't support fearing the daughter-in-law would be financially independent and the control over her would be lost.
But even before she could plan to start working again after two years, she came to know that she was pregnant. The daughter shifted back to her own house, only to sleep in the night. The whole day and all meals would be prepared in this house while the daughter didn't move an inch, even for a pregnant Ahana.
The worst blow for her, was when she delivered, the confinement period was not levied on her as the mother-in-law was old and sister-in-law didn't bother.
Maids were not allowed...
From taking her baby's crib to the kitchen to sweeping the floor while wearing her 2 months old baby girl on her back, silently she did it all.
Every time she did think of standing up, her sister-in-law shut her up by saying that her mother served her sister-in-laws and all relatives without a maid and hence the family has been together with so much love and joy. She kept mum for peace.
Maids were not allowed in the house, as they were strongly against it. I urged Ahana to take a stand, and do something about her life, and she did surprise me with what she did next.
Silently, she searched for a job in another city along with her husband and suddenly broke the news to her family. Without giving too much time for them to think, the family shifted out to Delhi and she not only became financially independent but also kept maids to take care of her daughter and do the household work.
That day it struck me, come what may, I will never give up on my financial stability at any cost. Pain bearing threshold cannot be that high, that one ends up destroying his/her own life in the name of love. This is why financial stability is important for every woman, married or unmarried:
1) No-Justification: Once you are financially stable, you don't need to justify to anyone why you need to buy something or go somewhere.
2) Save for a rainy day: Close family and friends are usually there to support during bad times, but saving up for yourself, will save you the stress of repaying back to someone else.
3) Self worth: You feel happy, confident and worth. Your time and energy is valued and you understand that an empty cup can never fill in another person's life.
*Names have been changed on request