Tuesday, April 14, 2009

When I became a scheming woman

When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful,
a miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.
And all the birds in the trees,
well they’d be singing so happily,joyfully, playfully watching me.
But then they send me away
to teach me how to be sensible, logical, responsible, and practical.

I thought I was quite assertive. Well, that was until I met my mother-in-law. I wanted to stay at my parents’ when I went home as I was going alone without S to attend my childhood friend R’s wedding. I rehearsed what I am going to say to her and how I am going to say it and if she gives me some reasons for saying ‘no’, how I should reason with her. The husband neatly walked out of this by saying that he doesn’t want to get involved as both women mean a lot to him and he doesn’t want to take sides. (Bah, I’ll remember this) After all this preparation, when I finally opened my mouth, she said,”No”. That was it. I was blank. Every idea evaporated and I forgot all the corporate trainings that I received and the case studies we had about being assertive. I meekly said ‘ok’ and hung up.

That was when I wished I was not married, but the deed was done.

I had to find a way out.

I resorted to telling half truth. Ha ha ha.

Booked my flight a few days earlier and stayed at home and then went to my in-laws as the dutiful bahu. Since, it was a small place I was worried if some common friends who are in the neighborhood would mention to them that I was home. R, the bride was more worried for me than her own marriage. I joked that I’ll go to the market in the car wearing a helmet to avoid being recognized.

It was funny, it was scary. Having done this, it was easier to stay at the in-law’s place and be the dutiful bahu, coy and obedient else, I would have been really disappointed about my vacation. I have stayed away from home for almost a decade. I don’t go home every year and desperately wanted to stay with my parents.

Co-sister was there for company. She was with the in-laws for about 6 months as she waited for her passport and visa to join bro-in-law in the U.S. She did everything the way mom-in-law wanted and I had to toe the line. I was surprised, but I did learn some things from her, about endurance and being nice, not because they are nice, but because you are.

I have decided to boycott any training on people management or assertiveness.

And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable, clinical, intellectual, cynical.
There are times when all the world’s asleep,
the questions run too deep for such a simple man.
Won’t you please, please tell me what we’ve learned
I know it sounds absurd but please tell me who I am.
Now watch what you say or they’ll be calling you
a radical, liberal, fanatical, criminal.
Won’t you sign up your name,
we’d like to feel you’re acceptable, respectable, presentable, a vegetable! ~ The logical song- Supertramp.


Shruti SriHarsha said...

hahahaa...good one!!! I can understand:)

Shantanu said...

A Management-Degree-"In-Law" helps sometimes..

Funny incident this.. btw.. I've moved to http://www.shantanuadhicary.com/blog

austere said...

All short cuts valid, must be taken.

Cynic in Wonderland said...

..yes, sigh. sympathize. understand. empathise. fellow sufferer.

Stone said...

I can totally understand....S's situation here :-)

AmitL said...

Hi,Arunima-that was quite touching..and,I'll say to you'well done'-keeping your emotions under check...and,I'll also say'sometimes I cannot understand how the minds of elders function the way they do'..sigh!!Be positive,as always..and,smile!Like I did when I read the last line'we’d like to feel you’re acceptable, respectable, presentable, a vegetable!'...I might use that at work one of these days!!

Arunima said...

@Amitl: yes, now I think only prayers are going to help me.

haha, sure use the line. Even I feel like doing it now that you've told.

shub said...

"about endurance and being nice, not because they are nice, but because you are." Ouch! :)

DewdropDream said...

line'we’d like to feel you’re acceptable, respectable, presentable, a vegetable!' haha!!

And also, ouch! That's rather tough if in-laws are so unbending!

anumita said...

i would say, work on the husband a little more... he's easier to convince, and then leave it to him to do all the dirty work of convincing his mother/family.
i have almost mastered it :)

Thangjam said...

I empathize totally...

Quiz: what's the difference between in-laws and out-laws?
Answer: Out-laws are wanted :)

Arunima said...

@Anumita: Thanks for enlightening me. Now I know where to focus. :)

@Thangjam: That was too funny. ha ha.

Tina said...

i completely understand, i faced a similar situation lately

claytonia vices said...


How non-communicative and bossy that was!!

You can actually talk a bit about how u miss your own parents and all that and appeal to the 'good sense in them'.

Putting it bluntly, all this comes from the belief that they now control your life. Chauvinism would not exist if only men were so...

Sara said...

Totally I agree with you...one person in the world who scares me dead: mother-in-law!!

Aquarius said...

Oh my sometimes in-laws are difficult to handle. U faced it really well :)