I met one of my mothers-in-law last weekend. Meaning my mother-in-law has 3 sisters who in turn become my mothers-in-law more like aunts-in-law. But it strikes only when they refer me as THEIR DAUGHTER-IN-LAW!
Remember Indian marriages? It is not a marriage between a boy and a girl; it is the marriage, the union of the two FAMILIES more importantly! Read Chetan Bhagat’s Two states? Nobody cares if the girl boy like each other, the families have to like each other. So it makes sense I am the daughter-in-law of the whole family! And the expectations are equal from all; there are no levels of rights in demanding respect or anything. An aunt-in-law is just as important as THE original mother-in-law.
I am just saying what I realized over the weekend; that no matter what, an Indian woman has to carry off the burden of both, her original family and her new family in regard to respect, expectations & social status.
The aunt-in-law who saw me for the first time was over-delighted to meet me, know me! In India, no matter how much a woman is educated, she shouldn’t show how smart or intelligent she is! Down to earth is not the right term, more like timid is what is expected! So the aunt-in-law was very glad that I was educated, from a good family yet so friendly and down to earth (not timid), following traditional things like touching her feet for blessings. There is no complain here about her, but the realization of how many expectations a girl has to satisfy in our society! It feels good to know that someone likes you at the first meet; but does it count that much?
Technically, my relation should be closest to my husband and his parents & siblings, anyone beyond them should be secondary! In reality it does not go like that. Now this aunt-in-law will spread good words about me which will directly make my in-laws and my husband look good in the so called ‘society’ that we have to constantly impress, even if we have to pretend! Not to mention how it looks good on my own parents! They would be blessed to have a daughter like me, bringing in good name to them! That is all that matters in our ‘society’!
How come we don’t have so many levels to impress for men? Sons-in-law are GODS here! We are a hybrid couple trying to get away from these old traditional rules to impress society trying to make our own way of living! It’s good to have a husband who realizes all this is bogus and does not need attention!