A distraught reader has shared her story. Although this article is inspired by her e-mail, I have written it in first person, and it includes my personal views.
I had a love marriage. We both belonged to different castes. I really liked him. I thought since he likes me enough to convince his parents for the marriage, he would support me all my life.
Some things went wrong here and there in the wedding, as we did not know the rituals of the other caste well. This caused constant disapproval and taunts from my in-laws who ensured that my family and I were made to feel worthless about the incompetency of organizing a wedding. Whether it is a love marriage or an arranged marriage, a newly married couple is trying to adjust to each other. Living with a person is difficult, and we were just getting started to get used to each other’s likes, dislikes and lifestyle. I wish people understood this, and left us alone instead of sabotaging our relationship from Day 1.
Nobody likes to hear things against their family. If somebody in school, college, office, streets spoke ill of my family I would have felt like punching them, and shut them up. But this is marriage, and I am a woman. So, what I must do instead is smile at them, remain quiet, polite and calm, serve them, take care of every need of theirs and not show any sign of discomfort and complaint. My parents are ignored and insulted as per the likes of my in-laws. My husband never calls my parents, unless I force him to although my life revolves around taking care of his parents.
I follow a daughter-in-law manual customized by my mother-in-law. It includes getting up at a certain time, cooking to the tastes of different individuals, praying to a certain idol, washing hair on a certain day and any other ritual which they may consider necessary for survival. Yes, I say survival because if I deviate from any of the above, it may result in threats to terminate the marriage!!
My husband is currently working in another city. Should I take up a job in that city and move with him, or continue living in my hometown are all decisions that are taken by my in-laws. It feels awful to be continuously controlled by somebody else. When I try to say something, I am shamed for being disrespectful, rebellious, for overreacting and being too sensitive.
My in-laws and husband are not happy with me. They feel that I talk to my mother much too frequently and that I have not truly considered them my own. I wish my husband understood that for me to feel included in his family, I must first feel included in his life. And that will not happen unless he shows some support and affection towards me.
Ever since I was little, I was told that getting married is important from my security. That a girl cannot live her life alone in this big bad world, and she needs someone to protect her. I guess I am secure, I live with people, so no outsider can come inside the house and attack me. As secure as a bird in a cage, or a criminal in jail.
But what is my crime? No matter how much I try I am told that I am a miserable failure. If my parents treated my husband the way his parents treat me, he would have never seen their faces again. But, here I am being ill-treated yet running after all of them and struggling to make everything right. But they are what’s wrong, so nothing will ever change.
I only feel resentment towards my husband and in-laws. There is no love left.