My husband and I became friends in college and then the day came when he went down on his knees in true filmy style and proposed to me. I said yes, but knew that the actual family drama would soon start. My parents were very strict, while his parents wanted him to marry a ‘gharelu’ girl and I was career-oriented; I was a Sindhi and he was Gujarati. Somehow, we managed to convince our respective families.
I was very happy to be a part of his family. I tried to talk to everyone. I tried to understand their customs. I had worked very little at home and had everything catered for me. I used to get up late at times and helped my mother only when the maid didn’t turn up. Other than that, I just went to work. But I was now in a completely different family, struggling hard and the only thing I expected was acceptance.
I used to come home tired, but still made it a point to help my mother-in-law in whatever way I could. I would even ask my in-laws to allow me to do stuff, as I wanted to learn how to handle a home, but they didn’t let me.
If I wanted to cook, they just asked me to do some other chore. I was never asked to participate in any discussion, and I didn’t have the freedom to express my viewpoint.
My suffering did not go unnoticed though. My husband noticed it all and when he tried to help me, he was tagged as ‘Joru ka ghulam’. After eight months, my husband was called to discuss a few matters related to the house, costs and other issues. I thought it would be the usual discussion. But my world came to an end when I heard my mom-in-law saying to him, “You have changed after marriage. You have become irresponsible and selfish.”
When my mother-in-law was not in town, I handled the entire cooking, cleaning and other household chores. But I would still hear words such as, “When will she learn to handle all the household chores? She is not doing anything.”
I was learning to handle the house. Cleaning, sweeping, helping, handling the house and cooking meals, even giving a part of my salary towards household expenses. Weren’t they supposed to give me time? But we took it in our stride and continued to support our family.
One fine day, my mother-in-law suddenly said, “I’m giving you 15 days’ time and you two can go and find a house for yourself.” I still haven’t figured out the reason for such a drastic step. We didn’t have the necessary experience. But we had to now start. My husband approached people and checked out a few houses, and finally, liked a house. After I gave my approval, we went ahead with the moving. I was reminded of our vow of supporting each other, no matter what. We bid our farewells and our own journey started.
My husband asked me to go to office while he got the house cleaned and completed the move. We went to the market daily to get stuff for our house. Weekends were usually spent shopping for the house and setting it up. The memories of that time are beautiful.
After a few days, we got our gas cylinder and when I came home he sat me on a chair and said, “Today, I will cook a meal for you.” I couldn’t stop admiring him, but I went to the kitchen and we both cooked our first meal, our all time favourite pulao together.
Today, we manage our house, as well as our jobs, together. We are handling our house superbly. We have divided our work as well. He helps me with the cooking and cleaning. He respects me for who I am. He gives me the freedom and space. We take decisions together. There is no room for fights and misunderstandings in our house. Though it’s a rented one, we are positive, and are free of worry and know that after a while, we will be able to buy a house of our own.
I am happy to be a part of him. He could have stayed with his family by agreeing to all the terms and conditions. But he took a decision to protect me and guard my self-respect. He stood up for me.