Wednesday, August 03, 2005

tu tu main main

What is it about women and their mother-in laws, and their innate inability of getting along with each other that creates such tension and rifts in a previously happy family? Is it jealousy, competition, discontentment, psychosexual aberrations? What is it that transforms and modifies inter-personal relations starting the time the bride steps into her new home? Almost all my friends have loads and loads of complaints about how unfair her mother-in law is, how dominating and protective she is of her son and how she hates the new influence in her son's life and takes every opportunity to demean her daughter-in-law and put her down in front of others. And every woman I know who has a son that got married can go on and on forever about her daughter-in-law who is the tricky, manipulative witch, that has taken control over her darling son and has transformed him into a lamb who has no regard or feelings for his parents anymore. Not to say that I haven't met the exceptions, but this seems to be the general pattern. And yes, this is something that was a problem a century back and remains a problem even to this day.

You'd think it was something to do with Mama not liking the li'l gal as a person. Umm...nope. I know this family who picked a girl for their son, someone they had watched growing up as the families were close friends. Yet, soon after the wedding the Mama started detesting the amount of time her son was spending with his new wife and started finding fault with her. Which of course put the guy in a real tricky situation because although he was fascinated by his wife, he loved his mom and did not want to take sides. A wise decision and few months later the guy takes a job far far away and moves out with his wife. So now, the only time Mama and wifey get to meet is like once an year and from what I hear, things are still sour.

I guess most guys grow up idolizing their mother. You often hear guys say things like "no one can cook as well as my mom" and things to that effect. By the way, this is something that is coming out of an unmarried bachelor (just in case you thought otherwise; the married ones wouldn't dare say something to that effect for obvious reasons). Boys share a special bond with their mothers. Something similar to what li'l gal share with their dad. And all guys hope to end up marrying someone just like their mom: someone who will love them, pamper them, spoil them and take care of them. Much has been said about the Oedipus complex without me trying to analyze it and letting students of psychology have a field day ripping me apart. And then they do get married. And inspite of the wonderful relation that the girl shared with his mom before the wedding, things start to take a different turn. Mom hates wife. Wife hates mom. What the hell is a guy supposed to do? Take sides? These are the two women in his life who make his world meaningful and now he is supposed to blot one out and snuggle up to the other. What ends up happening is a sticky situation that no one is happy with: the mom spends all her time blaming the girl for bringing a rift in the family, for changing the personality of the guy, for making him do things he does not like doing and not being the "lokhi bou" that she should have been; while the daughter-in-law is forever complaining to her husband at the end of the day how much abuse she has to bear and no matter what she does is not good enough and that they need to move out because she cannot live with her in laws anymore.

Seems to me like everybody is to blame and we need to take a good look at ourselves and the people around us before being selfish and self centered. The wife needs to realize that the mom has had her son all to herself until the new female figure in the family came in and claimed the number one position on this guy's list. It is but natural that Mama would feel a little insecure and threatened. But she also needs to realize that this is one very important person in this guy's life and if she loves and respects him, she will learn to love and respect the people that matter to him. It is basically that simple. As far as Mama goes, she will soon realize that although there is someone new and important in her son's life who takes up most of his time, she will still be his mother, the person he has loved for all his life and will still be the yardstick by which he measures his wife (including her culinary skills).

And as for you guys out there, learn how to walk the tight-rope, because there is a very fine balance that you need to master to survive this 'war of the roses'.

Labels: ,


Blogger Rohan Kumar said...

Why do females give rise to such a situation where a guy has to end up making choices between a woman who has brought him u and a woman he would love to grow old with? I shudder to even think of a day when a similar situation would befall me, i will be absolutely torn.
On a lighter note its just a matter of having empathy 'Kyunki saas bhi kabhi Bahu thi' and every Bahu hopes to grow into a Saas one day :)

11:11 PM  
Blogger J. Alfred Prufrock said...

M, it's no use getting into the saas-bahu issue. Leave it to Ekta Kapoor.

There are other relationships that cause friction. For example, a very close sibling can subconsciously resent the new spouse who 'takes away' a brother or sister.

Your post on Calcutta was very very nice indeed. You have a knack for evoking nostalgia, cf: 'the scent of rajanigondha' in the post about your friend's wedding.

Just one point - the best rolls in the world are not from Campari. (Bedouin and Hot Kati Rolls are not in the same league.)
The runner-up is Nizam's.
And the world champ is Kusum net to Olypub on Park Street. Next time you're in town ...


1:53 AM  
Blogger That Girl said...

hmmm very sticky spot i should say.... i have a few friends too who have gotten married and whose mom's were one of my favorite people....somehow the stories id hear about the fights etc etc.. just didnt seem to match there like a Married Demon sitting inside of us?...

2:53 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ rohan kumar I have the same question too and really feel sorry for the guys who have to endure this situation.

@ j.a.p. thank you for stopping by and reading my posts. And also for the input on rolls :)) I have never been to Kusum but Nizam is a favorite except for the fact that it was a little far away for satisfying my constant cravings...hence, campari, bedouin and hot Kati had to suffice which I frequented on my way back from college.

@ grafxgurl...well not everybody gets into such a situation, I was just generalizing there :)
I am great friends with my MIL and I do not we will ever get into situations like that. However we don't stay under the same roof as she is still in India and therefore it is unfair to comment on what would happen if we lived together.

7:44 AM  
Blogger Rimi said...

rohan--actually, forget it. the very fact that you could write something as accusatory as "why do females..." blah blah fixes your destiny. good luck with marriage.

grafxgirl--there probably is! that'd explain a lot of such behaviour!

and m, i completely second JAP. it's kusums all the way!and c'mon, you can come to hot kati, you can't go up to kusums? you so should!

7:54 AM  
Blogger Rimi said...

oh, i seem to be agreeing rather a lot with JAP, but you know, it's actually a subconscious turn off for me, a guy having siblings. i'd somehow feel i'm treading on the grass when they're around. weird, but true. i've several theories abt why i react this way, but i'm not going to waste your time here on those...

7:58 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

I know about the thing with siblings. It's not bad if the guy has a younger brother because normally he looks up to the 'boudi' and adores her. I've seen that in previous generations and I see that even now. The problem is having a sis in law who is always protective of her brother and does not like the encumbrance and vice versa.

Have to go to Kusum's the next time I am in Cal. Thanks guys!

8:27 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home