I am a single child of my parents. So when I was getting married, I was very excited about having a sister-in-law. Though many saw it as a warning sign for my difficult days ahead, I was excited. Since my childhood, I wanted a sister and I was thankful to God for blessing me with one now. Being of the same age, I felt that she will understand my feelings and my career aspirations much better than my mother-in-law.
But, I was so wrong. Rather than getting a sister to pull me up, I got a critic who broke me down at every step. And, I wonder why?
Other than the constant criticism, what broke me the most was her unfair expectations of me. I married her brother and I can understand if he has expectations from me. But, I don’t understand how she had so many expectations of how I should lead my life.
“Bhabhi, you are going again to meet your parents. You just went last week. After marriage, your husband’s family is only your own. You need to make sure they are well taken care.”
“Bhabhi, it’s better you change your clothes. It’s better to look like a married bahu rather than an unmarried girl. And, moreover, people will talk about how bhaiya’s wife was wearing dresses and not sarees!”
“Bhabhi, you shouldn’t come that late from the office. See, how much mummy has to struggle to cook for all of us. Now, you are the bahu rani of the house, you should take care of how the house is being run!”
“Bhabhi, you shouldn’t go out with your friends for parties. We don’t have such a culture at our house! It’s not good for a woman to go alone out at parties! ”
So, here is what I want my sister-in-law to know, whom I thought would be my biggest supporter, but turned out to be my biggest critic.
I wonder why you couldn’t see how hard I was trying to get accepted into her family? Why you couldn’t imagine how you would have felt if you would have been ill-treated the way I was?
Even though you talk about women’s rights and women’s equality, then why you couldn’t feel my pain. Why you blinded yourself when I was being treated like an educated maid? Why you made sure that I was never treated equally to you and your brother?
I don’t have any issue with being a good daughter-in-law or a sister-in-law. But, I have an issue of becoming a good daughter-in-law at cost of being a careless daughter! I do have an issue with unfair expectations of me to forget my parents and take care of my in-laws? I have an issue with how I am treated like an educated maid? I have an issue how even if I do household chores, people find unnecessary flaws in everything that I do!
Dear Sister-in-law, You have made certain choices in life and respect them. But, why force those choices on me? Why talk bad about me to everyone be it your parents or your brother? I wanted you to be my sister but suddenly, you have chosen to be my critic, who leaves no chance to criticize me and break my confidence.
Though the pain you gave me has left permanent scars on my soul, I would still not wish that you have to face similar treatment after marriage. I hope, one day, you will understand that just because I am married to your brother doesn’t mean I signed an agreement to be treated like a punching bag; I didn’t marry so that you could treat me like a doormat; I didn’t marry to compete with you; I didn’t marry to be told how you are raised as a better woman by your parents than me!
I wanted to love you, I wanted to respect you, I wanted to support you! But, now after how you ill-treated me or called my parents’ names, how you bullied me, how you tried to treat me like your slave, I think it’s enough. Because respect is a two-way street if you can’t respect me, then how could you expect me to respect you!
Sorry, but I didn’t marry your brother to be your dream Bhabhi! I didn’t marry to be a perfect sister-in-law who will leave her parents and dreams behind and fulfill your unrealistic expectations. I married your brother to give and seek loved and respect!
It is such a shame that you proved people right who think how women are women’s biggest enemy!