“You have got your daughter married. Now she isn’t your headache! You don’t have to worry about her anymore! We have to think about how to take care of her! Now, she is our responsibility. Please don’t interfere in our matters and tell us how to keep her! It is up to us how we want to treat her! She is now a part of our family, not yours!”
I was amazed how my daughter’s mother-in-law shamelessly told me that I don’t have the right to speak for my daughter’s good. I was told how the day I married her off, I gave up all the rights as a father! I was told how she isn’t part of my family anymore, rather part of theirs! While I was wondering if people like her still exist in the 21st century, I was shocked how my son-in-law stood quietly even after knowing what his mother was saying was utter nonsense!
I heard her with as much patience as a father could show when he is being told that he has no right to think about the betterment of the daughter he raised for the last 27 years. I showed as much patience as a person could when he is told that his lifeline of 27 years is not part of his life anymore! I showed as much patience as a parent could when he is asked to be a silent spectator to his child’s agony.
Now, while many would have suggested to be quiet in that moment, but neither I could nor I wanted to. Without taking a second, I told my daughter’s in-law:
“Talking about my daughter’s happiness isn’t interference; Rather it is quite shameful of you to expect a father not to take a stand for his daughter’s happiness. I wonder how could an educated woman like you even say that! Please understand, I got my daughter married, I haven’t given her away. She is still my daughter; She is still my responsibility! And, she will remain so till my last breath!”
“But, after marriage, she is now our responsibility! She is ours!”, my daughter’s in-law said shamelessly!
“Behenji, my daughter has changed her home; not her relationships! I am still her father and I will remain so. No one could stop me from fighting for my daughter’s happiness. I am not scared of log kya kahengey but one thing I am scared of is my daughter’s unhappiness. It is quite a matter of shame that even after being a professor in college, you still have such rudimentary thoughts about daughters and daughters-in-law!
Rather than stopping me from taking a stand for my daughter’s dream of working, you should encourage her! After all, if a woman doesn’t support another woman, then how will you move forward as a community! While you want the best for your daughter but worst for your daughter-in-law. Why isn’t she someone’s daughter! While you still are so much attached to your daughter, how could you tell me not to! While you still stand for her, how could you expect me not!
Please remember, till I am alive, you can’t keep my daughter however you want to. If you can’t treat her with love and respect, she will come back to our house. If you can’t let her live the life of her dreams, my daughter will come back. Till I am around, I will always have her back!”
It is heartbreaking how even in the 21st century, many in-laws believe that they own daughters-in-law and their parents! While they call themselves progressive, they still have a disappointing viewpoint about women and their status in marriage. They don’t shy away from using their daughter-in-law as maids, cooks, doormats or punching bags! And, whenever she raises her voice to be treated as human, they silent her in name of traditions or society!
But not anymore! Times are changing and so are we – daughters and their parents. If you can’t treat our daughters right, don’t get your sons married to them. Because a happy single daughter is better than abused married daughter!