“Sheetal, you have to adjust. You can’t keep complaining about my parents. After marriage, everyone makes some adjustments. Why you can’t adjust?”
“Bahu, why you have a problem with all the rituals that we do here? We don’t care if it wasn’t done at your parents’ home. This is not your parents’ home. This is your Sasural. And, you should learn how to adjust in your Sasural. Everyone adjusts after marriage. I don’t understand why you can’t?”
“Bhabhi, you shouldn’t wear this dress in front of relatives. They won’t like it. They will either criticize you on your face or say things at your back. It’s better you change. Bhabhi, just adjust with them, why to create a ruckus?”
“Sheetal, we have to cancel our trip to your parents’ place. Mummy-papa wants to go and meet our relatives in Chandigarh. We can make at least this much adjustment for them!”
Like many newly wedded brides, I was asked to make adjustments at every step of my life.
From clothes to food to the time I used to get up to the way I laugh to the way I talk. I was told to make adjustments every time I mustered the courage to share what I wanted. And, honestly, at some point of time in my marriage, I was used to being told to adjust so frequently, that I myself started believing that I wasn’t flexible enough. I kept telling myself the same lies that society was telling me:
“Make adjustments. After marriage, everyone makes adjustments.”
But, that’s not the truth. After marriage, everyone doesn’t make adjustments. And, the reality is those who want you to adjust are the ones who are least capable to make adjustments themselves. These people make you feel as if you are the one who is being unreasonable; you are the one being rigid and stubborn; you are the one incapable to change and make adjustments.
But in reality, these people themselves are the ones who keep asking you to make unreasonable changes; these are the ones who are rigid and stubborn; these are the ones who don’t want to make any adjustments while expecting you to make them all.
My husband, who wanted me to adjust to his parents, was not ready to make any change or adjustment after marriage. He wasn’t even ready to change the side of the bed on which he used to sleep; He wasn’t ready to be more than a son;
He wasn’t ready to make adjustments that a husband should make for his wife.
He wanted me to change everything about me to please him or his parents or his relatives, but whenever I asked him to make even a minor change – he will tell me –“Why do you have a problem in adjustment. See how Bhabhi has adjusted so well! She never complains, why do you?”
The people who asked me to find happiness in other’s happiness would have issues finding theirs in my happiness. The people who wanted me to forget about my parents after marriage wanted to make sure that their sons and daughter remain attached to them after marriage.
After some time, I realized how hollow these people were; How shallow their lectures on being a sanskaari bahu were; How selfish they were to ask me to make endless sacrifices and compromises to be a good daughter-in-law and a wife.
But I didn’t let myself break. I refused to be a helpless victim.
With time, I started standing up for myself without any disrespect or hatred in my heart. I found peace in the fact that if my stand for myself is perceived as a disrespect to elders, then be it. I don’t disrespect anyone or I don’t hate anyone, I don’t even have anger. Because holding hate or anger will only take away the peace of my mind.
I just simply want to live my life with happiness; I don’t want to be the only one who is making all the adjustments for others. So, while I love and respect everyone, I am not going to make an adjustment at cost of my happiness and peace.
I am learning to fall in love with myself. I am prioritizing myself. I am learning to say no to things that I don’t want to do. I am learning to stand for my dreams and wishes. I am learning to stand up to bullies who don’t respect me or my family; I refuse to be anyone but me!