“Beta, after marriage, you have to make adjustments. There would be times when you have to compromise and give up on things that you love. Whatever people say, how modern they are, they will still expect women to make compromises and adjustments. So, for the sake of your parents, make adjustments and compromises. Because, we just want to see you happily married!”, my mother said while holding my hand before the night of my marriage!
As my mother told me, I made all the adjustments and compromises. From wearing clothes that my in-laws approved of, to starting and ending my day in the kitchen to giving up on career opportunities so that my in-laws don’t have to move – I made compromises and adjustments at every step of my marriage.
I adjusted to an endless extend that my parents expected me to! I made sure that I don’t create any problems so that my parents don’t feel ashamed or heartbroken. Though my in-laws were finding new ways to test my patience, to break my soul, I made sure that I keep myself strong and unbroken!
But, as they say, we all have limits. One day, they crossed all the limits. While my mother told me to adjust in my marriage, she forgot to tell me how to adjust in a house that has no respect for my parents. I adjusted when they called me characterless. I adjusted when they took away every thread of my self-respect! But, how I could have adjusted in the house that called my parents shameless idiots! How could I have adjusted in the place that expected my parents to treat themselves like a bonded labor just because they married their daughter into the house!
My rich and well-educated in-laws called my parents shameless idiots just because they didn’t bring them expensive gifts while visiting me for my first Diwali post-marriage. But, what is even more disgusting is the fact that my in-laws themselves told my parents that they are progressive and don’t believe in dowry! And suddenly, they wanted expensive perfumes, imported sweets, and luxury items!
“Look, how Bahu’s parents got sub-standard sweets and crockery! They still haven’t realized that they should bring gifts as per our lifestyle! Such shameless idiots they are! We offer them the best, but they give us sub-standard middle-class items! What a middle-class family!” And, that was it. I was tired, exhausted, angry, and shattered how my parents were shamed in front of me; how they were called shameless by people who had no shame in asking for dowry! Without any hesitance, I said:
“Mummy, sorry but my parents are neither shameless nor idiots. One is a professor and the other is a senior executive! Shameless are the people who ask for dowry even after calling themselves progressive and modern! Shameless are the people who treat their daughter-in-law as bonded labor; who treat their educated daughter-in-law nothing more than a nanny and a maid! Shameless are those who want to be treated like gods but act like devils!”
As I said all that, my whole family silently watched me as I stepped out of the common room. No one ever spoke badly to me! No one ever spoke about that day! But, if someone does, I am clear that I will adjust to everything, but not to insults to myself or to my parents.
Marriage is important. But, self-respect and pride is non-negotiable!