Sometimes when I look back at my life, I wonder where did I lose my way. Happy; the one word that described me. I laughed uncontrollably, giggled like a baby, adored dolls, and couldn’t stop loving each second of my life. I just knew I was born to be happy.
On weekends, my father would take my brother and I for some fun activity. We would go to the beach for a swim or play football together. Almost all weekends saw guests and we all surely loved it. We’d sit in our drawing room, sipping on chai, while dad narrated stories from his childhood and read up poems and couplets from his favorite books.
To bring this part of my life back I will probably have to to write a book. Because happiness knows no bounds. It multiplies when shared. But then I turned 21. I was to get married. To my boyfriend. My parents had no objections. We were lucky.
It was going to be a whole new beginning. I was going to have another mom. An older brother. His wife would be my new best friend. And their kids would be living dolls for me. Indeed, I was happy again. I was born to be happy wasn’t I? No.
I wasn’t born in that house. So I was not supposed to be happy there. I was an intruder. And treated like one. But I was supposed to create a bond with them all. I was supposed to make place for myself. No one else was given that responsibility.
I was supposed to eat what was cooked in their house and relish it. I didn’t perform rituals in the temple. Or fast. They said I had no sanskar. I didn’t understand spirituality. They said I had no sanskar. I spoke to all male and female cousins and relatives freely without any hesitation. They said I was not taught well. I remember once I read the newspaper and said how sad that a girl was raped. All eyes rolled, mouths were left open because I said the taboo word — rape.
I told the maid to take care of the house while I went for my delivery and I was looked at as if I was an idiot. I think, I am not sure, but from my experience of getting into their heads to understand their reasoning — it meant I was asking the maid to take care of my husband's ‘important needs’.
Normal people don’t interpret things that way. I swear, we’re not normal people. Because normal people don’t go around destroying other people's lives. They lift them up. At every step I had to be a good daughter-in-law. And cease to be a daughter.
I reached a stage where I wanted to completely cut off my parents and brother from my life. I avoided them. I prayed to God that they didn’t drop by at my place. I hoped with all my heart that they didn’t send my favorite food items. Or new dresses. I started to believe I was supposed to be a good daughter-in-law and that meant I had to stop being a good daughter.
But, I want to thank my parents and my brother for being so stubborn. For never letting me drift away. For holding on to me. For reminding me of my hopes and dreams. Finally, after 13 years of marriage and one lovely son, I took up my dream job. A travel job.
I lost my father in these years and how I wish I had chosen to be a good daughter instead because even when I was not good enough, I was their world. I am still married to the same man. I still have the same set of in-laws. But I have changed. I am happy again.
Sometimes a weird thought crosses my mind and I want to know if it is true. I feel may be I never got respect from my in-laws because I was so stupid that I chose them over my parents. That's when I feel like I deserved all that pain, for hurting the family I was born with.
I am now trying to undo the mistakes I have made in the past and I'm loving my real family like never before.