It was March 2000, I was twenty years old and newly married. I was trying hard to impress my in-laws. I was so terrified of this new world because I had to prove myself at every step.
One day I was getting back home from work, while waiting for my van at the stop, I ran into Rinky, my college friend. She was shocked to learn that I was married.
Rinku really wanted to know about my new family and I suddenly found someone I could talk to. We sat in the van and had 15 minutes to catch up. She asked me about my husband and I told her that he was just a mumma’s boy. Then she asked how my father-in-law was and I replied saying he was a good man but didn’t let me watch TV.
Her next question was about my mother-in-law. I said she was horrible because that was the truth. She was always finding flaws in me. Blaming my parents for everything. She always praised her daughters and criticized me.
She then asked about the guy who was madly in love with me during college days. It took me back in time and I felt good about myself. She went on to tell me how beautiful and bold I was in college.
I did not care that our co-passengers were listening to my story, I just wanted to pour out my heart because I knew I would not get another chance to talk about my pathetic situation.
We reached my house and I insisted that I’ll pay for the van. While we were in between that discussion, I heard a familiar voice coming from the front seat, “Don’t give it Bahu. I will give the money.”
I was shocked and surprised. When I looked it was my father-in-law . I didn't know what to do. I wanted to run away.
My image of the perfect daughter-in-law was shattered and my real face had been revealed. My heart was thumping and the sound could be heard.
We entered the house and I prepared tea for everyone waiting for him to explode, but my father-in-law was calm and quiet. This worsened my anxiety. I thought he would tell everyone when I was not around but he never told anyone. Such a great man he was. He understood what a newly married girl goes through, he even let me watch TV for half an hour.
It has been more than ten years since my father-in-law passed away, but I still cherish his memories.