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I Thought I'd Find A Friend In My New Home But My Sister-In-Law Showed Me How Wrong I Was

( words)
*For representational purpose only.

Before my marriage, when I learned that my husband had a sister who was about three to four years younger than me, I was elated. I thought that now, I probably won’t miss my own sister and we could become really good friends. I figured that I might not be as open with my mother-in-law but I could be with her. She could introduce me to new people, show me around the new city, take me shopping, and make me feel comfortable in my new home. However, I forgot that there is something about the term ‘in-law’ that gives any person an edge over the new addition to the family.

Instead of a friend, I became more of a maid for her.

She dislikes a majority of what is cooked at home and expects every meal to be something exclusive and fancy. So, the responsibility came upon me to cook something for her whenever it was ordered (which was pretty much almost every day). And when I would cook something for her, I would be instantly criticized for each and every aspect of the meal. When she would go out in the summer with her friends and come home, I would be expected to make a cool summer drink to de-stress her. I did this for her even when I was pregnant!

She would always compare everything I did with how she does it. And, of course, as expected, she was better than me at everything. The taunts aimed at me were endless. “Bhabhi, why don’t you just go to your room, I will make these samosas. These are for guests and they need to come out properly.” “Look at how you are talking to my mother! If I were to talk like this to my mother-in-law, I would be thrown out.”

Then the taunts got a lot less subtle and started to sound like threats. “You like karelas! Maybe because you are such a bitter person!” “You are the daughter-in-law! You have to do every little thing in the house without complaining.” “Shall I put this hot iron on you? You are getting careless with the household work.”

I don’t know if these statements were made in jest, but they sure did reveal her innermost thoughts about me. I have grown a lot since I gave birth to my daughter, and I have now learned to stand up for myself. I do not give my sis-in-law the princess-like treatment that she expects from me anymore, nor do I go out of my way to socialize with her and I keep our interactions to a minimum. At this point, how I see it is that she will get married in a few years and I will finally be able to live in peace. But what about her? She will get married too and be someone’s Bhabhi. How would she feel if she is treated the way I have been by her?

Why can’t she understand that she is a woman before she is someone’s sister-in-law? Why doesn’t she understand that I am a human being before I am her Bhabhi?

I am the girl her brother chose to share his life with. I am the one who left everything that she knew for her brother and am still continues to make countless sacrifices every day to make sure of his comfort. I am the person who will be looking after her parents for the rest of their lives.

I don’t know if I am expecting a lot here, but is she just too young to understand all this? She is engaged, so she can’t be completely unaware of the domestic responsibilities that come with marriage. My parents have raised me to be a good person, and I refuse to fall down to her level just to get even with her. In spite of everything, I sincerely pray that she has a good and happy married life. Because I will not let the term ‘in-law’ cloud my judgment and turn me into a nasty human being.

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