Like every normal Indian girl, I was also excited about getting married but I was brought up in a family where getting married was not the only goal in life, having your own identity was.
My family never forced me to get married immediately after I completed my degree or even when I was crossing 25 years of age. They believed in me and gave me the freedom to marry any guy of my choice. And finally that moment came when I met the man I wanted to spend my life with. Simple yet attractive, calm yet expressive. When I told my family about him, they were happy and after meeting him they were even happier.
Yes, I had selected Mr. perfect for myself. We were not from the same caste. I am a Rajasthani and he is a Tamilian but surprisingly, there was no objection from either of the families. We got married, following half North Indian rituals and half South Indian rituals. I was happy that I had a new family now.
I had stayed away from my parents for almost 10 years due to studies and job but now I was not going to be alone. I'd have a mother at home who will ask me about how my day went and when I would get back from work. I would get a father who would appreciate the morning tea that I'll make for him. I would cook for my family and they'll let me know if I needed to improve my cooking.
Honestly, I was happy that I was getting married to the guy of my choice but I was happier to think that I was getting a new family. First two weeks were the honeymoon period and then my life started.
I got up in the morning and made tea for everyone, then asked my mother-in-law what I should cook for breakfast. She asked me to go back to bed and rest. I felt lucky.
I was amazed. Who does this? I was now happier that probably now I won't feel the home sickness. I got ready for work and when I came back at night, food was ready. Utensils were there in the sink. I felt ashamed that I couldn't come early and cook dinner for my family.
I decided to help my MIL with household chores at least. I started washing utensils, cleaned the kitchen and felt somewhat relieved. I admired my MIL even more now. But I didn't know it was just an illusion. Really! I started feeling like an outsider when the same thing continued. Whenever I tried to cook something, she did her best to keep me away from the kitchen.
And if sometimes I'd cook even after her refusal, she wouldn't serve it to my father-in-law and brother-in-law. Just my husband and I ate that food. And since my husband is a non-vegetarian, she would purposely make non-vegetarian dishes whenever I cooked.
I was not able to understand what was happening, why I was not getting a chance to enter the kitchen freely. Cleaning the utensils was still my duty but I wanted to feel like a family member, not like a maid. I thought of not stretching the matter and tried to take up other responsibilities like laundry, buying grocery, decorating the home but again the same thing. I was not supposed to wash my husband's clothes either.
I was not allowed to change the position of the sofa, TV or even a small showpiece. If I wanted to cook something, I was forced to cook only for myself. If I needed to wash clothes, I could only wash my clothes. If I had to bring a showpiece for the drawing room, I had to put it in my room only. My wants and life were limited to my room.
And just a month after our marriage, my MIL started telling me to go to a separate house. I was hurt and shattered because I needed this family. I had cooked for myself for all these years. I didn't want to be alone anymore, I wanted to feel the joy of staying together.
But no, they kept on insisting us to go away. One fine day, I burst into tears in front of my husband and told him about everything that was going on at home. He was shocked and hurt both at the same time. He tried talking to his mother and when his mother gave the reason for asking us to go live separately, I was shocked.
She told him that I didn't do any work and I also slept till late every morning, which was being objected by my husband's father. She even mentioned that due to my late hours of waking up, father-in-law scolded her every day. I was shattered to see her diplomatic behaviour. If she wanted me to do the work, why didn't she allow me to do it at the first place? Why did she keep sending me back to my room when I got up early in the morning? I didn't mind it at all but she pushed me to go back to my room every time.
My dream of staying with my new family was shattered and I felt broken. I fell down on her feet and said, "I'll do whatever you say but don't send us away. Your son loves you a lot and he would be badly hurt if we go our separate ways."
And that was the moment when I understood her finally. She told me, "Instead of you both going out, why don't you go alone?" I was upset and I decided to leave the house. And I did. I started packing my stuff and even my husband was quiet. I still feel sorry for not understanding him at that point.
I called one of my friends and asked her to help me in taking my luggage. My friend came in no time. I took my luggage and walked off silently. No one tried to stop me or talk to me.
But yes as I said earlier, I have chosen the right person for me, he came to me the next morning after arranging a separate house. He didn't leave me alone because he had made the seven promises during our pheras.
My MIL never called me or never even came to meet me. We stay in the same city but she never asked me to come home for any festival. My first Pongal or first Diwali after marriage, I was alone again.
My husband tries his best to make me happy but I can't tell him how badly I miss being with family. He goes to meet his mom and every time I expect that he will take me also but he doesn't. Because he knows I won't be welcome there.