My 24-Year-Old Best Friend Killed Herself For A Reason We All Should Be Ashamed Of

Anonymous Anonymous in Bakkar. Chai. Sutta on 7 June, 2017

It was a Sunday morning, my husband and I were enjoying our morning coffee and deciding which movie to go for. My phone suddenly rang, and the news I received, it made my world collapse.

A close friend had committed suicide. She was only 24. We later found out, that she was being harassed by her in-laws and therefore took this extreme measure.

I don’t have any issues with my own in-laws, they are extremely broad-minded but this incident triggered the writer in me to put my thoughts down anonymously. To see how many women are being troubled by their in-laws, and how many from these would think about killing themselves over this. 

Advertisement

For a while now, I’ve been thinking about these new laws of the High Court in India: 

1. A Hindu husband can divorce his wife on grounds of cruelty if she tried to separate him from his ‘pious obligation’ to live with his elderly parents and look after them.

2. A son has no legal right to reside in his parents’ house, but can stay with them at their mercy.

I am appalled at the evident discrimination between both rules. A woman leaves her world behind to happily embrace a new family and life and if anyone troubles or tortures her, the Indian judiciary system should ideally rule in her favor, right?

Advertisement

Even in 2017, some mother-in-laws can’t seem to accept her son’s wife as an addition to the family, but an intrusion. A son shouldn’t have to be in the position to choose between the happiness of his mother and his wife. 

Today, many men stay with their families: not because he is sanskari but because he gets to live in a house which probably belongs to his family, for generations now, and in turn, to avoid applying for home loans instead of saving up for the future.

I now remember this incident, that my deceased friend once shared with me. She and her husband had just returned from an 8-hour shift. As soon as they walked in, his mother tells him, “Arey beta, you look so tired. Go relax in your room, I’ll make you some lemonade.” And she turns to my friend and says, “Quickly go make some rotis, he must be starving.”

Despite the fact that my friend’s work hours were much longer than that of her husband, he went off to take a hot shower and sip on the cool lemonade while my friend rushed to knead dough and prepare dinner for all six of them.

My friend didn’t think much of this, but it got me wondering, why did her mother-in-law only notice the tiredness on her son’s face, and not her daughter's? They’re both a part of the same family now. 

Advertisement

Now, put this in a different scenario where the husband and wife lived alone. After a long shift, the couple returns home, freshens up, one attends to their children while the other takes care of dinner. They then enjoy a great meal, watch some TV, help the children with their homework and eventually settle in for the night with a good book and conversation. No one is stressed, no one is being ordered around and the best part, both man and woman can enjoy their marriage and their work-life in a perfect balance. 

For many women, a financially secure home is not all that they need. It’s vital to live in a house that allows a woman a sense of freedom, security and safety.

I come with a few words of advice, for all in-laws, sons and even daughters-in-law.

Your son will always be your son. The day you decide to find him a soulmate, don’t see her as someone who is going to ‘steal’ your son away; but as someone who is there to make your family, hers. 

In the same manner, learn to see your wife as an equal. If she’s working, have the humanity to see her as an equal colleague. When she comes home, see her as your wife, not your maid.

And as a daughter who has come into a new family, take some time to understand your husband and his parents, every home is different and there’s a lot to take in, from both sides. 

Advertisement

It’s been two months since my friend’s suicide and her husband has already re-married. I wonder if her in-laws have learned anything from her death and will not be making the same mistakes again.

I have to admit; the above thoughts are solely my own and mainly triggered by the rising cases of depressed women committing suicide because of their marriages. I am aware that a lot of women have successful marriages, they are living with in-laws that treat them better than they could have asked for but there still is a large number out there who are suffering silently. Until one day, when they just crack.

I wonder, did she not have any one to turn to? Couldn’t she speak to her husband? Her parents? Wasn’t there a single person who could have stopped this from happening?

Author's Note:

Writing about it today seems so late in light of what happened with my best friend- but if it can stop something like this from happening, then I will write. I will voice all my opinions on this matter till I have to. I have been privileged to have a supporting and open-minded family. And it shouldn’t be difficult for other families to behave in the same manner.