Much has been said of and against mother-in-laws in novels, films and magazines. And most have categorized them as an out-lawed breed of the worst vermin. Next to the screen seductress, the mother-in-law holds prime TV viewers captive with her crazy schemes to oust the poor hapless Bahu out of her darling Beta’s heart.
The father-in-law, on the contrary, gets typecast as the eternal martyr, and is overshadowed only by the Bahu’s mother whose tears could fill an ocean. Oh, spare me these hysterical histrionic stereotypes!
But there are mother-in-laws in this world who are simply not murder-in-laws. Let me introduce you to three of them.
Story 1: (As told by a young woman who obviously will love her mother-in-law to Eternity and back)
“My mother-in-law always sends my husband and me an anniversary card, and it always arrives one day early. She also telephones us-on the right day, so I know she has not mistaken the date. This year when she called, I asked the reason for the early card. “I know Warner has a memory like a sieve,” she said. “But when he opens that anniversary card he knows he has 24 hours to buy something for you.” It works. In seven years, my husband has never forgotten our anniversary.”
Story 2: (As told by a mother-in-law who obviously will love her son-in-law to Eternity and back)
“Before their wedding, my daughter Nancy and her fiancé Doug took a marriage preparation course. During one lecture, the instructor asked the participating couples to think of one characteristic about their partner that they particularly appreciated. Doug turned to Nancy and said, “Your mother’s cooking.”
Story 3: (As told by wife who obviously will love her husband to Eternity and back)
“One day, when we were speaking about my mother, and my husband complimented her, I asked him how he could like her so much after knowing her for such a short time.” It’s easy,” he replied. “WITHOUT HER YOU WOULDN'T EXIST."
Why most women hate their mother-in-laws then is a question that must be answered and I’d like to try my hand at it.
A woman, married for two years, once left her husband watching a baseball game on TV and drove his car to the shopping mall. On her return, the car was very muddy and dusty so she cleaned it. When she finally entered the house, she called out, “The woman who loves you the most in the world just cleaned your headlights and windshield.” Her husband looked up, obviously pleased and asked, “MUM’S HERE?”
Men become like the fulcrum of a lever once they get married, trying hard to balance the wife at one end and the mother at the other. A sensible man knows that to favor neither and maintain a neutral love for both is the key. So wisdom lies in taking a backseat, not the front row, while watching the show. When called to give comments, the best is silence. Next to that, “No comments” should suffice.
Women, like dogs, mark their territories well. No woman would want another %$* to invade her private zone so she snarls and scratches to protect her interests.
For the mother, her son is the fruit of her womb, the baby she nursed at the breast, and made continual sacrifices her entire youthful days. Now it’s payback time! You bet she’s not going to pass the baton, sorry, son, in a hurry.
For the wife, who has prayed all her post-pubescent, pre-marital days for the perfect man, preserving herself pure and holy only for him and forfeiting fantasies for Roadside Romeo just to win his heart, she is not about to let him be seduced back into the arms of his mother.
And so the bugle sounds, the clarion call is heard and the bloody battle begins for that ‘bone’ of contention, the hapless ‘man of the house’.
A word of advice to all Bahus: There are smother-in-laws and then there are murder-in-laws. One should attempt to cure them or else endure them. And if one cannot do both, one should either be the Eternal Martyr, a role that befits most daughter-in-laws off-screen as well or one should march out in protest to one’s “Maikhe” and resign oneself to a husband-less life.
CAUTION: Leave that knife in the drawer at all times; murdering the mother-in-law is not an option you should be ever considering. Not even in your deepest night of your darkest fantasies!