[font="]We have had enough of bad mothers-in-law. The tears shed by some of the gracious ladies here in this forum is sufficient enough to sink a whole town. I am sure that all these gracious ladies are going to blossom into wonderful mils in due course.. And what if they have a problem from their daughter-in-law? [/font] [font="]They will simply win them over by their unconditional love. Here is one story where a mil wins over an evil dil by the sheer force of her love. [/font] [font="]I am even thinking of holding a contest for those ladies who can keep their eyes dry at the end of this story. But I am sure none will qualify.[/font] [font="]Please don’t ask me whether it is real or not. Please tell me whether it is good or not. [/font] [font="]Happy <st1:City><st1lace>[font="]Reading[/font]</st1lace></st1:City>[font="].[/font][/font] Varalotti [font="][/font] The Heartless Daughter-in-Law "Is this Madhu's house - I'm sorry - Mr. Madan's house? Is he home?" "He has gone out. I am his mother. You are…. Sorry, I am not able to recognise you." The young lady bent and touched Parvathi's feet. "Why all this... .. Please come in." Parvathi surveyed the young lady standing before her. She was of a wheatish complexion, tall and slim. The smile which was more pronounced in her eyes than in her lips made her look even more beautiful. "Ma, my name is Latha. I am working in Madan's office. I am writing a Departmental exam and I have come here to seek Madan's guidance. When will he return?" Parvathi’s heart melted on being addressed as ‘Ma’ by the stranger. "He has gone out with his wife. They just left and it will be at least an hour before they are back. Please sit down. And if you want to inform Madan just call him on his mobile. You can use this phone. You look so tired. I shall get you a cup of coffee. " “Why trouble yourself,Ma? I will just be with you for some time and go. I will come some other time to see Madan.” As Latha was sipping the coffee Parvathi started the conversation. "Are you married, dear?" "Not yet, Ma. I have an elder sister to be married. It is pretty difficult to get good boys these days. " Then the conversation drifted to matrimonial ads in papers, the effect of one's horoscope and the credibility of the astrologers, marriage expenses and dowry, the monsoon rain, the price of vegetables, the TV serials, working women and old age homes. An hour had slipped by. "You know dear, it is almost an year since I talked so freely for so long." "Ma, what are you saying? You have a son and a daughter-in-law as well. Will they not talk to you?" Parvathi let out a long sigh born out of resignation. "My daughter-in-law never talks to me except while giving commands and cooking instructions. That too she does in mono-sylabbles and she sees to it that my son does not talk to me either." "Ma, What are you saying? I can't believe that." "Yes. When I was looking for a bride for my son I was lured by her fair complexion and good looks. I never thought she would be such a heartless character. She hates me from the depths of her heart. I have given her everything - the control of the house, my son and every thing. But still she keeps on finding faults with me. “She reluctantly offers me food twice a day. But in return for that she dumps cooking and all the household work on me. Of course we have all the gadgets – washing machine, microwave, vaccuum cleaner and even a dish washer. But at my age work is strenuous even with those gadgets around. " Latha moved a little closer to wipe off Parvathi's tears and gently stroked her. "Latha, do you see the the house right across the street? The lady of the house is a devil in the form of a woman. And she had an angel for a daughter-in-law. She was so sweet and I used to talk to her daily. And the old hag did not feed her properly. The girl died while delivering her first child. The Doctor said that the death was due to malnutrition. Had I been blessed with a daughter-in-law half as good, I would have treated her like a queen. But you see I have been given a fiend for a daughter-in-law. “You can never imagine how heartless she is. One day last winter, I was a little tired and had slept a little longer than usual. She could not get her morning coffee on time. You know what she did! She poured ice-cold water right on my face. I woke up with a shock and was shivering for the whole day. And she had the audacity to say that the water dropped from her hand just like that and the beauty was my son believed her version and not mine. “She has never taken food with me even once. She thinks that it is beneath her dignity to dine with me. She makes me eat alone in the store room. If her mother comes from her native village she will make me eat first and then the mother and the daughter would have a long lunch together chatting about everything under the sun. “Once I was down with fever. She was furious as she had to do all the household work that day. She openly accused me of faking illness to dump the work on her. When Madan returned from office he came to my bed and lovingly enquired about my health.