1. How to Build Positivity in Married Life? : Click Here
    Dismiss Notice

Malathi And Her Mother-in-law - A Real Life Story!

Discussion in 'Relationship With In-Laws' started by varalotti, Jan 29, 2006.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    9,047
    Likes Received:
    1,207
    Trophy Points:
    340
    Gender:
    Male
    MALATHI AND HER MOTHER-IN-LAW – A REAL LIFE STORY


    I have poked my nose into every topic apart from my short stories and serials – Lakshmi snippets, poetry, anatomy of a marriage, aftermath of an affair and even into recipes and beauty tips. One aspect which I have never considered writing about is the mother-in-law (mil) phenomenon. Being a man and a husband, I am not only not qualified but positively disqualified to talk about that complex relationship which has wrecked many marriages and has destroyed many lives on both sides of the table.

    But seeing the number and the intensity of the posts concerning mothers-in-law I am convinced that mil is the top-most worry in the minds of most of the gracious ladies at IL.

    I never thought that I would have my say on that sensitive subject till I met this lady, whom we shall call Malathi. She was a daughter-in-law (dil) of the sixties the time when most of us, members, would not have been born at all. The conditions then were different, so different that we cannot even imagine let alone understand.

    Some may think that her story may not be relevant for the modern times where there are no joint families or dominating mils. (Some one even quipped that today if the husband and wife live together under the same roof, that is a joint family. My God!) Others may think that the lady was a coward and that she did not have the courage to spurn her mil and walk out of the house and even seek a divorce. Given the lady’s circumstances that would be the natural reaction of any woman.

    What I request you, the most gracious ladies of IL, is, please read this real life story, calmly. Then think about it without any prejudice. You will understand the undercurrent of love. And you will know that whatever may be the situation in life, unconditional love is always a winning strategy. Please don’t reply when the heat of the story is still on. Allow it to cool down in your warm hearts and then plan your response.

    I have taken some trouble to embellish the story to protect the privacy of that lady. And in some places I have taken the liberties which only a writer can have. But I saw to it that these things do not affect the fundamental truth contained in this story.

    My posts on Affairs, Time and Tide etc came from third party sources. But this came as they say ‘from the horse’s mouth’ which adds to the authenticity of the narration. Now read on.


    Malathi was the eldest of two daughters. Her father was a leading physician in a provincial town in South Tamilnadu..

    Malathi’s father was a progressive thinker. He brushed aside all conventions prevailing at that time and gave first class education to his daughters. Malathi wanted to do her graduation (a desire which could raise eye-brows in those days) and that was available only in a co-ed college in the town. Her father arranged for that.

    Malathi got married in 1960 when she was hardly 20. By that time she had got her Bachelors in Science. Her husband Shiva was a well-educated bureaucrat. Shiva’s was a closely knit joint family. Apart from his parents his elder brother also lived in the same family house along with his wife and children.

    Malathi left her parents’ place with lots of dreams. Her first shock came even before she boarded the train.

    Malathi’s father had booked a first class coupe for Malathi and Shiva for the one night journey to Shiva’s place. Malathi was excitedly looking forward to spending a night in her husband’s company.

    Shiva’s elder brother told Malathi’s father that such coupe-travel was not a ‘done thing’ in their family. Malathi’s father had to convince the TTE to interchange the tickets so that Malathi travelled with her mil whilst the two brothers shared the coupe. If Malathi’s heart was broken she did not show.

    The second brutal shock was to come during the next week. Malathi’s father had made arrangements for her honeymoon in an exotic hill resort (and during 60s that place was sheer heavan, it ‘s commercialised now) . Shiva’s family promptly vetoed the very concept of honeymoon, as again, that was not a ‘done thing.’ Malathi had to take herculean efforts to just grin and bear it and put on a great show of normalcy and happiness.

    Shiva was a nice man but a mother’s boy. Like many husbands of the sixties he was an introvert when it came to expressing his love for his beautiful bride. He liked her, loved her and even adored her. But he had not even said once to Malathi ‘You are beautiful’ (which she was) or ‘‘you cook well’ (which she did)

    Malathi’s mil, as the undisputed queen of the house, laid down all the rules, many of which were not in consonance with the times, and all of which were opressive to Malathi who was brought up in much more liberal surroundings.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2006
    1 person likes this.
    Loading...

  2. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    9,047
    Likes Received:
    1,207
    Trophy Points:
    340
    Gender:
    Male
    MALATHI AND HER MOTHER-IN-LAW – A REAL LIFE STORY

    Malathi could see her husband only in the night, in the privacy of their bedroom. She could not even talk to her husband in the mornings. Shiva could not even take leave of her when he left for office. Malathi should only be seen and should not be heard by the other male relatives living in the house – her father-in-law, and her elder brother-in-law. And she could not serve food to her husband. That was the prerogative of her mother-in-law. Malathi shed tears of blood but she did not breathe a word about her condition, even to her parents.

    Malathi’s voice almost choked when she told me that during the 45 plus years of her marriage, she had not gone out with her husband even once.

    I have known daily labourers and sweepers, who take their wives to movies, festivals and even for shopping. I vividly remember our maid’s husband coming to our house every evening (that was during 70s) to pick her up for an evening movie or an outing. Even this basic happiness was denied to Malathi.

    Slowly Malathi was accepted as a member of Shiva’s household and every one started liking her and even respecting her. That is ,every one except her mil. Her mil was always suspicious of Malathi that she would drag Shiva to her place as her father did not have sons and Malathi was over-educated by the then prevailing standards. In those days such fears were quite natural. But how could Malathi prove that she had no such intentions? She had to silently bear the vicitimising activities of her mil.

    Any other woman in Malathi’s place would not have hesitated to strangulate Shiva and his mother with one rope and walk out of the house. But Malathi tells me with an unusual softness in her voice: “ Shiva is a very nice and loving person. It is my good fortune, it is due to merits accumulated over several births, that I got a husband like Shiva.” Coming after all those things that appeared to be nothing but sentimental ******** to me.

    But what Malathi told me next stunned me and made me respect and admire that sweet old lady.

    “To hate my mil was an easy choice, but definitely not the right one. I hated all her actions, all her words and her attitude towards me. But I took extraordinary care not to hate her as a person. Had I done that my life would have been hell. And my marriage would not have survived. I just thought about my mil as a good person having some misgivings about me.”

    “You could have told Shiva.”

    Malathi’s smile was dry and lifeless.

    “Shiva worshipped his mother. Can you bear to hear something bad about the God you worship?”

    I was rendered speechless. Malathi continued.

    “Even assuming that Shiva would have fought for me, that would have only made a mess of every thing. The family would have split. And all of us would be carrying the bitterness to our graves. I personally thought that it was not worth it.”

    Malathi kept her mind soft and loving even under the most trying circumstances. That way she could be an affectionate and an effective mother to her children – a daughter first and a son, next.

    It was then she got the first break in her life. The house in which they lived was too small with all the new addtions to the family. Her father-in-law took the bold step of housing Malathi and Shiva in another flat owned by him. Malathi’s mil threw temper tantrums and made it clear that she would not let Shiva go out of the house. But fortunately for Malathi,her fil had his way.

    On an auspicous day Shiva, Malathi and their two children walked out of the family house to a small flat in the other end of the town. Even on that day her mil enacted an emotional drama to stop the move. Thanks to her fil’s strong will the drama failed.

    Malathi never looked back. She raised her family in an excellent way. Her son got top class professional education and is now leading a comfortable life. Her daughter too is well educated and is happily married into a very good family. Malathi’s grandchildren adore her.

    Shiva should have felt guilty on moving to a house of his own. Being a mother’s boy, his mother’s temper tantrums had an adverse effect on him.

    From the day Shiva and Malathi set up their house till the day, Shiva’s mother died, the couple visited the old family house every day. Please mentally underline the word every day.

    And every day Malathi’s mil would have the audacity to tell her right across her face, that she had seduced Shiva into setting up a separate house and that Malathi had her plans ready right on the day of her marriage.

    Malathi never replied to those baseless charges. Her response was an elegant silence which skillfully hid her bleeding heart.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2006
    1 person likes this.
  3. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    9,047
    Likes Received:
    1,207
    Trophy Points:
    340
    Gender:
    Male
    MALATHI AND HER MOTHER-IN-LAW – A REAL LIFE STORY

    Though they were in a separate home now where there were no restrictions as before, Shiva, still did not take Malathi out. Not even once.

    Malathi discovered that Shiva would not and could not change and the only choice she had was to either accept him as such or walk out of the house and marriage. She chose the former.

    With some cooking gadgets added to the new house and easy availablity of domestic help in those days, Malathi had time to spare. She attended a host of classes – cooking, music, embroidery – to make use of her spare time. More than learning these arts she learnt the art of interacting with the people. Moving with people and getting to know them was a natural gift for her. Cross-pollination of ideas and her natural curiousity to learn, made her an expert cook, an excellent homemaker and a loving mother, whom her daughter and son worshipped.

    Malathi’s mil was initially frustrated by Shiva living away from her in the same city. But soon she started missing Malathi. She was basically a very sensible woman. She now remembered that Malathi had not spoken back to her even once. And that even now she treated her with utmost respect. What really touched her heart and made it melt, was the fact that Malathi allowed and even encouraged her children to move closely with their grand mother. She made them stay at the old family home during their holidays. Malathi could have easily planted poisonous seeds about her mil in her children’s minds. But she never did that.

    Malathi now in her mid sixties is a much sought after counsellor, a renowned expert in fine arts who advises her clients and students through her own website. (Please don’t ask the address of the website, for that would be a giveaway clue of the person’s identity)

    I complimented Malathi on her achievements and told her that being a popular counsellor especially among the young and newly married should have been the highpoint of her life.

    “No, Sridhar. You are wrong. That’s not my highpoint. There’s something else. Actually there are two highpoints in my life.”

    I was all ears.

    “My daughter’s marriage was fixed. My would be son-in-laws parents visited my family home and enquired about my family. Perhaps they thought that I brought Shiva out of his family home. So they wanted to hear from my mil what she thought of me.”

    Malathi was in tears while saying this.

    “My sister-in-law repeated my mil’s exact words to the boy’s mother. ‘You should be very lucky to have Malathi’s daughter as your daughter-in-law. Malathi was a wonderful daughter-in-law to me. How can her daughter be any different?

    “Even if Padma Vibushan or the Bharat Rathna award had been conferred on me, I would not have been happier.”

    “And what was the other one?” I asked.

    “My mil died about 20 years ago. She was sick for some time. We used to visit her every day. One day she summoned me to her bed, held my hand and said,

    “I thought that you will take away my son from me. That made me do all wrong things to you. Please forgive me, Malathi, if you can. And please forget whatever I did to you. You should give me a good send off.”

    “And Sridhar, no other daughter-in-law would have wept so much in her mil’s funeral.

    I treasure these two instances much more than the accolades now coming to me from all over the world.”

    “With this kind of experience you should have found it pretty easy to manage your relationship with your daughter-in-law. Am I right?”

    Malathi only sighed in response.

    “My dil is another story. Let’s have it some other time.”

     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2006
    8 people like this.
  4. Shakthi

    Shakthi Senior IL'ite

    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    23
    Gender:
    Female
    This snippet leaves your hand prints in this section too!

    Varalotti,

    That was a good snippet - perfectly portrays a typical m-i-l but unbelievably broadminded d-i-l(hats off to that Malathi!).

    You believe it or not, there are so many d-i-ls like Malathi, trying to be patient and broad minded in accepting their m-i-ls for what they are and trying to share an unconditional love with them. But you know there is always a breaking point, especially when they don't get a change like what Malathi got they pour out.

    I am not passing a judgement here that m-i-ls are bad and only d-i-ls are good. There are also bad d-i-ls for a few good m-i-ls, the coins get tossed the other way in some lives. Also, the good d-i-ls later turn out to be worse m-i-ls!

    Whatever...the m-i-l and d-i-l issues seem to be everlasting in different versions, exists in a lower middle class to a high class family too!

    These days I get to here a lot of f-i-l and d-i-l issues too! Sad!
     
  5. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    9,047
    Likes Received:
    1,207
    Trophy Points:
    340
    Gender:
    Male
    Thanks A Lot, Shakti!

    Dear Shakti,
    Thanks a lot Shakti for the nice words you have about this post.
    But I feel the entire credit for this post should go to Malathi. I don't know what propelled Malathi to confide her life to me, a perfect stranger, a person younger to her by several years. Hearing her narration I could tell that every word she spoke was truth and that she was not making up anything.
    Coming to the lessons from this post, I do agree that not all mils are like Malathi's. Malathi's assessment of her mil was perfect. She was basically good but thanks to the lurking fear that Malathi would grab her son, she acted strangely. That explains a perfect turnaround towards the end of the story.
    I do concede that all mils are not like that. There are mils who burn their dils, mils who see to it that their sons and their wives are separated soon. My close friend's sister killed herself unable to bear her mil's torture. She used to carry food for her husband who was a bank clerk. She would walk four miles in scorching sun to deliver the food to her husband. It was her mil's order and she had to obey. In the end she had no option other than killing herself.
    Such mils are there. But about 90% of mils are like Malathi's. Basically good, but are afraid that their dils might snatch their sons from them. If a dil can understand this fear and by her conduct give the right assurances to her mil, then this mil-dil relationship would not be a problem at all.
    Though Malathi today is rich, very popular and has a tremendous sense of fulfilment (hardly 1% of women of her age have that kind of fulfilment) she does have her regrets. Her life is not one of perfect happiness. And no life is like that. But if you ask me I would say that hers is the most successful life. She has raised a family, won her mil's love, retained her husband's love (though he did not express it in the way Malathi expected or liked) has children who worship her and grandchildren who adore her.
    If this post conveys one basic lesson that unconditional love is always a winning strategy then I will be happy.
    Let's see what others have to say on this.
    regards,
    varalotti
     
  6. Varloo

    Varloo Gold IL'ite

    Messages:
    4,024
    Likes Received:
    489
    Trophy Points:
    190
    Gender:
    Female
    Malathi and Her mother in law

    Dear Varalotti,
    I am a little confused by this article. In those days, a couple were not supposed to be alone when elders were present and during the daytime also the wives did not get a chance to meet or talk to their husbands. Enjoying honeymoon and going out togethr were also taboo. Honeymooning became popular only in late 90s.
    90% of mils were like that at that time. And around 70 % were like that in the 80s. Even now around 50 % are like that. And many dils are adjusting like Malathi, maybe even more, considering the present condition.
    Some mils did not even allow physical relationship between the couple.
    At least Malathi's mil understood her and appreciated her. But many do not even get any kind words from their mils. And she was lucky enough to have lived separately from her mil and had improved herself so nicely.
    My mother was married in 1950 and she had not gone out with my father till the death of my grandmother in 1963, by which time she had 5 children and lost the interest of going out with her husband.
    I was married in 1987 and even being a working woman, my inlaws cooked up a fight in the family the next day that myself and my hubby went out (which was rare).I can given umpteen number of examples from so many people.
    One my relative is the daughter of a IAS officer and was brought up in a liberal way( not the fashionable, but with very good manners and modern outlook, shunning the outdated social beliefs). Her mil is a ver orthodox erson who does not even drink water outside her home. The dil is given only paper sheets during the monthly 3 days for bedding even during the rainly season. This dil is a post graduate and she does not utter evena word against her mil and respects her.Mils used to be the authorities in almost all the households. Only with the breaking up of joint families, dils have also started getting importance.
    Of course, there used to be dils who were rebels who took control, but the % is very small.
    Just 4 years back, I had a tenant, where the dil is completely ignored in the family of mil, hubby and two sons. The mil had even made the sons enemy of the mother (the sons were 12 and 10) they addressed their mother as 'avanga' or 'evanga' and did not call her 'mother'. No body ate if she cooked and for her father's 60 b'day, she alone went, even the kids did not go. She is still living with them only.
    There are dils who had so much talent like in singing and dancing and forgoing all these because the mils do not like it. In modern days, the mil problem has become modern also.
    So please excuse me, I do not find it ver special or something like that.
    varloo
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2006
    6 people like this.
  7. sumi

    sumi New IL'ite

    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Gender:
    Female
    Hi Sridhar,

    I too agree shakthi's words. I don't know how Malathi passed those days. I am not saying that we have to go out for cinema, beach or park etc. Atleast we have to talk with our husband freely.

    Now,I am also sailing in the same boat. But some how Malathi's f-i-l was very good I think. But now a days in some cases both f-i-l and m-i-l are making lot of issues. There are lot of difficulties to get a good name from in-laws. And husband has to take care of his wife. I am not saying that he has to blindly support hir wife. But some how he has to take care. There are lot of issues will come in each and every action what d-i-l does.

    What shakthi says is correct,
    Whatever...the f-i-l and m-i-l and d-i-l issues seem to be everlasting in different versions, exists in a lower middle class to a high class family too![​IMG]

    And, I appreciate Malathi very much. Now she may me my mother's age. She is a good d-i-l, wife and a good mother too.


    sumi
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2006
  8. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    9,047
    Likes Received:
    1,207
    Trophy Points:
    340
    Gender:
    Male
    Varloo,Please Allow Me To Explain!

    Dear Varloo,

    Thanks for your response. You have rightly asked,What's so special about Malathi when almost every dil is like that. Being the author of the thread and being the person who heard the story from Malathi first hand, I have a duty to explain for which I seek your indulgence.

    When we are subject to domination and cruelty one reaction we develop is that we become almost insensitive to that. We start thinking that it is perfectly normal to be subject to such domination. Your mother's story is no different from Malathi and she is no way less special than her. There have been thousands of dils like mil who have silently suffered like Malathi.

    Now I will tell you why I consider Malathi so special. Throughout his ordeal she did not develop any hatred towards his mil,which should have been a natural reaction. Had Malathi fought with her mil or walked out of her marriage, then it would have been an ordinary story. She hated her mil's deeds and words but not her as a person. She did not sow seeds of hatred in her children's heart. And ultimately succeeded in winning over her mil's heart. That to me is quite rare.
    Again being subject to so much sufferings she might have hardened and could have become a useless woman, could have become a domineering mil suffering from arthritis and ordering her children and dils around. Instead she blossomed into a fine artist and a first class counsellor on arts and life. That I consider as a great achievement. You tell me varloo how many 65 year old women in South India could operate their own website? How many 65 year old, non-professional women can win the confidence of the young and newly married and offer counselling?
    I fully agree with your point that those married in the 60s could not have dreamt of having a honeymoon or travelling alone with their husbands in a coupe. But we should not forget that Malathi's father was quite ahead of times. Malathi's mother used to speak English in her house. And it was Malathi's father who made arrangements for her honeymoon.
    The fact that Malathi was brought up under liberal surroundings only makes the pain more acute for her.
    As I have said earlier indirectly I am not suggesting that Malathi's strategy should be used universally by all dils. That simply wont work. There are positively evil mils who should be shunned. In such cases even if the dil takes an extreme step of deserting her husband, it could be pardoned. But in a majority of cases there is only a misgiving against the dil masquerading as evil. And for that unconditional love, like what Malathi had, is the winning strategy.
    Varloo, I want your detailed comments on my reply.
    regards,
    sridhar
     
  9. Sharada

    Sharada Senior IL'ite

    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    23
    Gender:
    Female
    tears of joy

    If I had been Malathi I would have shed tears of joy when the mil died! When a home becomes a prison it becomes suffocating and you have to break free. In many cases inlaws create a lot of complexes by comparing with their own daughter/s or humiliating the girl/her parents. This is a true life account and I can't change the course Malathi's life has taken. But was it worth sacrificing her youth just to listen to her mil's words of praise towards the fag end? Others might appreciate the patience, the tolerance - but who will understand the pain, the loneliness that she went through? I'm glad that Malathi is a much sought after counsellor and is helping so many people. I'm feeling bad for all that she went through - atleast her today is bright.
    In life there are no second chances - personally I might forgive, but will never forget. In a few years from now I'll be a mil - and I pray that I treat her with love and respect and give her the space and privacy she wants. I know that to get respect and love, I have to give it first.
    Sharada
     
  10. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    9,047
    Likes Received:
    1,207
    Trophy Points:
    340
    Gender:
    Male
    Tears of Joy or Sorrow!

    Dear Sharada,
    thanks for the prompt reply. I respect your views on the matter. Malathi's is not a typical case and it has far deeper connotations. You know I am as objective and practical as you are. Let me even go one step further. Suppose my daughter were to suffer like that,as her father, I would not have hesitated to advise her to abandon her marital home and start a life on her own. One of my relatives is a gifted veena player. She found her in-laws and their home quite suffocating. She rented out a flat and is living alone. She has not fought with her husband. Her husband visits her two days in a week.Her son stays in a hostel and visits her during her holidays. She plays Veena most of the day and is enjoying her life. I admire her too. Because to set up a separate home and to live alone requires enormous courage. She is meeting life on her terms.
    Then in what way Malathi is different? A woman married in 60s didnot have as many choices as a modern woman has. She could not have run out of her inlaws' place without causing significant pain to her own family. We should remember that she had a younger sister whose life would have been destroyed by her act. She could have hated her mil with all her heart. It would have been a natural instinct for a young Malathi who was opressed. But the fact that she hated the act and not the person makes her unique. Given such an opressive mil, it is impossible to win back her mil's love. Not that it is required or necessary. But like a saint she lived her life, won back her mil's love and retained her husband's. I think this nature of hers - to look for the good in every person and to love every one - that made her a counsellor. I have had my hands on counselling. I know from experience that unless you love the person you counsel, your counselling will never be effective.
    There are many women married in 60s, tortured by mils, who just became old hags when they get older. But Malathi kept her mind intact and blossomed into a much sought after Counsellor. That makes her story unique, Sharada. That made me adore her,admire her and faithfully reproduce her story in this wonderful forum.
    Looking forward to your views,
    sridhar
     

Share This Page