My grand mother was not doing very well with her health and her trips to doctors had increased. She had 3 daughters and one son, daughters included my mom :). So they were having this family discussion on how to take care of their mother. I will never understand when one set of parents can take care of 4 children, why is it difficult for 4 children to take care of 1 set of parents. Anyways, I was very small then but big enough to remember that discussion. But after you hear about the discussion, you will agree that even a 3 month old infant would have jumped out of its cradle after hearing the end part of the discussion. Since my grandparents lived alone with their son who was working, and had no help around, also very proud to move in with one of their daughters it had to be seen what could be done. So in the sitting room they had everyone, daughters and all the son-in-laws some other people aged same as my grandparents (don't really remember who they were and why there were there).
The discussion started off with some old aunty saying that all the daughters should come home each day in turns and do some housework. Since everyone lived close by this seemed possible, but the concern was everyone had small kids who went to schools and had different timings. So this could be a temporary solution. Then someone in the group said a full time maid at home would be a good idea. Just as everyone was agreeing to it, one elderly aunty who looked like a mobile jewellery shop (I am pretty sure all mallu aunties suffer from spondylosis because of the weight of the chains they wear) said this, "Well, if it is about the maid, then in that case lets just get Murali (my uncle) married!!!!" Now you get why the infant would have jumped out of the cradle :D :D
So what is this thing about getting sons married to get a full time unpaid maid at home? Years later there has been no change in expectations from a daughter-in-law for some families. If you tell me it used to happen in olden times and now things have improved. Then yes now things have improved, in the sense that the daughter-in-law is allowed to have a mobile phone, wear jeans, go to work. Having said that, when you come back from work don't dare to ask your mother-in-law for a glass of water, or else their whole family & their society will drown you in the same water. That's how modern these people have become.
I have few questions for such people and their society. Who exactly is a daughter-in-law ? A maid, a nurse, a medium to have legitimate grand kids, someone who is going to represent you and your family in front of the society? Can she ever become an individual for you ? If she was not the person whom you expected to be, then would you still acknowledge her existence as an individual entity ? Someone reading this might think what is the individuality you are talking about ? Well in simple terms, if your daughter-in-law and your son would choose to part ways because of their differences would you still talk to her and be in touch ? Or now because she is not your son's wife such a person does not exist for you and you would say, "She spoiled my son's life" because, maybe just in case you didn't notice she too has a life!!!
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