Sunday, August 30, 2009

On being a mother in law.

Young girls aspiring to marry a TDH guy of your choice are advised to stay away from this post. You may read it at the risk of being subjected to some leg pulling exercise from me so be warned. No malice intended. Just some harmless fun at your expense.

There was a time some 30 years back when the boys family decided on the qualities possessed by their would be daughter in law. My mother in law expected me to be able to cook for 50 people if the situation so demanded. "Ellunna ennaiya nikkanum". This roughly translates as " One should be ready with sesame oil when the word sesame is uttered." I did not fit the bill and she had to manage with a DIL who could barely manage to cook for 5 persons. Forget the stipulated 50. But we got on pretty well. She'd teach me to stand up for my rights as a woman so what if it was my husband who was acting difficult. As for my father in law - the poor man could not even say that there was less salt in rasam or something as simple as that. My mother in law would take up for me like a mother hen and ask him to get used to eating less salt. "It is good for your health" she'd announce. Those were days that I always cherish.

Fast forward by 36 years. I hear that it is the girls who set conditions for marriage to a guy. Like some girl who said that she wanted her MIL to be able to speak good English and I've started worrying. 'Will my english be good enough for my DIL?' I wonder. Don't go by what I write. Years and years of life spent in Bihar/Jharkhand and that too in a town like Jamshedpur I cannot speak a complete sentence in any one language. Being close to Kolkata our Hindi is Bengali mixed and unique to our town. Tamil being my mother tongue I tend to add a few words of Tamil when I speak to my children. So it is Hinglish/Benglish/Taminglish all in one. Like when my daughter calls I may say something like

"Sollumma, kaisi ho? yeh week end me kya ki? Teri mamiyar kaisey manage kar rahi hai?"

This means " Tell me, how do you do? What did you do this week end? How is your mother in law managing?"

The ease with which I blend the three languages would baffle any DIL who did not know all of them and if she expected me to speak any one language I'd have a lot of unlearning to do. I think I should start practising. Who knows which language she'd want me to talk to her. Let me at least be fluent in the three that I claim to know.

My DIL may herself be a Hinglish speaking girl or even otherwise she may not be a talkative person so the language issue may get automatically resolved. I may only have to say 'yes', 'No' and okay. But she may have other conditions. What if she is a towering personality and my less than 5 feet of height puts her off? I don't blame her. If wants to see my face I'd have to lift it up or else she'd only see the top of my head. Constantly lifting up my head would aggravate my spondilytis and my shoulders would take turns to freeze. I'd trouble her to open doors and pick out stuff from shelves and the poor girl would also have to close doors and put back stuff. You see, even with the best intentions I can be a pain and it is only my husband who can pamper me 'cos he has no other option.

I am crazy about my cross word and sudoku. I read the head lines and check out university news and get started with my crossword. Not the cryptic one - just the quick one. I know of a 90 year old greatgrandpa who'd fight with his 70 year old son for the days newspaper. They'd buy 'The Hindu', Deccan Chronicle as well as Economic Times all in duplicate. Both would want all three papers for themselves. A fold here or a crease there would not be tolerated. It was the grandson who solved the problem by ordering two sets of all three newpapers. So, should my DIL want a crisp new newspaper to read I think I'll do the same. One set for her and another for me. As of now my husband waits for me to be done with my crossword before he even casts an eye or lays a hand on it. No, don't start imagining that he's an absolute angel. He is not. This is one area in which he is not in competition with me.

When I am pensive I tend to put a hand on my hip. My daughter keeps pulling it off. She says it makes me look formidable. I'd often wonder why I shouldn't look formidable? But now I feel that my DIL like my daughter would also object to a MIL with hands on her hips. She may prefer one with fingers on the lips. I think I'll try to get rid of the habit.

So you see our generation of mothers and mothers in law are rather accomodative. One has to just specify and we'd adapt. I invite my readers to let me know if there are any more specifications to qualify for the degree of a MIL.

32 comments:

Usha said...

Hehehe. Don't worry, I think your daughter in law will simply adore you. It is your son who has to worry about you both ganging up and playing tricks on him!

vishesh said...

Hmmm...let me see...

dipali said...

Yes, Usha's said it!!!!

Sujata said...

This is such a adorable post. I usually shy away from reading long narrations, not only I read it, I read it alound to my huband!

I also like Sudukos just like you.

I agree with Usha, I am sure your DIL will adore you.

Looking forward to more post!

Sraboney said...

Usha took the words out of my mouth!

artnavy said...

usha said it!!

Ugich Konitari said...

Mother-in-Law ver 1.1 sounds fantastic. I dont think any updates are required. Though I did hear that they are making several modifications to Bahu ver 1.2, to be compatible with the former. You just need to enable the automatic updates....

preetischronicle said...

hahahaha. enjoyed your post. Its cute and sweet. I have been a dil for some years and I can say you will make a perfect mil, with all the hand resting on the hips too!
:)

Renu said...

A post after my heart ..I dont think DILs can ever be happy..todays girls are impossible..I had written the ten commandents for a good mIL, but due to some personal reasons I had to remove it.

My experience says that its better to live your own life.....you may cook for her all the time, do all her other tidbits, pamper her with lot of gifts even, and she may not do anything for you, still you are a MIL not to be cared.....may be I sound too harsh, but thats the reality I see.

Sumana said...

HHG, had a laugh at your post. I am sure your would be DIL is the luckiest to have you as MIL. So is this post in getting ready for the days ahead???

Susan said...

Lovely post. You might enjoy a few minutes at www.motherinlawsmanual.com

We mother-in-laws need to talk together as the young women have no hesitation about posting every grievance on the web. susan

Intrepid Dreamer said...

LOL,Oh the troubles and travails of the modern MIL!

Hip Grandma said...

Usha,Dipali:Amen.Initially I felt that I could count on you both as well as Ugich to take my side and recommend me for the post of a MIL to 'whomsoever it may concern'. Now I see that newly married and not so newly married girls can also be counted upon to present me in a favorable light. I am indeed flattered.

Sujatha:Welcome here.Now you've got me worried.I have to work towards shortening my lengthy posts to ensure your readership and that would be challeging.Why not meet midway?

Sraboney,Artnavy:When Usha said it and Dipali seconded it I was wary since they belong to the MIL club.But with the two of you endorsing it I feel puffed up.

Ugich:Bahu version 1.2?? do you have the software.Pass it on please (:-))!!

preeti's chronicle:my daughter says that with my hands on my hips I look like 'Jhansi ki Rani'. My, my what a compliment!!Good to hear you approve of the posture.I can breathe easy and concentrate on other areas that need to be rectified.

Renu: Unfortunately what you say is right in a good many cases.A MIL is looked upon as an intruder with a certain amount of suspicion.But with financial independance things are improving.

sumana:glad you could have a good laugh.when a lot of effort is put into one's role as mother why not prepare for one's days as MIL. BTW I am a MIL to two fine young men. But mother in lawing a DIL would be different.I loved watching the love hate equation between the MIL/DIL duo in Sachin's Tu,tu, main, main (You, you, me,me).

susan:Welcome here.Thanx for the link.Will check it out.We MILs need to have our fun time isn't it?

Intrepid dreamer:welcome here and the requirements of the current times are unbelievably exhausting (:- ))!!

shoba said...

Having been a DIL for the past 10 years, all I can say is, it would have been easy if all your MIL fights for is the morning newspaper !! :-)
From what you have written, I think you would make a nice MIL. A sweet post !

Just Like That said...

LOL. Hilarious HGMom. Me too thinks you will have fun WITH your DIL.:-)
After all, if you can laugh at your MIL with her, then everything else can be put up with.
Lovely post.

shilpa said...

Hehe that was hilarious. I dont know if we can choose MILs and DILs anymore!
About the crossword, I get it! I dont like my paper folded any way but mine......whenever I am in India, my dad and I end up wrestling for the paper!

Poornima said...

Dear Adorable Grandmom-whenever your daughter-in-law descends on you, please inform her that she must have done some major punya in her life to land a m-i-l like you!

I have been reading your posts for a while now..what a warm, witty, wholesome & wise lady you are! Reading your blogs makes me rewind to childhood summers spent at our tharavad in Kerala, listening to my traditional, yet oh-so-liberated ammummas and ammayis pass on their gentle (often naughty) gyan to us kids..

Keep going!

Poornima

Hip Grandma said...

shoba:MILs have a way of getting on the DILs nerves and vice versa.If not the newspaper it will be something else.I know of a lady who could neither bend nor stretch.So she had all the provisions stacked on the kitchen platform and the DIL would find it exasperating to put away things after returning from work.But then that is life.

JLT:My MIL was a fun person too.I could register my protest and she'd never misunderstand me.We shared a warm relationship despite the occasional'tu,tu,main main'.

Shilpa:No one gets to choose anyone.Everything is pre-ordained.
This is the explanation I give myself when I am at the receiving end. This may sound an escapist attitude but it is the only one that sustains us.Feels nice to fight over the newspaper doesn't it/ My children would tear the paper into two rather than give it up to the other person.i had a tough time settling their quarrels.

poornima;Welcome here.Thanks a million for those kind words.I may sound good but no one is perfect.Neither MIL nor DIL.A relationship succeeds when one understands this and is willing to accomodate the other in their lives. This applies to husband and wife as well.

Anamika said...

Such a cute post. An educated MIL with a great sense of humor and loaded with intelligence and who is with the times is what I got and we rock together. Been 10 years. You seem to be the same kind so no foreseeable issues for you. Of course the DIL should be smart too ;)

Hip Grandma said...

anamika:Lucky you to have such a fine MIL.I hope mine thinks so too.As for the smart version of modern DILs I've allready surrendered and agreed to look up at her (pun intended).I only hope that she doesn't look down on me.

Ardra said...

Less than 5 feet? Delighted to have company....

Hip Grandma said...

ardra;same here.let's shake hands buddy.

Sudhir Kekre said...

Hi
i think i am getting addicted to all the grandma tales. came to your blog through another remarkable lady's blog and must say you write equally well.
all i can say is thank you.

Smi said...

With a sense of humor like yours, there's not a thing your DIL would want more HHGM! Loved your post:)

Smi said...

And yeah, if there was a thing like MIL adoption, I'd have probably thought about you first up!:))

Tys on Ice said...

i dont know...right know, my heart goes out to your husband...now, thats a man i will have drink with :)

you, ma'am, will do fine as a MIL...coz u havent forgotten what it was like being a DIL...( now if we can put a tune to that, we can make a song out of it)

Hip Grandma said...

sudhir:Welcome here.Glad to know that we g'mas are employable.So what if it is for our g'ma tales.

smi:Welcome here and thank you.I was getting worried about not only DIL but daughters also disowning me.Shall I put in an application?

Tys on ice:why do you want to switch sides?I thought you were my friend.BTW mu husband does not drink anything stronger than filter coffee.Will that do?I did nothing to prevent him from graduating to beer and from there to scotch.

Anusha said...

Dear MIL,

Since am a potential Daughter in Law for some "poor" MIL, i must say I simply loved your post!!! Would be more than lucky to have an intellectual understanding caring and loving MIL such as yours. I can totally relate to the Tamilish!! Sadly, amma spent her life trying to teach me tamil and i have successfully messed up Tamil/ Hindi and English together!!!!.....I believe DIL's nowdays just prefer the Hubby and conveninetly like cutting off the MIL and FIL....:) but I strongly believe that its the Family consisting of parents from both sides who help pass on our rich culture to the generations ahead ( I sadly dont have much knowledge of my culture..:)to pass on to my kids....) besides sharing a gr8 rapport with one's MIL and FIL can be fun and a learning experience.....So to all the super cool 21st centuary MIL's out there rock on!!!!!!!

Hip Grandma said...

Anusha:Oh thank you very much.And it is not too late even now.You can start learning to read and write good Tamil.

Curry Pan said...

hiya hg! just stumbled upon your blog! gotta say i heart it!
how about an mil who loves manolo blahniks and prada? chocolate handicap and high heeled fantasies? sounds so perfect! ;)

Hip Grandma said...

curry pan:welcome here.Do you know any such MILs? could take a lesson or two from them.

Curry Pan said...

no, i don't, but i did the next best thing. last time i was in india, i actually made my grandma try on my jeans and heels. hehe :) poor thing. she personally supervised the actual, real, true-blue washing of the jeans before she tried it on. she's so adorable :) grandmas are the best!