“Is the curry supposed to look this way? It looks way too yellowish!”
“Yeah! Let us add some chilli in it to balance out the taste and colour”
“So, rice is done and so is dal, the curry is on the boil and the last thing left to make are the rotis”
“You make the rotis, I’m not that good with flour”
“Oh yeah? Okay fine I’ll make the rotis and you wash the vessels”
“Don’t throw flour at me!”
“You don’t throw water at me!”
She sat on the resting chair and smiled as she listened to the conversation and the delightful squeals of laughter from the kitchen. She peeked in to find her son and daughter-in-law, each holding a wooden spatula, ready to battle it out in the food fight.
She got back to her chair and closed her eyes; still smiling, she was glad that everything had turned out just fine.
This is how she wanted her family to be.
Where laughter and happiness were in abundance; where incase of any trouble, financial or otherwise, they had each other’s backs. Where there was respect for each other, enough respect to be able to identify each other’s mistakes and tell them, as well as the ability of not getting offended cause of the same.
She thought about her life; how she was married off to a stranger. A stranger who was mean and sadistic, who never loved her, not one bit. He always put himself on priority. His needs, his demands and his thirst. She shuddered at his very thought.
She traced her arms with her fingers; she still felt the marks left by the cigarette butts that he stubbed on her. She let out a sigh; life had been difficult, but god heard her prayers. After the birth of her 2 children, in a matter of 5 years her husband met with an accident and was paralyzed neck down, silently she was thankful cause she couldn’t bear his torture any longer.
They were shunned by most of their relatives. Since she had to earn a livelihood, she took a loan from a bank and set up her own beauty parlor.
Financial independence set her free from the cage she was living in; she continued to take care of her children and husband. She single-handedly raised her children, she taught them to respect elders, to have fun but to stand firm on their values; she nudged them to pursue whatever they felt like, to fly as high as their wings would take them.
You can’t have freedom without responsibility; she repeatedly reminded them of the same.
When her children were well settled, both financially and emotionally, she got them married. She didn’t want her children to face the same horrors that she had. She asked them to find their match, someone whom they would be happy living with, someone next to whom they could wake up every day with a smile, someone who would be their rock.
She made sure that she didn’t accept dowry during her son’s wedding nor paid any during her daughter’s wedding. She kept in touch with them regularly, being their anchor was her responsibility.
Her husband passed away a few years earlier, she forgave him for all his misdoings. To deal with the void that formed, she shifted into a flat next to her son’s place.
She met her relatives rather frequently post her husband’s demise. Most of the women in the family were oppressed when they got married; they were ill treated and considered only as house help. But after their children got married, they swapped sides with their daughter-in-laws. It was their revenge strategy for all the humiliation and degradation that they faced.
They made sure that the next line of women faced the same problems. She was disturbed as to how people never learn, how the trauma of being a daughter-in-law had to be passed on.
“Ma, lunch is ready”, her son called out for her.
She walked into the dining to find her son help his wife set the table and serve food.
At that instance she knew that she had raised her children right.
After all someone had to break the cycle of viciousness.