To be honest, I had never thought of living with the in-laws. I always told Rohan that for the first two years of our marriage I wanted us to live on our own. Our 3-year-long dating period had not been very smooth thanks to family restrictions and work pressure. And when the marriage date was finally fixed, I couldn’t wait to be alone with him and have him all to myself.
My sister got married a couple of years before me and I had always envied her lifestyle. She and my jiju lived in their own apartment and their life was one big rollercoaster ride. They’d throw the wildest parties and spend the entire Sunday lounging in their PJs. They had the cutest house ever with their pictures all over and all I ever wanted was a life like that.
I wanted to do up my home my way, get a dog (I love dogs!), have my friends over for crazy night stays, and have the freedom to walk around braless and in my torn pajamas (what a great feeling that is!). And of course, sex on the kitchen counter had always been my fantasy.
But, as they say, life happens when you are busy making plans. Rohan had lived away from his parents almost all his life, and they were really looking forward to all of us finally living together after the wedding. And so we were left with no choice. The initial days were tough, especially as I had quit work due to the change in cities. I had the sweetest in-laws but you definitely can’t go on with life just like you did back home.
Waking up in the morning was not my thing at all but I had to do it. Couple that with helping out in the kitchen, putting on sindoor, making my bed every morning and going sabji shopping with mom-in-law. My MIL loves watching those Ekta Kapoor serials and I had to sit through them, for formality’s sake.Being the youngest kid, I had been pampered to no end and this felt almost like a nightmare. I dreaded going to the Tuesday evening sabji bazaar, making small talk with the neighbour aunties, and absolutely hated being this typical housewife whose only job was to lay the dinner table and serve hot chapattis when the men returned from work. None of it was forced, nor was I frustrated because I was jobless. It was more like facing the basic expectations everyone has from their bahu.
I really gave my husband a hard time each day by begging him to come back home early from work - household stuff was so not my thing. I would eagerly wait for my in-laws to finish dinner and retire to their room so I could be alone with Rohan and it could just be the two of us. That was my most cherished time of the day, every day.
A couple of months later I got a new job and since then things have been great! My in-laws are extremely understanding and don’t expect me to wake up and make my own tiffin before leaving for office. They don’t expect me to be this multitasking superwoman who comes back and helps with dinner or other household chores. All they wanted was a daughter-in-law who loves and respects them, which I whole heartily do. They understand that I need my weekends after a hectic work week and I live just the way their own son does. There is no partiality just because he is the man, earning a lot more than I do or because his job is more taxing than mine.
I leave for work without any extra burden, go to the gym or a swim after office and we party hard over the weekends. My mum-in-law does find it a bit weird when I dress in short skirts but she knows that I take my fashion seriously. In fact, I’ve revamped her wardrobe too and what an effect it’s had on her confidence levels! My father-in-law, who is known in the family for being strict and a bit orthodox, has turned a new leaf too. You’ll often find us clinking our glasses of wine and cheering to the good times. They realize that we are both adults and let us live our life the way we wish to.
Yes, I do sometimes still wish to be alone with Rohan. I wish I could light up a hundred candles and surprise him when he returns from a hard day at work. There are days when I want to just hug him and give him the longest kiss ever while having our morning coffee on the terrace. There are times when I want to put on music and dance with him all night long, and there are those lazy Sundays when all I feel like doing is getting into the sheets, cuddling him and watch movies back-to-back.
And I sure do miss being myself. It’s been two years that we’ve been married but I still do feel the pressure of being the perfect daughter-in-law. I feel compelled to keep my strong opinions to myself or put up a smiling face when I am not upto it. My in-laws are the nicest people but I realize that it takes more than just a couple of years to build a bond so strong that you can be the daughter and not the bahu.
But well, you can’t have the best of everything at once, right? Whenever I do feel like I really need a break, I surprise Rohan with a weekend getaway! In fact, staying with in-laws has really helped keep the excitement alive. ;)