#ArrangedShaadi: To Be Or Not To Be... A 'Good Indian Bahu'
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A few months ago, S and I met through our families and decided to get married to each other. From the first awkward phone call, to the first date to the first time we kept talking all night long - this is the seventh in the series of all about our arranged marriage… Read #ArrangedShaadi: I Got Cold Feet After Our First ‘Big’ Fight ... here!
“How will I wake up at 7 in the morning? You know I can’t function without sleep.” I cribbed for the millionth time to S.
“Okay listen, here’s what we’re gonna do. I’ll put an alarm half an hour before 7 every day and I’ll wake you up. And even if you oversleep sometimes, it’s okay.” He said, trying to calm me down.
“No, it’s not okay. Everybody will expect me to be up early. How can the bahu keep sleeping late into the day? Listen, let’s just run away. I don’t think I am ready to be anyone’s bahu.”
With hardly 15 days left for the wedding, my anxiety levels are shooting up. I suck at the usual roles a good Indian bahu is expected to play – waking up before everyone else (or at least with everyone else), knowing how to cook a million things, managing the home and just generally looking after the fam. Of course, if you aren’t going to live with the in-laws after your marriage, you can escape all this. (However, neighbours and in-laws from afar will still expect you to do it all.) But, if you’re gonna live with the family, like me, there’s just no way out of these responsibilities.
And I am scared of them. I’ve only recently learned how to be responsible for my own actions. To think that soon I’ll be responsible for everyone else in the family just makes me shiver. To think that I’ll be moving in permanently with a bunch of strangers gets me stressed. To think that I’ll no longer be the pampered child I was to my parents, gets me crying.
How does a young girl transform into a responsible, mature bahu overnight? And, why is she expected to? Why is there a huge gap in our expectations from a daughter and a daughter-in-law?
My mother didn’t raise me to be anyone’s bahu. She raised me to be an independent woman who could look after herself. And now that I am getting married, here’s what she has to say: 'Accept your in-laws as your own family. Respect them and love them, like you would respect and love, me and your dad. That’s the only secret to feeling at home, like a daughter among them. It won’t come easy, but it will come to you. Give love, my baby, and you will receive more of it back. And when you don’t know what to do - Just think of another girl marrying your brother and living with us, and act the way you would want her to act with us. Treat others the way you would want to be treated by them. It’s that simple, really.'
Guess you’re never really ready for marriage and responsibilities till you dive in head first, struggle and learn to swim through it all. Meanwhile, didn’t Carrie Bradshaw say that you have to take the tradition and decorate it your way? Here’s my plan of action for my life as a bahu then: I am gonna quit running away from the responsibilities of a bahu adult. I am going to add my own flavour to all traditions, and keep making little changes in them, as and when required. And most importantly, I am not going to worry about being the perfect bahu to my in-laws, but will just live like a daughter with them.