Sunday, September 9, 2007

Village Mantharas

First let me thank my grand daughter Nandita for giving me the award "Rockin' Girl Blogger". Am I the only grand mother who can boast of such a privilege? I am also thanking all those who read my postings and put comments.

In this post, I am presenting my experiences during early days of married life. As told in the previous post, with great difficulty we reached my husband's house for marriage on the eve of the marriage day. My marriage had four day long rituals. In those days, people celebrated marriage for 7 days also. Later it became shorter and shorter and now it is just two to three hours. For my marriage, the relatives in my husband's house came a week before and I heard that they will leave only one week after the marriage. My husband is the eldest son in the house and it is the first marriage held there. After the marriage, some expert relatives stayed long to take some study classes to my mother-in-law.

On fifth day my father took both of us to our house for two days. After we returned I started hearing murmuring dialogs from the corners of the house. It was all to my mother in law. One says "Don't keep her on your head, if you do so, she will control you afterwards". Another one said "How much you suffered when you were young. Now it is your turn to give back". I thought, what is my fault in this? Another one said "You send your maid servant and make your daughter in law do all work at home, otherwise she will sit idle"... Another one "Don't give her good food, she is anyway from poor family". It went on like that. Those relatives did their work very well before they returned. I realized that it will not be easy for me to live there. It is a type of ragging. Some relatives also told me against my mother-in-law. They left, but the village had its own mantharas. Manthara is a very well known figure in Ramayana, who has habbit of ill-advising people.

In those days, husbands also find it difficult to openly support wives, else their life would also become miserable in the village. I was just a 16 year old girl and after hearing this my mind filled with fear. But I knew, my mother-in-law is kind hearted. She liked me. In the village, the houses are in the middle of large farm lands. The elder women of these houses meet in one house. The mother-in-laws of newly married brides can not attend these meetings. Most of the afternoons such meetings took place and the main topic of discussion is generating ideas on how they can make the mother in laws and daughter in laws fight and make daughter in law's life miserable.

After my marriage, they decided to start meeting at our house, as my mother in law never attend such meetings. But she was not interested in all that. They know, she will not join them easily. So they decided to use my husband's siblings for this purpose. They knew my mother in law's weakness. She will not speak anything against her children. The mantharas started succeeding in their work.

I felt helpless. Thought only god can save me. What can an 16 years old girl do? I remembered my father's advise. He told me before the marriage. "Don't fight with anyone. If you fight with them, what is the difference between you and them? We believe in moral values. Love is the only way to get love from them. It will take some time for you to win their hearts. I am sure you can do it".

I started doing whatever i was asked to do. I use to make snacks for the eveneing tea for all. Even though the mantharas advised my mother in law, my mother in law never showed difference in giving me food etc, and also her eyes said, she likes me. That gave me satisfaction. I ignored all bad things that happen to me. The mantharas waited to see big fight in our house. But the wait was of no use. In our neighbour's house also came a daughter in law. That gave a relief to me as the manthara's concentration moved there. I became free. I was tense for two to three years, because their poisonous words and continuous advises drifted the minds of my husband's siblings and others at home to some extent.

But my parents in law were different. They liked me. I liked their personality. Though illiterate, my mother in law, practiced values. They accepted me as a daughter. Now they are not in this world. I remember them respectfully in my heart like my parents.

Now I also have a daughter in law. Love is the foundation of everything at out home. I am very happy with my daughter in law, who considers me more than her mother, and is there by my side in everything. I am sure, one can get love only by giving love. Even these days there are mantharas all over. But they can't break the wall of love.