In an age where we mark everything from Friendship Day to Ground Hog’s Day, have you noticed that there are not too many queuing up to observe Mother-in-Law Day? The hoary old saas-bahu rivalry is alive and well, according to a new book that says women are hardwired to hate their mothers-in-law. Apparently, even those who want to get along with their mothers-in-law are not able to because of expectations that they would not get along. We feel that such studies are promoted by cunning men for whom such perpetual rivalry works out quite well.
The son/spouse has two women battling it out for his affections and he is able to play one off against the other. So when the wife comes up with an enticing casserole, he compliments her and then extols the virtues of mummy’s chicken hotpot. The wife does not cosh him with the electric toaster but feels resentment towards the mother-in-law. In subtle ways, the hapless woman is informed of mother’s smooth household management, her parenting skills — after all, she bought him up all right —and her exquisite taste in clothes. Who could match up to all this? Most women don’t even try, they just try and trip up the offending paragon of virtue. So it’s time for all you feminists out there to urge women to stop falling into this sneaky male trap. Women must realise that for millennia, they have been outwitted by men who have stoked the fires of the saas-bahu animosity to their advantage.
It would be too much to expect the two women to join hands. But if each stays in her own corner of the ring, well, the referee, read the man in the equation, won’t have to choose between them. That takes all the fun out of it for men, doesn’t it?