Spice of life | Punjabi mother-in law’s love for Chinese bahu
The mother-in- law frequently taunted her elder daughter-in- law: “Tere nalu than chinan hi changi, lardi ta nahi, sirf hass kevika dende hai (this Chinese girl is a lot better than you, she does not argue and only smiles).Updated: Aug 03, 2017, 15:51 IST
Traditionally, marriage for most Indians is not merely a sacrament but a sacrosanct union. In marriage, two individuals generally from different backgrounds come together in alliance. However, in today’s fast-paced world, the younger generation is invariably independent, somewhat impatient and has less urge/capacity for adjustment.
All this has taken toll on how this alliance is perceived and maintained. Therefore, this alliance in wedding is sometimes compared to welding in the lighter vein. In the latter case, sparks are followed by bonding while in former sparks follow the bonding. Many a times, sparks fly in no time after solemnising the marriage even though couples know each other for quite some time.
One of my friend, who is a senior police officer, invariably attends many marriage functions in the city. Once, during the marriage season, he attended seven marriages in a day but very soon four of these alliances ended up in his office with serious marital discord within three months of their solemnising.
Marriage requires a lot of effort and input to be successful. Earlier, in the joint family system, elderly family members were available for counselling and would lead by example. The shift in the society from joint to nuclear set-up has seen the role of elderly taken over by s ‘family counsellor’.
Various studies on changes in human behavior in the society point towards the fact that these days the newlywed girls constantly remain connected to their mothers through mobile.
This prevents her from forming bonds with her new family members, especially the mother-in-law. There is no privacy of the home as her mother exactly knows who has cut ‘bhindi’ in their house in the morning and who has cooked it in the kitchen. Even the daughter-in- law feels that her mother-in-law is always on phone with her daughter to inquire about the finer details of the latter’s family.
The mobiles ensure that only the place of residence changes for girls but the communication and counselling channels remain the same. It appears that along with the daughter, her mother too gets married into the daughter’s family by mobile.
The strained relationship between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law is the root cause of family discord since centuries.
One of my acquaintances in the US had two sons. The elder one got married to a highly educated Punjabi girl, but a frequent argument between the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law invariably disturbed the peace and tranquillity of the home. After some time, their younger son married a Chinese girl with whom the mother-in-law had no communication except for exchanging a smile. The mother-in- law frequently taunted her elder daughter-in- law: “Tere nalu than chinan hi changi, lardi ta nahi, sirf hass kevika dende hai (this Chinese girl is a lot better than you, she does not argue and only smiles).
(The writer is a professor of veterinary medicine at GADVASU in Ludhiana)