Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My sister (in law) and me

My sister in law is a year younger to me. She is very non interfering and easy to get along. When we got married, I didnt have any usual sister in law to bhabhi issues with her.

On the other hand, I had those problems big time with my brother's wife. Every time she visited and left, I had to listen to a long list of complaints from my brother. S did this, S did that, dont do this, dont do that, dont say that and on and on it went. And I would listen quietly and promise to implement them in the next interaction. On and on it went for a couple of years until my nephew arrived on the scene. I had no kids of my own and he was the first baby in our family. I went ga ga over him. I am his favorite aunt and I spoilt that kid to no limit. It also brought about a radical change in our relationship, my bhabhi started to love me. We are friends now. Both of us still have our quirks and things that irritate each other, I am sure of it, but we get along really well, look forward to each other's visits, miss each other if we havent talked/met in a while. It didnt happen overnight.

On the other hand, me and my sister in law started off great. And of late, I feel like our relationship is deteriorating. She doesnt call so often, or I am not around when she calls, P and her have long conversations, most times I am busy with the girls or not around. There used to be a time when I would call her regularly on my way home from work. We would chat like friends. Then she got married and moved a bit further away...

Then my in laws visited and it seems she was going thru the usual rough teething problems that any newly married couple goes through. The only difference was that my in laws would have hushed conversations in my house about her and as soon as I walked into the room, they would stop talking. It started to get a bit uncomfortable. My MIL finally confided in P about my sister in law's issues and they asked him not to include me in the conversations or be careful that I dont find out about it. I felt so bad. I didnt know that my in laws thought so little of me.

I have never wished ill for my sister in law, always had the best thoughts for her but my father in law told me on a couple of occasions, why did you say so and so to her, you should say so and so instead or dont say this to her, she needs this....When all I was doing was some good natured ribbing or general conversation. At that point of time, I think, I shut off. When she would call, I wasnt sure if I would be interupting any private conversation or if they wouldnt be able to talk freely if I was there so I would walk away. I am sure this must have led to further misunderstandings with my SIL thinking I have no enthusiasm to talk to her, I dont know.

I feel like we are drifting apart slowly. Lack of communication does that to people. When you do not voice your concerns or opinions clearly, everything is up for debate and each side can see things as they deem fit.

In law relationships are always so fragile, arent they. Add to it, my rocky relationship with my in laws, her parents; I dont know if she is unhappy that I have made her parents so unhappy. I dont know what she thinks. When we were going thru a really bad time with my in laws visit, where all of us were pretty much miserable, I asked P so many times to call her and to tell her about everything that was going on. I thought as a wife and as a daughter, she would be able to understand both of us. She would be able to help, to solve the ever increasing web of misunderstandings.

Now we have all reached this point of no return. My in laws are getting older and more stubborn, set in their ways. We have tremendous misunderstandings on both sides. We know that either party is not evil and has good wishes but for some reason cannot get along well for a long period of time under the same roof. I do not know how to clearly discuss issues with them. That is what I am used to. Calling up family and asking if they are mad and what are they mad at etc.

I dont have that clear communication with my birth mom and what is the result, am I close to her? My mother in law is another one, I cannot seem to talk to her and find out what she wants and what will make her happy? We no longer have that communication channel and both her kids will not help to soothe things or make them allright.

P's strategy is mostly to pretend nothing is wrong and go about your day as usual. His sister has a great virtue of non intereference and yet again sometimes I wish she would help us all get along.

P has only one sibling and I feel very sad that we are growing distant. I wish she would come visit, spend time with her nieces, R adores her so much. I wish we could chat on the phone like old friends. I wish I could tell her the issues I face with her parents and get her advice, after all she knows them better than I do. I wish she would tell me what her mother wants. I wish she would talk to her mother about me. I wish there would be this one person trying to bring everyone together.

For once I am lost. Many times I feel like writing her an email or calling her and talking to her about this. I had decided that I would tell her everything, have a heart to heart conversation when she visited by herself in the summer but that visit didnt happen. I do not even know if she would be open minded enough to listen or would she be automatically scornful of me for not getting along with her parents. What do I do?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Of conductors and drivers...

I think I was in fourth standard when it started. I used to be fair and delicate and I was going thru a phase where I would insist to wear a gajara to school everyday. My sister and I would go by bus to school, Aai Baba would drop us at the bus stop. All the conductors and drivers were interested in me. I was too young to understand their laughing and teasing each other and whistling and stuff when I would walk by so it wouldnt affect me and I would forget about them the moment I would walk into the school. But slowly over time, one conductor emerged as the main "hero wannabe". He started getting bolder and would not let me get off the bus and keep me till the end. He wouldnt do anything or ever touch me but would smell the flowers in my hair etc. I think this went on for quite a while and I didnt say anything to anyone (I was an idiot or maybe I was just really young). My friends (boys) started to stand two behind me, one in front of me and would refuse to get off the bus if he wouldnt let me get off following them. They started shielding me with their hands. Bicharey, tey pan same age hotey. Maybe boys have a protective instinct from young age? At that time, I finally mentioned it to Aai Baba over dinner one evening. Babani ardhavat ghaas tasach panat takun, lagech uthun gele. He went to meet Mr.Kunder who used to own the buses and run the bus service. Overnight that conductor was fired ani dusryach divsapasun none of them dared to look in my direction. The issue was solved so quickly, I tolerated it for so many days for no reason.Most times it helps to speak up.

Many months later I bumped into that conductor on the road. He gave me a horrible angry look and kept staring. I was terrified but I also looked at him sternly and he turned away. Anil (my gay best friend) was with me, he asked me later why I was so white and shaking :( I dont know what is the right way - not to show you are scared or to ignore and walk away. I mostly ignore and walk away. Ughich kaay karayacha ahe na. These are all things in the past. I dont meet any sleazy people now. I have become accustomed to the US where even though it might be super crowded sometimes, like if we go to a carnival or a fair or the city in summer, no one ever bumps into you or touches you.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I should change the name of my blog to dukh dukh log as I tend to turn to it only when I want to vent!

Painful painful realisation. My birth father pretty much only thinks of me as his "pen friend" (Yes, that concept might have gone away in the eighties but he is 62 so have to cut him slack). He is very busy with professional and personal commitments and of late, I have realised that he only writes to me when he has time. I mean he doesnt make time to write to me. He writes to me when he has time. Isnt there a difference or am I just too clingy needy. Everything is according to his whims. He writes and I reply right away. He doesnt write for days, I wait patiently. Then I complain and say I miss you etc and he writes back. For once I would like to make him wait for my emails. So I am going to try it.

When P and I fight, P carries on a "Ignore wife to hurt her" then a cold war followed suddenly by a "Pretend nothing happened and carry on as usual" which signifies the end of the fight in his mind. I need discussion and post mortem analysis of the fight. And I always decide that I wont go talk to him first and always fail. Five minutes into the cold war, I give in and go yell at him.

So I dont know how its going to work with my Dad. But I want to protect myself from getting hurt. I dont want to love someone so deeply if it is not going to be reciprocated. I do not want to wait for someone if that person doesnt appreciate my patience or realise it.

So I will move him down my priority list too, he was right up there with baby S, even slightly above P and R! He goes down the list now. Until he writes a sappy email saying how much he loves me and I melt. Sigh!