I Too Want To Live..
I Too Want To Live..9 mins 25.3K 9 mins 25.3K
Sheena was smiling all her way back home, with reminiscing trails of her newfound motherhood. With her 5-month baby in arms and her husband by her side she felt so complete and content.
Their car reached home and with the door bell's ring, she was welcomed by her frowning mother-in-law and her cranky questions of why they were late started making their way, though it was just 4.30 in the evening.
Sheena was expecting some puja arti or even a small tilak to be put on her son's tiny forehead by her mother-in-law who had always longed for a grand child, and also that her child was the first baby to be born in the house after a long time. But her expectations remained well within her unsaid words.
However, things continued in the usual manner, as though there was nothing new to be happy about at home. Sheena's mother in law was more worried about the dust on the kitchen racks than oiling the baby. Sheena, on the other hand, was trying her best to keep up with the house chores and her baby.
Mosquitoes were sheer trouble in the evening, Sheena regretted not bringing along, the small baby mosquito net from her mother's place, which her mother had told her several times to carry along. She then asked her husband to get one for the baby, this conversation was heard by her mother in law, who yelling at Sheena says, "Are you mad, you are asking for such a thing. There is a big mosquito net at home use that, there is no need to get it. Useless things, you ask for, every time." Her husband never did anything against his mother's wish. So, these expectations was also under wrap. Sheena had to use the big mosquito net for her tiny dear son who was now six months old. The question was not about a mosquito net but her wish being crushed down so harshly and unemphatic attitude of her mother in law towards her.
Sheena thought to her self. How long will this continue...??, " should I speak up or stay mum on things. I am expected to be a sweet, and soft-spoken daughter in law. How can I, when small wishes of mine are crushed and they break without any noise. If I speak up, it will for sure lead to arguments, fights and as usual, my husband would feel trapped between his mother and wife.
Should I just keep snubbing my wishes and lead my path as a great unsung warrior at home or should I take it upon me and stand up for what I want....
What is the threshold of tolerance, is it to bear the broken crumbs of my wishes or raise voice in defense and invite the wrath of my family???
With these thoughts passing through Sheena's perplexed mind ...comes two voices, one, of her baby crying, and the other of her mother in law's which said, "maid has not turned up today, start with the work immediately."
Sheena comes out of the room with the crying baby and said, "my baby needs me, I'll do the work later."
Her mother-in-law replies," babies will cry all day, this is how they grow up, don't take this as an excuse to avoid work."
Sheena just leaves the baby crying, takes up the broomstick with a heavy heart and starts with household chores. She sobs from within.
One day, her mother in law's friend, Mrs Dev, comes home. Her mother in law exchanges pleasantries with her friend, and with a harsh shout calls out to Sheena, asking her to fetch a glass of water. Sheena gets a glass of water. Mrs Dev enquires with Sheena about her son. She takes the baby in her arms and cuddles. Sheena's mother in law cunningly asks Mrs Dev, "poor thing, your daughter in law never gave you this happiness of holding your grandchild in your arms."
To which Mrs Dev replies with a smile, "true, but Iam happy, when my daughter in law spends time with me and we share all our pains. It feels like this void in our lives has actually helped us come together."
Sheena's mother in law didn't seem to understand much out of it but this incident was an eye-opener for Sheena. She starts to think of turning her weakness into an opportunity to make her life better.
Next day, as usual, Sheena was in the kitchen and luckily it was a Sunday so her husband too was at home. He was spending quality time with his son, enjoying. Looking at the ongoing scene, Sheena's mother in law speaks, "poor my son, throughout the week he works and even on a Sunday this child keeps him busy. My son doesn't get to rest at all.".
Husband replies, "it's ok ma, playing with my son, completely relieves me of my stress."
"But I feel stressed to see you like this" cries out Sheena's mother in law. she further adds, "leave that child, go to my room and sleep for a while, day and night you are busy. Sheena, take care of the child and see to it my son is not disturbed, did you get it??" Sheena is left alone. Somehow she manages, her son and completes cooking.
On the lunch table, mother in law as usual is ready with a long list of complains about the food. To which Sheena turns deaf, but it did affect her appetite.
That evening while playing with her baby, Sheena noticed that her son doesn't laugh or smile enough. She compares the child with her sister's and was reminded of unstoppable laughter they used to enjoy with that child. The next minute Sheena looked at herself in the mirror. She gazed at herself realising that, where has she laughed and smiled enough in front of her child to expect that from a 6-month-old. She was pain struck.
"Women are emotional, very sensitive, but this does not mean they are weak", she remembers her grandmother, had said this once.
Next day, Sheena was extremely unwell, she was a feeding mother and needed good rest and nutrition which she hardly got. Sheena was unable to get up as her head was spinning. Giddiness consumed her. She called out for her husband who was getting ready for work, he came in and was worried to see his wife in such a condo. He got her some basic paracetamol. Sheena took the tablet in half-conscious state.
Distinctly, she could hear her mother in law blabbering, " now she has made my son, her servant, he is getting late for work and this queen wants all his service."
Sheena's mother in law was asked to keep quiet and hold the baby for a while by her son, which was beyond her capacity. So, she further started "now I have turned a babysitter, huh!!! When I was of her age, I used to do double the work of what she does, no one used to ask me even once whether I am well or not. These modern girls, they do some paltry amount of work and expect so much...huh."
Sheena could not do much. She heard everything and for the first time did what she badly wanted to. She had a sound sleep, which she was deprived off from many months. She did that for the whole day.
The next morning, Sheena woke up and felt better. Better, because after a long time, she did something for herself. She slept and recovered, without thinking about anybody but herself. Which is by the way, not a crime.
She saw her baby was not next to her and so was her husband. She quickly went to her mother in law's room and found all were sleeping there. Her mother-in-law and baby were sleeping on the bed and her husband on the floor.
It looked as though they had a tough day without her. She then went into the kitchen, only to find it in the messiest and grubbiest condition. But all this did not deject her, she was calm from within to quickly clean it up in no time. She prepared the morning tea, got the bottle of milk ready for her son, even planned the breakfast. After a long time, Sheena felt unburdened. Nothing physically had changed though, everyone and everything was just the way it was always but what had changed was Sheena from within. She took a mug of tea, rested her back along with the cushion of the sofa, on which she had not seated from months and sipped tea with great pleasure. She relished every sip of tea and realised how she had forgotten, for a long time, 'to be herself'. She looks at herself in the mirror of the living room, and smiles says cheers to herself.
It's true that a women's life changes after marriage and children, but women still remain human, who need rest and break. No, actually, rests and breaks.
Meanwhile, Sheena's mother in law comes out of the room and looks at her daughter in law enjoying her tea. After she had spent a hectic day. She was furious. Sheena was immersed in her thoughts and did not see her mother in law approaching her.
"Sheena", yelled her mother in law, and continued, " you shameless, you have given enough trouble to all of us yesterday and today instead of asking me for a cup of tea, you are sitting in front of me and drinking it. Iam the most unfortunate lady to have got a daughter in law like you, huh!!. You don't even care for your husband, your baby, how the hell will you care for this old lady. If you were my daughter I would have slapped you for doing all this. Huh!!"
Sheena didn't move an inch but continues sipping her tea. Upon completing which, for the first time Sheena stands in front of her mother in law, looking eye to eye and says "thanks a lot maa for taking care of my son and husband all day long yesterday. However, they are not only mine but yours as well. My husband is your son and my son is your grandson. So, whatever you have done yesterday please don't think you did it for me, you did it for your family.
How dare you?? Sheena's mother-in-law comes forward to confront her.
Sheena too comes forwards and continued, "you might be unlucky to have a daughter in law like me but I am fortunate to have a mother in law like you. You made me realise my self worth and taught me what kind out mother in law I must prevent from becoming. Thanks for setting the most ghastly example of all, which will keep reminding me that unless I respect myself, no one will. Thanks for demeaning me, now I know what it is to respect oneself. I regret for ignoring my wishes, my health and above all myself. None would have asked you about your work or health in your younger days, I empathize with you but not to the ideology that if you were wronged you have the right to wrong others.
I am the legally wedded wife of your son. I am the daughter in law of this house, I am also the dutiful mother to my son, my one day's absence does not make me any less of who I am.
Thank you, for all that you have taught me, it's my time now and I will give it back to you, my dear mother-in-law."
The doorbell rings, Sheena opens the door, it's the delivery boy. Sheena receives the parcel and opens it. There is a beautiful blue baby mosquito net. She goes and puts it on her sleeping baby. Her husband is awake and listening to all that is happening. He looks at her, she too nervously looks at him. Both look at each other. The husband smiles at Sheena, she too smiles.
"How are you feeling now ", enquired the husband
"Anew and fresh", replies Sheena.