AtoZ Challenge, Family, Thoughts

S for Sanskaari Bahu | AtoZ Challenge

Sanskaari (adj) – Cultured and well-mannered
Bahu (n) – Daughter in-law
Sasuji (n) – Mother-in-law
Shaadi (n) – Marriage

Until about yesterday, I had decided that today’s post would be dedicated to Sarso ka tel because it has played a vital role in Baby Hashtag’s well-being. And then, just this morning, I read an​ article which was so fundamentally wrong that it made me go another direction with the letter S.

Sanskaari. The holy S word that all women are taught to be 
since childhood. Explored extensively by the likes of Ekta Kapoor, exploited by soap operas for years. Because, beti is paraaya dhan innit. She has to leave her home, get married to a certain someone and accept his family as her own. Of course, this codswallop has been fed to every woman in our country and it’s an age old, albeit accepted tradition. 

Fundamentally, the family system would cease to exist if a marriage fails to take place. So logically, for the continuity of species and family lines, a shaadi is necessary. And for a shaadi, you need a bahu. It was fine up to this point. A lot of people experience different things in their marriages. Some are happy, some are just about ok and some are plain abusive. But the freak generalisation of the sanskaari bahu as a prerequisite to a successful marriage had me tongue tied.
Sanskaars are subjective. To each, their own. What is morally sanskaar approved for you may not be just for someone else. This logic a lot of people understand but the need for the textbook ‘sanskaari bahu’ remains as old as ever. 

I, for one, am in no way a Sanskaari Bahu.

What is a sanskaari bahu?
A bahu who wakes up before sunrise, cooks for the family members (not just cooks but must cook various other cuisines), knows all the housework (so in case the maid decides to take a raincheck, you are still good), must press sasuji’s legs till she falls asleep in the night, must still continue housekeeping duties even after having a baby, must be willing to take the second place in the husband’s life cos he will always be the Mama’s boy, she must treat the new family as her own and let go of the older family where she was born, so on and so forth.

Like I said, I am none of the above.

I wake up well after sunrise cos well, I have a baby to nurse all night and mornings are the only time we all sleep in peace. I know my way around the kitchen and home but not to the point of being called the expert homemaker. I’d rather be a commoner. When my sasuji is at home, we gossip over a cup of tea. That’s a better and fun way to bond. I have a maid and a house help to help me manage my home cos I’m no Superwoman. I look after my husband just as much as he looks after me. I also take breaks for work or to simply chill while the baby is being watched over by other members of the family. I am in constant touch with my ‘other’ family and my husband treats them with no less love and respect. My mother and I still talk for hours, cos well, some things don’t change. But I am sure I am still loved in this house. Both the houses, in fact. For me, happy marriages have nothing to do with being a sanskaari bahu. It is merely an extension of my pre-marital life except now I have more people to have fun with.

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