In-law or Outlaw?

"My daughter-in-law just passed school when she married my son Shekar." The mother-in-law Kamakshi was telling the guests who were visiting her. Her daughter-in-law Kamala was in the kitchen making coffee. She had heard this dialogue over a hundred times over the last five years. She was distressed the same way today just like the day when she first heard the comment. Her mother-in-law had a tactic of making her feel small and insignificant in front of everybody else.

Why Shekar? Kamala thought .. why cannot you tell your mother that I'm trying my best to keep her happy. Why don't you let her know that I'm getting hurt all the time?

Shekar was the only son to Kamakshi. So he made every precaution not to disappoint his mother. Though his mother complained non-stop about his wife, he chose to let it go. Talking about it will only create a bigger problem as far as he was concerned. Many a nights he had spent consoling Kamala, that everything would be alright in the near future. But the day never came. Things were still the same even after 5 years. Even after two kids...

"Kamala's family is not like ours you see. They gave us only 10 sovereigns of gold as dowry. But I was generous enough to get her married to Shekar". The guests were cousins of Kamakshi and they were commenting about their own daughters-in-law.

"...Yeah, Preethi does not work enough. I have to help her in everything.."

Kamala entered the hall with the coffee tray. Her mother-in-law made no pretense of noticing her.
The rest of the time, Kamala pretended to be invisible while her own mother-in-law ranted about her and her family to the guests who were having quite a ball. It was embarrassing. Anger and tears were building up within Kamala.

The guests left. Shekhar had just come home. Kamala started to clear the dishes not wanting to talk to anybody.

"Shekar you are home! Rani aunty was here. Poor soul..her daughter-in-law does not know anything.. 
This generation is becoming worst. We mother-in-laws have to put up with everything. Kamala is lucky to have me. Who will treat their bahus like this when they have brought nothing from their houses? "

It was the last straw for Kamala. Before Shekar could react Kamala rounded on her mother-in law.

"Mamiji, Agreed I do not have money or even a decent education as you were kind enough to point out to our guests. But I do not have a big mouth or a self-important attitude either. All these years I expected Shekar to solve the problem for me. But I 'm doing now, what I should have done five years earlier.When I came to this house, I thought of you as my own mother. I trusted you to support me morally. But after all these years, I'm sick and tired of pretending not to be hurt while you say all those stinging things about me to strangers. I'm trying my best to keep you happy. But whatever I do, you just do not acknowledge it. So why should I try to achieve something that is never going to happen? I still want all of us to be happy as a family but not at the cost of my honor or happiness." Kamala stormed out of the hall.

Kamakshi looked utterly shell-shocked. Shekhar saw his mother was digesting what had just happened. He knew his mother won't change in a single day. But the wheels had definitely started turning.

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