So I told my friend about The Mother-in-Law – the other woman in your marriage by Veena Venugopal (I know the title is a mouthful but it’s apt) which deals with real life case studies; it dissects the relationship between the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law, as seen from the eyes of the daughter-in-law (except one). I told her to give the book a try because of her impending matrimony, and she asked me why I was reading it. She didn’t roll her eyes at me but she might as well have. I was stumped for a second before I replied. The book was on my TBR. Why is that so hard to believe? I don’t think the blue cover had any role to play in making the book appealing though I was more than happy to own a book with an ice blue cover. My interest is in the psychological roles because of the power dynamic, and how it continues to be problematic for most married women who may or may not live with their in-laws.
Let me digress and ask a very important question – why do we read the books we read? I don’t think I can answer the question because it changes. There are reasons galore but we don’t read because of them, we just read. The takeaway is the bonus of course, except for the really horrible books we throw against the wall. I haven’t done that yet but there’s always tomorrow. As of now I am content with just giving them away (sits there feeling saintly just for a second before it fades).
The book is brave because in the introduction the author talks about her marriage followed by the case studies. The idea of one’s private life dissected for all to see still fills me with dread (Yes, I know I will never be a real writer!). It gave me insights into the behaviour of many of my married friends. We bring our childhoods into all our relationships including our marriages. Like with everything else in our lives, the patterns keep repeating unless we consciously take steps to break them.
I am thankful to the author for ending the case studies on an optimistic note (as compared to the rest of stories) and ending the book with a tongue in cheek list. Without humour it would be depressing because the ugly truths it spouts would have made it unpalatable for a wimp like me.
Marriage season is almost upon us. So here I am. If like me you weren’t always wary of this institution, Veena Venugopal’s words would not only make you think twice but make you factor things you never think of when choosing a life partner. You will not gloss over what you think are little things. As it turns out our mothers were right about everything but don’t let them know that because they would never let us forget it. Okay bye, I’m off to attend my friend’s engagement.