Recently one of my friends sent me a joke which ran like this:

A group of young women decided to arrange for a camp with their mothers-in-law to hopefully get to know and understand each other better since relations between them were very sour.

Two buses were hired, one for the mothers-in-law and the other for the daughters-in-law. Unfortunately the bus the mothers-in-law were traveling in was involved in an accident and all the passengers died on the spot.

The daughters- in- law (women being women) shed a few tears but they were all puzzled by one woman who wailed uncontrollably for what they perceived to be her great personal loss. Her friend asked her, “Forgive me for asking, but why are you crying so hard? I didn’t realize you were so close to your mother-in-law?” to which she replied, “No we are not close at all, she missed the bus!”

Why is it that the mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law are shown as two different species? While the former are painted as ogresses, the latter are always portrayed as victims of their harassment. Don’t they realize that the daughters- in- law of today would be the mothers- in -law of tomorrow? Likewise, the moms-in-law of today had been the daughters-in-law in the near past. In fact, the meekest daughter-in-law of today may be the most aggressive mom-in-law when it is a question of her own son and the vice versa could also be true. Or the m-i-l who looks Ok to one d-i-l may look odious to the other. So, I feel, the m-i-l s and d-i-l s are not two different species, but two sides of the same coin.

Well, talking about the relationships, I was fortunate to have a very sweet and understanding mom-in-law.  An acquaintance of mine has a d-i-l who just worships her m-i-l and wears her love on her sleeve. One day she came and asked me, “Look, I don’t like these m-i-l s always maligned. It is as if just being in the position of am-i-l invests her with all bad qualities. There are good m-i-l s too who have a good relationship with their d-i-l s like mine. Why don’t you start a column in the newspaper where in d-i-l s who are fine with their m-i-ls can write about them. You can edit and publish them.

Hmmm…, quite a revolutionary idea. But where is the guarantee that the column would run for more than 2-3 weeks? Moreover the ‘praised’ m-i-l s might start flaunting their status, just like the celebrities of Mumbai who flaunt their Income Tax raids. The ‘un applauded’ ones might start nagging their d-i-l  to write about them too, aggravating an already dire scenario at home.

After going through all this introspection, I decided to leave the m-i-l s and d-i-ls where they belonged, that is at the two poles of the World.

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15 responses »

  1. Beyniaz says:

    M-i-ls and D-i-ls are much maligned in TV serials and movies. Guess they are just normal human beings in real life!

  2. gc1963 says:

    Enjoyed reading.

  3. isabel says:

    I enjoyed reading this Vimala… Lucky for those d-i-ls who have saint like m-i-ls:) and I shall pray for those who are not so fortunate.
    Like you I was somewhat lucky/unlucky, m-i-l was 6 Ft-U when I and my husband crossed paths.

  4. Eva Bell says:

    Hi Vimala! Glad to read Ha Ha Humour again.
    The warring in-laws! There are good stories and bad stories. It depends on their ability to communicate and adjust, and they might well find themselves on the same side of the fence.

  5. Dear Vimala,

    Nice to have you back. A nice piece on the stereotype images of mothers in law and daughters in law. We need a change, that’s for sure. We can’t generalize always, can we?

    • vimalaramu says:

      Thanks Shail. Generalisation becomes more difficult when the same person has to play both the roles,-Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde !!Ha, Ha, Just kidding. Don’t get het up ladies.

  6. Sneha says:

    Interesting and quirky.

  7. Vimala, as usual, very thought provoking. I too had a wonderful M-I-L who very sadly passed away after a brave fight against cancer. I still miss her as she was a very wise and gentle soul who was admired by everyone who’s lives she touched. I often wonder what sort of a M-I-L I will make as I’m certainly not anything like her!!!

  8. J S BROCA says:

    Dear Vimalaji,
    Enjoyed your take on the in-law,out-law syndrome !
    I was reminded of some funny quotes from my collection :
    “Difference between law and in-law is you can justify yourself before law but never before in-laws”.
    “Never rely on the glory of the morning nor the smiles of your mother-in-law.”- Japanese Proverb.
    “Adam was the luckiest man in the world. He had no mother-in-law.”
    “I can always tell when the mother in law’s coming to stay; the mice throw themselves on the traps.”- Les Dawson
    “Just got back from a pleasure trip: I took my mother-in-law to the airport”
    -Henry Youngman
    “I wanted to do something nice so I bought my mother-in-law a chair. Now they won’t let me plug it in.”- Henry Youngman
    “I haven’t spoken to my mother-in-law for eighteen months. I don’t like to interrupt her.”
    -Ken Dodd
    “The wife’s Mother said, ‘When you’re dead, I’ll dance in your grave.’ I said: ‘Good, I’m being buried at sea’.”- Les Dawson
    “My mother-in-law had to stop skipping for exercise. It registered seven on the Richter scale.”- Les Dawson
    I often wonder why no body dares to write about “Fathers In Laws and Sons In Laws !” May be because the article won’t make great copy or raise many chuckles.

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