Saturday, May 19, 2012



I have observed that most women have double standards in the way they treat their daughters and their daughters-in-law.

My mother too blatantly favours and pampers my sister and gives a raw deal to my wife despite the fact that it is my wife who has always comes to my mother's rescue in times of need and selflessly serves her with love and dedication whenever my mother is in distress; whereas my sister only indulges in sweet talk and lip sympathy and is conspicuous by her absence in times of need, like she shirked her responsibility last year when my mother was recuperating from a serious accident entailing emergency surgeries and my wife had to toil and look after my bedridden mother all by herself during her entire period of convalescence as my sister washed her hands off and shied away on the flimsiest of excuses. 

Despite this my mother still has a soft corner for my sister who is an expert at gaining sympathy with her smooth talk, sob stories and playing the victim. 
All she does is call up once a day (for which my mother praises her "concern") whereas my wife's slogging day in and day out is not of much consequence as far as my mother is concerned, since as per conventional thinking my mother feels that it is a daughter-in-law's "duty" to serve her mother-in-law. 
And, by the way, I realized that this is what everyone else thinks too when I discussed with the matter a few persons. 
I know that the moment my mother gets well, my sister will turn up to gain my mother's affection by all her superficial emotional antics and the sterling service of my wife will be forgotten (till the next time she is needed).

I can bang my head in despair but my mother won't change, and so also other mothers, so all I can do is to vent my frustration through humour by writing a story. 
So here is the story, based on a true incident I witnessed a few years ago, titled A ROOM WITH A VARIABLE CLIMATE. 
Read it and have a laugh.

A Story of Double Standards

It was a hot and humid summer afternoon in a sea facing flat on Marine Drive in Mumbai and a woman unable to bear the stifling hot climate switched on the air conditioner in the room to cool off a bit.

Her mother-in-law came into the room and the moment she saw her daughter-in-law (whom she barely tolerated) relaxing in cool comfort, she shouted at her sarcastically: “You think you are a Maharani - Just look how you sit in such style with the air conditioner full blast all for yourself. Who is going to pay the huge electricity bill – your father?”

“I’m feeling hot,” the daughter-in-law said. 

“It’s not at all hot – just open the window and let the cool sea breeze in,” the mother-in-law said. “And shut off the air conditioner at once. Sitting in an air conditioned room is not good for your health; you must get used to the climate and learn to adapt with nature!”

Scared of her mother-in-law, the poor woman had no choice but to obey her commands and swelter in the heat.

Suddenly the woman’s sister-in-law (her husband’s sister) arrived on a surprise visit, and the mother-in-law was overjoyed to see her darling daughter, whom she adored, and couldn’t bear to see her suffering in the heat so she turned towards her daughter-in-law and scolded her: “What are you doing just sitting there? Why have you opened those windows to let the hot air in? And why is the air conditioner switched off in this oppressive heat? Close the windows and switch on the air conditioner immediately. Do you want my daughter to suffer a heatstroke?”

And turning to her darling daughter she stroked her hair and lovingly said: “Poor dear, it is so hot here and how you suffer in this terrible heat. You must take care and protect yourself from the harsh vagaries of nature!”

Seething inside but silently complying with her mother-in-law’s instructions, the bewildered daughter-in-law said to herself: “What a miracle indeed? Wonder of wonders! Have you ever seen a room with such a variable climate? Yes, the same room where it blows hot and blows cold at the same time!”
Life is unfair, people are partial, there is favoritism, bias, prejudice all around you - this is the ground reality. Whether you like it, or lump it, there is nothing you can do about it.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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theartandcraftgallery said...

Duniya Gol hai ... i guess its human nature to do mother-in-law use to visit her mother every alternate day for past 36 years of her marraige and I am not allowed to visit my mum for 15 days in 3 years.. she doesn't see the need :D.. now that my sister in law is married and visits us almost evry week and comes for stayover for 3-4 days every fortnight....(she lives like 5 mins drive from our place) my MIL thinks that she comes so rarely and her in-laws are strict :P

Anonymous said...

Indeed very painful.

Minnie said...

Yes, it's weird, and painful.

I have a friend, who always had a no nonsense attitude. Her parents died young, so I guess fending for herself made her quite strong. She spent a lot of time at her Aunt's place. Aftter marriage, her rules were simple and spelled out: Whenever her sister in law would visit, she would do everything to make her comfortable. Right after, she would visit her Aunt. And stay the same amount of time. Her ma in law objected teh first few times, and her answer was: My dear SIL came, and there was so much work. So I need to go take rest too.

Because she did it right from start, she drew a distinct space around herself. She has an amazing rappo now with her in laws. I do think strong daughter in laws get respected a lot more than the ones who bow backwards to please.

Anonymous said...

Good to see the husband venting the frustration through blog..Ironically, in many cases the husband would never believe his mother is partial and instead blame the wife as being negative in looking at issues.Tahe wife is also not allowed to vent out the frustration, as it would be seen as disrespecting his mother ! Pity all those who have monster in laws !