I am 28 years old. I was born and brought up in a joint family. As everyone knows, there are pros and cons to it. My family believed in me, let me do whatever I wanted.
I am a teacher by profession and it's because of my parents' support that I am so experienced in my field. As a part of the joint family, we had a lot of parties, get-togethers and of course, a lot of differences too. But we all managed to do things together, putting away our hard feelings for anyone.
And then it was "the time" for me to get married. I agreed to be married into a joint family. After all, I grew up in one. Other than my parents-in-law and my bother-in-law's family, there are other people too. I thought I wouldn't miss my family much.
I thought I'd find a friend in my sister-in-law. But my expectations were never fulfilled. Instead, things went terribly wrong.
I returned from our honeymoon, and on the very first day, my mother-in-law told me that my place was in the kitchen and that I was never going to leave it. She said I could cook whatever I wanted but I could never interfere with her work. I thought my sister-in-law would be supportive, but I lost her too. She said it didn't matter where I worked, I would always have to share chores with her and ensure that our mother-in-law never cooked. I took everything with a smile on my face.
I tried getting us a maid but I only got taunted for it. Apparently, all household work belongs to the daughter-in-law and it's not a job for a maid. I did all the work, all the time, and I was still never good enough for them. Despite all the mental torture they gave me, I never once broke down in front of them. I didn't complain once.
One fine day, I was being accused of something nasty. I couldn't take it any more. I raged out at my sister-in-law and told her everything I had on my mind. I begged her to see it from my side and failed miserably. And the worst part is, nobody came to my support. My husband kept quiet. My mother-in-law was avoiding this conflict.
I am still not sure how my sister-in-law keeps them under control like this. It feels like she's aware of some family secret that she keeps using to manipulate them. And not one of them is capable of standing up for themselves in front of her. This is not how a family functions.
If there were no secrets, we could take on anything together. What kind of human being terrorizes her own family?
This doesn't feel like a family any more. I grew up in a joint family and I always thought that belonging to people we can call our own could be one of the best things to happen to a person. Instead, I've ended up in this hostage situation.
I hate to admit this, but I'm losing faith in our own values. Nobody seems to care any more.