My mother-in-law`s name is Shantha Chandran. And till the time I am alive, I can`t forget her. In fact, she wouldn`t let me forget her.
I first met her when she along with my father in law came to my house to meet my parents. Like I have already mentioned, Rekha and I had had a love marriage. After we informed our parents, they wanted to meet and understand each other.
It was the summer of 2005 (May, perhaps) when her parents came home. I can`t forget the day because, the moment Ms Shantha stepped into our house she said: “Kinda stuffy in here, isn`t it?”
Mr Chandran knew I had overheard it and thus kept mum. He would continue to keep mum on many more such occasions.
Ms Shantha`s next statement (which thankfully my parents didn`t hear) was: “Kind of dark, aren`t they?”
Like I said, Mr Chandran kept mum.
If my mother in law was a fat person, distracting her would have been a piece of cake – yeah literally, I only had to offer her a piece of cake and she would have busied herself in eating. But she wasn`t fat, so I couldn`t do anything while she continued to insult me and my ancestors.
Thankfully, we Rajans know how to fight from the trenches…and I asked my parents to do just that. Everything went well and it was decided that on September 8, 2005 Rekha and I will get married at a temple in Cherrukunnu, Kannur, Kerala. I was a little upset because I didn`t expect my mother in law to be such a problem. I was under the impression that I will sweep her off her feet with my sense of humor. But that was not to be.
As luck would have it, Rekha and I didn`t enter into a major fight before September 8, 2005 and the marriage happened as scheduled.
Marriage over. All relatives gone.
Rekha and I hired a cab to Kumarakom for our honeymoon. I was still reeling under the insults from my mother in law. At least, outlaws are wanted…what was one to do with inlaws?
I blurted out: “Rekha, don`t you think your mom talks too much?”
“What? Haven`t you heard your mom talking?”
This was enough to ensure that the next two hours were silent. If you don`t know how difficult it is for a man on his way to his honeymoon to keep silent for two hours – try it when you get married. We still had three hours of the journey left, so I tried to break the silence using my self-acclaimed excellent sense of humor. I pointed at some sheep grazing in the fields by the roadside and said: “Relatives of yours?”
Rekha didn`t even look up. She just said: “Yes. Remember, I just got married? They are my new in-laws!”
I didn`t try to patch up till we reached Kumarakom. When we were half way into our honeymoon, we became friends again.
It has been five years since, and my relationship with my mother in law has definitely gotten better with time. Earlier, when she used to knock on our door and ask “Can I stay here for a while?” I used to say “No!” and close the door. Now-a-days, I say “Yes” and close the door.
Anyway, a sudden article on my mother in law would have surprised you. “Why now,” you probably ask….and the answer is because yesterday I met a friend of mine called Rakesh Roshan who has had a troubled relationship with his mother in law. Besides, he had just returned from a vacation in Jerusalem. We caught up at the CafÃ© Coffee Day nearby.
Jammy: What is up, matey?
Rakesh: I have been better.
Jammy: Why what happened? You have just returned from a vacation in Jerusalem….why don`t you tell me about it. Will make you happy.
Rakesh: Well, we reached Jerusalem in time. And we were only settling down when my mother in law had a heart attack and had to be admitted in a hospital.
Jammy: Shucks! And then?
Rakesh: That day we didn`t plan any sight seeing. I had planned to attend my mother in law`s funeral in the evening, but she canceled it last minute.
Rakesh: She got relieved from the hospital the same evening.
Jammy: Thank God for small mercies. And then?
Rakesh: And as luck would have it, she died in her sleep the same night.
Jammy: Good luck or bad luck?
Rakesh: Good luck, of course.
Jammy: And then?
Rakesh: I had two choices – bury her there in Jerusalem itself. Or get her back to India.
Jammy: You should have buried her there itself….transporting her body here would have been very costly.
Rakesh: Yes, it was costly. But when I thought about that famous man who was buried in Jerusalem….what was his name….??
Jammy: Hmm….Jesus Christ?
Rakesh: Yeah…Jesus Christ…didn`t he come out of his grave alive after 3 days? I didn`t want to take any chance with my mother in law, so transported her body to India. It was costly, but worth it.
Jammy: And then?
Rakesh: I burnt her first, and then buried her. Why take chances?
Rakesh sure had his life sorted out.
While talking about his mother in law`s funeral, I was reminded of a common friend called Vinesh Nair who we thought had a great relationship going with his mother in law. In fact, I had been jealous when he SMSed me saying he had gifted his mother in law a Jaguar.
Jammy: So, is Vinesh Nair`s mother in law taking good care of the Jaguar?
Rakesh: Ohh….didn`t you know? His mother in law died of multiple bite wounds when she was attacked by the Jaguar. Apparently, she had left his cage door open.