On the day we were leaving, I was looking out of the car wistfully. We were past the beach in a blur and now whizzing by the Baga road and suddenly I saw a bungalow. It did not stand alone and proud amongst a quiet locality as I remembered it from years ago. It was surrounded by shops and establishments, and ugly electrical wires were jutting out from the stores, and almost touching the bungalow’s boundary walls. And yet it seemed familiar. Like an old friend. A past life acquaintance suddenly making an appearance in this life. And then, I saw a restaurant. It was called Plantain Leaf.
Vikram Seth took it and turned a page. I felt the colour rise to my cheeks. Because this copy of A Suitable Boy was bought in 2003 - a year when I was still incredibly dreamy-eyed and foolishly romantic. I had a habit of scribbling something down on every book I would buy. On this particular book I had scribbled, "... There goes a Pantaloons top and a new leather purse. But oh, the pleasures of buying a book..."
However when we reached the enclosure that housed the goats, the husband got so excited that he forgot all about us and started feeding the goats with the enthusiasm of a child. I had to go back to the entrance to buy another packet of goat feed (I am not sure if that's the right term for it, but can't remember now what it was called) because the husband wanted to feed the goats some more! I remember the friend and I standing at a distance, with smiles taking over us faces as we watched the husband getting absolutely thrilled with the goats eating out of his hand.
While the list of mother-in-law problems is varied, sometimes whimsical and bordering on weird, and at other times full of annoying issues arising from deeply rooted problematic attitudes towards what a daughter-in-law's place in the family is all about, one theme seems to come up almost always. And that is, a large majority of Indian women experience some form of unpleasantness from their husband's mother. The degree, of course is varying, and I do not know whether it says something about the nature of mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationships in general or is something peculiar to Indian culture and society. Now that unpleasantness could stem from a sense of not being liked or welcomed into their new families or it could go deeper with sensing a hostility from their mother-in-law, or the pressure to conform to their mother-in-law's way of life and beliefs.