Renu was born in a modest family. Her father owned a kirana while her mother was a housewife. Her younger sister Meenu was still studying in school when Renu was officially approached by Chetan’s family. Chetan’s father was a wealthy owner of a clothing line and his two sons manifested his father’s business acumen. Hence, when Chetan’s parents came ahead with the proposal via a common contact, Renu’s family readily agreed.
Over the years, Chetan proved to be a loving husband and a caring father for their son. Renu was happy in her marriage. She would initially miss her parents, but she gradually learned to adjust in her new home, and involved herself completely in the well being of her husband and in-laws. Phone calls to her parents became less frequent now, and while they did complain that she had forgotten them, they always spoke proudly of her to their relatives and neighbours; ‘My daughter is so lucky to have such wonderful husband and in-laws!’ ‘My daughter has completely transformed from a naive girl to a responsible wife and adult. She is such a great daughter in law and keeps her family so happy!’
It so happened that her in-laws had to travel to attend a family wedding in their hometown, and Renu and her son decided to stay back at her parents house because of her sons exams going on. Her parents were ecstatic about their daughter and grandson spending all this time with them. Her mother toiled in the kitchen to make her daughters favourite treats and her father purchased for his grandson all the possible toys and books he found worthy. Renu received the warmest welcome whenever she went back home, but this time it was even more so, because of her longer stay. She relished her mother’s food and relaxed herself, free from her marital responsibilities.
Once when she opened her old cupboard she found that her old stuff was replaced by Meenu’s school books and some old bedsheets. Her mother said that they had to let go some of her old clothes and books to accommodate Meenu’s things. Renu realized that Meenu never had her own cupboard before, and now she was in need of her own space. She was growing up faster than Renu realized. Her mom explained that they thought of making a new cupboard, but the carpenter was charging too much money, which they didn’t think was worth spending. Renu looked around the house and realized that there was still the same old sofa set and teapoy, the same carpet and curtains. Her mum still wore long nighties at home. Her dad still went to the shop at the same time and returned home tired after a day’s work. Nothing had changed here, yet it was all so different now. She felt like she lost all connection with her parents and their lives, being so busy in her own. Her life had upgraded, but theirs was still the same. When she got married, she was sad about leaving her home, but also happy about entering a new life with a new life partner. But for them, it was only a loss. They carried on with their lives, with one less member in the family. One less person to share their experiences with. One less person to talk to when there was a problem in the family. And she also realized, she was not just a member of their family. She was a reason for its existence. She didn’t remember a time when her parents lives didn’t revolve around their children. She was their first child and they had always given her everything she wished for. Whether it was a toy, or a dress, or money for the course she wanted to pursue. They had done everything they could do to make her happy. And then, one fine day, she had just left. She had left a void in their house and hearts that would never fill.
She had been so disconnected with her family over the last few years that she didn’t know what problems and challenges they faced. All she heard from them was that how glad they were to see her happy in her life and home. She no longer shared their daily joys and cries. She didn’t even bother much to call then to know how they were doing. She didn’t know her mother was having a backache from the last few months, nor that her father had lost his old supplier to someone else. She didn’t know that Meenu was interested in doing a film course and that father was trying to talk her out of it.
Renu was a thing of pride for her parents, but she felt ashamed of herself. Did marriage make her so busy and helpless that she couldn’t manage to make a phonecall to her parents? Or inquire about their health and well being? What happens to well raised, educated girls like Renu who get married and get all involved in the lives of people who may be nice but also who they are so willing to please and serve that they neglect those who have held their hands right from the very inception of their existence? Isn’t that a kind of betrayal? An act of ingratitude?
Renu was overwhelmed by her thoughts. She realized that she had taken her parents for granted for too long and she had not just duties as a wife or bahu, but also as a daughter. She went back home after her in-laws returned. However a part of her heart still remained in her old home. She still is happily married, but now she makes sure she calls her parents more often, and also takes care of them as and when required. She is so much more satisfied now. She believes herself to be a special girl, not only because of her blissful marriage or life’s materialistic pleasures, but because she has wonderful parents and family whom she cares about and adores. She is truly a lucky daughter!