The "Gori Bahu "
My wedding was a low key affair, very few guests were invited. Just one dress was ordered for the wedding along with a small gold set. My in- laws"s facial expressions could tell that they were not happy that their son is marrying a "gori". They tried really hard that their son should marry a "nice Desi girl" and not a "farangi".
I had to deal with a lot of sarcastic remarks and criticism from my husband"s family and was always degraded when being compared with my older sister in law who was 100% Pakistani and daughter of a family friend.
"Zaat, Khandan bhi to kuch hota hey".....
" these Gora girls don't know how to take care of the house and family. Thank God we have another son".....
Their older Bahu who belong to the
same background and culture like them and whose wedding was an elaborate affair. My parents in law never missed an oppourtunity to give her examples.
I tried my best to adjust in my new family by wearing shalwar kameez, learning to cook qorma and chicken Karahi. Bought the English to urdu dictionary to master the language very quickly. Read about my new religion and started adding "Alhamdullilah" and "Mashallah" in my sentences.
When my children were in elementary school I enrolled them in the Sunday School of our Mosque. Spoke urdu to them and mingled with my husband "s Desi friends a lot.
As time passed my father in law started appreciating my cooking abilities " Bhai tum kheer bhut achey banati hu, lagta nahin key Gori ney banaya hey". My mother in law appreciated me behind my back maybe she was worried I will get over confident. Still she would spare no oppourtunity to acknowledge her older "Desi Bahu".
When my mother in law suffered a stroke my father in law sold his house and planned to stay 6 months with each son and his family so they can help him take care of his wife. They stayed with us for six months, I tried my best to take care of my mother in law, helped her with taking baths, took her outside for walks, watched urdu dramas with my in laws.
The day when they were leaving for my brother in law"s house Amah jee"(mother in law ) was very excited to see her " Desi Bahu". Her face was beaming with happiness. She hugged me and said " you make good biryani". I guess that was her way of saying " thank you".
My father in law was very appreciative he said to my husband that he is proud of me.
It made both my husband and myself very happy ......
Abu jee ( my father in law) called my husband after 2 months ;"can we come earlier than the scheduled 6 months?", " sure, why not but is everything ok", replied my husband.
" yeah your mom is missing your kids, your brother"s kids are busy with studies and they are busy too so we thought to come to your place earlier ", " we will go back in few week", he added.
They flew back the next week. Our kids were super excited to see them. Amah jee looked very weak and pale. I started taking care of them again, we also hired a nurse for her as her health was deteriorating pretty rapidly. One day while I was sitting with her and Abu jee she said " Beta you are a noble soul it was my mistake who could not see the nice loving and caring person inside you, you are not from my community or my country but you have transformed yourself into a perfect beti " ......
" we are proud of you!"
I could not contain my tears and my excitement after listening to those words.
Amah jee died the next week. After her death Abu jee informed my husband that she got heart broken at the attitude of her older son and his wife who were busy partying and socializing and completely ignored her. They had totally "westernized" themselves.
He gave me a big box full of Amee jee"s beautiful Jewelery, saris and her prayer mat. "This belongs to Tina
our lovely daughter who is the best eastern Bahu one could wish for!"he said.
Abujee passed away after few months. It has been 10 years.....
I still enjoy cooking Biryani and Kheer. My urdu has improved a lot.
My Desi closet is ever growing.
My kids follow their traditions and religion very well. Sometimes people don't believe that they are raised by a "Gori mother".
It all depends on the individual, after all ........