Final day in India. I thought things were going relatively well for days until yesterday.
As usual, we were at my in-laws’ house. We brought our laundry along. Since my MIL is usually afraid of anything electrical, my FIL is usually the one who operates the washing machine. I vaguely remember that he did Bob’s laundry on our last trip. It was a lot cooler last time so I didn’t need to wash my clothes. This time I sweat a lot more so I also had laundry to do. I was doing my own thing and didn’t pay much attention to what was going on. All of a sudden I heard that my MIL was raising her voice at Bob in Tamil. Bob came to her and muttered something. She yelled at him and he started yelling back. I had no clue what was going on. My instinct was to tell him not to yell at his mom, so I did. He then stormed to the balcony where his dad was. His mom was immediately upset and started tearing up.
A minute later, his dad came into the house and started yelling at Bob’s mom. I was very confused and went to the balcony to see Bob. He was holding a bunch of wet clothes looking very annoyed. After talking to him, this is what I gathered. His dad was not pleased that Bob handed him my clothes to wash. Bob wouldn’t have minded handling my clothes, meaning hanging them dry. But he didn’t know that his dad was already in the balcony trying to hang Bob’s clothes only. By the time his mom raised her voice to tell Bob, Bob had gotten up to go to the washing machine which is in another room from the balcony. His mom didn’t realize that he had gotten up to go help. When he was walking to the balcony to help, she yelled at him for treating his dad like a lowly laundromat worker. His dad also yelled at him and said that he should’ve known better to not hand his dad my clothes.
This is all out of pride and lack of communication. And it is definitely not just about laundry.
According to Bob, things have been brewing ever since we arrived in India. I didn’t know because he had been shielding me from it all. But basically, his parents are still treating him like a little boy, thinking that he should’ve done a lot of things that they told him to do. These include staying at the big corporation job, marrying someone that they choose, so that they can come to the States freely being taken care of by their chosen Indian Hindu Brahmin daughter-in-law. None of this has happened. He switched over from a big corporation to a start-up company and ended up losing his job. He married somebody older and non-Indian that wasn’t chosen by them. They have no desires to come visit us because of me. They don’t see that these things happened for a reason. There is really not much we can do to change their thought process. Poor Bob. Instead of getting yelled at by his mom every week on Sky.pe, he gets yelled at in person every single day.
This is what I don’t get. We have been married for almost three years. They have known this for five years now. They don’t get to see Bob all that much. They get to spend 9 to 10 days together every two years. Why not use this chance to be nice to one another and just enjoy the time together? Why spend the energy on fighting each other? I really don’t get it.
Bob was so angry at his parents that he wanted to leave right away. He also said that he didn’t want to come today, the last day of our stay. I didn’t say much but I told him that after he’s done being mad, he’d change his mind. He patched things up with his dad quickly, but his mom refused to talk to him for the rest of the day. She was actually talking to him through me. She said that she was too sick to cook so she would take me to a restaurant for dinner. She complained to me about Bob. I was determined to stay out of it and not to take sides.
The funny thing was, during those hours that they had this fight, there were these unannounced visitors. His mom was in the middle of crying and the doorbell rang. She opened the door and the visitors came in and chatted. Then everyone appeared like nothing had happened. The cold shoulder continued when the visitors left. Then some other unexpected visitor would come, and this whole thing would start all over again.
I am not worried about them. They are a family so they will sort things out. Today his mom still appears to be a bit mad. But they have patched things up for the most part. I just wish that there is a way for them to improve their relationship by accepting the way Bob is. On some level, they may have felt betrayed by a son that did not fulfill the dreams that they have for him. They are taking an extremely long time to get over it. We have been praying for them to get to that place in the future. This visit shows me that there is still a long way to go.
One thing I am very sure of is that we will NOT stay with my in-laws the next time we come. We need that personal space away from them daily to recharge and to rest. I can’t imagine how good Bob’s psyche would be if he had to endure this kind of interaction 24×7 for more than a week. I don’t think I can stand not having a place to just be myself.
Nine more hours. I can smell freedom.