A year ago, a relative – an aunt, around 60 years, fully clad in gold jewelery, silk saree and remaining part of face covered in talcum powder- came to visit us. She came with a packet of sweet. That was very surprising as she never believed in giving.
“Uday, Shirley teacher (a retired school teacher in her housing colony) told me that you helped her son to come out of his mental problems and got him a job in USA…”
“That’s not true. He was a bit depressed. I shared with him my understanding on how to cope up with depression. He went to USA on his own. I have absolutely no role in it.”
“But it shows you help outsiders more than your relatives…”
“Those outsiders come with a good intention of changing themselves so they will listen to me. The so-called kith and kin won’t listen.”
“Blood is thicker than water…”she reminded me.
“So what? Poisonous mercury is thicker than blood…” I said.
“Hmm…So – it is true. You don’t value relatives; you care only for friends…”
“Aunt, you have got me wrong. My understanding is that blood relations are biological accidents in the spectrum of life. If there is no love between relatives, what’s the point in glorifying blood relations? I have good relationship with lot of my blood relatives. But, just because somebody happens to be a blood relative, I don’t give him/her more importance than my loving and caring friends…”
“That’s your attitude to us too?” she asked.
I smiled at her. (For the first time in life she was telling truth!) She has been opening her mouth for two things – eating and bitching (gossiping). She has been greedy and fault-finder in all her life. Show her the most beautiful woman in the world, she would say:”Isn’t she bit cock-eyed? Of course, she is overweight.” This aunt herself has a shape of a perfect square – same width and height! Show her the most handsome man, she would say:”His teeth is not as good as my son’s”. And you should really see her son – An African chimpanzee painted in off-white colour. I wouldn’t be surprised even if the ugliest looking female orangutan turns down a marriage proposal from him. The aunt is very possessive about her son and has been saving everything every penny for her son, totally neglecting her own daughters. A person who is discriminating her own daughters talks about the greatness of relations!
“What’s your problem, aunt?” I asked.
A sudden cry – as if a switch put-on – instantly. Yes- you guessed right. It is her daughter-in-law. Her son is now doing ballet to belly dancing according to his wife’s tunes that are sure non-melodious for this aunt.
“Nobody cares for me…” she said looking at me through the corner of her eyes as if she expected me to say, “mein hum na?” (I’m there). But I didn’t.
“That’s not true…you have two daughters…” I said.
“We have already married them off. That too spending lot…” suddenly she spoke arrogantly.
“Aunt, you have spent money for your son’s Upanayana (Brahmopadesam = the ceremonial rite in which the young Brahmin boy is invested with the sacred thread) – that itself was much more expensive than those marriages. You have spent a lot for his marriage, education, getting job and building house. You have spent at least ten times more on your son than that you spent for your daughters. You have given yours and uncle’s wealth to your son. You have discriminated your daughters. So it is payback time in another form from your daughter-in-law…”
(Few months ago, I told her two examples from my village. Parents got their daughters married away (as an inevitable unhappy responsibility) and saved everything for their son. The pampered son later kicked in the butt and parents are living at the mercy of villagers. She wouldn’t listen to it.)
“But they are just daughters…This is my own SON!”She raised her voice.
“SO? This is an unforgivable cosmic discrimination from your part. That’s adharma. It’s papa (sin). Son is no way important than daughters in the divine spectrum. In a superficial, superstitious social structure or in a patriarchal society, son may have upper-hand. But not in divinity.”
She always maintained that “son is your own and daughters are disposable commodities”. She has such a criminal discriminatory mind. She didn’t teach her son the value of relationships – all along her life she bitched about others. She made him believe that her daughters (his sisters) are just dustbins in the family that needed to be disposed off fast. Now, if he considers the aunt as a dustbin, whom to blame? What else she can expect from him?
“You have taught your son to be selfish and self-centered. You never taught him to take care of his sisters. You made him a selfish demon. So he now thinks you are a burden – I can’t blame him or your daughter-in-law. It is true that she controls him and you lost. You were neither a good mother nor a good daughter-in-law…You will reap what you saw. Things will move from bad to worse for you as you have done so much of bad karma” I told her.
She cried. I didn’t know if it was just an emotional outburst or beyond that. Even if one comes to know about the reality or truth, he/she refuses to accept and acknowledge it. Because, the change is a death for ego – the conditioned mind would not accept any serious changes.
“Aunt, please don’t cry, you can re-do things by indulging in good karma. Any karma done with a sattvik mindset is dharma and hence punya (virtuous deed). Please stop being so much greedy and selfish. Whatever remains with you, please share with your daughters, son-in-laws and their children – those are your own grand children. Your daughters would welcome you…..”
“Will I be burden to them?”
“I don’t think so- because your daughters never received anything from you. So they might have learned to live based on the principle of giving…”
I left it at that. But there was an anti-climax for this incident.
I met her daughter in a wedding function last month. She told me: “Udayanna, you have caused a misfortune and misery for my family”
I was shocked. I lived my life based on a single principle that even if I can’t help others, I should never be a cause for misery for others. “What do you mean? I haven’t done anything…”
“My mother came to stay with us saying that it was as per your advice. You might have done with good intention. But you don’t know her. She left all her ornaments and money with her son and came to us empty handed. After some days we had to admit her in the hospital. It ended up in her uterus removal surgery – a huge expense on us. After recovering, she went back…”
“What’s wrong in spending for her – she is your own mother?” I asked.
“She is very manipulative and crooked. She came to make us spend money for surgery. She has lot of savings – my father’s money too. She didn’t want to spend that money. She kept that too to her son. She pampered him to be just a huge chunk of meat. And she left us, creating lot of conflicts in my family bitching about each other…”She was angry and very upset and using very foul languages about own mother: “If her son kicks at her chest, she would massage his feet with her tongue asking him if it was pained. She is a huge devotee of her son and loves him only. …….” .
I was almost like in freezer. I couldn’t even say sorry to her while she walked away from me. My experience in life was that mother is a goddess or even more than that. But such mothers and mothers-in-law also exist in this normal world – to make us understand the value of our own mothers. After all, if Manthara was not there, we wouldn’t have got the great epic Ramayana! (https://udaypai.in/)
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