JournalismPakistan.com April 17, 2013
Just landed in Delhi and heard this for real. One of the nurses who looks after my sister is in her late forties, built like a battle tank and sort of sails into the room with a presence that is relatively intimidating.
A week ago when I was visiting home she looked morose and downcast, as if someone had thrown a mine into her turret. So, I asked her what was wrong. After considerable prying she came out with the story. The eldest son got married about four years ago and now has a distant relationship with his parents or shall we say one of convenience. Like if they have to go somewhere they leave the kids with the grandparents for a few days and then show no gratitude whatsoever.
I tell her that this is the way of the world and gratitude is not a commodity that sloshes about so freely. On the contrary, if you expect it, you are more like not to receive it.
But, then, that is not her problem. The problem is that the daughter in law has sat down her mother in law and read her the riot act.
One, I am not married to the whole flipping clan I am married to your son so don’t expect me to care for you and all that sentimental claptrap.
Two, my husband gets the house put in his name and do it to this deadline.
Three, you will be available to us when we need you and you will ensure that you take care of the children.
Four, give your son some money and transfer the jewellery you have into my locker.
Five, do not ever tell him we had this conversation and whenever you can you will praise me, I’ll be listening.
So, okay, I say, she does sound like a bit of a shrew but you do not have to listen to her, tell her where she gets off.
I cannot, she replies, if I react she has threatened to report me to the police and accuse me of MIL brutality. We accept it no choice.
And what is MIL, I ask, utterly ignorant of the term.
Mother in law, she says, if a daughter in law goes to the police and makes a report about her husband’s parents they are immediately arrested and sent to jail.
Don’t be ridiculous, I say, nobody can just do that, she cannot blackmail you after this fashion.
She can and she does, the nurse replies, my husband and I are so scared we dare not even raise our voices, we just do what we are told.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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