Monster In Laws

For as long as I can remember, my grandparents have been virtually the same - dida(grandma) with her soft sarees, paan box, and stories weaving a sense of calm around her and dadu(grandpa) with his spectacles and age-old books. Even at the ripe age of 60s, both of them used to be very much active - going for regular walks and chatting with neighbors. With the construction of their two-story house completing the very year he retired, dadu envisioned a peaceful retired life ahead. Having their daughter married off already, he finally found a suitable bride for their only son and checked off the last thing on the bucket list. After the marriage, once all the relatives left, the new daughter-in-law demanded the full share of the top floor of the house, because apparently, the in-laws were encroaching upon the privacy of the new couple.

Now, leaving an entire segment of the house that too fully furnished with dining table, washing machine, and a western toilet was difficult for my grandparents, who given their age was in need of those facilities, yet they agreed. Soon they were isolated on the ground floor, which had only one room which served as kitchen and bedroom both. In the days following, my aunt would constantly fight with my grandparents for reasons as trivial as their using kitchen/washroom upstairs or hanging clothes on the terrace. She even took care to slander about her in-laws all around the village and threatened to charge them with section 498A.

For a very long time, my mother was kept unaware of all the tortures her parents faced. One evening, dida called my mom, crying because dadu was nowhere to be found. That’s when we came to know of the whole fiasco created by my uncle and aunt. Dadu had left home following a bitter fight initiated by my uncle and aunt’s death threats. Mom called every relative, every one of dadu’s acquaintances without any result. 

Finally, an F.I.R. was lodged and thankfully, dadu was found after two days. He confessed that he ran away, frustrated that his son and daughter-in-law were constantly pressuring him to make them the sole heirs in his will. After this incident, my uncle and aunt were interrogated by police and released after being warned to watch their actions. But the whole thing has been damaging to my old grandparents, both trying to deal with the scars left behind and reeling with multiple ailments now. “Our society must make it right and possible for old people not or fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of civilization is the way for its helpless members.”

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