If I had married an Englishman and then went to live with my inlaws, people would think it was pretty absurd and assume we had financial difficulties. They would probably ask, ‘when are you guys getting your own place?’ or say ‘how can you start out your married life with your in laws?’ Here in India on the other hand, it is a completely different kettle of fish. I’m living with my Indian inlaws
Joint families have always been part of Indian society and regarded as the norm. The new daughter-in-law lives with her husband’s family and as the new generation arrives the number in the household grows. The whole family live together and eat together under the same roof.
It does still feel a little odd for me to have moved so far away from my own family to then be living in closer proximity to my husband’s parents than I did my own. I worry it may become suffocating, especially as I am someone who enjoys their own space. My inlaws have been trying to give me space I need to adjust.
Unfortunately, I do feel that I have lost some of my independence. I think I will feel this way until I grasp the language and know my way around Nagpur. I have to depend on my husband and inlaws for everything. When I can walk out of the door and do things on my own, I will be a lot happier. I have days when I struggle with this living arrangement but I understand I am still in the period of ‘adjustment’ people keep talking about and I can see, in the distance, how my life could be once I get passed this stage.
I also have to gain the confidence to think of this as my own home, I am finding it difficult to shake the idea that this is just my inlaws home and I am lodging here for a while. Maybe it is my Western mindset? When my husband is at work I am yet to have the confidence to start preparing my own food or make a cup of tea. It is not that I am nervous of my inlaws, not at all, it is just I wouldn’t start randomly cooking in someone else’s home and I still feel as if I am a guest.
I am grateful to them for welcoming me into their home and not being offended when I do not like the food that has been prepared or sleep for the whole day because my stomach aches so much. I don’t know if time will change how I feel, I will just have to wait and see…