Maid in Nepal



She gradually opened up and shared her feelings. “I stopped going to work. After all, the family is more important, isn’t it?” she said with an inquisitive look. I remained silent. She continued. “The day I was married, I realised that a girl is married not only to her husband but to his entire family. My parents sent me to an English medium school. I graduated as an engineer with full scholarship, and I had a dignified workplace. After marriage, my husband supported my choice to be an independent woman, but my in-laws were unhappy about my job. After I finished preparing lunch for my family members every morning before I left for work, they would unconsciously insist that I leave the high-level job I held. My father-in-law would say, “Is it necessary to go?” My mother-in-law usually had a frown on her face when I went to inform her that I was leaving for work. The continuous unfriendliness made me agree to their insensible order.

I started staying at home and doing the household chores even better than before. I cooked and served and washed and cleaned every corner of the house with all the willingness in my heart, but I was never offered a helping hand. I worked like a slave from dawn to midnight just to keep my in-laws happy and satisfied, but instead of hearing words of appreciation, they revealed trivial flaws in whatever I did. Sometimes, I wondered why they brought a proposal for their son if they disliked me so much. Was bringing home a bride synonymous to the slave trade of Africa in the old days? I felt miserable, but never did I express my feelings. On the other hand, my husband endeavoured to make me smile. He took me out to dinner and brought gifts. My mother-in-law used to speak to me politely in front of my husband, but later backbite with her sisters. They devalued my presence. I felt helpless. At times, I cried alone and covered my mouth so that nobody would hear me.

After a year, I had a beautiful baby girl. Sure, my mother-in-law visited me at the hospital and first held the baby; but after returning home it looked as if she was distressed. She rushed to the cradle when my parents and relatives came to see me. The day after the delivery, I was washing clothes and serving my mother-in-law’s sisters, contrary to the doctor’s advice to take complete bed rest. I needed to restore my self-esteem. My personality and spirit had gone down. I was suppressed for being educated among my unlettered in-laws.”

I asked, “Don’t you feel enraged?” She smiled. “I don’t. It’s been 25 years now, and my life revolves around my children and family. I am happy today, but even if I was not, I don’t have any right to counter my in-laws nor would they ever respond to my feelings in such a deep-rooted traditional society.”

Published: 2018-06-14 07:47:25