Maid in Nepal

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- NILISHA TULADHAR

Jun 14, 2018-

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: 14-06-2018 07:23

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