Saturday, October 14, 2000
M A I L  B O X

To forgive and forget

This refers to the article "To forgive and forget" by Khuswant Singh (September 23). I fully agree with the author that wrong-doers must be taught a lesson so that they donít make someone elseís life miserable too. But at the same time it is very difficult to settle some scores. I would like to cite an example of a tragic incident in my life when the doctors to whom we entrusted the life of my 25-year-old sister did nothing to save her.

Doctors of a hospital in Mathura knew that a tractor-trolley tyre had passed over my sisterís lower abdominal part of the body. Instead of administering drip and blood, they wasted more than half an hour on X-ray and based on its report, declared her out of danger. They gave her an overdose of sedatives and she was kept under observation for more than three hours. Junior doctors kept ringing for senior doctors instead of preparing for surgery to stop the internal bleeding, which ultimately took her life. Later the doctors admitted their negligence but that came as no solace to us. How can I forget and forgive them? The wrong they had done canít be righted. They canít give us back my dear sister. But action must be taken against such medical professionals who bring a bad name to the entire medical fraternity so that their wrong-doing does not harm other valuable lives.



A volatile relationship

This refers to the article "Why does the mother-in-law occupy such a huge mindspace in the Indian psyche" by Aruti Nayar. It is a matter of regret that in the Indian context mother-in-law has a poor image generally. It is taken for granted by the bride that her mother-in-lawís sole purpose in life is to either wreck her peace of mind or prevent her from being happy. That is a very unfair assessment made by the bride about her mother-in-law even before giving her new relationship a chance to develop. Worst still, the bride continues to cling to this bias for the rest of her life. The bride realises her fault rather late in life when she herself becomes a mother-in-law and suffers the same neglect at the hands of her own daughter-in-law. By then it is too late in the day to make amends. And this sad state of affairs goes on from one generation tothe next without either the mother-in-law or the daughter-in-law learning a lesson from the futility of the never-ending battle they are engaged in to capture the rights over the one man who, while balancing out his dual role of a son and a husband, finds himself caught between the devil and the deep sea.

While mothers will be well advised to change their ways of interacting with their sons when they marry, the new bride must make a sincere effort to integrate herself into the new family even at the cost of her ego and should concentrate on using all tact to win the confidence of her mother-in-law. The bride must establish a special bond with her mother-in-law based upon mutual love and affection and both of them must not treat each other as an adversaries or opponents. A volatile relationship between them can ruin the family.

New Delhi


Swami Vivekananda, the great social reformer, had aptly remarked, "In the western home, the wife rules; in an Indian home, the mother rules".

In traditional families, the mother dominates the household. Perhaps the subconscious desire for power in a male-dominated society makes them do so.

Mothers should learn to let go off their sons. After all, donít daughters get married and move away? Sons, too, should grow up and not hang on to their motherís apron strings. Girls marry men, not mamaís boys.

It is the son alone who can play the balancing act and keep the most important women in his life, i.e. his mother and wife, happy to maintain peace at home.