January 27, 2022


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Short Story: Tales from a Marriage – Kyonki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi (Because A Mother-in-law Was Once a Daughter-in-law) by Roopa Swaminathan

2 min read

Roopa Swaminathan’s story sheds light on the relationship of a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law and in the process gives us a glimpse into a never-before-seen angle of this relationship.


Nisha looked around the apartment. It was about as tidy as she could possibly keep it. Her mother-in-law (MIL) never really said anything but she looked. She always peered and glanced askew and grimaced and shook her head when she came over. And Nisha knew it had to do with how she ‘kept’ her home. Sometimes she wished her MIL would just come out and say something.

Why is the children’s room always untidy? Why is the tricycle lying about? Don’t you think my grandkids will injure themselves? What about that skateboard? It’s right underneath my grandson’s bed. What if he woke up and just stepped on it? It would just zoom off and he would get injured. Is that what she wanted? For her son to break his leg or arms?

Or the master bedroom? There were always bits and bobs and clothes lying about. Nisha made sure there wasn’t anything laying about today – not her jeans or undies or bras or Rahul’s socks (there was always that one sock that would hide from her but always reveal itself in all its black and red and blue glory JUST when her MIL showed up). Nope. Everything was put away. Sure, she shoved everything inside the closets and drawers and shuddered to think what would happen if her MIL just opened one of the closet doors. Yep. A mountain of stuff would gush out and fall all over her but as long as the lady didn’t go near the doors – Nisha would be clear.

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