Vedashree Khambete Sharma
In Defence of the Dastardly Daughter-in-Law
Updated: Jun 7, 2021
Dear Makers of Indian Soap-Operas:
Hi. For the past several months, I’ve been a daughter-in-law. And I have a confession to make.
I’ve so far not schemed against any of my in-laws. There are no evil conspiracies that I’m hatching at the moment and honestly, I don’t see myself doing so in the near future either. To the best of my recollection, I’ve not thrown water / tea / assorted beverages / screechy expletives in the faces of any women relatives. I’ve not even smiled heinously at them*.
I know that’s terribly disappointing for you guys, possibly even to your audiences. I feel like such a tease: I think I’ve led you on into believing that I’m a genuinely wicked person and then done absolutely NOTHING to follow up on that promise.
And I can totally see why you’d have believed that I’m employed at Hell Inc. in my spare time.
First of all, I’m a city girl. I don’t have the sweet innocence of a maiden raised in the grand old Indian tradition of nipping to the fields to make out with the neighbour boy.
And as if you need more damning evidence, I wear sleeveless clothes.
It’s true. I don’t deck out in sarees as befits a good Indian daughter-in-law. I don’t wear my hair loose with a careful middle parting, and couple that with a simple, understated bindi to underline my fundamentally simple tastes and sweet nature. Of course, I don’t wear eight kilos of gold jewellery and a bindi drawn by Picasso on acid either. But I make up for that by wearing something much worse.
Yes. I know. Sleeve-less tops and denim! Throw in some neon blue contact lenses and I’ll go from Third Associate Vamp to the Big Komolika of them all. But that’s not all.
I drink too.
I can hear the shrieks already. I bet your scriptwriters already have ideas about how I steal my sister-in-law’s baby and pass it off as my own, while I give my own child born out of wedlock to her, while she’s lying in a sedative-induced coma. Maybe I poison a few people while I’m at it.
But I’m not sure if my character’s ready for that yet.
I’ve not started smoking so far, see.
*Actually, I might have, but that’s more my dentist’s fault than my own.