The team at Pragati Welfare Centre, an initiative of the Godrej Group, invited me on July 24th 2018 to speak to their residents on “Managing Relationships”. This centre has many initiatives under their wing-including talks by experts on various social issues, artisans working on indigenous handicrafts, and drives such as their upcoming blood donation campaign. It seemed to me that the centre was constantly buzzing with energy and activity and it was my proud privilege to address the audience there.
The crowd was large, a packed audience, mainly ladies from the residential colony who shared anecdotes and asked many pertinent questions. The hour-long talk focussed on relationship conflicts between husband-wife, in-laws and children. We also screened a short film for the audience called “Saas aur Bahu” which raised many laughs and paved the way to discuss the role of husbands and in-laws in balancing the family. For the men of the household here were some tips to help them:
- Understand your wife better. When she is talking about your mother, she is actually expressing her insecurity about losing you
- Continue doing all the things you did with your mother before marriage (such as taking her for a movie).
- Don’t praise wife or mother’s cooking over the other. Encourage each in the dishes they prepare best
- Don’t exchange what one has said over the other
- Keep discussions about over children, finances, dressing, parents etc between your wife and you. Dont get your parents involved.
For in-laws the message was:
- Your DIL is not your daughter, she is your son’s wife
- Wife’s habits or characters is your son’s problem, not yours to correct
- Pretend to be blind and deaf when your son and his wife are quarrelling.
- Your grandchildren belong to your son and his wife. Let them raise them accordingly
- Do more planning for your own retirement
Since conflicts between MIL and DIL are usually the most stressful in a family, we discussed how to change perspectives with family members. Here is a SHORT VIDEO from the talk, sharing insights about in-laws and their role in the family, ending with a famous quote by Chanankya which was well-appreciated by the audience.
“Kuwe main utarne waala balti Yadi jhukta hai toh
Bharkar bahar aata hai
Jeevan ka bhi yahi Ganit hai
Jo jhukta hai woh prapt karta hai
Dadagiri toh hum marne ke baad bhi karenge…
…Log Paidal Chalenge aur hum Kandhon par”
A big thanks to the Pragati team of Mr Sachin Bhanushali and Nariman Bacha who organised the session and were so warm in their welcome. Got a chance to meet Mrs Pheroza Godrej, one of the people I admire for her contribution to both the Parsi community and other philanthropic ventures.
An aside….before the talk I came across one of the ladies working with a beautiful piece of cloth. On enquiring further, I learnt that she is one of the artisans at the Welfare centre and was working on some detailed Baatik printing. So here was something interesting I learnt how Baatik dyeing is done. The process is laborious with many hours spent detailing embroidery with wax. The result is beautiful pieces of cloth which many of us buy at reasonable prices, not knowing the labour intensive work involved. Have promised to visit the welfare centre during their exhibitions and encourage the work of our indigenous and forgotten artisans.