The power of revenge
I did not know the first day at my husband’s place would change my
life. But it did. It all started on the day I stepped into his home as
his wife. I was his mother’s third daughter-in-law, though she was my
first mother-in-law. So I was no match for her experience in dealing
For me, things did not turn out smooth.
I meant to be polite when I excused and took the dhal dish.
Unfortunately it was Pyrex, and I dropped it. It ended in smithereens on
the tiled floor. I was too naïve to think that even the tiles must have
My mother-in-law almost gave a piece of her mind. And this was the
start of her battle. In fact it was our battle against each other,
trying to find whose authority reigns the house. Who owns her husband -
she or I? But there were times she won - almost won, I mean - as my
husband was too meek to say anything against his mother. After all I
came to his life quite later on. I must have understood all that, but
for some reason I could not.
“You got to be careful handling dishes. It’s a bad omen to have a
glass dish broken.”
It was the tone that mattered. She did not say it kindly. Every word
stung me so harshly. Even at home, before marriage, I had no patience to
tolerate such malicious acts. I did not tolerate injustice. But I tried
to be reasonable at least in tone.
“Well, it was on the edge. It could have happened to anyone.”
“I always keep things like that. But nothing has happened before.”
Nothing has happened - my foot! I thought, but didn’t voice it.
“But better not to keep it on edges from now on.”
I looked at my husband, waiting for him to come up with something to
defend me, or something to soothe both of us. But he was too weak for
mediation. He went on eating. My mother-in-law stood and left the table
in protest. I wish I could have done that too, but as my husband went on
enjoying the meal, I had to stay there. He did not bother to ask why I’m
not having anything. May be he is too freshly married for such intimate
The other day I was cooking something, when she was shouting at the
top of her voice. I ran, trying to trace where the voice came from. It
came from the bathroom.
“Look, your hair-strands are all over. Clean them right now.”
It was not ‘why don’t you clean them?’, at least. It was a command,
straightforward. Naturally I didn’t like that tone. She must know her
Events of this type grew day by day. My husband did nothing, apart
from staying silent. I had to end this myself, I thought. Then I had to
think up something. The following day I did not care to tell anyone
where I am headed. No one was bothered to ask either.
By noon, I could meet the apothecary, our family friend.
“Uncle, I need a big favour.”
I told him all my predicaments with the mother-in-law. He was
listening completely focused.
“So I need something to poison her,” I hesitated a little and
completed my shivering sentence, “to poison her to death.”
I half expected him to be shocked. But he didn’t show any signs of
shock, or may be he just feigned indifference, I don’t know.
“No issue. I can give you one. But there’s something you have to do.”
“I will do anything, if I can.”
“We have to do it without getting caught. So this is going to be a
three-month course. You have to split this capsule and pour the contents
into anything you like. But you have to be kind to her no matter what
she does and says. And that means you have to force yourself to be
genuinely kind towards her. When she does something bad, you have to
remember something good of her. Otherwise this doesn’t work. And in
three months, you can get rid of her. No one will suspect you.”
“That’s great.” I said clutching the drugs to my bosom. I would try
anything hard, only if I can end her life.
I started the course. At the dinner table the usual custom dominated.
“Aren’t you going to have a baby? I think you are barren.”
“If I’m going to have a baby, I wish he or she would be like you.”
I tried to read her face, and naturally she didn’t understand my
compliment. She thought I was being sarcastic. She went on eating
silently, as a protest. She didn’t ask why.
“I remember how caring you were on my wedding day. I was so touched
when you asked me if everything is all right. I was feeling a little
stressed out, but you could relieve me.”
My mother-in-law was still having her meal, silently. My husband was
silent as usual.
I bought her a Pyrex dish and gave a warm hug.
“I’m really sorry about what happened that day. It won’t happen in
future. I know it’s my fault.”
She looked defenceless with nothing to attack me.
“It’s all right,” she muttered, “thank you.”
I left hair strands on purpose. Naturally she called out, but not as
harsh as she was the other day. I cast a full smile on my face and said:
“With my pleasure, mother. I’m honoured to help you.”
I was acting quite against my nature. But this is only for a short
while. Though it was difficult, I had to force myself to be genuinely
I could not believe how she turned softer as days went on. She was
becoming like my mother, and used to call me daughter so often. Then
there came a time we needed each other in almost every household chore.
We became friends.
But then suddenly I remembered it. Even once mixed it will work in
three months, the apothecary guaranteed. That guarantee came back to me
as a warning. I calculated the duration. I have got only three days
left. I have to act fast, super fast, I thought.
“I want it reversed,” I told the apothecary quickly.
“She is not the same person she used to be. We need each other again
very much now.”
I saw a smile on his face.
“That capsule was a vitamin, child,” the apothecary said. So he had
taken me on a ride. Was he a friend of my mother-in-law too? Will he
“I gave medicines to you, both of you. The only medicine to avenge
her cruelty is kindness. See, you have proved that. Don’t worry, let’s
keep this between us.”
I stared deep into his face trying to read more. But what he said was
lying deep inside me.