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In-laws In India
From India Tribune

Dear Uncle, My in-laws in India don’t like me and my family living here in the USA. I was brought here by my parents a long time ago when I was a child. My parents live here but my in-laws and all of their side live in India. All are middle class and well established in their careers. My husband and I are totally settled here and have our own small family happy and are living a comfortable life. Whenever I go to India my in-laws act strange, they are nice but converse in a double talk manner which irritates me quite a bit. If I eat with fork it’s a problem for them, if I don’t eat outside in restaurant that’s a problem too for them and, if I and my kids speak English that too is a problem for them. I’m very caring and loving towards others. I don’t say or do anything to hurt others' feelings. Our being Americans is a problem for them. I’m what I am because I lived in this country for so long, I can’t help it. My perspectives toward our religion and culture are not any different from theirs. My views about my religion and culture haven’t changed in spite of my living here. I wish they wouldn’t treat me differently. I love India very much, it’s too far away from me, but I can feel it in my heart everyday. I don’t know how to make them understand that I’m one of them and always will be.

– Indo-American Wife

Dear IAW,

You seem to be a caring, sensitive, level-headed, and compassionate woman. I understand how you feel. It seems like you have to be thick-skinned and care-free when you deal with your in-laws. It appears that what you are telling me is just the tip of the ice-berg. There is more to your in-laws attitude towards you. Since you were in the USA since your childhood, it is quite natural that your lifestyle is somewhat American. You and particularly your husband may need to communicate effectively to your in-laws about the cultural differences between India and the USA. It is important that you communicate the love and relationship and have a heart-to-heart talk. Overlook the differences in behaviors and mannerisms for the sake of unity in the family. If you can’t patch up the strained relationship, the grandchildren will suffer and they will be deprived of the love of the grandparents. Since in-laws are not going to change due to their old age, I suggest you try to change and sacrifice for the sake of the family’s happiness. I admire your love for India and Indian sentiments and religion. Good luck.

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Dr. Bharat Thakkar has advised hundreds of students as well as youths at BAPS in career development, employment searches, resume writing, interview training and techniques, career counseling, personal family issues and concerns, university admission processes, and also providing references for outstanding students. For any questions, issues or problems, write to Dear Uncle at dearuncle@indiatribune.com. Your confidentiality will be maintained.

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