• Sharin Hussain

Living with my Father in Law

I love my dad. It goes without saying that our love is unconditional and growing up I was always a daddy’s girl. We would have daddy and daughter time, and I was attached to my father at the hips.

So when I was getting married, I wondered what kind of relationship I would have with my father in law. Prior to moving in with my in-laws in December 2019, I had only met him a few times and from those short meetings, it seemed like he was kind but I did think living together and adjusting to life together in one household would perhaps show us both in a new light.

I was nervous about moving in with my in-laws. You hear about all these 'horror' stories and it was honestly off putting and became a fear that I had for a while especially with depictions of this seen in many many Bollywood dramas. I decided that I wanted to stay with my in-laws, I was hopeful that living together would help our relationship and create a bond between us that will grow overtime.

Moving in with them was a huge change from being in the comfort of my parents home. I was essentially living with strangers including my husband whom I found through my parents and was assisted in getting married to him. It's not all that different from people living with strangers in shared accommodation.

Initially, we were all careful around each other, not necessarily awkward or tense but everyone wanted to make sure we didn’t step on each other's toes and I was starting to understand their daily routine and how I could help with little things here and there. My father in law, Noor, whom I call ‘Baba’, a loving term for father in Bengali, loves to drink coffee and I quickly learnt that this was the way for us to bond. We’d have a chat and bond over tea at least once a day and talk about random things and get to know each other. It was the start to building our relationship and it helped immensely when we went into full lockdown in March 2020.

Baba loves watching various YouTube videos ranging from cooking shows to travel vlogs. It was always interesting to see what he would end up watching. With cooking shows, it became clear that Baba was actually interested in trying some recipes out and the first time he wanted to make something, he asked if I would like to join him. I said yes. I’m not a bad cook but this would be the first time I watched my father cook. We made Mughai paratha, a beaten egg covered in pastry. Since then, we’ve made several dishes together from briyani, stir fry, and desserts such as cheesecake and tiramisu.

My favourite dessert we made together was Rasgulla, a ball shaped dumpling dipped in a sugar syrup. The process to make it was long, however we had done it a few times and Baba was confident with our skills that for Eid 2020, we made over 40 balls to share with our family. Baba was so proud of our work and was praising me for being a ‘great daughter in law’.

About 2 years into my marriage, I asked my father in law if “my husband and I should move out?”, I honestly didn’t want to but I did think it was fair to ask and not overstay our welcome. Baba laughed and said ‘Why? Are you not happy here?”. I was and I explained why I even asked to begin with. Whenever I go to my mother’s home an hour away, I often stay for a couple of days and Baba calls me to find out when I’m back because the house is quiet without my presence. I think it’s safe to say, he likes having me around and I like being around him.

It's nearing 3 years since I moved in and I have no regrets.

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