Buying a son in law . . !

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A scene I remember ever so vividly years ago is that of going over to visit a friend’s sister just after she had been married. I was pleasantly surprised to find her father a rather plump and jolly old man also staying with the young couple. “What are you doing here?” I asked the beaming father.
“They needed a fridge, so I came immediately,” he said. “I didn’t know you were a refrigerator,” I said with a smile. “He was so cool about buying us one,” said his son in law as he grinned happily at his bride, who I noticed was not as delighted as he was. His son-in- law soon gave him lengthy descriptions about his dangerous journeys to work everyday in crowded locals and even hinted his daughter would be a widow if he fell off the overcrowded train.
The jolly father now not so jolly went with his son- in- law, one evening and signed a cheque for a car that would look after his son in law’s safety.
From the car it went on to the need for a house and then the furnishings for the home, then one fine day I found the girl back in her parent’s home. “What happened?” I asked. “Daddy said no to him,” she said. “He sent me home!” A no that came too late.
I asked my friend’s father why he had started this bad habit in the first place. “Why did you give him the fridge?” I asked. “Because I wanted him to be nice to my little girl,” he cried. Protection money? Is that what it’s all about?
Protection money paid to safeguard your beloved daughter from being bashed up by husband and his family? Money paid so that she will be treated well? Money and gifts if not given, result in bizarre bride hurting or harassment till the distraught woman jumps from some building terrace to her death or hangs herself from ceiling fan in dejected hopelessness?
What do we look for in a son in law? His green card? Job? Salary? Or, Do we spend time trying to find out about the man? His character? Good habits, if any. His strange violent traits. His addictions. His strengths and his weaknesses? Maybe it’s worth knowing these things instead of falling for title and MBA degree.
Certainly, your purse strings you need to close. Share the marriage expenses by all means, and after the wedding is over, take him, your son- in- law aside, and whisper into his attentive ear “Look after your bride and future family my son. That, and only that will make a man of you..!”

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