Skip to main content

Feeling Guilty!

As a practising Roman Catholic, I was just thinking that I should get myself off to Confession as soon as possible and confess my sins.  The guilt is weighing me down.  I've done something so awful that I cannot believe it myself.

 Neil, my eldest son (14), was only telling me the other day, that his class teacher Mrs. Narayan had given the class a fairly strong talking-to on the need to be respectful to one's elders.

"If there are old people in your house," she had said, "you must always treat them with kindness and respect."  Now Neil has a lot of regard for Mrs. Narayan.  But this did not go down well with him at all.

"I wish Ma'am Narayan would come to this house and see what's going on here," he said.  "She should tell aunt Urmila to treat the other family members with the kindness and respect she'd like to be treated herself."  The boy was right.  I had to agree with him.

Aunt Urmila is an elderly relative of ours, a tough, independent lady of 86, who visits our house regularly and stays for long periods of time.  I've written about her before.  She makes no secret of the fact that she thinks that I am some form of animal life - somewhere below human.  She will not accept a cup of tea nor a glass of water from my hand.  She will not eat food cooked by me.  Even if I didn't actually cook the curry, just cut the vegetables.  Her dislike extends to my four children as well.  She has requisitioned many of our kitchen utensils for her personal use, as she doesn't trust the servants.  Neil accidentally touched those utensils yesterday and was subjected to a most vicious verbal assault from her.  I would say that her behavior verges on harassment.   My children and I?  We are waiting for her departure, which won't come a moment too soon as far as we are concerned.

My sin?  Oh, yes, I'm getting there.  Aunt Urmila is nearly always to be found praying and reading her Ramcharitmanas (scriptures) or scrubbing utensils in the kitchen.  Her own, naturally.  She stands in front of the sink, allowing no one else near it while she works.  Same with the gas.  When I noticed her pile of shining utensils, pots, pans, plates and spoons, in a neat pile beside her bed the other day, I saw red.  We are so inconvenienced in the kitchen these days because of her selfishness.  I glared at the utensils, innocent 'though they were.

"She makes me sick!" I declared openly.  "I wish she'd ever buy her own pots and pans."  Aunt Urmila came in.  Although she doesn't understand English, the vision of me glaring at her utensils and speaking in an angry voice conveyed my meaning clearly.  She immediately launched into a verbal tirade, screaming and shouting.  I couldn't understand all of what she was saying, but I did understand threats to break my head and throw me out of the house and worse (!) .......tell my husband....oh, no!

I suppose I should have left the scene quietly.  I didn't.  But I know shouting back at her is useless.  I stood my ground, glared continuously at her, and watched her getting worked up into a frenzy.  I used every expression that I could through my eyes.  I mocked her.  I laughed at her.  I glared at her until she practically fell down in a heap.  Then I left the room.  Quietly.

What a bitch I am!  Teasing an old woman like that.  Did I ever think I would do a thing like that?  No.

My mother in law enjoyed the whole scene from afar and had a good laugh about it afterwards.  Naturally, when she met aunt Urmila she was all sympathy for her.  And all criticism for me.

And me?  I'll have to get down to the Church and confess my sin to the priest as soon as possible.  Or I won't go to Heaven when I die!


  1. Listen, you are a saint for not throwing things at her. She sounds beastly. Don't feel guilty.

  2. What a thoroughly unpleasant woman. Well done for being so restrained.

  3. The confessional is the greatest invention of the Roman Catholic church. Much before psychiatric counseling became fashionable, this provided a good safety valve and I am sure that a lot of lives have been protected from insanity because of the confessional. I think that it is a good idea for you to go and confess.

    About Aunt Urmila, if you would like, I shall advise something to read that will help in handling her and others of her ilk. Please contact me on my email to do the needful.

  4. I am not a Roman Catholic, but after reading some of the posts on your blog I find it very interesting indeed. Thank you for sharing. God bless, Lloyd

  5. I think you have done enough confessing here to your peers. We will all forgive you. You need to go to the top of a hill and scream. Yes, SCREAM as loud and as long as you can. It works wonders for getting rid of all the angst!


  6. I just wanted to say: I LOVE the comment you left on...christian-with-a-view...I have been working on an answer myself since last night. THANK YOU! That post just infuriated me!

    Love your blog! This post made me laugh...

  7. I'm sorry Maria...but I really think you have no reason to confess. I remember reading about her before. What an obnoxious woman...she doesn't deserve respect.

  8. Oh,you poor dear!Why put up with this,tell your hubby....I'm sure your kids can back you up on this-she's not nice to them too.I shall pray for you.Had a good laugh!!!

  9. Don't be so hard on yourself... even saints can be goaded beyond endurance. So you finally stood up to a bully. If the way you did it made you feel bad then figure out a more satisfactory way of doing it. Your reaction was bound to happen given all you've been trying to swallow. It's a warning that what you've been doing isn't working for you.

  10. I'm sure the priest could recommend some scripture to make you feel better about the situation in the future too. Though I don't understand why your mother-in-law allows her to inconvenience the household.

    Can you purchase your own utensils?

    One thing for sure, you will remember their attitudes when you become a mother-in-law and will be one of the kindest and most understanding.

  11. We are only human, and when so provoked, it is more than difficult to hold in the notion of being so wronged, for no reason.

    I battle this, trying to be the loving, humble vessel Christ asks, but at times it is only me going to Him with heavy sighs at my failings.

    Yet those failings bring me to Him, and as I exhale, I know this is part of it. Without that need, what would I be?

    My love and prayers are with you and the kids, and with her too. Bless her, as a southern friend of mine would say.

  12. You have already done the confession! I will congratulate you on being long-suffering and self-controlled, per Galatians 5:22-23.

  13. Well, maybe I need to confess too, because I laughed out loud at how you stood up to this ridiculous woman! Is she demented or just really, really cranky? You must be a saint to live in such a different culture. You must be very strong in spirit!


Post a comment

Thanks for visiting me. Please let me know you were here

Popular posts from this blog


Many years ago, when I lived in Dublin, I met someone nice and started dating. I wasn't serious, I just thought we could have nice interesting discussions about India, which I found absolutely fascinating, as I was working in the Embassy of India back then. I had no intention of getting attached with a foreigner, with all the attendant cultural problems. I was happy living in Ireland and the idea of marriage couldn't have been further from my mind. We both thought we could just keep things in control. One day, after a lot of emotional turmoil and denial, it hit us both that we were in love. Truly. Madly. Irrevocably. To the point where we couldn't live without each other. I'd known about the Indian system of arranged marriages and when it occurred to me that he would probably be married off by his family as soon as he returned to India, I felt physically ill at the thought. We are both tenacious and patient people. We realised that bringing our two worlds together

Kipling Got it Wrong! Or Eastern and Western Culture - Reflections

What Is Culture? I’m opening this blog post with a question. What is that elusive concept which is commonly known as ‘culture? Culture is way of life. How we live. What our values are.  Our customs, attitudes and perceptions. And also, I suppose, how we express ourselves in art through, such as music, dance, theatre and cinema.  It’s quite a comprehensive area and not too easy to define, really. Travel between east and west is common nowadays The Journey I was born in what is commonly known as ‘the west’. I lived in Ireland for the first thirty years of my life. When I was thirty, I married my husband and came out to India to live here with him. That was the beginning of an interesting journey, which is still evolving. I must have had some east/west comparison stereotypes in my head. But in India, I found that the people I met had huge stereotypes in their heads about what they called ‘western culture’ and ‘western way of life’. Not long after

The Tale of One Kitty

The cat..... Those who know me already might say that they didn't know I had a cat.  I didn't, you know! Our dog, Duggu is such a handful, I didn't think we could take on another pet. But a few months ago, a beautiful cat (whom we eventually named Puggle)  arrived. She's not really ours..... Nope! She's someone else's cat who just went on what the Aussies might call a walkabout. My younger daughter Riya found her on the roof of our house, a pretty calico (three-coloured) cat. Riya was instantly smitten. Some milk was fed to the little creature and the deal was sealed. Puggle has been a regular visitor to our house ever since. And two days after she arrived, in mid-May, she gave birth to four kittens. We'd had no idea the kitty was enceinte. So what did we do? What can you do? If a single mom landed on your doorstep and gave birth in your house, what would you do? Try to help, obviously. As the cat bore no identification and had been roaming the colony unst