Thursday, June 02, 2005

In-Law issues

In - Law Issues - part I

I was mesmerized as he walked towards me !! His hair was getting rearranged every single second . It was a perfect analogy to fire . Changing shape but the same pattern . More like a seashore . Every wave looks different but every wave looks the same . There was sparkle in his eyes , and his smile , my God , I can happily die now. Just then there was a small stone in his path and!!! …
What happened!! ….

Chitra ,Software engineer , today is a holiday , today is D day , have to meet Sanjeev’s Mom.
Pulses of info bombarded onto my head.

What the ….
I was split in two worlds for a microsecond before getting back to my senses. There is always a phase when you are confused which one is your world . The dream or the reality. I loved that. I had thought may be the dream world is the real world and our real world is …. I could never think beyond that.
Suddenly the meanings of all those info hit me!! Particularly 1 single point!!!!!!
Have to meet Sanjeev’s Mom

With one single action I got out of my bed.
“Girls ,iam gonna meet sanjeev’s mother today please help me with access to bathroom.”

The “so called” girls were too sleepy to hear my words. It was more like FYI. Modern girls never get up early during holidays. On weekdays they get up relatively early coz they have to go to office!!!!!!!!!

I quickly got into my daily routine. All the while I can only think of one thing.
“Got to impress Sanjeev’s Mom”, “Somehow!!”

I could never decide what kinda girl she would like ? Traditional, homely, talkative, meek, modern ?? I was pulling my hair out!!!!!
Life is the toughest for a working woman .
You have to know everything , You have to do everything , You have to Be everything!!!!
But I can gladly take this burden for Sanjeev.
Ah!! Sanjeev . The very thought added a high dose of endorphin* into my blood. No wonder those who have a good love life live longer.
I was out of the bathroom and was paralyzed by an question of Universal proportion.

“WHAT WILL I WEAR”?????????????????

“Hey girls , what can I wear????”

“hmmmmm that sleeveless pink chudi I gave na , put that one!!!”
Rambled saranya who was still half asleep.

“Ignore her chitra, she is still asleep, Wear that red saree with matching blouse!!! Also don’t forget that huge bindi” , “You will look just like goddess kali” , remarked vanitha.

she was grinning widely . I wanted to break all the teeth from her misshaped mouth . sadly I didn’t have time.
Again the same dilemma. Would I look too cultured ,too carefree , too bold??? Have to wear the right saree!! Also which colour to choose?? I knew God should have made women as colour blind!! That would save thousands of hours of confusion in her life.

I looked myself in the mirror!! Something was missing!!! L
Ok!!! I know !!!!!
I put a thin streak of viboodhi** on top of my kum kum!!! Sanjeev has told me so many times that he is just crazy over this get up!!!
I smiled . Nobody could say No to the face in the mirror.

“Ok ppl,Iam leaving”
“All the best Chitra!! Waiting for the treat” they chorused in unison
I closed my eyes in a silent prayer for a min . Then I stepped out.


I looked at the clock on the table .It was 4.30am. Time to get up. I took the thaali** in my hands and respectfully pressed it onto my closed eyes,like I always do every single morning!!
Just then I remembered.

My God,Have to meet that girl my son sanjeev was talking about!!!!!

To be continued

*endorphin -a hormone that makes you happy – (roughly)
** viboodhi – holy ash also known as thiruneeru
** thaali - sacred thread worn by married women in India also referred to as mangal sootra.

In - Law Issues - part II

I started preparing the morning coffee!! There is a constant pain in my knee nowadays. As a result I am not as fast as I used to be. In this same kitchen I used to work like Zahir hussain’s* fingers on a tabla . Preparing Sanjeev for school is the hardest chore in the world. He used to run all over the place. Cant believe he has grown up so fast. And now he says he is in love with a girl and asking me to meet her!!!! Dunno whats wrong with him nowadays. He used to be a nice boy. Its all because of these cheap movies and sick programs in TV. They confuse today’s youngsters and spoil them so much.

I walked to his room with coffee in my hands!!! There he is, sleeping like a baby. There was a mild smile on his face. My only wish to God is to make him smile the same way all his life!! I want to care and protect him all my life. But there are times when he makes me so angry. Dunno why he is acting so crazily at times. Why does he want to love a girl who is from some other sub caste?? I am OK with anything if it keeps him happy, but how will I face all my relatives???

Especially my uncle’s second nephew’s third sister Shantha!!!! She will have a field day!! As such she is so jealous of us and never misses a chance to put us down during family functions. What will our neighbours think??? I cant understand how these kids get into commitments without thinking about all these things!!!
These kids have no exposure , that’s the problem. Also how can I be sure she is the perfect girl??? I wouldn’t want to risk my baby’s life into some stranger just because he likes her!!
There are times when I have to strict, all for his own good. Like the time, i had to punish him for teaching discipline during school days.
Just then I felt a lazy movement!! Sanjeev was awake. He usually wakes up early in the morning!!!
“Good Morning ma” , he wished cheerfully. “ Ready to meet your future daughter-in –law”????
The smile flied of my face. “ Drink your coffee first”. I placed the coffee on the table.
“Will she get up early as I do and give you your cup of coffee at the right time!!???”. I wanted to make him understand he is doing a mistake.

“Don’t worry ma!!! She wont be able to do all the things you do,but she will definitely do all the stuff she can do ,to make me happy”. He winked at me.
These kids always beat you with fancy lines. I didn’t know how to respond.

“I seriously don’t know whether I will like that girl-da.I am just coming because you want me to”,I said
“No problems –ma, just meet her once.If you don’t feel right then I wont press you!! But please don’t press me to marry any other girl, that wouldn’t happen”.
He smiled but my heart went up in flames!!

“Did I raise you all these years for this, its better if I didn’t have any son instead of this”,I replied angrily!!!
I know I have over reacted but its very tough to control my emotions when he talks like this!!!!

“Just chill ma,you will definitely like her . why do you worry yourself with unwanted stuff??”
So saying he got off the bed.

Soon it was time for us to go. I have to admit in spite of all my reservations I was very eager to meet the girl. After all she has managed to make my son go crazy about her. I would definitely want to meet that girl for the reason.

We are leaving!!! I told my husband. He nodded without taking his eyes off the newspaper. He acted as if he is very much against this but I know he would relent if I persuade him . May be that’s the reason sanjeeev didnt seem to worry much about his strong disapproval. I always knew Sanjeev was smart .

I got of the bus and started walking. The location was Sanjeev’s idea . A quiet temple in ECR with adjoining beach.
I am not sure whether I have arrived at the right time . I didn’t want to be too early lest I be considered cheap also I didnt want to be late lest I be considered insincere!!!!

Just then I saw a car entering the street. It was Sanjeev’s car!!

* a very famous tabla artist.

In - Law Issues - part III

The car banked to the left.
“hi chithra,hop in” , sanjeev exclaimed .He looked very fresh and upbeat. Its easier if you don’t have to travel in this hot sun in local bus. I thought as I smiled.

My eyes were already analyzing sanjeev’s mom. She looked very soft and respectable. No wonder sanjeev can’t stop talking abt his mom. Meanwhile she started smiling at me and beckoned me into the car.My first impression was “ I can do business with this lady”. I grew confident.

I said ,“Hi sanjeev,hello aunty”
How can I make this mistake,I should have called her amma,just like sanjeev does!!!!

There was a mild disappointment in sanjeev’s face.
“You must have woken up fairly early for us”, Aunty remarked with a smile.
“Yeah that’s right usually I don’t get up before 8 during weekends”, I was glad she is so understanding.
There was a slight chuckle from aunty and sanjeev’s right arm was on his forehead for a while.
I realized it was gauging question and I lost. L
Strike two. I decided to be very careful from now onwards.

We entered the temple and completed our darshan of the deity. No prizes for guessing what I was praying.
“Ok ladies, think I will leave you alone for a while”,said sanjeev with a saying he started walking towards the gate.
“He is going out to smoke, God knows who will bring him back to his senses”.
There was genuine concern in aunty’s voice.I also noticed that she stopped abruptly realizing that she has been opening up a controversial topic. Guess iam not the only one goofing up today!! J
“so tell me chithra , whats your native ?? tell me abt your dad and mom”
I knew she is just trying to build up rapport. Sometimes ppl do that when they prepare to talk tough. I got ready!!
After some insignificant intro ,she got directly to the point. I liked that.
“Look chithra,you seem like a really nice girl. So I will try to tell you this in a real nice way. The practices dictated by our ancestors were decided based on deep thinking and profound insight.You guys don’t have enough exposure, you take decisions without any deep thinking. Why don’t you leave the elders to decide what is right and what is wrong for you?? The reason marriage was fixed within a predetermined circle is because that takes care of so many compatibility issues.
What will you do when our food habits differ??what will you do when you wont have any clue as to what to do during our festivals?? Will you be able to adjust to our customs and pratices?? what will you do when your child gets admitted in school?? Whose caste will you put in the certificate?? Imagine the pain your parents have gone through to raise you to these levels .What are you gonna pay them back with?? Humiliation in front of their relatives. Have you thought about any of these things??
For you ppl life is like a cinema,you think everything is so easy.Well guess what?? Its more tougher than what you can imagine. You look like a nice girl. you will definitely get a nice guy and iam sure your parents are quite capable of choosing you one. So please forget my dear sanjeev. I assure you that he wont trouble you if you tell him that you don’t want to be disturbed”
I gave her a couple of seconds to get her breath back.
“Aunty, let me tell you that I really found you so familiar and friendly as soon as I saw you and I really appreciate your straight forward views. Trust me when i say that myself and Sanjeev value and respect our tradition very much. We believe all these pratices and guidelines are set to make our life better and the best way to thank our ancestors is to live a complete and enriching life even if it means bending a few of their words which fall out of our times.
We guys are not kids anymore. You should be angry when an eighth standard boy comes home one fine day and says “Mom there is this girl who is kinda cute, all my friends say we will make a perfect match, so I think iam in love with her”. You should be worried when a college kid returns home and says “mom I saw a girl yesterday in the college balcony, I will kill myself if I don’t get her”
“But when two intelligent adults happen to fall to love and decide to share their life and when your son comes home and says Mom I am sure this girl will make a perfect wife and I want to live with her ,
then You should be happy.
I know there are a lots of incompatibilities and myself and sanjeev both have discussed about all of them and reached a common ground on most of them. When two individuals from two different backgrounds decide to share their life incompatibilities are natural. But iam sure that we have enough love to get over it.
What do you care most about?? Your son’s day to day life?? Or some distant relative passing unfair comments on rare occasions,who is gonna pass some comment or the other anyway!!!! The ones who really matter don’t mind and the ones who mind don’t matter. I am sure the real relatives shall understand our love if you can explain them that this is our children’s choice and I respect them
Sanjeev considers you ppl equal to God perhaps even more than that and we would never imagine doing anything that will bring you disgrace .We want to give you happiness. We want to see the joy on your faces while you cuddle with your grandchildren. We want to you to gleam with pride as you admire your son and wife face challenges after another with trust and love. We want you to live a peaceful life by seeing us leading our life happily.
Iam sure you can find the best gal for sanjeev and my parents can get some other guy for me. But can you get anyone who could love us as much as we love each other ??? Coming to think of it, what is the mistake we have done??? We just want to share our lives based on mutual affection and admiration. Is this a crime?? Sure there will be problems like there will be in any marriage but we are confident that we can face all of them with your guidance. We shall marry with full blessings and wishes from you or will stay unmarried in respect of you disapproval.
The choice is yours to make. “

There was pin drop silence, except for a mild and soothing sound of the waves. There were waves in aunty’s mind as well. I had a feeling that perhaps I have spoken too much. I can see that aunty was thinking very deeply.
I can see that she was arriving at a decision.

“That was the last puff”,I thought . I was getting very impatient. Time to check out the ladies.
I headed towards the entrance.

To be continued……

In - Law Issues - part IV

My mind was torn with thousand thoughts. Thoughts of how perfect my life would be with Chthra. Thoughts of how glad I will be if chithra manages to convince my mom. Thoughts of next steps.Thoughts of what will I do if my mom disagrees!!!!!!
I suddenly lost the motivation to think.

As I took the corner I could see chithra and my mom sitting closer than they sat when I left. I could see that chithra’s face didn’t bear a happy expression and also it looked as if she was meekly listening to my mom. Oh my God!! What has happened.
I started walking faster in order to get closer and over hear their conversation.

“No ma, he never buys me any gifts at all”,Chithra was complaining!!!!

Amma!?!??? Gifts?!!!??
What the hell is going on here???

Just then they heard me coming and looked at my direction.
For a moment chithra winked at me with a smile and immediately turned her face back that sorry, sad mood again!!!
You naughty girl!!!!!!!! I looked up to the heavens and sincerely prayed for a girl child just like chithra!!

“Is this the way you treat my daughter – In – law??? Heard that you are not even taking her out regularly”,My Mom enquired angrily.
I didn’t reply. I didn’t want my voice to disturb this perfect moment. I sat beside them smiling.
“So whats the next step?? When are gonna bring this smart girl into our house??”,My mom questioned.

“Hmm , lets see. First you have to convince dad, which I think shall be handled by you quite well.” ,I grinned widely.”Then I go to Chithra’s home town to meet her parents and convince them. Then they get in touch with you ppl . Then the only thing left will be dum dum dum *.”

“I don’t think there will be too much of a problem from my side!! There has been a few love marriages in our close relatives circles.”,chithra replied.

“Either way iam sure my daughter is intelligent enough to handle any situation”,My mom remarked.
I didn’t want to tell her about our preparations and rehearsals for this meeting!!

“yeah sure, I realized that long back.
So chithra when do you get up during weekends???”,I enquired.
All of us burst into laughter.

Chithra was looking so beautiful when she was laughing.
I decided to wait for the wedding!!!

*dum dum dum – the sound of thavil,a traditional percussion instrument played during
tamil marriages

PS : They lived happily ever after!!! J J

The begining


sravan said...

hey tats a nce n wel-drafted imagination, if it is one! lucky pair, i wish there r more like tiz :)

Srivats said...

You did it again, another love story in your hand perfect!
but onnu dhaan purila.. epdi ellam pesina ammakku kovam dhaan varum ,sudennly epdi sammadhichaangannu therla.

Kavidhaikku poi azhagu madhriri works with stories ;)