Well not so new either but haven’t gotten a chance to play the part until this last one week. Aha! explains her absence from these pages! did anyone say? Well, given that I’ve been craving comments this last month or so, there are some of you out there who need to explain your absence too!
Anyhow, I digress (after so long! I’m in digress mode after so long!)… Let me come back to where I started… the joys of being married into a progressive, warm and friendly family are too numerous to list. And this post is not about saccharine sweet odes to my Attagaru (mom-in-law) anyway… So what is this post about? This post is about moments every girl will face when she goes to live with her in-laws for a good length of time.
The I-never-eat-this vegetable adventure sets the stage for others to come… The young girl must carefully mask her displeasure on seeing the vegetable she most detests on the lunch table and say in a falsely cheerful tone, “But atteyagaru (or whatever else she might address her mom-in-law) I eat anything. Don’t bother about me when planning meals” when asked by the older lady if she eats kaddu with rice. The girl must also control her jealousy and must look the other way when the youngest member of the family complains loudly about kaddu and gets alu-fry instead. Of course, she must also testify that this is exactly how mommy makes kaddu too! (as if she ever tasted it when mommy made it!) Of course, a discerning mom-in-law will (much to the relief of the young one) put a generous share of alu on the girls plate too and carefully mask her all-knowingness by saying, taste this too!
By now, the tone and stage are set. The girl must be good (not so good as to not even recognize herself but good enough to imagine the look on mom’s face if she saw the daughter this way…) and the mother in law must guess what the girl is really thinking (which is not hard at all)
Now imagine the sari shopping adventure. Mother-in-law wants to buy the girl a sari. Girl doesn’t want a sari in the first place but tags along obediently. They look at saris passively. Neither expressing their like or dislike for fear of upsetting the other until finally, the salesperson brings out a sari in jute silk. Mom in law not having a daughter who would keep her updated on trends expresses her disbelief. Jute? As in gunny bags jute? she says. And the man replies, “The very same madam! Latest style!”. At this the girl steps in. “Natural fabrics are the in thing atteyagaru”, she says. The lady becomes adamant. “I will buy silk for my daughter-in-law not this gunny bag nonsense”, she says. The invisible barrier is broken! The two women are exchanging likes and dislikes now! “Ugh! look at the border on this one”, says the girl. “This design has been around since my time!”, says the lady. And they happily buy two saris instead of one…
There are others too. Shopping in the supermarket, fighting over who carries the bags. Shopping for a pressure cooker, picking out favourite wedding photos, exchanging recipes, making plans for cooking, discussing healthy diets, watching movies, going on drives, visiting temples… And before you know it, the two have bonded. It’s not a natural bond, this one. There are a lot of expectations and prejudices associated with these. And it’s hard to suddenly become “family”. But at the end of it all, I’m one hell of a lucky girl coz I seem to just fit in… What’s more, there’s my share of clutter too in the family living room!