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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

‘Two States’- The Story of my Parents’ Marriage


This post was selected for BlogAdda’s Tangy Tuesday picks on 26th April ’11

This is dedicated to mum and dad, for their 21 beautiful and eventful years of marriage and the many many more to come. Belated happy anniversary to both of you. 🙂

It all happened one fateful day in 1989. My dad (a surprisingly down-to-earth Punjabi) was a lieutenant in the army, in a unit in Bombay, and hence the junior-most in the office. My mum (a surprisingly smart and ‘non-chinky’ Nepali) had just started out as an air hostess enjoying the thrills of new shoes from Paris and watches from Dubai.

My dad’s regular day started and ended in the office and little did he know any colours beyond the ones in his olive green uniform. Well, at least not until my mum decided to learn how to drive in an army driving school one fine day.

My mum wasn’t a bad driver, in fact she wasn’t too bad at all. Not until she discovered one day that she was lousy at reversing. And this she got to know when she rammed the car right into my dad’s (way too little) office, and nearly broke down an entire rear wall, leading to my dad rushing out as if an earthquake had just occurred.

No. It’s not what you think. There were no sparks at all. In fact there were only explosions and fireworks. My dad came out fuming, at his broken wall and my mum counter-argued at the fact that the army didn’t provide him with enough funds and a better office with stronger walls.

The argument went on till about half an hour or so when my dad’s boss summoned both of them to his office, where the argument was abruptly ended as my dad’s boss told them both to apologise to each other. After a few exchanges of the most murderous glances ever, my mum broke the silence and apologised, since the bad reversing style was hers after all.

My dad got the ego boost but his male-pride needed a little nursing too, so he invited my mum for lunch as an apology for him yelling. My mum agreed on the condition that they would go dutch. And then what followed was my mum and dad’s first ever ‘un-official’ date, at a vada-pav stall, on another fateful day in 1989.

My mum continued her driving lessons. Apparently, she needed a lot more practice at reversing. After every lesson, my dad would invite her to tea and samosas to his office and sometimes he would fill-in for the driving instructor, when the instructor would be on leave or sometimes even when he wasn’t.

Sometimes my dad’s boss needed things to be sent here and there, my dad would, more often then not, always volunteer to deliver something whenever it were somewhere near my mum’s house, and would ‘drop a casual visit’, saying he was ‘just passing by’.

The meetings grew. My mum’s driving improved, but she continued to come to correct even the most petty mistakes. And my dad paid his visits even when nothing was to be delivered anywhere and sometimes just something as petty as a glass of water or juice.

Symbolically enough, from the very first time they met, quite a few barriers were gradually broken as time passed. They started going for more lunches together, still sharing the costs and quite often they went for evening walks together in nearby parks and the pavement by the sea at Marine drive.

And on this one fateful day, many walks and lunch-dates later, my dad asked my mum out under the setting sun at Marine drive.

They dated for about almost a year and everything was going smooth until the entry of the villain of this story- my paternal grandmother.

My paternal grandmother was this typical Punjabi mother of a son, who was dying to show off her wealth and riches to her relatives through her son’s big fat pompous Punjabi wedding ceremony. She finally got the opportunity to bombard my dad with numerous matrimonial offers when my grandfather got a posting to Bombay as a doctor in the railway.

There were girls’ families who visited my grandparents’ house almost every fortnight and my grandmother forced my much protesting dad to visit girls’ houses now and then. My dad begged all of them to reject him, and he successfully wormed his way out of the matchmaking conspiracy, humouring my grandmother at the same time.

My grandmother began to smell something fishy and when she finally got strong hints, she debarred my dad from talking or meeting ‘this girl from another community’ a.k.a. my mum.

My grandmother continued the matchmaking in full swing, with twice as much vigour this time, and one of those days a girl and her multi-millionaire family was going to pay a visit.

My grandmother started to prepare for that day right from the morning, and told my dad to come home early from work. She bid the heartiest goodbye to my dad, and he drove off in his (now antique) Bajaj scooter. He drove at the highest possible speed he could manage, sped past his office and reached his destination- ‘The Bombay high court’- where my mum, along with my maternal aunt, paternal uncle and a few friends waited for my dad. My aunt being an IAS officer had pulled some strings and made my mum and dad jump the que. And on that very fateful day, the 13th of April, 1990, my parents were officially married after a 25-minute long procedure and about four signatures.

And that is how my mum and dad got married.

No. The story isn’t over yet. After that rather eventful day, my parents, each with their headiest adrenaline rush, decided to go and pay a visit to my grandmother. Yes, it was a pretty bold move, but she had to know some day, might as well have been the first.

My parents (now married) drove off to my grandparents’ house and decided to enter from the back door. And well, as luck had it, Miss multi-millionaire and family were sitting in the drawing room at that very same time. My grandmother opened the back-door and was overcome by the rude shock, when my dad introduced her to my mum, ‘his wife’.

I wish I was there to have seen the expression on her face. Apparently she froze and didn’t know what to do for about 10 minutes and when she finally gained her senses, she had her very first heart attack!

The chaos ensured the family in the drawing room to never be seen again and the heart attack turned out to be minor acidity.

My parents decided to have a small ceremony a week or so after, but neither of them could decide between a Punjabi and Nepali ceremony.

They finally came to a consensus, and decided that, since everything started and happened in Bombay, they might as well have a Marathi wedding.

That girl in the drawing room got married to one of my older paternal uncles some time later. My grandmother was still in shock for a few months, and to date she still tries to take revenge for the shock by being a soap-opera-ish mother-in-law to my mum. My grandfather was one of the happiest at the ceremony and to date he’s proud of my dad’s choice and his bold move.

Well… and then of course, about a year later, I came into the picture. And to date I laugh about the filmy-ness of my parents’ story and try to picture my grandmother’s expression on that eventful day.  But amidst all the chaos and overwhelming emotions, my parents managed to live happily ever after.

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Happy Birthday, Mom! :)


To: My Mom,

My mentor, my guide and my pillar of strength. My best friend and my closest ally. The woman I’ll always look up to (also because you’re taller than me) 😛

Since it’s your birthday today, I’m listing some of the reasons you’re the most special person I know. So here goes:

~The fact that you’re undoubtedly the most amazing cook the world will know. 😀

~The way you look oh-so-gorgeous in a sari or even if you wear track-pants or a dress. 🙂

~The times when you pretend to get angry and it all goes wrong and ends up in laughter. 😛

~The way you always know exactly how to handle any given situation. 🙂

~The way you stand up for yourself and refuse to take any crap from anyone. 8)

~The way I’m driven to blush like a tomato when you tease me about certain people. 😳

~The way you understand me and can read my face like an open book. 🙄

~The fact that you’re the most fun person to shop with. 😆

~The times when you grudgingly listen to my random ramblings even when it’s 2:00am, and I’ve woken you up from deep sleep. :mrgreen:

~The fact that you have an eye for the most amazing goodies which I’m sure to love. 😉

~The fact that I can share EVERYTHING with you from date stories, to a glass of wine. 😉

~The way you treat even a small problem with equal importance. 🙂

~The way you’ve always supported all my academic decisions. 🙂

~The way you treat everyone equally, no matter where they come from. 🙂

~The way you ALWAYS take my side. :mrgreen:

~The way you don’t pretend to like someone. 8)

~The way you can almost always save me from angry dad/aunt. 😛

~The way you’ve never deprived me of anything from the imported baby food to the close to hundred pairs of shoes. I named it and you got it for me. 🙂

~The fact that you’re the coolest and the most perfect mom there ever will be on this planet. 😀 😀 😀

~These and those uncountable things about you that I simply adore and which make you so special. 🙂

Thank you for everything mamma. 🙂

And wish you a very very very happy birthday. 🙂

Happy Birthday, Mom! 🙂

My Dog, ‘Buddy’-More Human than any Human can be


 

My dog, Buddy, as a puppy

My 4-year old Golden Labrador Retriever, Buddy, is the most adorable creature ever. The ‘ego’-less being that he is, he rarely gets angry and never judges. He’s almost more human than the humans in the house. And most of all, he gives love unconditionally.

 

Buddy's paw shake-cum-high five

We share this special bond with each other, almost like one of a brother or sometimes even a baby, and have our unique ways of communicating. He can sense when I’m low or just need someone and comes and puts his head on my lap or licks my palm showing his affection. Sometimes he puts his paw on my arm as a sign of reassurance. It’s the most amazing feeling when your pet understands you. He had his head on my lap once when I gently pet his forehead, and before I knew it, this little baby was fast asleep.

Yesterday, in the evening, he was getting really scared of some crackers burning nearby. He ran to me panting and fretting, and as usual I held his paw and sat down with him. Before I knew it, he creped up to my lap and held my arms tightly with is paws, and I hugged him with reassurance that everything’s going to be fine. The panting stopped and mild breath thereafter felt like a sigh of relief.

 

A slightly frightened Buddy

Sometimes they seem helpless and you feel like protecting them like as if a baby, sometimes you feel dependant on them to express or let out a pent up emotion, sometimes you just need them around for that immense joy they give, and most of all they’re the only ones who’ll always give you unconditional love.

Pets truly are the most precious and special.

 

Buddy's head on my lap

To Respect or Not to Respect


My dad and I have had a number of conversations about my paternal grandmother.My paternal grandmother is an extremely headstrong person and as far as I can recall she has never been the grandparent who gives love unconditionally.

Being an only child I have always craved love from wherever I can get it and I also have a lot of love to give. But I never have felt any love from her side, and moreover never have I felt an urge to reciprocate love.

Dad always tells me that I need to talk to her more often to understand her better. But I wish it were that simple. Every time I have tried to talk, it always is followed by a gesture or call to shut myself up. Then I tell dad that she never really has done anything for me, how can I develop love-lost overnight?

There was this one time when I was 11 years old, when I went walking to the market (2 kilometres away) to get her a surprise gift for her birthday. It was a Ganesh poster made on handmade paper but not framed yet (all an 11 year old could afford). When I gave it to her, she told me the colour was drab and that it didn’t go with the setting of her house and that I should return it to the shop. There were many such incidents like this. I did keep trying to find a common chord to at least talk about, but in vain.

I keep quoting these incidents to dad in my defence, but the argument he has left with him is that, she is an elder and a part of our family and hence whatever said and done I have to respect her.

But let me make one thing clear to everyone who thinks that way. No one is obligated to love every single person they call relatives. One is born into a family completely by chance, with absolutely no fault or choice of theirs. And they have the discretion enough to chose whom to like and whom not to like. In my case, I have an enormous amount of respect for my parents and my aunt who have done everything possible to bring me up and give me every happiness I have wished for, and they have done so much for me that I can never fall out of love for them. But why do I need to respect someone like my grandmother who has never given me love wholeheartedly? Well for the least someone who hasn’t ever reciprocated the love I have tried to give.

I’ve always gone by a simple principle about giving respect. It goes something like this, “My respect is something very personal and special to me. Initially, I will give it to everyone alike, no matter who they are, where they belong to or what age they are. But to retain this respect in me I would need it to be reciprocated alike.” As simple as that.

I’m not saying love conditionally or be selfish about whom to love. But at least when you respect someone it should be mutual and it can be to everyone alike if they deserve it and not just family.

Maybe someday dad will understand. He does understand to some extent, but he also faces the eternal male dilemma, and I completely understand his plight too.

But the point I’m trying to make here is that just because X or Y belongs to my family I don’t have to respect or like them just by the mere virtue of being my relatives. For that matter, till the time I don’t share that special bond with someone I cannot call them ‘family’ in its truest sense. And sometimes there are a certain people who are not even remotely connected to you genetically in any way, but that special bond of so called ‘family’ just comes naturally.

At the end of the day it is you who matters and you who’s respect and love is in question and no social norms or set rules of obligations can chalk that out for you. It is completely up to you whom to like and whom not to. Let ‘society’ frown upon it, it is society’s job to do so in most things. But you know you have a reason for your discomfort with the person and no societal norms can judge you for it.