From ALL the children.. the tales would be uncannily similar, I believe…
This one was inspired during a chat with a friend of mine. His parents are here, and as with all of us living “out-station”, parental visits bring with them, their share of love and irritation, guilt and glory.
Parents sit and hatch the whole week during such visits. It makes no difference whether they are going Calcutta to Coimbatore, Amritsar to LA..
A parental visit has its own rhythm.. an unbroken cadence.
They come; they exclaim; they clean; they cook; they nag about health and marriage; they feed the friends who all suddenly descend on you with much love (it’s a lie, its all about the food, people).
They drag you out all over town over weekends to shop (like there are no stores whatsoever in the heartlands of Calcutta) - since they have gotten bored sitting at home waiting for you to get back from office, the week through (and all you want to do is sleep).
They give you breakfast in bed; and hot dinner at night; plenty of unwanted advice about life, work, men, health, friends, food, bosses, work, health, life… you know what I mean..
The other common factor of parental visits is GUILT. In dollops. You feel horrible that parent is here, yet work can’t stop. So, all you can do is pray that they will find something to do, while on their trip.
Moms, of course, get a free pass to “Harass Heaven”, as soon as they become MOMS. I suspect Dads would too, if they could be less immersed in the newspapers and cricket. Mine is a little afraid of my volatile temper, so that’s another plus. :-D
Ma, thankfully, brings her work. So, after she has finished flailing her arms about, and exclaiming about the state of my house, she potters around cleaning. Yes, this one is a REGULAR. And it makes no difference even if I have run around like the Whirling Dervish a day before, and collared my roomie also to help clean up the house.
Once she has happily checked expiry dates on every damn thing in the house, and thrown out most of it, she settles down to do her work.. finishes it too, by the time the trip is through. One visit, it wasn’t just her, but my other 2 aunts as well. Between the three mothers, my fridge started resembling Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard in half hour.
“O my god!! Look at that mayonnaise, its 3 years old!
“And see this!! 3 bottles of the same sauce…all expired!!”
In my defense, milord… it was a busy three years.
Every trip is the same. Ma wakes up at the CRACK of DAWN...potters around a bit.. peers at my face... says "Am going for a walk, won’t u come?"
If I mumble back...pillow over my face, she’ll say "U sure? Sure na, that you don’t feel like it?"
And go off.
Then she's be back in an hour.. and say "Eesh, ki je shob raasta tomar barir shamney, haantai jai na”
The lady is used to power walking for an hour, each day by a lake back home.. what can I do, manufacture one here?
Then she's again peer at me and say "Chaa khabey?"
Of course, I’m STILL at the mumbling stage..and really cross by now
So I say no.
Off she goes.. makes her tea (Darjeeling, that she packs and gets from home, cause she cannot bear my Dhaba chai)
She also make my coffee, brings it to the bed (this is a really nice part, I must say) and says "Ei nao, coffee khao"..
Oblivious to my no-s..
But there's more.. the story doesn’t end there.
Now, willy nilly, I’m about one-fourth awake. She gets all excited and tells me “Ebar change korey treadmill ey uthey poro” and “Eki, eto kom walk korey ki laabh!!”
Once satisfied that I’m huffing and puffing away to her liking on that damn treadmill, she starts to cut fruits. Here, all people who know me and love me, and even those who don’t, know that I’m NOT a health food person. I have to "gird my loins and go forth into battle", when to have fruits.
So, there is Mom, looking at me with piteous eyes... and saying things like.. "Ami eto koshto korey kaatlam, tumi ektuuu o khabey na?"
By which time, one is goaded enough to walk out of the house, at a far earlier hour than you would, if u were home alone.
Amazingly though.. and yes, really, its amazing me too… I wouldn’t change her for the world. Well, mostly! Can I ask for some minor, teensy weensy modifications, though? :-D