“But they call it ‘Zeera'”, I complained to mom.” It’s just too much, even MDH calls it Jeera, what’s with the sing-song names for every damn thing. Sheesh, Torayi #$%@#.
SEV? It’s a Seb for heavens sake. A-P-P-L-E.
And for the last time I will tell you that it’s called Halwa. With a W. Halua my behind.
And what exactly is a Rishi???? It’s a first name, not last. I like Mathur so much more,” I sulked.
‘Calm down, deep breaths’, mom would say. “We have enough oddities and eccentricities of our own. What’s a Chaudhery beta? Breathe”.
And I would snap back because I was all of 24 when I got married and was catapulted into a rather large family from a completely different culture.
Jats aren’t exactly on the sophisticated end of the cultural spectrum, and well, my in laws sang, danced, cooked, wrote, and were generally very culturally attuned people.
For the life of me, I still can’t understand the relevance of singing and half of the hogwash that was told to me to be imperative to their culture. But I’m going give myself a ‘free pass’ on that topic.
The festivals, the language, the food. Alien.
What’s a gujiya?
Whats a Lasauda( sounds like a curse word)?
What’s your grudge against my beloved kaali daal?
Why do we have to do the ‘macarena’ feet touch?
Why do we have to ALL wear the same saree every year on karwachauth?
What’s with gana-jodna?
How long will it take for you to remember my name is Priyanka?
The amount I complained and complained and whined and complained was unreal.I didn’t want to do any damn thing. I specially didn’t want to have anything to do with mutton. Yuck.
And then I had the pleasure of growing up, surrounded by two very patient women. One who had a choice(Mom), and one who didn’t (MIL).
I gave them some of my best rants, some lasting upto an hour each. They still have the pleasure of listening to me rant and rave about relatives whom I will send to the moon if left upto me. Listening till their ears bled.
And these very defiant women taught me that I could’ve been married to anyone from the Prince of Norway to Tom Hiddleston ( I wish), the process wouldn’t have been any easier.
At the beginning it was like being an Englishman in China. I wasn’t being petulant, I was lost.
And I adopted the favourite Indian pastime : Adjustment.
(In the same breath, I have also been blamed for over-adjusting by many friends and family).
And I realised that if I’m to come out of this with my sanity intact, without murdering anyone. Adjust. Understand.
Many wonderful things have dawned on me about Kayasthas over the years.
They are a fun loving, simple bunch of people who love their food and song.
They have essentially middle class mentalities which allow them to embrace many more of the smaller pleasures in life that we have forgotten in our hedonistic pursuits. Think, the family Sunday lunch, and not in a 5 star hotel, thank you.
They have a wonderfully rich cuisine inherited in part from the Mughals. And they are passionate chefs.
The ‘uniform’ saree I complained about earlier? What a wonderful way to celebrate a festival together without showing difference in affluence. Same lines as a school!
They have a deep respect for relationships. They have ‘lihaaz’ and ‘tehzeeb’, what wonderful attributes.
There are certain things I hope to understand as I grow up and grow into this family. There are certain things I never will. And it’s ok.
There are certain changes I wish they would make, small changes that make things relevant in the current scenario. Without letting go of the crux of such a rich heritage.
The journey so far, as been as much about discovering myself, as it has been about de-mystifying UP culture.
The in laws obviously have a great sense of humour, so they have been tolerating mine. And my sense of humour has to be great to have survived theirs. Touché to myself.
They won me over in every way possible.
Thank you for your patience, to the two wonder women of my life. You’ll just need another decade of so of it, till I calm down. Promise!!