Saturday, October 29, 2011

Festivals-Done for the season!

We are a loving (till date) family of 14 members who enjoy being on each other’s toes very often. While men of the family are vaguely aware of a few short people living in their houses, we women do care about our kids and occasionally enquire about their well being by calling  wherever they are found in the three family houses. The nuclear family set up is for namesake only lest we feel we are not privileged enough to have one.
Festival times are chaotic as well as fun especially for the short people when days seamlessly blend into nights ,cleaning and  kitchen services are never closed and beds are always ready to welcome anyone who suddenly crashes owing to exhaustion. All bedrooms are guestrooms and hosts (we take turns ) are secluded to one end of the house so that they are not a hindrance in the activities of the short people. All gaming consoles, cricket gear, TT table (you heard it right!), carom board ,cards of all kinds,viz. Playing,Uno,Pokemon,wwf etc are arranged. 
The house looks battered and bruised. Once I yanked a piece of transparent tape holding an ugly poster of a beefed up wrestler, only to find that the tape was actually holding a chunk of freshly painted edge of the wall. Did I imagine or did I actually hear the wall yelp in pain! The assaulting hands-in- glove still holding the culprit cork ball were sleeping innocently at a distance. Meanwhile, a loud vibrating sound caught my attention and I turned around to see a violently shaking washing machine which had gone berserk. It had managed to wriggle out of its niche as if threatening to walk out of the house. Some short people, fearful of over reaction from bigger people, had over stuffed the poor thing beyond its capacity with coffee/tang/pasta/Maggie stained bed sheets .Thank God it does not have a voice box!
                                      courtesy-Google images         
Pre Diwali nights are usually at my place .The sleepover is to facilitate getting up at dawn for ‘Abhyangasnan’ but it turns out to be more of a stay over to stay awake, till exactly half an hour before wake up time. So one can imagine the wake up routine .The routine starts with gentle terms of endearment from the mothers, proceeds to shutting the ACs off, putting the lights on, goes on to removal of  the  covering sheets and finally ends with a scream and an ultimatum. One by one the kids are pushed inside the bath room with one elder standing guard outside, to ensure that he does not doze off on the potty seat again. Such times , one feels that all rooms should be bath rooms. By the time the second kid is done with the arti-tikka-bath, the first one is hungry and bored . A team of barely awake humans is busy whipping up breakfast for the crowd . End of breakfast marks beginning of lunch preparations and the routine continues right through the next morning. Meals come with pre-decided menu,prepared fresh every time ,in addition to a large selection of dry snacks and mithai as fillers.With a bunch of hyperactive kids around,I am always amazed at the speed with which the food disappears sometimes before it even reaches the table.It is NEVER more and  I am screaming in my head-“HOW MUCH WE EAT!!!”
                                            courtesy Google images
Lashmi-pujan followed by dinner is hosted by  elder sis-in –law ,so small individual puja at our own house,diya-baati,lights and off we go. No crackers for us though. When we are blessed with such patakhaa kids ,who needs firecrackers? A small maa-chis and they are all ready to burst. Padwa ,we rest and Bhai – dooj is hosted by the  second  sis-in-law. All through the commotion ,rituals are namesake, fun being the central idea. Over the years and after a few disapproving comments, MIL has given up on us. I still remember when my offer to make chawal ki kheer as a new bride was rejected by MIL as Maharashtrians made it for shraddha (death) and never for festivals. My argument later that how can any food be auspicious or inauspicious, worked and so we slowly did away with many other unwanted rituals.
I love festivals..  hate rituals, I love families..  hate crowd. I love things which come attached and free with things I hate so basically I am stuck.
I am done being ,
-a cook,
-a jhaaduwali,
-errand girl,
-gift shopper,
-wife and
-indulgent mother for the season.
Appeal- If you see a woman ,walking aimlessly on the street, talking to herself, refusing to acknowledge human presence and signs of life around, it is me and you are requested to leave me alone. I am just trying to recover and rediscover my inner strength to endure the onslaught of next festive season.

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