Monday, May 21, 2012

How I Met His Mother

Hobbs and I were classmates in college and we have a not so unusual love story behind our marriage. Soon after he broke the news to his family,they wanted to meet me and a very unplanned meeting happened at their home one afternoon after college.Just like that!

The living room was packed with people from all generations in a setting which was most informal so to speak.You know, where people are just sprawled around in their living rooms with chai, books, board games and are least expecting any visitor...that kind of setting.

 Hobbs did a back slap and announced ' Shammi ', very thoughtfully to his family and disappeared :/ I fidgeted with my dress ,smiled and said 'Hi' to no one in particular.Aai ,his mother came to my rescue and asked whether I wanted to use the bathroom to freshen up.A sigh of relief escaped my lips and I followed her inside while she welcomed me and confessed that her Hindi was not good .I had no inkling what was in store for me that day.Suddenly she stopped in her tracks and asked :

Aai- Woh rehta hai na bhinti pe, uus se darti hai? ( are you scared of that, which you see on the wall )
Me- Kis se? ( of what ? )
Aai- Woh tubelight  ke paas ,uske peeche, nai kya dikhta hai....mein darti hai ! tuu bhi ? (of that thing there,near the tubelight..I am scared of that.What about you? )
 Obviously she expected yes, for an answer from me but what 'bhinti' or creature was she talking about ? By then my mental faculties had started working furiously to extract the meaning of Bhinti from recently memorized Marathi- to-English dictionary,stored for such situations in one corner of  my  grey matter.Bhinti is wall so the creature could be an insect I concluded after a brief thought.I looked up and spotted a moth near the tubelight

Me-Oh! Moth?

Aai- Maut!! nai nai !! mujhe mrityu ki bhiti nai.( death!I am not scared of death!)

She confused moth with maut ( death) while I was once again confused between bhiti  and bhinti  :0 :0
Bhiti=fear , Bhinti=wall I recalled.

Me- No ! maut nai moth ..the insect there,the grey one over there,I pointed.

Aai-Aga te navhe, paal.. .woh bhinti ko chipakti hai na paal wohichh.. ( not that dear,I am talking about the one that sticks to the wall )

Me-chhipkali !!

Aai- Ho !chipakk-li! tecch..bhinti ko chipakti hai, wohi chipakk-li. (Yes! one that sticks to the wall, the house lizard )

Now that finally we were clear about the subject of  our discussion ,we could go ahead with the rest of the conversation.I looked around for some support but there was none.Hobbs was absconding.

Me- Ok, what about the lizard?

Aai- Bathroom mein do-teen hai tu darna nai,ye bolna tha. (I just wanted to say that don't be scared of lizards,there are  2-3 of them in the bathroom)

                                                                          courtesy-Google images

I had completely forgotten by then that I was desperate to use the loo.Suddenly it seemed unimportant.
Me- I am ok for now,will go later.
Aai- Arre  kuchch nai karti paal!  ( lizard is harmless )
She thought I was avoiding the trip to the loo because I was scared.I was cursing Hobbs under my breath by then.
Me-No really, I am ok.

She called out to her son and my would be hubby, appeared from nowhere suddenly with a strange smile plastered on his face.He was enjoying the scene thoroughly.I have never seen that smile again in all these years of married life.Thankfully he did not insist and led me away into the living room where I was introduced to the grandmother .

There were many translators around in that room so the conversation was not restricted and all went well until it was time for snacks and Aai made an appearance again.I was the guest of honour so she wanted to know my choice of snacks.Someone very cruel in the crowd said Kaande -Pohe and Aai was unsure whether to serve me Kaanda since I am a Marwari.She asked me how we made Kaanda poha without Kaanda .I said we made Batata poha and then I did the unthinkable!I asked her the recipe . She , in her enthusiasm,without a care in the world,began in her toota - foota Hindi. AGAIN!!
E dekh,kya karne ka..kadai tapane ka, poha bhijat  ghalne ka,jaasti nai haan. ....and poor thing went
on and on with her back towards the audience who by the way were on the floor,clutching their stomachs and laughing their heads off. Hobbs is convinced that I asked that question on purpose and I of course deny it in all sincerity.

 One good thing came out of it though,I quickly learnt Marathi making it a point to practice spoken Marathi with my rural Marathi patients in the hospital.So sincere was I in my efforts that there came a time when Hobbs would speak Hindi and I would respond in Marathi without either of us realizing. Aai is not too bad with her Hindi now but she does not need to be good anyway, now that my Marathi is fluent.Sometimes when I am in the mood for some fun,I gently steer her towards a conversation in Hindi mostly asking her about a recipe (her weakness). We laugh heartily later about it.
In case you are wondering,she is right beside me peering above my shoulder and making a list of her favourite recipes.I have not told her this, but I am planning to get her cook-book published.

She is a great cook and she deserves a lifetime achievement award for it.


  1. Err! are you still sacred of bhintis?

    Loved reading this post of yours :D

    1. Bhinti is wall, Paal is Lizard and I detest creepy crawlies.Thank you Purba :)

  2. lol!!! So u by mistake ended up pulling your Future MIL's legs?? Smart move :P
    But cute story re :)
    And tell me once u get the recipe book published :)

    1. Thanks Smita.Looong way to go with the book ,we just started working on it!That reminds me..what happened to your food blog? Waiting for it.

    2. Sigh! the blog is ready but no time to write posts :(

  3. Really admire you for remembering the words you had learnt in the English-Marathi dictionary at such a time :D So when are you publishing the cook book? I love Marathi food and would love to get some authentic recipes :)

    1. OMG Did I speak too soon?? Actually just started listing and compiling recipes ,still a long way to go..Her special tips and methodical approach to cooking a seemingly simple dish is what made me think about putting it all together in print.Will you comment and advice on the format if I put up a few recipes on my blog??It will be a great help:))

    2. Of course, it will be a pleasure. Look forward to it :) Do drop a mail when you are posting it.

    3. I will,I will..Thank you!

  4. Touching and amusing account.
    Glad to see such warm and cordial relations beteen a Dil and Mil

  5. A thoroughly hilarious one, Sharmila:) I somehow missed this one!

  6. Thank you Rahul for reading,glad you liked it.

  7. LOL . I was smiling throughout reading this :))

  8. Connecting after a ling time Sinfoodie..Thank you for reading.



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