Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Bridal Camaraderie

A couple of months back, both SloMo and GB got married. It was a joint wedding and the whole month of October passed by in a hectic daze. GB moved away with Mom and Dad to pursue a career opportunity and his wife is likely to join him soon there. Mrs. SloMo moved in with us, maintaining our full house status. And I got a double promotion and became the eldest daughter-in-law among three.

Mrs. SloMo is kind of between jobs now and is mostly home. She spends her time doing her own personal tasks as well as the tedious household chores. She cooks a variety of dishes for all of us and keeps the laundry basket empty. She cleans things and coaxes the maid to clean hard-to-reach corners. Recently, she got some seasonal plants for the balcony. She tries to keep the house in order. Sigh, my heart goes out to her. She is acting exactly the same way I did when I moved into the house after I getting married. Yeah, been there, done that. But she does not know what I know, that one day she will tire out of putting in extra efforts and do only what is necessary. With so many people in the house, it is just next to impossible to have it the way you want.

Seeing my sister-in-law, I see myself four years back. As the newly appointed warden of the madhouse, I was determined to tame the characteristic males to help around the house. I determined to keep the house tidy an organized as I have seen my mother and grandmother doing. With plants, I wanted a bit of home with me. With her around the house, I get really nostalgic. I feel as if I have started to share a bit of camaraderie  with her. I share house management tips with her, my experiences and show her pictures of the flowers that bloomed in the same balcony. I understand the things that she must be going through I did as a new entrant in the house.

And  it suddenly struck me. There is a pattern to how every newly wedded girl behaves. We try to add positive enhancements to the place we live in. We want to bring in all the good things we have known and seen in running the house. We want to be appreciated for our efforts. We feel disconnected yet connected. We want be accepted. We look for our husbands' support all the time. We want to be praised. We want to be paid attention. We want to have our own corner. We want to have everything in order. We want to build an ideal home.We think we can be a superwoman!

Yeah, new brides do share a camaraderie.

By the way, Mrs. SloMo is not SloMo at all.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The CJ

When I am traveling, even when we are commuting within the city, music is an essential. Over time, when I have traveled either with friends or family, the task of carrying a playlist has often fell on me. And I am quite particular about the playlists. Not to boast, but my co-travelers have mostly enjoyed and appreciated my playlists.

With time, controlling the playlist in the car has become a part of my slight OCD condition (which I think I suffer from!). I feel anxious when I am not in charge of the car music and become irritated when someone changes the ongoing track (especially if I like that track) or play their own collection. In fact, my mood has been spoiled on many occasions because of such instances. Yeah, I know I am sounding like a crazy lady here. But that's the truth.

By the way, I call myself the CJ. Yeah, Car Jockey! Inspired by DJ and RJ of course.

Our car music system doesn't have a remote control. Worse, the controls for the media player are on the steering wheel. When Az is driving, I mostly sit in the front passenger seat (my favourite seat by the way). But sometimes due to various reasons (like older co-passengers or to adjust more people), I take the seat behind the driver's seat. Yeah, even my car seats are fixed and I am uncomfortable in the other seats. Anyways, when Az is driving, I simply ask him to move on to the next track, whenever necessary. But sometimes, there are certain people accompanying us, that too sitting on the front passenger seat, who keep on asking Az to change the track. Really enough to set me off.

When I am traveling in someone else's car and the music is on, I keep calm. And while in cab, I simply put on my earphones and enjoy.

Fortunately, my parents' car's music system has a remote. Last year, when we visited them, I had to occupy the last row seat during a trip. But with the remote, I could easily do my job. When we returned back to Delhi, I realized that I had carried back the remote in my bag. See, that's how seriously I take my job of being the CJ. So please, don't mess with my music.

NB: Actual meaning of Car Jockey.
Car jockeys are people in Indonesia who solicit by the side of the road a random commuter who does not have enough passengers to legally use a carpool lane. The jockey offers to go along with the commuter for a fixed price. This is a way to bypass carpool restrictions requiring a certain number of passengers.

In the United States, a car jockey is also known as a parking lot attendant and is responsible for parking vehicles or issuing tickets in a parking lot or garage.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Becoming Family

Being the eldest daughter as well the eldest daughter-in-law is no piece of cake. From surviving on instant noodles to running a household of seven people, I have come a long way.  Being brought up in a nuclear family, where my father was the only male, I never had to deal with collective unorganized male habits. And  suddenly I found myself in a house with five grown-up male children, who were being used to waited upon hand and foot by their mothers and aunts.

Az's parents, Mom and Dad, stay abroad. The current household consists of the two of us, his two younger brothers and three younger first cousins (one girl and two boys, initially it was one boy). The five of them are students and so it is more like managing a hostel. Thankfully Az is of the helping (around the house) kind.

In the initial months of marriage, I was not working and the girl had not joined college yet. So she used to help me out in many aspects. But when she joined college, she could not help me in the same way as earlier. And with so many boys in the house, the house never looked organized and straight. I realized that I cannot go on like this. If you have watched the Bollywood flick called "Satte Pe Satta", the Indian version of  Hollywood's "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers", you would understand when I say that my condition was more or less like the eldest brother's wife (subdued version). So one fine day, I told the residents upfront that I am not expert homemakers like their mothers and aunts, and cannot keep on cleaning up after them. I would need their help in managing the house. And the sweet devils did oblige, with some push. 

As much as I had to adjust to the new personalities around me, the others too had to adjust to  me. I was not used to having so many men at home and they were not used to having an unconventional woman in the house. I am not really the "sugarcoating words" kind and would rather call a spade a spade rather than talking behind someone's back. So initially, there used to be some awkward moments. But all the kids are well disciplined when it comes to behaving with elders and unlike most families, there has been no rudeness with the daughter-in-law. And gradually, I became mother-cum-sister figure in the house (at least I think so!)

I feel the experience of staying in a hostel during my higher studies, and later on my own after I started to work helped me a lot in settling down in my marital home. But the most important factor was that we opened up our hearts to each other. The second important factor has been open communication. If there is any hard feelings in the house, we encourage each other to come upfront and make up. It is also encouraged that the kids share their problems, so that we can help each other to find solutions.

And it has been mostly fun. As all the residents are from the younger generation, there is not much formality involved. We watch movies late into the night on weekends, order outside food often, pull each others' legs and yet watch each others' backs. And with so many people, there is one thing or the thing always happening. Drama, action, romance, humour, games, tears, smiles; you name it and you have it. There is absolutely no dearth of entertainment in the house.

Over the period of time, I am growing as a person. I am also learning to let go of things which I cannot control like having the cushions straight at all times!. Still it is a long way to go. I still lose my mind from time to time. But all's well.  And today it feels as if I have been always a part of the Khan family.