I've been following Yashodhara Lal's blog
for a long time...it's been on the blog list on this page forever and sometimes I come to this page just to see if she has posted something new! When she has, I'm sure to get a smile, a chuckle, or a big all out laugh on the other side of that click and come away happy.
When she started writing about her upcoming book, I was so excited and couldn't wait to get my hands on it. She was gracious enough to respond to my shameless begging and send me a copy of it before it was out in the stores. No surprises - it was a great read. What I loved about the book was how real it was - not real as in sadness and hunger and sickness and global warming. Real as in relationships and faux pas and first dates and silly, loving husbands.
Which brings me to the reason for this post...Y has invited her readers
to write about real, funny incidents that happened when they were just married. Why am I writing here? Because my incident is funny, alright!? But also because there's a really good *free* lunch to be had with her and her editor for the funniest stories. So, without any apologies for shameless attempt at getting a free lunch, here's my story that's only funny in hindsight:My husband and I got married about 4 years after we met. Two of those years were spent battling the "how-will-you-settle-into-an-Assamese-family-they're-so-different-don't-you-know-but-you're-still-so-young-and gullible-and-how-about-a-nice-Punjabi-boy" battle. All warring factions laid down their arms eventually and Vijay and I had a wonderful wedding and reception where, of course, we hardly recognized about 60% of the guests. We didn't care though, so love struck and doe eyed were we. I couldn't wait to start my life with him - our own little apartment, done up slowly and lovingly with all the things that we (ahem - okay "I") liked, lazy afternoons spent reading and watching TV, late night spur of the moment coffee shop visits, impromptu hang outs with friends and all the other stuff that makes married life so inviting. (Its' 8 years later and I can't even write this line without shaking my head and wondering what I was smoking at that time.)
The extremely eventful first month of married life went by in some sort of blur and we settled into a little routine. We went to work, went shopping, ate out a lot, sometimes cleaned the house, argued a little, watched a lot of TV - all was hunky dory. Till one day, this peaceful easy feeling was given a hard knock when Vijay informed me that his bua and his much older cousin sister were visiting Delhi from Guwahati and he had invited them over for dinner. They were really looking forward to it - a home cooked meal would be great.
What?! People from the in-laws that I haven't even really got to know yet? Scary people who will most likely judge my every move and pronounce me unworthy of their son because I had no clue how to put a meal on the table? How the hell was I to pull of a meal, a clean house, and a presentable me with coolness and aplomb? The first thing to do was to breathe and keep myself from throwing something heavy at Vijay. I had a lot of time to do that later. Now was the time to act - sign up for a cooking course, develop a serene and poised personality etc. Except, they were arriving the next day, how inconsiderate of them. I spent the next day in a total haze that consisted of frantic calls to my mom to ask what to cook and then exactly how to cook it and how much water to add and how much salt and how to get that damned pressure cooker to work. Also, what did she mean when she said 20 minutes in the cooker - did I have to start timing it from the moment I closed the lid? Vijay tried to help but failed miserably, having never taken a cooking course either. He redeemed himself with some amount of scrubbing and cleaning though.
Heroically, miraculously even, we did manage to get the apartment to look presentable and have 4 different main course dishes and even some starters ready for our guests. Just before they were due to arrive, I was showered and fresh, Vijay was looking calm and happy as if he hadn't just spent 24 hours witnessing what married life with me was really going to be like, and the apartment was looking lovely. We had even managed fresh flowers in a jug! I was giving the living room one final appraising glance and was just about to pronounce it perfect when, suddenly, I sniffed...something wasn't right. I looked at Vijay - he was sniffing too. Where was the horrid smell coming from? Did someone forget to flush? But who? Panic rising because of extremely imminent arrival of my in-laws, I ran through the apartment opening every window I could find. But nothing would take that smell away - it just kept getting worse and worse. Eventually, we figured out that the smell was coming from the little drain pipe in the bathing area of one of the bathrooms...apparently, there was a design flaw in our building - the plumbing was connected in such a way that a blocked pipe anywhere down the tower's shaft affected all connections coming from that pipe. Of course, this flaw had to be discovered right this minute, when two elderly, clean, accomplished, and possibly very judgmental ladies were about to walk in for their first meal with their daughter in law.
Perhaps one of the ladies might trip on their stairs, only a little, nothing serious, and not be able to make it after all? One could hope, right? Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on which side you're on), they didn't trip - they showed up just when the smell had established itself as a permanent guest in our apartment. Vijay and I put on our best smiles, I gracefully touched their feet and welcomed them to our home, and chit chatted about the weather pretending we weren't all at risk of suffocating. The poor ladies kept sneaking glances at each other and at their watches, trying their best not to faint on us. Somehow, we managed to get through that evening and see off two very happy to have escaped Assamese in laws.
And the dinner? Let's just say there were a lot of leftovers that evening.