A stressful day at work, followed by an evening of cranky kids and a know-it-all husband! That was all I needed to break down and collapse. To calm myself, I tried my comfort food of dal-chawal-ghee for dinner. Though it helped a little, I still had tensions in my body and felt stiff. My latest meet-up with the mindfulness group had warned me to always look for any strain of stress deep into myself under such grave circumstances.
I breathed in and out a couple more times and tried hard to pacify the nerves . I knew a round of yoga before sleep had the potential to put me at ease, but was too lazy. So I went ahead and did the one thing that have always (well 80% of the time) had an instant soothing effect. “Call my mom in India” . Amma would fill me in with the latest from our village and the story of some one else magically puts the spirit back in me. Thanks to the Indian blood flowing in my veins. Old habits die hard.
So I put the kids to sleep and installed the husband back to his computer. I then went into the bedroom, closed the door, adjusted the room temperature, covered myself in a blankie, lied down and called my Amma. The familiar tone of our landline buzzed in my ears “Tring Tring Tring…” and I had already begun to feel better
“Hello” my mother’s voice was a welcome music to my ears.
“Hello Amma, what news there?” I enquired not wasting time.
“Neethu, we went to attend Bhaskaran mama’s son’s wedding yesterday” Wow a marriage in the family meant there would be enough tales to fill me in.
Atul, my cousin who is getting married lived 40 miles away from us in California. I had just talked to him a few months back. I knew his parents were looking for a bride for him. But didn’t realize they would find one so fast.
“How is the bride?” I led her on
“She was so-so” Came my Amma’s standard reply, who never gave exemplary credits for anyone. Her “so-so” actually meant that the bride was ‘very good’, but Amma just didn’t want to admit it.
“Is Atul happy?”
“Oh poor boy, he has become so thin. Does not get to eat anything.”
“I thought he looked rather fat” I corrected her recalling the chubby cheeks and the protruding tummy.
“What fat? He looks so thin and frail now. No one to cook for him in the US. Poor boy!” My Amma almost cried.
“Yes poor indeed” Agreeing with her was easy and I wanted her to move one.
“So what does the bride do” I changed the subject back to the bride.
“She is an MBA. Lekha was very particular in getting a post graduate”
Lekha mami, Atul’s mom had pledged to her husband’s family that her son would marry only a post graduate. This was when her co-sister and my other aunt, Meena mami, had disclosed in a family gathering that she was the only postgraduate woman in the entire family. Lekha mami, being a failed BA graduate, took this as an insult to herself and had vowed in to bring a post-graduate to her family for her son.
“Ahh that’s good. Why did they marry in a hurry?” I asked.
“They saw the girl three weeks back and the kids liked each other. Why wait for all this” Amma retorted. Yes why waste time trying to find your soulmate.
“Well they could have gotten to know each other better Amma”
“Yes but poor Atul, he is starving there. He really needs to eat good food”
“Then he should hire a cook. Is this a good reason or what?”
“Neethu, don’t you know? Its so expensive to get a cook in the US” Amma sounded concerned.
“So a wife is a free cook?” I asked in an irritated tone
“Neethu, its a wife’s duty to take care of her husband’s health. Why do you say such things”
“And did the bride agree to marry so fast”
“Oh her family wanted a son-in-law in the US.” I guess there was another story of solemn vow running in their family as well.
“Besides she wanted to continue her studies in the US. So they are also very happy with this alliance.” Amma continued.
“That’s good Amma”
“And your grand mother is so happy she could see Atul marry” My 95 yeard old grandma was praying hard to get Atul marry ASAP, so she could witness her grandson’s marriage.
“That’s wonderful Amma” I felt wonderful too.
“We missed you Neethu, Please promise you will be here for the next wedding in the family”
“I promise Amma, I will be there “ I said good night to Amma after all her wedding stories and switched off the phone.
Well, All is well that ends well.
1) Atul found a good cook
2) Lekha mami found a post graduate daughter-in-law. Finally she can hold her head high in the family gatherings.
3) The Bride gets to continue her studies in the US without worrying about stay, and visa.
4) The Bride’s family got an American son-in-law.
5) Grandma gets to attend Atul’s wedding.
“What a perfect system.” Every one is happy and every one is celebrating. And
this is a foolproof system for 80% of the cases. God Willing, the couple will go on to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary one day.
And a time saver as well! No worries about finding a potential partner, dating and getting commitment from the potential person, or no hassles about arranging your own wedding. All you got to do is “Trust your parents!”
“But how about love?” I wondered. Well that will eventually develop when you see the other person fulfilling his/her duties towards you. After all, we brought the concept of “Karma” into this world!
A smile appeared on my face as I thought about explaining this concept to my American colleagues. A practice they will never understand, but something that’s been tried and tested in our country for centuries. A successful society that is driven by ‘karma’ !
With that, I found myself at complete nirvana. I closed my eyes and fell into a deep slumber in no time.
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