July 31, 2008

60 years of Togetherness

Now this is a post which I am scared to write about. Actually I am terrified. I was back in Calcutta for a whirlwind weekend because my grandparents completed 60 years of togetherness. Well, that’s what my sis calls the event. Their grandchildren travelled across continents for this occasion. My mom, uncle and aunt started behaving like adolescents and my grandparents looked the perfect cast for a Fevicol advertisement. 60 saal ka majbut zod hain, tutega nahin. Well, you get the point. It was their 60th marriage anniversary.

Whenever I have an issue in my life, I turn to one or the other of them. In fact, often their contradicting viewpoints on most matters help me sort my way out in my life but it amazes me to a great extent. Both pairs of my grandparents have been the perfect complement for each other. While the men fumed and ranted and brought bread to the table, the women ensured that the family stuck together through thick and thin.

They came from similar families, but with very different upbringings. And yet they managed to stay together, they managed to grow old together and from the side I see it, they have been happy together. And I often wonder, how on God’s Good Earth did they manage it? I know it sounds scary to me.

The second reason for being terrified was my relatives. Now if you are a Bong and have kissed 25 (not women, but years of existence on Planet Earth) the relatives you have always ensure that they emerge as your greatest well wishers. They might as well push me down in a well. Na rahega Baans, na bajegi bansuri. When I used to come home from Pilani, I was subjected to the standard phrase, “How big you have grown!” While I maintained that they were referring to my age, my cousins were of the opinion that it had more to do with my ever expanding waistline. I should not have left playing Basketball. Anyway, can’t help it now.

But when you are 25 and happily single and not yet ready to mingle, the relatives consider that there can be only one reason behind the same – the existence of an unknown girlfriend. Interestingly they do not even consider the possibility of this hypothetical lady being a Bong. The ‘logic’ goes like this, “our network can’t fail. We would have known if there was a Bong girl involved.” (And yeah, they DO NOT consider the existence of a boyfriend. Stop sniggering) There are shrewd moves to uncover hidden facts. Ms.Marple must have been a Bong in her earlier life. They ask probing questions, they offer suggestions; they wait for that slip of tongue. They wait to nod their heads in unison and say,

“See I told you so. I always knew there was someone. Otherwise why will he refuse to even listen about my second cousin’s aunt-in-law’s neighbour’s colleague’s daughter’s friend? She’s such a darling I tell you.”

“Well why don’t you think about chunnu and munnu his other cousins?”

Aar bolo na. They are even smarter. They say before our elder brother gets settled, we are not even considering anything. I am sure they are seeing someone at their college. Mrs. Chatterjee’s driver saw Munnu and Chunnu at Forum the other day with some girls.”

“Well, you know what Munni should be getting married. But when I told that to her dad, he actually broke off the sickle from CPM Placard nearby and started chasing me. I am sure, she’s also seeing someone. If not, they should start looking for her. I know a nice boy… ”

Now when such discussions go on, my cousins have their field day. They think it’s extremely funny while I find ways to search out which relative of mine has recently found a match for “the really nice girl she knows in her neighbourhood.”

This time with mom and dad busy handling the logistics, sis and bro in law worried about the 2 year old British Kid who asked my one year old niece to dance with him and my grandparents obviously busy greeting all those who came to meet to the ‘small’ family get together, there was no wall in front of me to save me from the savage onslaught.

“Well you see he’s still a kid. Completely immature. We are not yet thinking about anything.”

“Well, we asked him. And he said, if there’s someone, he’ll tell us.”

“Marriage? Whose? Oh my son’s!!! To whom? Oh you mean he should get married!!! Why?”

“I know my brother. Why would I want to put a nice girl’s life in jeopardy?”

My mom, dad and Sis (yeah she too I guess) - I love them. If only they were there on that day with these stock answers.

In my family, small ‘get togethers’ typically involve a few hundred people. And anyway it was the 60th Marriage Anniversary. So imagine the geometric progression of the list of invitees. Alone and pushed into a corner, I found that offence perhaps was the best defence. I just kept nodding to everything any aunt had to say to me. Well, I was going strong till my sister overheard a conversation and pulled me away by my ear. But the job was done; half of them are convinced of the existence of someone. The only fact is that they have been given a Pan Indian, rather a Pan Universe view of a possible suspect. I am sure I have covered all southern states, the 6 metros, Rajasthan, Gujarat and even Turkey. It will take time to compare notes and come to some conclusion but I would have fled Calcutta by then leaving mom to handle the phone calls. I just hope she doesn’t get a shock about the wide array of choices thrown at her for her future daughter-in-law.

So Dadu and Didima, though I had to pass through a most traumatic phase of my life thanks to you, I love you both and really really wish that you celebrate 100 years of togetherness. I’m ready to face it again for your sake.


Atulya said...

"Now if you are a Bong and have kissed 25 the relatives you have always ensure that they emerge as your greatest well wishers." AND

"But when you are 25 and happily single and not yet ready to mingle, the relatives consider that there can be only one reason behind the same – the existence of an unknown girlfriend."

Oh I assure you, that isn't even remotely different in the Capitalist world !

Madhurjya (Banjo) said...

Thank Goodness in this regard the two ideologies see eye to eye :) The brotherhood is under threat :)

Anonymous said...

The other Communist state, Kerala, is sooo similar... and we also eat fish curry. :D

AK said...

shux...i dont have any contacts of your relatives...else i could have told them about your secret girlfriend ;)

Madhurjya (Banjo) said...

@Vivek - ahem. At least you guys change your governments ;) So maybe we are same same but different :)

@ AK - Great. Let me know too. Macha, she's so secretive that even I do not know of her existence.

CJ said...

incidentally my grandparents also celebrated "60 years of togetherness" recently... n mr. cf, "marriage anniversary", really? ;)

Madhurjya (Banjo) said...

@ Cj - colloquial Usage :) And anniversary is The date on which an event occurred in some previous year (or the celebration of it) :D