Sunday, November 20, 2016

India Diaries - Day 2

It was a lazy start to the day and I sheepishly walked from the bedroom to the hall and made myself comfortable on the sofa. I picked up an ad page lying  besides me which seemed quite heavy and it had a big iPhone and iPad on it with citi credit card offering some credit to purchase these 'half eaten Apple' products. Then I noticed that there was a Times of India logo on the top. When I turned the page, I realised that it wasn't an advertisement page but rather it was the front page of the newspaper which was basically a full page ad. Whatever happened to all the news in the country, I mean surely there must be something worth reporting on the front page, and if nothing, the least they could have done is some Modi bashing because that is what we do best. Anyways, my ordeal did not end there and what followed the so called front page was a half front page with news that didn't matter at all. Then there was a third 'front' page which had news on the top half and a big Dove ad in the bottom half. I remember when I was in school, everyone in the class had to take turns and bring one news item from the front page to read in the class after the prayers. Assuming this still happens, I wondered if the students would talk about Dove or iPhone today in the class, I sighed and went back to reading the paper. Finally on the third front page there was some Modi bashing and I returned to normality.

So today,19th November, was 'World toilet day' and no am not joking. With so much 'swatch bharat abhiyan' going on, I thought that it would be a big thing in India because building toilets is also key to bharat being 'swatch' really. I tried to google some information and the only usable link that I found was that there was a competition held for toilet humour and the joke that won the prize was from two years ago "For Christmas last year I got given Sudoku toilet paper. It’s useless. You can only fill it in with number ones and number twos". I had a hearty laugh at that and moved on. Later in the day, I was assigned the duty to pick up my nephew from his school so he could join in early for the family get together that the mom had organised in the evening. The husband and I reached a bit early so I used this opportunity to enlighten the husband on where my junior college classrooms were and what mischiefs me and my girl gang used to do looking out from the window seat. While I was reminiscing those days he came to a conclusion that I have always been bully and that it has nothing to do with the marriage. I let him think that although in my defence he is the one who always gets his way by taking the more politically correct route.

Slowly the parents crowded the gate, the school vans parked themselves almost blocking the road and scooters and cars slowed down awaiting the school bell. Suddenly I saw one of the parent sitting on his Honda activa spit on the footpath opposite to where I was standing. "There goes my Swatch Bharat tax", I exclaimed disgustingly. "I am paying for this man to spit on the road. We should tell him not to do it". The husband didn't seem much stirred by my emotional outburst and said that I was just acting over smart and behaving like a typical NRI. Moreover he pointed out that I was the bully in the family so I am the one who should say something. Before we came to a conclusion on who should approach the man, he drove off with his son and my nephew came out running as well, so I left it there.

Cricket is the universal religion in India and the husband has a new found support in my dad to watch the India vs England test match. Usually in London, I either have to move to a different room to read a book or I have to entertain myself by watching countless episodes of Splitsvilla (mostly the latter) as I cannot understand how one can watch every single minute of the 5 day test match on tv. Also in my defence the husband watches any game on planet, like South Africa vs Pakistan test series, with the same amount of interest which therefore ends up me stomping my foot to the other room. But now, since two people in the house want to watch cricket and with dad practically controlling the tv remote, I have no option but to watch the match. The only saving grace was the hindi commentary which was amazingly spontaneous and hilarious with some clips of VVS and Dean Jones trying to outsmart each other at some challenges and games.

Slowly my uncles, aunts, cousins start coming in. The house is packed with people. Someone is not feeling well so my mom changes the original plan of going up the yeoor hill to the resort to having a home gettogether. She promptly arranges for starters and orders food from a nearby restaurant. The topic ranges from London weather to brexit to trump but eventually all roads lead to demonetisation. There are 3 CAs and one banker in the room who are working hard since the announcement for different reasons. Whenever the topic is inching towards my culinary skills I successfully re-route it to demonetisation.The room is small but cozy and everyone has fitted in just perfectly. The food arrives and everyone eats to their heart's content. I give a glance to my mom and I am amazed at her ability to always bring together so many people and bring laughter and cheer to everyone. I wonder if I can ever do that but for now let me enjoy this moment for like someone said "you are the happiest in this moment".



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