Seeing that my brother was indeed treated very well by the Mallus, I decided to leave him in Kerala and move on with my life. His in-laws took him around temple to temple doing ‘Thulabharam’. Practice of giving offerings that equal your weight.
My brother being a staggering 110 kgs, had forced the in-laws to rethink their strategy. They put him on a diet and went from offering sugar in one temple to bananas in the next to cow dung in the end.
Pi and I went to Madras to my in-law’s place. I was looking forward to Madras- sleeping, meeting my friends, sleeping, shopping, sleeping, getting pampered my mom-in-law and getting a nice breather from my parents and of course sleeping.
My parents surely believed in-‘Spare the bahu and torture the child’
Let me explain. I just reached Madras and I got a call from daddykins, ‘Come to Bangalore ASAP.’ Fearing the worst, I was ready to cry. My dad continues, ‘Bride and groom are arriving and you have to be here to take their Arthi.’
What the heck?! What do they do in households without a sister? What about the million aunties in Bangalore? Do you even know I will have to come back to Madras tomorrow for my visa appointment?
Hmpf! I took the next flight to Bangalore all the time thinking if this flight met with an accident, my dad will repent. It was the costliest Arthi ever and my brother gave a measly 100 rupees for this. He doesn’t get a penny from my will. Also I was thinking of suing him for the post wedding trauma (not to be confused with the mental troubles that I already had before going to his wedding).
Some background about the festivities in Bangalore and how I got tortured so far- I passed up on a weekend of fun in London with Pi and friends to be home early helping out with wedding preparations.
When I landed in Bangalore in the wee hours of the day, my mom had decided to have a ‘Sumangali Puja’ in preparation for the wedding. It’s a puja where we commemorate the women who conked off before their husbands. That’s kinda auspicious in our culture. (Pi is so encouraging that he wants to see me in that honorable list soon)
So in this Sumagali Puja, a bunch of women whose hubbies are still alive are made to do certain things… like not have breakfast till the puja is done. I was dying! Jetlagged and hungry, I wasn’t the happiest Sumangali around. To think some moms pamper their home-bound kids with yummy food when they arrive! bah! I must have snuck into my room and had a dozen of those yucky Sugar-free chocolates I bought for my dad.
The house was swarming with people, mostly related to me in some way only the holy family-tree knows. The lunch was really late to arrive. “Saar, Banerghatta traffic saar,’ was the excuse from the catering service. Some of my relatives had already fainted and were wondering how I managed to survive. I smiled a sugar-free smile.
Then they asked me to go sleep seeing my blood red eyes and droopy (but sugar-free) smile . It was 3 pm then. I walked into the obvious place to sleep, the bedroom…it was invaded by 10 random aunts discussing something animatedly. ‘Come dear, sleep here’ they said..shifting their butts a little so that I had a 2X3 area to squeeze in. I tried sleeping, but was bombarded with questions like, ‘When are you taking me to the US?’ ‘What did you get for me?’ I think it would have been ultra rude to let her know that I seriously didn’t recognize who she was.
I decided to try the other bedroom. By Jolly Jove, this place was far more noisy. All the kids were jumping around fighting and video games were being played without ‘mute’ and my other cousin was fast asleep oblivious to the sounds. Some talent, that! Even though she lives in Bangalore, she is in the same time zone as I am (at least till now). She works for a call center in Dell and whenever I get to see her, she is sleeping. At least she doesn't feel the need to screw her sleep patterns because of certain cousins who land up from far away lands. We can catch up on MSN when I get to the US.
Maybe I should try the terrace. I took the mat and a few pillows and marched upto the terrace. Found a shady location under the huge mango tree and tried to sleep. It was blissful till I realized(a few droppings later) that I was sleeping under the neighborhood crow’s bathroom.
It was 11 pm and I still hadn't found a place to lie down after having tried the storage room, bathroom, broom closet and verandah. I longed for my seat in the economy class of British Airways.
Next day at 5 am was the Nandi function when I was ready to trade my life for some sleep. THIS WASN'T EVEN MY WEDDING!!!!
‘Yaaaawwn…(might as well sleep now and compensate for my next India trip.)