Today, yet again, I wriggled out of another family thingamajig. Cunning (little?) thing I am. Baby's completed one year so we must have birthday party it seems. Chumma. Showing off much? Obviously, I decline to be a part of such foolishness. As if baby knows what the fucks happening. Poor little thing, cute also I'll bet, dressed up in some frock with the lace around her neck almost choking her, pulling at it in many futile attempts to allow some fresh air.
Like my thatha (who is a very wise man when it comes to social customs) said- " 'As if the baby is saying, I'm turning one, please come to XY hotel'. If we don't go, we'll save them a lot of money. Oru plate at least eranuthi ambathu ruba irukkum." Who can argue with that wisdom? So Ammamma (no, I do not refer to my grandmom as paati (party)) delivered her stock dialogue for such situations: "Aama. Rendu perukkum manushan ey vaenda. (Yes, for you two, people aren't important)"
So everyone (minus-me, thatha and my brother- the family loafer who was porikking) went off to Hotel Sapphire (if I'm not wrong). It seems the menu included "maal" (matter/non veg) including mutton biryani, tandoori chicken along with chocolate mousse and other such items (which was supposed to make us rue our decisions). Thatha snorted (this is his way of dismissing things others have said), porikki said "yes, aah?" and I ignored. No amount of maal in the world can tempt me to go willingly to a mudaliar event.
That too in this very marriageable age of mine. The next Mud event I attend will be my own wedding (as if that day will come!) or my brother's, if I have my way. My grand-aunt, referred to by the entire family as Thotha) will periodically call from Madras and enquire about me. Her two questions "Has she lost weight?" and "When are you planning to get her married?". Since the atmosphere is not very conducive to my enjoyment of my youth, I prefer not to find myself in situations where I may lose my peace of mind (what little the lady hitler in my office has allowed to remain).
My grandmom tries to paint a very different picture of me. Relatives were told that I wasn't present because I was keeping Thatha company since he is never left home alone. (Which is a hundred percent true, and a whole lot convenient.) Nowadays she tells everyone: "Vaishnavi's here. Aaama, aamaa, Krishnamurthy & Co. join panirruka. Kaataalein poyi raatri daan vara. Aama, X (referred to previously) mudal join panna yedum daan. (She's joined K & Co. Leaves in the morning and only gets back late at night. Yes, it's the same place X had started at.)" Having done that, she has announced to the entire mudaliar community in Bangalore that I am here. As my uncle always says "If there is a mudaliar mom doesn't know, he/she is certainly not worth knowing."
Thanks to my grandparents, I am now abreast of "Tendril" and "Chellamma". Which has the usual poison giving- revenge plotting sister-in-law, and a couple of brothers who stand around uselessly, glancing alternately at each other and then their wives. Tendril has somc complicated love thing happening. I tell you the number of times these serials refer to illegitimacy, living-in relationships and all, my cousins may as well be watching Desperate Housewives. During breaks, we watch Indian Idol. Really, I don't know which is worse.
I am living the perfect, pre-marriage, south-indian life. Except I come home at 9 instead of 5.