So, here I am at home with the parents in Guwahati. The phone, not surprisingly, has been out of order for a while. Finally today, I hear a shrill noise that shocks me out of my reverie. Apparently, it’s the phone ringing. Once I’ve confirmed the instrument is actually working, I log on to the net and lo and behold I actually manage to get myself online.
Which brings me to the story about how I got here. On my last fleeting visit with friends in tow, I had received a threat (and not a veiled one either) that I was on the verge of being ex-communicated from the family due to utter insensivity. Which in plain terms means that I haven’t spent any time in the last few years and I should get myself here before I am completely erased from all the family albums. So this year, one of my resolutions was to keep aside a few days of my holiday to come and visit the folks.
Anyway, coming back to Guwahati – I am rather surprised how fast it has grown into a buzzing city. Unfortunately, the buzz also comes at a price – bad roads, horrendous traffic and the seemingly endless conversations over tea about how Assamese society is going to the dogs (or the gutter, if you can find one around). Sigh.
Added to my woes is the constant rant of my mom’s pet peeve – the single and apparently happy status of my sister and I. For some reason, she cannot seem to comprehend this fact. For her, happiness equates to husband, kids and house (not necessarily in that order either). And so what if most people around who have all or part of that equation, don’t seem to be either happy or very satisfied either. For her, either you’re a) married and unhappy, b) married and happy but under no circumstances can you be c) single and happy. And the million dollar questions in her mind are a) Who will take care of you in your old age? b) Why are we running after money if we have no one (read: kids) to spend it on?
Hmm… How does one even start to argue against these kind of statements. Age old thinking has sunk in too deep t0 make a difference now. To say things have changed today and one needs to adapt, in front of her, is like saying “here, please chop off my leg, thank you.”
Putting it mildly, she does not take it well.
In between, this however, I have managed to tuck in some Bihu delicacies, the lovely fish tenga, bora saul (with cream and yoghurt) topped with jaggery, watched a rather lively Bihu function and also snuck in a few round of social visits.
Unfortunately, though I am actually becoming rather paranoid about putting things in my mouth. Wherever I’ve gone the refrain has been: “How have you put on sooo much weight?” at the same time pushing forward a plate of sweets and snacks. The Assamese are not one to mince their words as you can see.
It’s a weighty issue of course, because the answer is not an easy one. Or something that they would really care to hear about. But say it, they must. Not a word about how healthy, happy and well I look. (At least I’d like to think so :-).
Being over-weight is like a curse here. People look at you like you have the plague. Or maybe worse. I feel like a Sumo wrestler already. Let me quickly get myself a snack before my next post…