The wedding in the family

Fine, you little Oliver Twists! Don’t appreciate my garden post. See if I care.

The reason I’ve been AWOL is a family wedding. The OA’s cousin got married and I was surprised to realise that I was old enough to host the baarat. For my home to be a shaadi ghar. The excitement has been building up for months and when it finally arrived I didn’t know what hit me. I am in the midst of many work projects, I have no proper house help (again! so whats new?!) and I have two little children who I had to manage along with their sleep schedules and yet find a way to host so many people and enjoy the wedding.

I found myself getting up 6.30 am to get the OA’s 93 year old grandmother her bed tea and only going to bed after putting to bed assorted relatives who needed either hot water or milk with ghee before they called it a night. Mornings meant stepping over mattresses on the floor, a rush for the toilets, chaos as I sorted out the vegetarians from the non-vegetarians offering either aloo parathas  or bacon and eggs for breakfast. It’s amazing how even adults (in this case people in their 50s) need to be shooed out and bundled into cars so as to not miss ceremonies. I stopped to wonder when I went from the little girl who would scoot down to the bottom of the bed and refuse to get up each morning to the harried hostess. I guess it is time for our generation to step up and take the mantle. We can’t just show up and party – we have to organise it.

There was the usual wedding chaos, trains coming in late, flights missed, ailments, missing gifts, feelings hurt and misunderstandings. Sometimes the room was too small for us as well as certain family members who can’t stand the sight of me and would look like thunderclouds if they saw the OA hug his children or smile at me. But I met so many people who were affectionate, witty  and interesting that I’ve lost my ace card during domestic spats – “What do you know? You don’t have a single decent family member!” And I couldn’t be happier to be proved wrong. Some new friendships have been built, some old dislikes have been cemented, but I’ve seen my husband in his own environment and its a joy I can’t describe. I’m sorry I didn’t witness it before. We’re all such different people when we’re with family.

The kids were in their element. Such an adoring audience to listen to their tall tales and read to them. They did get freaked out at everyone speaking a language they didn’t understand and came to ask me – “Whats happening Mama? I don’t understand what they are saying!” The OA and I missed the beginning of almost every party, exhausted as we were with getting people out of the house, cleaning up the mess, rolling up and stacking away bedding, doing the dishes, getting our own kids ready and finally piling into the car and getting there. I had every intention of going to a parlour (for the first time!) and getting my hair done. Yet I somehow ended up getting there each evening with my freshly shampooed hair hanging lankly around my shoulders, minus the mallipoo I had planned on a low bun.

The Brat surprised us by unerringly hitting the dancefloor each time and actually displaying a left and a right foot. The OA and I had to lift our jaws off the floor. There were a lot of rough edges but it left us both pleasantly surprised. I think I’d done a post on the old blog where I’d mourned the fact that two music lovers like us had ended up with a child with two left feet and the inability to carry a tune even in a basket. I got some flak on that post for being so low  – but hey, the reason you read this blog is because I am honest. And I was nothing but honest when I spoke of how disappointed I was at my son’s lack of inclination towards music. Anyhow. He’s making up for it and how!

I’ve had my share of trouble with the OA’s family but my favourite people are his grandmothers. Having lived to be the age they are, they cut through the crap and get to the point. Warm, gentle, wise, funny and stoic they are everything one admires in that generation. We had long chats, they told me the family history and what they didn’t tell me I read between the lines and understood, getting to know better this husband of mine and the family I married in to. Understanding better the various reactions and sympathising more with certain members. Grateful to be loved by the two old ladies I bent backwards, helping them slip their toes into slippers, tucking the blankets under their chins, warming their hands, and sometimes just soaking up and storing away the feeling of what it is to be a grandchild. Even at 32.

I also feel that kids who don’t grow up with elderly family members around are not very sensitive towards them. For instance my children had no interest in the two older ladies while I walked around feeling like I was privileged to host them  – that their presence in my home would bless it. The children were not rude, but they had little to say to these two frail old ladies who they could barely communicate with. They were too old to run around and too old to read to them. I spent a lot of time just holding their fragile hands and thanking God for giving me another shot at having a grandparent. The OA and I often had to leave parties early because the two old ladies needed to go home and sleep and I don’t think we resented it one bit, so lovely were the two of them.

I think I got my annual dose of joy from the image of the Brat holding his 93 year old great grandmother’s hand and walking her to the car. It was late night, he was sleepy, she was tired and he had no idea of how to moderate his pace to match her old slow footsteps, swinging her into walls and furniture as he walked. And yet, it was such a beautiful sight to see the future hold the past by the hand and lead it home.The present? The present is rather content right now, smiling over a cup of hot chocolate.


83 thoughts on “The wedding in the family

  1. sigghhhh…So true. what you say about grandparents…I really feel sorry for my own two. Not that i (unfortunately) had the loving, kind, generous,sweet natured grandparents you read about in books and see on movies. I had a cranky – but oh so cool in many ways – grandmom who’d be seen openly reading James Hadley Chase novels (and not bothering to put a cover on the cover…you get what i mean. IMAGINE – an old lady reading such racy stuff.). I learnt a lot from her (good and bad) and i’m supposed to be the grandchild most like her – and she was formidably talented – so i dunno where the comparison comes from.

    MY kids on the other hand have no grand-dads – both of whom were gentle, kind, funny souls. And the two grand moms they have – one doesn’t show anylove and the other feels it but doesn’t know how to show any love 😦 I feel sorry for both the parents as well as the children :(. Can they borrow your chota nana and choti nani? Your kids have their nana/nani – right? PLEASE? 😀

    (why are my comments always too long?)

  2. Oh I appreciate the garden post!

    Good for the brat -getting down there and shaking a leg–mine has recently learnt some moves that he loves to show off, much to our amusement!

    Loved the picture spanning bridging generations, and am so glad that you wrote the post, hot chocolate in hand!

  3. That is such a lovely post MM !!
    I have a similar picture captured when my kid is leading her great grand ma and my heart swells with lots of emotions everytime I look at it.
    The point where you say, its time our generation stepped up and start organising events instead of just showing up and partying …. so true. I have often felt, our generation has never really done the hard work of arranging major events … yes we host birthday parties and house warming ceremonies …. but the grass root level planning is not really we have owned up to… and I think its about time.
    So nice to hear you bond with OA’s family …

  4. Very nice MM….it warmed up my heart just reading this post….OA is so lucky to have you…seriously….god bless your family..

  5. MM, I am so glad that you are getting to bond with OA’s family and that at least the great grandparents generation is above the whole drama, especially after all these years.

    You say the kids were not seeming to be interested in the presence of the great-grandies, but the pic of Brat and his great-dadi is telling otherwise (bless his gentle heart). I think they get affected by things and internalize them, whether it is obvious to the adults or not.

  6. Fine, you little Oliver Twists! Don’t appreciate my garden post. See if I care.

    🙂 🙂

    Made me laugh..
    coz it reminded me of my Mom.. she married to a UP govt employee.. getting transferred every 3-4 years and having 70 odd pots to be taken care of .. and then whenever I came visiting.. I would just not comment on her garden.. simply because I had other things to discuss with her.. It is not that I enjoyed/appreciated her dedication, it is just that I found more important things to talk to…

    But.. before you come after me with a gun..
    now that I have started planting trees, flowers,vegetables.. I can relate to what you and my mom were feeling.. yup it is rude.. but you know what.. thas the way it goes

  7. Had to comment on this post – SO glad to see you had these good times with some of your ILs, and that your g’mothers-in-law welcomed you! And so true what you said about kids who don’t grow up with g’parents around. I see the diff between mine, used as they are to regular g’parent visits and accomodations, and some of their friends, whose g’parents can’t or don’t visit often.


  8. i miss my grandma’s warm rajaai … and the same story she’d repeat everyday and that i’d never get bored of … the winter nights i spent in her embrace … the meals she fed me whilst i ran circles around her – literally so – … the shield that she was between me and the ‘rents whenever i was in trouble … the warm smile … the hugs … yep, i miss her.

    she’s back home in canada.

      • Don’t we all have those? You can be wonderful despite them. Comes with being human.
        And I love it that you can be so upfront and honest about so many things. I can never bring myself to be that publicly! My undying admiration!

        • you’re ’embracing’ me :p
          that said i think everyone’s seen my bad side too – i’ve had some rather public blog showdowns. I know people wonder how i can be so honest on a blog, but i realise every time I write a post that ten people stand up and say Me too. Makes me realise that nothing i’ve done ever is so bad that no one else will acknowledge it. if not on my blog, then atleast in their own minds.

  9. Awwwwww! Beautiful post! Glad to read that fun and wonderful stuff was happening. Was worried!

    And so good to hear Brat is making up for it…I have hopes then for my lil brat too…who is surprising me mugging up slokas, when he has always hated nursery rhymes and been indifferent to ‘Western’ music. Teaches me a lesson, it does!

    It is also possible to connect meaningfully to members of the family, in spite of our parents/in-laws having issues with us…I used to make the mistake of clubbing them all into one hopeless bunch! Very touching to read about the GGMs!

  10. How do you do it MM, I have yet to learn how to be so graceful..I mean, to be so generous and joyous and feel blessed.I would have had the enthu, but at the end, I would be sulking somewhere with having too much of work..or snapping at hubby(easy target).

    I have a long way to go. Thanks for sharing, maybe I will be a better person someday.

    • i had my moments of melting down and crying when people were rude or inconsiderate. but honestly i was so happy to have the old ladies be my guests that i let that be the focus of my post. that overshadowed everything else.

  11. darn it, woman! you have no right to make my eyes misty on a Wednesday morning, SPECIALLY while I am at work!

    God bless you and yours. 🙂

  12. Very beautiful post MM. I am a little like the Brat and the Bean – around sweet, gentle, frail old women i dont know what to say or do. but i can hold a chat with the feisty, garrulous types.

  13. MM, I am regular reader of your blog and have to say that you have the ‘bestest of blogs’ in the whole world :)….Beautiful post n as usual :)And so agree with you on that grandparents part..

  14. Problems most of the times are with inlaws and in particular you know whom. But the extended family most of the times is a pleasure to serve and be served.

  15. Thats a precious pic! I think I was a rotten great grandchild. I remember visiting her when I was 7 or 8 and I coulnt understand what she spoke. I think I spent my time hunting for mangoes and cashews in her backyard 🙂 Its really so nice to see how happy and blessed you feel in your grand in-laws presence! Touchwood 🙂

  16. Love the new header pic…
    Somehow for me, not many memories of indulgent times with grand parents. Got to see only 1 granny, the others had all passed away before I was born. She didnt particularly spoil us… so I always feel that I missed out on it 😦 Cant relate to it when other ppl talk about it. Cant have everything in life now, can we?

    Glad to see that love touch your life in a beautiful way… That inspite of all the hard work, u still feel blessed. May God always keep your heart filled with love.

    I need to be more gracious & generous under stress… Generally, I think I am but have meltdowns when stressed/ overloaded with work.

  17. That’s a perfect family picture MM! May god bless you with all the love. 🙂
    But we are not satisfied with just the goody goody stuff. We need the other side too..that’s what makes your blog special..and close to our heart. Don’t you think so?


    • erm – which part was perfect? learn to read between the lines 😉
      besides – as i said, this blog is mostly to record the moments I want to preserve or mull over. so everything i write about, must fit that bill

  18. MM,

    I loved the header so much. lovely picture.

    How do you write so well? PLease give me some online classes. 🙂

  19. I was going to say I wish I had a family wedding to attend to, but then realised I AM the next family wedding, whenever it happens! 😛

    Yay, to thathas and paatis. Everytime my Gran seems down and out and her arthiritis takes the better of her, I tell her to please stop the whining. I have a pact with The Good Lord above that she ain’t going anywhere till she has held my first baby (girl) in her arms. 😀
    That always does it for her :). Can’t wait for it to be christmas week, already!
    Lovely header pic..

  20. Neither did I ever felt the love of my grandparents, because they all passed away even before I was born nor I am lucky enough to have a big(or little)family because I am only child and my parents are also no more. Lucky you MM!

  21. Lovely post and beautiful header picture! Argh. Tired of seeing faceless pictures!!! Please please please… put up more pictures of the new house. And can we see more of the header picture? It’s gotta be lovely!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Oh I am not even talented to blog MM! I created one a couple of years ago but never really blogged!

        It’s just that you write so well, decorate so beautifully and tell the story behind each and every picture so well that it is hard not to ask for more :-).

  22. They ought to have an ANFB parade a la the LGBT parade, for all Anonymous Nameless Faceless Bloggers… come out awready!

    Love the new header btw.

    • 🙂 how about being gracious enough to allow the bloggers who generously share their lives with you, a little privacy? Giving them the space to share just exactly as much as they want – not one inch more or less?
      As for the header – its part of the Xmas card the OA and I sent out last year. Posing in front of the Xmas tree. The babies had gone to bed so it was just the two of us.

      • your blogs, anyday. Its so nice to know you through your blogs.. We keep talking about you as if we know you personally. Just day before we were driving back home, and at the signal not a single person jumped the signal. This signal is famous for the number of accidents that occur here, just because of speeding and signal jumping. And my husband said “Wow what a surprise, not a single person jumped the signal. Such basic things and people find it difficult to adhere to. I agree with MM, this country is really going to the dogs!” 🙂

  23. such a lovely post. loved the header, too. I’m sure the entire pic (with faces) would have made a lovely sight. 🙂 btw, loved your saree in the header too.

    the brat’s pic is just awww.

    coming back to the post, i can totally relate to the part about bonding with your husband’s family, and looking at him being a part of it. we may have our differences, but it’s always surprising how there’s something new to learn every time we meet them. it’s been almost 2 years since the both of us got married, and i still feel new in the hubby’s family, feel as if there’s still a lot to learn about the bunch of them. it’s amazing that you’re learning about your hubby’s part of the family, too, and being pleasantly surprised, after 10+ years of married life. kinda warmed my heart. 🙂

  24. And – just for the record sweets, I’m sure everyone appreciated your garden post. Just that 3 pics seemed too few. And everyone’s been dying for a peek at your new house…see we all want to pick your brains virtually for ideas for our houses 😀 (not me – i’m not waiting 😛 ). SO – all of us felt shortchanged to see so little of your fab garden and nothing of your house (not me, again :p ) So stop with the drama already, humph… 🙂

  25. I loved the last line of it all 🙂

    and yes i have a special liking for older people having had both sets of grandparents stay with us when we were growing up !

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