Thursday, April 18, 2013

I sometimes wonder as to why my mind keeps harking back to the older Memories--maybe because these belong to a happier more carefree time--specially those of my childhood and the early years of our marriage.Belonging to the same bloodline made our relationship unique--but at the same time we were too alike in our thinking---so maybe that helped too.My father was a very broadminded person but had some funny ideas about being conservative--Mummy thought differently and had her own views about being conservative--both would clash on certain issues and that would send me confusing signals!!
Daddy didn't mind if I wore tight sheaths as my Dresses but these had to accompanied by a pair of Leggings/Shalwars/Churidars---
he was not comfortable with my bare legs showing under the fitted Frocks after I turned 11 years old!!Mummy on the other hand had no problem with my showing off my shape----in fact she would make me walk up and down our Staircase with heavy books balanced on my head--to ensure a proper bearing and a straight back!!She also was okay with my wearing make-up and would often buy me some too--and Daddy agreed.The only rule they clashed about was Boys.Daddy felt that I could have friends who were Boys--while Mummy viewed the entire breed with suspicion. I myself was not too keen on Boys--preferring my Books to Company most often.Besides being schooled by Nuns since the age of 5 years---specially those who frowned upon the concept of about Dating had made me shy and inhibited--I was the classic example of an Inferiority Complex breeding a Superiority one!!Till today I find it difficult to feel comfortable with new aquaintances from the opposite sex--I either talk too much or I just clam up!!
That is why perhaps my equation with Sudhir worked so well--though we both could never understand some aspects about each other's personality.I felt he was too cautious and suspicious about everything and everybody---while he rued my rash and naive nature and the way I impulsively rushed into various situations!!This was a bone of Contention between us to the very end!!When we shifted into our present Flat about 38 years ago I had been instructed by him never to open the door--anytime of the day--without a sharp knife and half an Onion in my hand!!Reason??It would help in self defense if the need arose!!To me seemed idiotic that I'd be slicing Onions at any time of the day--but he was adamant and I complied!!Both of us were very fond of reading--and this trait was inherited by our daughters---both love to read and literally devour the Books voraciously.Sayali must have been about 7-8 years old when a Book Fair was held in her School.Both Lotta and she got an equal sum of Money to buy Books---but Lotta being the cautious one bought just 2-3 books while Sayali blew up the whole amount on a pile of them!!Sudhir came home early that day from the Court--a rarity while they were growing up---and hid in the entrance Lobby to surprise them when they returned from School.Both came home,were duly spooked by his "Boo!!" and then settled down to their evening Tea with him--jostling each other to fill him up on their day while I got busy with the evening Meal.
Suddenly Sayali's dismayed wail brought me rushing to our Bedroom----she had just shown him all the Books she'd bought--and he lost it seeing the huge pile she'd picked up!!!That was one of the rare occasions when he gave her a dressing down about going overboard-----and I kept out of it.A penitent and dejected Sayali sobbed herself to sleep while I remonstrated with him in private about it was just Books that she'd indulged in.He heard me out and turned round to tell me that she should learn restraint in deciding what she needs and what she does not---or Money will be a dangerous weapon to give into her hands.She had to learn to be accountable--that this time it was Books later it could well nigh be just anything!!!Money was not a plaything--it had to be treated with the proper respect it deserved!!I think Sayali learnt something that day because his approval was paramount to her--but not really much as the next incident will show!!
Around 1985 I decided to complete my Graduation through the Open University Plan just floated by the University of Madras.After passing the Entrance Exam I took to studying seriously--choosing my favourite Subject History as my main one.I'd finish my cooking and household chores by Lunch time and once the girls had been fed,would sit down study during the afternoon.The Examinations were scheduled to be held in the Summer Vacations---and this meant that we did not leave Bombay for 3 years till I passed the course.Both the Girls were dismayed and though there would be short trips for 2-3 days to nearby places--it was never the less not the Vacations they were used to.Their fertile brains came with the idea of being paid for staying put in Bombay---and both bargained and haggled with Sudhir to finally arrive at a figure agreeable to both parties--payable to Girls weekly.As expected,Lotta very cleverly would hoard her share and Sayali would be just the opposite with her share--spending most of it on Ice Creams and Chinese Buffets.It had become so that whenever she called up the local Ice Cream Parlour nearby, the person taking the order didn't need to ask her name--they'd begin with "Oh Hi Sayali--what would you like?"Besides Lotta,she and her best friend Lakshmi would frequent a Chinese Eatery and enjoy the elaborate Chinese Dishes they served!!One thing needs to be made clear here----Lotta very conveniently would forget her Wallet at home--and most often than not it was poor Sayali who ended up paying the Bill!!At the end of their Vacation, Lotta had almost the entire amount saved,Sayali had just a few hundreds left over---but this time Sudhir forgave her, because it was in lieu of their Vacation after all!! Today while Lotta continues to be very prudent with her money Sayali still splurges hers on many things----and one of her weaknesses continues to be---- Food!!!
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