So when you meet those umpteen number of family and friends in some wedding; you meet, greet and when it is time to say good bye you casually say : ‘ You must come down to Bangalore sometime. Visit us when you do. It will be fun.’
It is evident that you don’t really mean it.
But some of them think you do.
Friday evening, the phone rings.
MIL answers and all I can hear is “Ehh?? Haan. Okay. Tomorrow?? What time?? Who all??’
Then a detailed conversation about kids, family, extended family ensue.
After about 10 minutes into the conversation she is about to hang up when she pauses and asks again ‘Who did you say you were??’
Whaa!!! What was she thinking all this while???
Now I was almost sure that she may just say ‘Oh sorry. It is a wrong number’.
She hung up. I was staring at her, eyes narrow and sarcasm brimming out of them. I say ‘So you talk to someone for all this time – everything from my son’s potty habits to his grandfather’s property – and at the end of it you don’t know who you were talking to?? Well done!!’
She rolls her eyes and says ‘How am I to know if they say – ‘Hello Ganga….I am Hari from your hometown, we are coming to Bangalore. We will visit you tomorrow. How is Sabarish and Geethu??’
In her favor, she advocates
- He called her by her name – Ganga.
- Asked about Sabarish and me by our names.
- Spoke about all of my father in law’s relatives. More bad than good.
So obviously he knows us, especially after point 3.
‘But who is this Hari??’
‘In my defense, in a clan of some 50 – 60 cousins, their kids and grand kids, how would you differentiate a Hari from a Ravi??’
True. Hari Ravi Sashi are all just the same. Can’t say one from the other when you have only seen them in wedding and funerals.
So we know someone from Father in law’s family is coming to visit us tomorrow, with family. They say it is a casual visit.
And so we hope.
We also hope that it wasn’t an appointment taken by some spooky crook who got to know of us from some social media site and thinks he can rob us of the million dollars (because million rupees doesn’t sound that cool) we have locked up in our Godrej locker and flee away to his happily ever after land.
Next afternoon, Sabarish gets a call asking for directions to come home. He tells them promptly.
In about half an hour, at about 3.00 pm the doorbell rings. We open hesitantly.
We are greeted by 1…2…3…16 smiley faces – not 4 or 6 but 16!!!
16 – 8 small ones, 8 adults – 4 families!
I scan across every face – my eyes going up and down like a Bharatnatyam dancer as I do so.
Nothing familiar. I reach the last 3 and recognize finally! 2 smiley kids and 1 smiley woman I know.
The smiley woman says ‘Geethu was so sweet when she called us over at the wedding last June, we just had to come. We are all family. You know all of them don’t you?’ She points out to the crowd.
I could see MIL and Sabarish stare hard at me from the corner of their eye. Damn! I was just being nice to your relatives for God’s sake!
This world is not meant for soulful and compassionate beings such as I…I wish I could vanish.
She introduces everyone to everyone. A lot of gibberish happens..
I can only vaguely remember what ensued. Maid hurrying off to the grocery store to buy milk, juice, goodies to feed 16 tummies.
Hyper active kids climbing everywhere and everything. Strangers walking in and out of all the rooms..I could see they felt very much ‘at home’ – quite effortlessly.
It was dinner time and they were still very much at home. So food had to be ordered in.
By now we were almost certain the crowd is here to stay and that we would be stuck entertaining total strangers for the rest of our lives!
By 11.00 pm, we somehow stuffed all 16 into the minivan they came in and packed them home!
They yelled out and said – We had a nice time. Will visit again!!!!!!
After they went, we scanned the house just to make sure they haven’t left any little one around.
The house looked like a zoo. We sat down for an afterthought. MIL and Sabarish on one side and me on the other. I feel like a criminal being questioned.
Fine!!! It was a genuine attempt gone grossly wrong! All I said was ‘visit us sometime’ which got interpreted as ‘pay us a surprise visit along with all your acquaintances in Bangalore. We love entertaining unknown people.’
Yes. I shall use my words more judiciously henceforth..