How would you ordinarily answer that question? Well, if you ask me, my first determining factor would be as to whether its a weekday or the weekend. The second relevant factor would be if I had planned something interesting for that day or whether there was a possibility of meeting up with family/friends ( the kinds you never get tired of meeting). So, life before marriage wasn’t complicated at all.
Lekin, Kintu, Parantu, life changes after marriage, for better or for worse. It changes more so, if you come from a completely different background. Having grown up in a fairly traditional (though liberal and progressive) Indian family and having spent a fair bit of time with my grandparents, I was used to some amount of ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking about what generally influences the course of life. Whether it was a black cat that suddenly appeared from thin air and halted our progress (waiting for another person/car to cross the path of the cat) or not leaving in a particular direction on long travels, on certain days. However, never did I ever find the people around me discounting their free will completely or for an extremely prolonged period of time, in the name of these ‘external’ factors. Factors, which determine how your day will be. Factors such as the position of the stars, planets (and perhaps their moons and satellites too, lord only knows!) and their ‘alleged’ affair/interaction with certain expensive semi-precious stones you wear, the colours you wear on particular days, the music you listen to, the food you eat or don’t eat (in the name of a fast) are all supposedly factors which determine how your day will be, and in the long term, the quality of your life! Surprised???
Well, so was I. Take something as small as dressing up in particular colours on certain days. ‘Grah kat ta hai’ says mother-in-law. It all seemed quite ‘different’ to me. I was used to dressing up in colours depending on how I felt like dressing up. Choosing clothes or rather mixing and matching my clothes used to be like an exercise in ‘Art’ itself. Like painting a canvas in different colours and ultimately, a pleasurable combination, which was new, arty and cool used to make me happy and thereby give me a good start to the day! Take the alternate approach to that. If Tuesday is a day when I can only wear red and Wednesday a day for greens, it didn’t matter how I felt. I would end up wearing the same ‘prescribed’ colours on particular days. Almost in a robotic fashion (because sometimes, you have some colour clothes in limited numbers and other colours in abundance). Anyways, unlearning what you are used to and learning something that you don’t really believe in, is challenging. Even if it is something small. Also, because, its no fun. The only fun thing about it is that you end up being colour coordinated with your other ‘believing’ family members, who enthusiastically don yellow on a Thursday. So, it was only after I found myself being the odd man out on several occasions (after having commented without realising that everyone was colour coordinated only because they were all following the colour code for the day) that I started thinking in that manner. I would refer to the list I had finally made after consulting my mother-in-law regarding the colour coding for each day and then proceed to select my outfit. However, old habits die hard. I don’t think I mastered this art at any point. But atleast I was making the effort 😉
Moving on to stones – well, I dislike wearing stones to influence my life. I believe that problems can be solved by dealing with them and not shying away from responsibilities or owning up to your mistakes/faults and always being good to people (though i am not sure how much good the last factor does to that person, in light of recent experiences). Stone rings remind me of that opening scene from ‘Mr India’ jahan Mogambo Khush Hua! And, I am no Amrish Puri or Ms Hawa Hawai for that matter. I didn’t think wearing an emerald ring would improve things with the ‘Absent Husband’ (well, he makes an entry in this blog finally but I am sure, he won’t stay even in this virtual space for too long!) or for that matter chanting a particular mantra or shloka. However, I had learnt that the larger cause of building trust with AH was possibly worth giving up on such small beliefs of not saddling stones on my fingers.
Again, what was an auspicious day for ‘Chulha Chhuna’ or cooking for the first time in the household kitchen, thereby allowing the ‘Naiki Dulhin’ to freely use the kitchen thereafter at any point in time? I would say, any day was equally good. But one must pay heed to what the family pandit says about these things (after all, we have only survived through some many generations on this planet due to their advice!!!). So a suitable day was identified. The ‘Naiki Dulhin’ nervously (yet confidently) entered the kitchen, to cook her first dish in that family kitchen, which was going to be ‘Halwa’! The head chef was standing right next to me and giving me tips – the most important being, ‘Add more ghee – it will be tasty’! Then keep turning it, ensuring it doesn’t stick to the vessel. Garnish with elaichi, kaju and kishmish and Voila! Its ready to be served. I was happy with my effort. I was wishing that AH had been around to motivate me and take videos/photos of this momentous occasion!!! Alas, he was only too busy catching a nap and later said that I should have woken him up.
The Halwa was served as Prasad that day. An enthusiastic staff member complimented the Naiki Dulhin on her newfound culinary skills. Should I be thrilled?
It was, indeed, a good day. Maybe the pandit was right and thats why my halwa turned out to be perfect 😉
Anyways, all good things come to an end. The halwa found its way into our tummies. Everyone was happy. In hindsight, more than the stars or the moon position, if only the AH had been present while I was cooking. Maybe I wasn’t wearing the right colour on that particular day!!! 😉