All the young-singles-20-somethings will definitely agree with me when I say that life is really happening and fast-paced. There is no time to take care of the “cleanliness” of the living area. There is no time to ask the roomies or the neighbors if they are O.K. Everyone is busy in their own lives and we are all living as the skew lines which can perhaps see each other but will never meet. We all seem to thoroughly enjoy this life and cant ask for better.
My bubble was burst when I got a call from my cousin inviting me to his home for an Indian festival over the weekend. This festival despite being a grand celebration in India, was merely a holiday for me to sit back and relax at my place, but I thought to myself “Aaj kuch toofani karte hain” (Let’s do something challenging today) and I packed my bags and left for the cousin’s house.
Entering his house after many years, I felt so different. This was the house where I spent a lot of my summer vacations. So many memories came flooding down and I was glad I took this decision. I opened my shoes outside the house, as is customary and I realized that I hadn’t done this in a long time. Walking barefoot in the house was a feeling I seemed to have forgotten. I was greeted by my bhabhi (cousin’s wife) with a hot brewing coffee. There was something about this coffee, I can’t explain, that could easily beat any number of expensive coffee shops I have been to. Sitting comfortably on the beautiful couch with so many cushions, my Bhaiya and I started to have the routine conversations about my daily life and the country and politics and people.
Bhabhi then placed our lunch on the dining table and summoned us at once. I rushed to the table and picked my favourite chair where I could have a good view of the TV, the kitchen and also get some good breeze from the window. I saw bhaiya washing his hands before he came to the table, and bhabhi was expecting me to do the same. It then occurred to me that this always had been an unsaid rule to wash hands before you eat, how could I forget! I quickly washed my hands and came back to sit on my seat. The lunch was delicious and bhabhi kept serving me hot chapatis and I kept gobbling them like I had not eaten in days.
Having stuffed myself till my throat, I decided that I could not move a muscle anymore and had to retire for sometime. I was showed to my room where I could make myself comfortable. I had a sound carefree sleep like the little-me used to have on that bed. I was woken up by my bhaiya saying evening snacks were ready, and I was brought to the table filled with savouries and coffee. The smell got me hungry and I was ready to finish all that was placed on the table. Finishing the eatables on the table did not seem like a big task, but getting up from the table and moving around after, was a huge one!
Bhaiya and I went out in the society’s garden for a stroll whilst bhabhi was preparing for the festival, the next day. Walking on the wet green grass gave a very soothing feeling to my feet, and the rest of my body also felt good because it got some break from all the yummy-food-stuffing that was happening all day. Bhaiya and I kept walking and talking about our childhood days- how he used to bully me and make me cry all the time; how I was such a vulnerable little kid; how we had such big dreams while growing up etc. Needless to say, I stuffed myself at dinner too! I then retired for the night. That night I felt so much at home- a feeling I had forgotten since the years of living alone by myself.
The next day started early as it was the festival. Bhaiya and bhabhi were already in grand clothes and were running around finishing up all the last minute preparations. I was ordered to quickly get ready, as the pooja was in less than an hour. Wearing the finest ethnic clothes I had, I was ready to gobble up the prasad. But before that I was expected to help with all the chores and do the pooja myself. It was all very alien to me, as I did not know any of the household chores (I have been staying alone for the past 8 years!). I tried my level best to not disappoint them, but needless to say, I did. I was looked down upon as I could not handle the simplest of the tasks given to me. Honestly, I did feel a bit ashamed too. Anyways, I am a fast learner, so I did do things better at the end than in the beginning.
The pooja was succesfully over, and it was time to enjoy the delicious prasad. Within no time, it was time for me to leave for my place lest it gets late. I realized that I did think of coming over to my bhaiya’s as something toofani and challenging when I had departed from my home, as I was no longer used to living with a family in a traditional setting. But living here for the past 1.5 days, it was becoming difficult to depart from the very same traditional set home. Our mind is also a crazy one, it gets used to things so quick and resists change in any form. The transitions or the departures out from any comfort zone are always difficult and are challenging. I decided that I will go easy on myself and keep visiting this lovely couple so I don’t succumb to any comfort zone and also make the departures easier.