FIL-MIL Mehfil (Bengali alert)
I had barely entered our house after the run in the rain this morning, when my mother in law started berating me. She looked me up and down, sized me up and asked
“Bristi-tey na hNatlei hochhilo na?”. (** did you have to go for a walk in this rain? **).
As you can imagine, like every self-righteous runner, I took total umbrage at her lack of confidence in me.
“hNatchhilam maaney? jeev baar korey aat minute-e mile dnourolam aar seta-key aapni hNata bolchhen?” (** Who you calling went for a walk? We panted our hearts out as we put in eight minute miles – and you think that was walking? **)
She somewhat relented.
“hNato aar dour-ou. Ei jhomjhomey bristitey aar keramati na dekhalei to hoto”. (** walking or running – what was the big need to show off in the rain? **)
I took the philosophical route – (btw, all throughout my childhood, I had addressed her as Masi – word usually used to address your mom’s sister – and I still call her Masi. Conversely, I call my father in law Kaku – usually used to address your dad’s brother)
“Masi”, I said “bristi-tey prokriti-r oporup rup dekhechhen? Sobuj gaach, chhoto nodi, jhomjhomey bristi, er moto o-kritrim soundorjo hoy? Na poisa laagey, na ticket kaat-tey hoy. Chhotobela-thekey to ma-masi-ra miley konodin bristitey berutey dilen na. Ekhon boro hoyechhi. Ekhon bristi-tey bhijey, jeev baar korey bristi-r jol na khele aar kobey khabo?” (** Mam, have you ever seen the resplendent beauty of nature as the green trees get soaked in glistening raindrops and the rivulets scurry along in heavy showers? You do not need money nor do you need any privilege to enjoy the pure natural beauty of rainfall. All throughout our childhood, you all moms and aunts, never let us go out and play in the rain. Now I am a grown up. If I cannot go stand in the rain and stick might tongue out to find out what it tastes like, when will I ever do it? **)
Thoroughly unimpressed, she said “Aar shorir bhengey porley ki hobey? Tokhon to Sharmila-kei dekhtey hobey” (** And what will happen when your health breaks down? Sharmila has to look after you, right? **).
By now, I was getting an idea about where this was all leading to. It was all about her daughter. Whatever I do, I should not create any more work for her!!! Now that I knew what the game was that I was up against, I knew how to play it. Completely avoided her line of argument and picked up the philosophy bit a notch higher…
“Aa-ha maasi, bhangtei jodi na dyan to notun korey gore-bo ki korey?” (** Mam, if you do not let me break it, how will I ever get a chance to build it anew? **)
Philosophy has nothing on an irate mother in law. “Beshi fyach fyach koro-na-to” boley uni gojgoj kortey kortey nijer room-e choley gelen 🙂
(she asked me to stop blabbering and stormed away to her bedroom constantly muttering under her breath) 🙂