Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bedtime tales

One of the most unnerving ordeals as a new bride/groom has to be definitely the sleeping quarter allocation when one goes a-visiting with the extended outlaws and the laws.

No, I don’t mean the whole suhaag-raat deal, I am sure that is quite awkward as well – but this is slightly later version, long after the marriage frenzy and confusion, when one in cold-blood is expected to walk into a shared er...conjugal quarters under the watchful eyes of parents and/or other elderly relatives.

It is absolutely and completely disorienting – and certainly more so for the girl, if she has been brought up in the usual Indian family ostrich like style of avoiding anything remotely to do with “THAT" topic.

The first trip to Goa post marriage was therefore quite harrowing.

I went swaggering in to the uncle’s house assuming that everything was going to be like usual, with just an addendum in the form of the spouse. Maybe a little fuss about him, but that would soon fizzle out I thought.

I couldn’t have been more mistaken.

Suddenly I found that by virtue of marriage, my whole standing in the house had shifted from just-another-head that needs to be shoved into whichever room/bed/mattress/floor space is available to the er...consort of the CHIEF GUEST OF HONOUR.

(Just to provide a context, in my growing up years, a full house was 25-30 odd people ( all talking at the same time). Sleeping arrangements meant a long room with four mattresses, and pillows which normally resulted in a free for all to get place or bed sheets. A charmingly democratic resolution to the sleeping problem)

There is apparently a rule book about the proper method to treat this CHIEF GUEST OF HONOUR who must not be offended which I had completely missed (the last female marriage had happened when I was about the two, and I am the eldest of the girls and the first to get hitched.)

This included fulfilling (and anticipating) every culinary wish of his, hovering around him and asking him whether he wanted anything every twenty minutes, scampering like hares to pander to every word which emerged out of his lips. (Bloody annoying it was – gave the hero a vastly exaggerated sense of his own importance. Also this overwhelming, gushing gratitude at having married me, wasn’t particularly good for my ego)

And the worst bit of all, the seventy odd year old uncle and his wife, self evicting themselves from the master bedroom and sleeping on the settee so that the Jamai could repose on the king sized bed.

And it was a awkward-as-hell. It takes cold-blooded nerve to confront a white-haired patriarch with conversations about beds and sleeping arrangements.

To be fair, the hero was more discomfited than flattered, but I had little sympathy for him at that point especially when he would talk about how he has saved me from spinsterhood and other lines in the same vein.

And somehow this whole thing followed us for a year or so, when we went to HIS uncles house. We were allocated his cousins room ( Daughter in laws are a much lower species than the sons in law ). We walk into her bedroom to see a double bed there. Hero, with his usual presence of mind and fetish for feet, asks, “But Maami, have you reorganized your house, weren’t these two single beds on two sides of the room?”. Maami blushes and mutters about kitchen and escapes. While I am left to pick up the pieces of my shattered self long enough to kick the hero really hard (He ALWAYS does that. The kind of sticky morasses which I have been subject to because he has a way of firing of his mouth is too awful to even list down here. )

One of the best anecdotes I had heard about this was that of my friend S’s eldest sister – let’s call her R. (Just as a context, S is the youngest of three sisters). R, and her brand new husband come for the first time to the house where she grew up. Come night time and S’s Ma is getting the guest room ready by putting fresh sheets and linen for the newlyweds.

Her dad traipses in, looks bewildered at aunty and says “Isn’t the J (the groom) going to sleep in the same bedroom alongside me – PUT HIM in there. Why are you putting him here?

I always wonder how poor aunty (the good wife and DIL that she is) explained to her irate spouse that his son-in-law could and should, share sleeping quarters with his now-grown-up daughter.

This post was written quite some time ago, somehow never got around to posting it!


Dreamer said...

What a wonderfully witty look at something that has happened to all us married folks! In my case my husbands little niece (about 2yrs old) who till then would always insist on sleeping with her mamaji was forcibly evicted by her parents. The bewildered kiddie used to holler her lungs out and the poor frazzled parents did not even know how to begin to explain why she could not sleep with her uncle anymore :D

Lazy Pineapple said...

oh yeah sure its awkward as hell. I remember coming back home(in-laws) after my suhaag raat which we had spent in a hotel as there were too many guests in the house. The looks I got, me the besharam types was also blushing, so you can imagine :)

Bea Walker said...

Funny! So sad, so bad about the d-i-l being a lower species....please to explain more about the savior-of-spinster's foot fetish, sounds interesting ;)

litterateuse said...

Something tells me I shouldn't wish for this even if it's only to experience the hilarity of it ;) But yes, there's no escaping bedtime tails - it's either large families, or kids sneaking up on you when you least expect it :-|

Hilarious, cyn! :)


Sanand said...

LOL! I found myself smiling when I read this post, brought back a lot of such embarrassing memories.

Nisha said...

oh this is all so true!! i just completed my first yr.. and hopefully now we shall be treated like equals!
what do these guys think during the first year, really!!?

narendra shenoy said...

Hahaha! Super post! I also love the tacit assumption behind the sleeping arrangements - that you're doing it continuously and all the time and that you will be mighty offended if the opportunity of doing it is snatched away even for a little while -whereas in most cases, or in our case at least, it is like the Halleys comet. Spectacular, eagerly awaited and happens roughly once in 77 years

mentalie said...

my goodness, your friend's father sounds exactly like mine! heh.
...and damn! i wish i could be a good indian girl's husband! they have it good...really good!
well, mostly ;p

Mo said...

Cyn - I would urge you to explore the DaughterinLaw-Son-- SoninLaw-Daughter inequality.

Cynic in Wonderland said...

Dreamer - heheh. poor kiddo. i think in cases like this makes sense to wean of the kid a couple of months BEFORE the new bride comes into the picture?

Pineapple - oh you got the oh-so-you-have-done it looks eh? Fortunately, I have the reputation of being HUGELY temparmental in stuff like this, so i reckon ma must have warned everyone to behave. :D

Bea walker - i could of course give some of the examples of friend the savior. But then i would have to shoot myself

G - The most hilarious thing i find is the fact that in some communities they have this mahurat deal before the bride and groom can er sleep together. A friend of mine marrying into another community was informed about a function called the "first night ceremony". she never made the connection - the consequences of that were pretty damn funny.

Cynic in Wonderland said...

sanand - share. pls to!

nisha - i completed three yesterday and yes, it does peter down. till the time they want you to have kids. then er ...

naren - and isnt it amazing how from disapproval it verges on urging the minute you get hitched?

mentalie - well i wouldnt mind just having a good indian wife i reckon. Most indian dads would be like that no??

Mo - sigh. Dont want too. too depressing.

Reluctant Warrior said...

Typical DejaVu post.

No not in the way you think; this one is the post that you would be reflecting upon when you are 70 and sleeping in your own guest room.

I'd suggest getting a Jamai Raja Rules T-shirt

(Pls use the original logo -
Index/pinky/thumb finger raised & middle/ring finger bent

Ref I-Love-You at )

totaltrauma said...

creepy it is..dang!

AmitL said...

ROFL-Cyn,'with just an addendum in the form of the spouse' was too good a phrase.hehe...but then, the way it shifted to 'consort of the Chief Guest of Honour' was even funnier.All the attention showered upon him- hey,hope it didn't convert into 'great expectations' when you reached home,too?:)
Re. the anecdote-LOL-yes,some people can be a bit naive/dense/unknowing sometimes,I agree..:)

Maddy said...

enjoyed reading it - still remember the trips to various cousins and aunts and uncles houses - the ritual visits after marriage. and also made me sad, many of them are gone now..and the thought - how you suddenly get elevated from the boy to 'married man' in their fond eyes..

Kaalicharan said...

nice post..the smile is still on:)

ani_aset said...

well well nicely done this one. this sleeping bed thing can create awkward situation ;)

full_moon_p said...

I hear you girl! From Jamai Raja to avian upbringing, from kicking the hero to poor D-I-Ls.

Been there, done that! But I never looked at it from this perspective.