Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Mum's (the) word

So Mom was here for a visit, and on one of the days, Viv and I were supposed to call her when she was at home and tell her to take a bus and meet us at a place at a particular time. Now this was going to be a big event, because she had never really taken the bus by herself to a new place before. Viv had given her rough instructions, but had told her that we would call and tell her again.

When we called her, the phone was beeping (or like my niece Aishu says, "Mausi, your phone is crying. You need to charge it.") so Mom said she will change the batteries first in case we got cut off in the middle of our conversation. So she hung up and that's it -- we just couldn't get through to her after that. It looked like the phone was indeed out of charge, and though Viv had shown her where the charged batteries were, she was probably having a tough time opening the phone to change them. I don't blame her -- many a pretty and blameless fingernail of mine had perished in the attempts to change the batteries and so it was always Viv who changed them.

Viv and I stared at each other. Now what??

"Do you think she will panic?" He asked.

"No," I said, "I think she's already panicking!"

"Maybe she will just stay put at home?"

"But what if she leaves home based on your earlier instructions?? And then we can't find her??"

"Maybe we should go home now and pick her up?"

"What if she has already left home by the time we get there?"

"Maybe she will try to open the phone with a screwdriver or something?"

"Maybe she has already broken the phone?"

Ok. Ok. Stop panicking. Regroup. Regroup. Think. I told myself.

"Ah!" I said.

"What?" Viv asked.

"She will go to a neighbour."

"Are you sure??"

"Yep. She's an Indian Mom. They do that. I'm telling you. She will pakka go to a neighbour!"

I was confident, even though I had just had this conversation with her a few days ago.

Mom - So who lives here?
Me - Dunno.
Mom - And this side?
Me - Dunno.
Mom - And opposite?
Me - Dunno.
Mom - You don't know your neighbours??
Me - Um, no. It's different in Singapore. We don't really have the "Aunty, Mummy ne ek katori cheeni mangaayi hai." or "Bhabhiji, hum ek mahiney ke liye out of town ja rahe hain. Yeh rahi ghar ki chaabhiyan, zara nazar rakhiyega?"
Mom - So you have no interaction with your own neighbours??
Me - Yeeahh.. Not so much. If I went over and started talking to them about cheeni ki katori or chaabhiyan, I'd probably get dirty looks...

I don't know. Maybe it's me, maybe I've just become cynical, but the vibrant 'neighbour culture' in India, is truly found only in India. It's not like I have not made an effort, but things here are more formal and people don't 'haq se' impose themselves on their neighbours the way they do in India. And that's how I have adapted myself to live here.

Anyway, so back to my story and how it ended -- Mom called Viv about 15 minutes later. From some unknown number.

Not only had she found a willing-to-help neighbour, she had found a happy-to-help Indian neighbor.

Jai ho, Mom!


Arun said...

Mummy Jaisi Koi Nahin!

(and each of us can say that, even though it refers to different people!)

Sandhya said...

ha ha, so true. The vibrant 'neighbour culture' can be found only in India. Jahan paavon mein payal, haathon mein kangan, aur maathe pe bindiya aur neighbour ka ho hardam happens only in India. Isn't it?

Geomon said...

'haq se' maango!
I spent my childhood in other people's homes. I should know about it. :P

Sumana said...

Waah!! So smart of aunty-ji!!!

How do we know said...

Oh yes this happened to us too,. we barely exchanged good morning with our neighbors - they live 4 feet away from our front door - literally. then, one diwali day, my MIL walks into their house - uninvited and all, and wishes them a Happy Diwali.. then they start talking.. and then I start talking.. and we are STILL talking. Now we are their official keystand - EVERYDAY. :-)

oxymoron said...

SG main hain to kya hua... phir bhi dil hai hindustani!

rt said...

Mummy tussi great ho!!!

Meenakshy said...

I had been friends with Chinese neighbors during my stint there. Though we didnt get into the chabiyaan and cheeni things, but we did get along well. May be I am that mummy type Indian :)

R said...

:) thats such an Indian way f solving the whole situation! And goes to show how useful enighbours can be!

Neha said...

No i kind of dont agree with you that this happens only in India, well this happened in India, but I guess India too it picking up the 'formal' exchange of complains though. But then that's just me.

As for your mum, she rocks! They have a way of getting their work done!

Diya Kannan said... mom..:)

Maryum said...

kuch likh do sayesha.. i miss your posts.. i m addicted to them ..plzz post somethin .. koi bolly quiz he post kar do..

Geomon said...

second Maryam. am addicted too. :(
bhai tumne ne to apun ko pakka bewda bana diya.

diyadear said...

i really like the way u have put up "xxx bewadays got fultu talli ;)" lol.. Great blog here.. keep going!!

Anonymous said...

ur blog and the people arnd u are so much fun. me enjoysh reading :)

Arun said...

Little late, but anyways, Happy Holi!

The Kid said...

You got an awesome blog. Super funny. I used to be funny once upon a time but then I got old. :(

I am working on a novel unified blog called zeole. Would you like to try it out? is a unified blog for people for a single place. In you target your readers directly based on location.

In, since you chose the location before you write, it is lot easier for readers to find your writings, and so you get lots of comments too!

Would you like to give a try?

nidhi said...

Hey Sayesha, hope all is well with you and the absence from blogosphere is because you are doing something a lot more fun.

Calvin said...

mum's the word!! how long are u gonna keep mum?? :D :D

Sayesha said...

Couldn't agree more! :)

Hahaha, it so does. :D



#How do we know,
Hahaha! Cool! :)


Hahaha! :)

Nice. :)

#Raam Pyari,
Yep! :)

Moms rock, don't they? :)


Hahahahaha! Sorry sorry! I am back now! :)

I am back back back! I missed the bewdas and bewdis too!

Thanks! :)

Thanks! :)

Happy Holi!! :D

#The Kid,
Ok I am confused. Are you a 'normal' blog commentator or a spammer? :/

That's an interesting statement. Some day we will talk about that. :)

I am back!! :D