Thursday, November 03, 2016

Chennai Express

Thanks to purana (ooh, that autocorrected to piranha!) bewda Arun who pointed out the very embarrassing fact that I did not blog at all in October, I'm back at the bar.

Viv, Xena and I are in Chennai for Viv's cousin's wedding and it has been nothing but FUN! It is hot though, and I'm glad I took the advice of my friend who burst out laughing when I told her I was packing a full-sleeved salwar kameez because, you know, "it's winter in India". Yeah, apparently there is no winter in Chennai. We sleep at night with the AC/fan switched on. Viv has been ignoring my dirty 'yeh tumhara winter hai?' looks.

Xena got to witness her first Diwali in India, and her constant question was, "Why is it so noisy, mama?" Noisy? This? Beta, this is nothing compared to the noisy Diwalis of my childhood, most of which was spent in Bihar/Jharkhand where my dad was posted for many many years. Both Holi and Diwali used to be, for lack of a better word, quite jungli. But I shall have you know that we used to have fabulous winters and at one point, the temperature went so low that the water froze in the pipes and when we opened the taps in the morning, nothing came out.

Anyway, back to the original topic. We just wrapped up day 2 of the wedding and 'wrapped' is the right word simply because of the number of saris I've sported. (#sarinotsorry) The sari is my favourite outfit of all. I'm partial to the chiffon kinds, mainly because they don't form a parachute around you when you sit down, the way silk saris do. So yes, I've been wearing a lot of saris and jewellery and yet that has not stopped me from eating pani puris (gaahhhh that autocorrected to pain puris!) like the true jungli that I am. I'm not kidding you, I attacked the pani puri stall at the wedding as soon as I possibly could, and stopped only when the pani puri bhaiya started to get a little judgemental. I'd have continued but it was getting hard to ignore his 'Didi, ab toh bas karo' looks. Hmmph!

The food has been so spectacular that in spite of not having gymmed for a week, I'm indulging guiltlessly. Viv, on the other hand, has been feeling pangs of guilt and has really been holding back. He'd better not act like this tomorrow, because I have a Rajasthani thali meal planned for the whole family at Rajdhani tomorrow.

Over the two days of the wedding, I have been introduced to nothing short of 2772723664849494 relatives. Even my extended family is quite large, but Viv's is unfathomable. It felt like he really knew most of the thousand people present at the wedding, leaving me to wonder where on earth the groom's relatives were. On day 1, I just followed him around cluelessly, being introduced to, but not at all being able to keep track of, all the chitappas and chitthis and athais and athimbers and thathas and paatis and cousins and their spouses and kids. Luckily, unlike mine, his side doesn't have the custom of touching the feet of the elders, otherwise my back would have gone for a toss! And oh, if I had a penny for every time I heard the phrase "Remember me? I came to your wedding..."

On day 2, I fared much better, and it really helped that everyone speaks excellent English, including the grandpas and grandmas! Wow. I did get tested on my knowledge of Tamil at times, and so I flaunted my extensive Tamil vocabulary, which comprises key phrases such as 'rombha pasikeradhu' (very hungry) and 'saapaadu venu' (need food).

I also felt a little 'senior' because I'd been the only non-Tamilian bahu in the family so far, but this time in the new generation of damaads and bahus, there was a Lithuanian and an American! Also, the fact that I'm kind of half a generation above the younger, unmarried cousins I was hanging out with meant that I could switch from 'cool bhabhi' to 'mami mode' and back in a blink, which was kinda fun. I am going to find a suitable app to track the family tree on both sides, complete with photographs. Any recommendations?

It's been really fun so far and I'm soaking it all in before we get back to Singapore (and full-steam work!) next week. And yes, for those of you following my travel blog, I will indeed be completing the Iceland series very soon!



Arun said...

Wow, you are terrificly awesome!
-a piranha bewda :)

Beena Venugopal said...

About that app for family tree.. there is Geni ! We use it to map generations

Anonymous said... know what I was in Lucknow this Diwali- and came across a couple who had studied and are working in Singapore now. My husband's school friend and his wife. So, when they were talking NTU and NSU, it clicked me, may be they would know you. SO I randomly asked if they know any Sayesha...:) and as luck would have it...the guy- Shashwat Khandelwal knew you from college..:) was such an amazing feeling to know someone who knows you...ha ha!! He told me that Sayesha is your blog name (which I did not know)..:) and that your blog is very popular etc, and I was more than happy to share that yes i follow her blog avidly and this is how I know about her...:) To be very honest I did try to search for you on FB also, with the limited first name info I had but in vain..:)..anyway- keep writing and do post more about Xena- I have a 3.5 years old daughter, and your posts help...:)

prathi said...

While in Chennai, do try "Theobroma" from Fresh Baked Goodness, Mylapore. It's what I miss most from my Chennai days..

Sayesha said...

Thank you! :D

Oh, Geni allows photos? I will look into it, thanks! :)

Oh my gosh! What a story! :) Yes, I know Shash, he was my junior and I might have ragged him a little bit. :P Thanks for reading my blog! :)

Waaaahhhh, please read my next post! Something for you in there! ;)