A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for May, 2015

My soap opera life

Posted by Pepper on May 27, 2015

I’ve been rather occupied the past few weeks. First, I was busy being stressed out about the in-laws upcoming visit. Yes, their visits usually induce in me a sense of alarm and panic. Because we have to wipe out all evidence of everything that they may deem inappropriate. What if we slip due to oversight? What if they find some objectionable pieces of our life that we have forgotten to camouflage?  The pressure to obscure our life is troublesome.

I’ve argued with Mint several times. Why don’t you tell your parents how we truly are? His response is always the same. He says they are closed minded and too self righteous. They will never understand. And he says he doesn’t care to battle everything out with them. It’s just easier to play pretend games when they visit. Sigh. I kept thinking of how strange their relationship is as I bent down to pick up the beer bottles lying on our kitchen floor.  Yes, we had a whole stash that had been collected over the past few months. We were too lazy to clear it out. Now we had no other choice but to dispose them. Mint’s parents won’t be able to digest the fact that we sometimes drink. After all, alcohol is sacrilege

We cleaned up the whole house. Changed the bed sheets. Bought fresh supplies and yet, I thought the house was far from ‘ready’. They were to arrive the next day and there was so much that I thought needed to be done before they came. When I went to the kitchen to fetch some water, I realises that we still had some unopened bottles of beer and wine. They had been left behind by friends and had been lying around forever. Where do we hide them now? I told my parents to keep the beer in their fridge. They agreed to store only a part of it. But they didn’t have enough space in their fridge to accommodate all of it. So Mint and I decided to drink it all up one night before they came. I remember cruising through the house with a glass of wine in my hand. I considered what to tidy up next. But efforts were cut short by the wine. I think I just crashed at some point and slept, with a list of undone tasks floating in my head.

I went to pick them up early the next morning. I was most excited about seeing Oregano. He’s my buddy. But other than the excitement, I also felt anxiety. After Oregano’s kidney transplant, my MIL takes special care of him. Well, let me just say she is obsessive. His water is boiled. Even the bottled mineral water that Mint and I call for has to be boiled (even though the doctor hasn’t given these guidelines). His meals have to be given dot on time. His utensils are sterilised. Every spoon or ladle that touches his food has to be sterelised first. He eats no store bought food. Everything he eats needs to be completely cooked. He can’t have even cereal for breakfast because cereal isn’t fully ‘cooked’. I was really worried about being able to cope with all of this.

Their trip started on a bad note for me when a wok of hot poha that my mom had made for their breakfast was declared unfit for consumption for Oregano because my mom had unknowingly transferred it to another container that wasn’t sterelised. My in-laws vehemently disagreed to let him touch that. We then had to rush and prepare something else for his breakfast. This made me feel acutely bitter and annoyed. So much so that I had to go to another room and take deep calming breaths by myself. Where was the logic in this? The doc had permitted him to eat chocolates and biscuits now and then. They didn’t come in sterelised wrappers. The doctor had permitted him to drink bottled water and I wanted to remind them that the bottles weren’t sterelised just before the water was consumed either. Why such rigidity for this? I understood if they wanted to continue sterelizing utensils as a general preventive measure, but not doing it one single time and eating that steaming hot poha wouldn’t kill him. I STILL feel bitter when I think of this.

I continued to feel annoyed as the day passed. My MIL was boiling our precious Bisleri water and using it to wash/sterelise Oregano’s utensils. She even chose to use mineral water to wash and rinse rice. Moreover, I was helping her in this stupidity. Each time I saw her pouring the mineral water along with our hard earned money in the drain, I felt extremely angry. Who uses mineral water to wash?! That too after boiling it. Mint got mad at her and after that she thankfully decided to stop washing utensils with mineral water. Sigh. To add to my anger, I watched my MIL as she forgot to sterlise a laddle. She forgave herself and just used it to stir the cooked food. Then why so much drama for the poha? All of this kept getting me mad.

And then I reminded myself of the objective of this trip, which was to spend time with Oregano. If I continued to be angry and annoyed, I knew I would not utilise this time well. He is all set to go to the US in the next few months, and then who knows when we’ll see him next? My change in attitude helped me a great deal. We had some fun with Oregano. We played board games till late in the night, we ensured he had a chance to feast on things he is completely deprived of;  pasta and pooris and potatoes. We went on drives, stopped by Marine Drive late at night. It would have been fun to be able to do things without following their rigid rules, but he didn’t seem to mind living like this and said he had a good time. That’s all that matters.

This trip, we also got grilled by the in-laws for not having kids yet. I conveniently put the blame on Mint. I told them that he wasn’t ready to have kids yet. I was. This isn’t entirely true, but it worked well and Mint had no problem shouldering all the blame. The in-laws could not see his point of view and continued to call him ‘selfish’. They sound disappointed every time they talk about him. It annoys me, but I’ve learnt to ignore it. Clearly, their son who is a star in my eyes is a big disappointment to them. Sad. *Shrugs*

It was an interesting trip. I observed little things that pointed out to me the difference between Mint and Oregano. My conclusion is that they have different personalities, contrary to what I believed earlier. It was good spending time with the in-laws too. I had some good conversations with the MIL. While the trip was good, I was still very glad to don my shorts and have my freedom and space back once they left. I’ve realised I am a far cry from the good daughter in-law, despite my in-laws being relatively good. I will never be able to live happily in a joint family and I am glad I don’t have to. These little breaks and short spurts of living together work well for me.

PS – A friend of mine who reads my blog once told me that my blog is his daily fix of soap operas. While I was semi offended at that time and told him I wanted to hit him, I realised this post with all the family drama in it is the perfect fit for the soap opera tag.

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