Once in a while I miss my childhood …… essentially that presupposes that I have grown up. Well, once in a while I guess I have. What I have got nostalgic for is the afternoon sessions when I was finishing my home work on the living room floor, under the eagle eye of my mother, who would be knitting endlessly. The various Punjabi auntyjees would drop in for a casual round of gup-shup. All of them would be fully loaded with needlework, knitting, mending. They would settle down for chai, samosas, bread pakoras and gossip. I guess I miss those auntyjees – loud, boisterous and interfering. I really must get my head examined 🙂 evil grin. They were overweight, dressed in colourful salwar suits and had the most wonderful laughs …… you have to hear a punjaban laugh to understand what I mean – the laugh starts somewhere in the paunch … oops sorry … belly and works its way up to the throat – loud, full throated and earthy. No one who hears it can remain straight faced.
After a suitable interval in which tea would served and the various embroideries and knittings admired, they would settle down to the real agenda of the meeting i.e. gossip. Everything under the sun was discussed. At times when something particularly juicy was to be discussed, my mother would turn to me and say …. Go get a glass of water, or go check what your brother is doing. Of course I would get up and walk out, hang around behind the door and eavesdrop!!! I learnt a lot about life in the small community we lived that way. There certainly was a lot happening ….. and lots of it was juicy.
Then came the ritual I hated the most. My embroidery or art work was brought out to be admired. I hated embroidery with a passion, and I can draw, but only cartoons. But cooking, sewing and crochet were mandatory for girls born in my generation. We had to spend dreary hours crouched over stuff we had to cross-stitch, tapestries we had to make all for our trousseau. It ranked a close second to getting good marks in school. Good Punjabi girls had to know phulkaari, crochet, make good paranthas and get good grades. Phew, no wonder most of us are cranky!!!!!
I escaped this when got into college. My world changed, but my roots definitely did not. When I decided I wanted to do M.A., and told my mother …….. One of the auntyjees looked at me totally confused and asked
Nee kee karna chahndi hai too (What do you want to do?)
Jee M.A. karna hai mainu (I want to do M.A.)
Kyun, roti zyada gol villegi pher (Why, will your roti be rounder then?)
Oh wow!!!! That left me speechless.