Monday, November 12, 2007

The Kali Pujo Weekend -- I

It's been such a mad couple of days. I think I'll take an hour and list it all out. I'm exhausted, but I don't want to forget any part of this. The long weekend went from Thursday to Sunday.


I started feeling under the weather around Tuesday. Nothing major, just dizzy and light-headeded and weakly. On Thursday we had an invitation to lunch with Rahul's nappy buddy and her parents. It was an afternoon I was looking forward to but I didn't enjoy it so much because as the hours wore on Rahul just became less co-operative, V didn't seem to understand how ill I was feeling and I burst into tears in front of everyone. Something which I guess V still hasn't forgiven me and I daresay never will. But it was great meeting Li'lpet. She's such a fun baby, babbling away and tottering around. There was an unfortunate incident with a rattle, when R was very sleepy and cranky, and I afraid it ended in a bit on Li'lpet's arm. Luckily, she was more shocked and indignant (bless her plump little arms) than hurt. Still, it'll be a long while before I get over this, if I ever do.

V was furious, I was overwrought, The Bhablet was half-asleep and so we left. Fight in the car and I got off with R and share-cabbed it home. On the way I bought fruits and stuff. Went home, fed R, took him out once more and bought diyas, fruits and met a flat-broker. We're getting pretty desperate now, but nothing suitable has been found. Home, Bhablet packed off to bed. Made and ate dinner, and finally, at 11 p.m, I set out my chhoti Diwali diyas. All 14 of them, as pictured in the last post.


Diwali was a cold sort of day. Cold as in the atmosphere within the house. I was tired and frantic, wondering how to fit in all I wanted to do, and V was trying to be understanding (I think) but getting on my nerves by being underfoot. It culminated into me bursting into (more) tears when I ruined a plate by trying to steam an apple in the microwave (don't ask -- I've done it lots of times, first time this has happened.) V got angry because I was making a scene over a ruined plastic plate and I got angry enough to tell him how upsetting it is to see something get spoiled when you know you will not be able to replace it, because you can't afford to, and that nobody will get you another one to match the set and anyway, if he weren't such a total loser he would understand how awful it felt serving guests in mismatched crockery, and how awful it was that he never went shopping, and that our cupboards were bare, and stuff along those lines. All quite factual but perhaps not needing the articulation. (Ok, maybe the loser bit isn't even factual. Sorry, you.) Another humdinger of a row, a call to my favourite dida explaining why we wouldn't make it to the familyKali Pujo, setting out my diyas once more, finally going to the Pujo a good hour later than I'd hoped.

But things perked up once we reached, and the food was great, and I love being a part of an old tradition like theirs, and even V started cheering up. (And he can sulk for days on end, no kidding.) We dropped off (Ma's) Shejomama and (my) Dada afterwards and dropped in on J. His cousin iMad dropped in and The Bhablet seemed much taken by her. Laughed himself into splits at her antics and cold-shouldered his Uncle Tom. We agreed that in this if nothing else he has taken after his Uncle Tom -- he prefers the company of women. Came home late, packed off R, cleaned house, packed away food, went to bed.


Maid didn't turn up next morning. 'Nuff said.

Blank Noise meeting till lunch, BNPK(olkata) is starting to take some shape now, getting quite interesting, hurried home to shop for bhaiphonta (bhaiya duj). The Bhablet had gone visiting relatives with Giga. Incidentally, I wish you'd take notice of Giga. She used to be referred to as my mejopishi, or my father's second sister. Now she is The Bhablet's Giga. She will be featured now and then, since she and her daughter Cousin J play a fairly large role in his life. Anyway, so she and The Bhablet were out going from house to house. Since V came along with me, I did almost all the month's stocking up. Came home, began cooking. I needed more time than I would get the next morning, and anyway, one of the dishes I've only made once alone, and that was nearly three years ago, during Aunty Hy's cooking classes.

The Bhablet came home, I finished cooking, dressed. The Bhablet was fed and cleaned up. We all went to visit V's mother. Fed him his dinner there, and she spent a happy hour cooing over her grandson. Rushed to dinner at Dhaba, Ballygunge. Giga had invited us as part of her bhaiphonta treat for Kaku. Dinner was kebabs and parathas, which was great since I'd been craving them since the last party. Ate like a pig, but was only too happy to have Giga drop off some chocolate pastries from Cakes as a nearly-midnight dessert. (Now you know why she's my favourite aunt -- who else would do such a thing?)

Worked all night re-sorting my kitchen shelves. I started off filling my new rotating spice rack, but because I had to change spaces anyway, I ended up re-doing the kitchen. Which was good and necessary, because Bhablet-proofing the kitchen had only been halfway done till then. Swept the house and V swabbed the floors. He does ever such a good job and I almost wish he would do it front of our maid one day so that I could point out to her how it should be done.


Woke up at 8 a.m. Maid's day off for the festival so I knew I'd have to do the dishes. Attended to The Bhablet. V went for one lot of phonta and R and I dashed upstairs with some prasad for our landlady and her family. I've never mentioned it before, but they are really great people. Generous and helpful to a fault. I'll be sorry to leave them. Luckily V returned in time to put R to bed. I still had half the cooking to do, and the living-room was its usual mess.

I cooked, he cleaned and tidied outside. When Dada and my two other cousin brothers reached, I had just had my bath. Had cleaned the bathroom and washed my hair while I was at it, so I felt a little happier. Also, the chicken was happily marinating, so the cooking would be fast.

Set out silver plate with dhan, dubyo, chandan, water, paper napkins and those pastries from the night before. (Had remembered about sweets too late and thought they would prefer pastries anyway. Also couldn't be sure if we light a diya in our family... so I decided to skip.) Did the phonta for all three, then ran back to finish the cooking. Only rice and chicken left, so it didn't take too long. The brothers ate, the Bhablet awoke and was fed and played with. Then Giga arrived to give her grandson his phonta. Very cute moment, that. V, R and I dropped Giga home afterwards. Came home, cleaned up kitchen. Luckily, I clean as I cook, so there wasn't so much. Mostly washing and putting away the glassware and Corelle plates. Yes, I used those at last. And I totally love them! They are plain white and go with everything. And they are wonderfully thin and altogether beautiful.

The menu:
Mutton kofta curry
Methi chicken
Chhola'r dal (chana dal)
Basmati rice
Sweets (store-bought)

V was putting The Bhablet to bed when his friends Munna and family arrived. Barry and his family arrived soon after. The Bhablet decided that sleep was for babies and joined us. The afternoon was great fun. Munna and Barry's daughters decided to have a cat-fight -- they are around 3, both, and The Bhablet wisely left the scene and occupied himself with a ball and a box.

Around 5 p.m. my maid's sister rang the bell to say that S (my maid) is very ill and they are at their wits' end and could I please manage for a few more days by myself. Felt very guilty for thinking all those uncharitable thoughts about her for the previous two days. Her husband had told me she was ill, but I was suspicious since the illness came just before a day off. And after a night of festivities. Anyway, I can and have managed all alone before, so it was no big deal. And she has only been cooking for us for a week now, so I haven't lost my habit yet. So I promptly told her to tell S not to worry about it. To be frank, S is not usually very prompt about letting me know when she can't make it, so I was rather touched that she had sent both her husband and her sister to inform me, telling her sister she was worried I would not be able to cope.

Anyway, this broke up the adda and Munna and his family left. His wife, Mrs. Barry and I had spent a nice time making friends with each other and it is really nice to be with folks who are so cool about their kids fighting, being rude, tired and nasty. I am always apologetic when The Bhablet misbehaves but sometimes I wish people wouldn't notice it so much. He's a kid and all kids do this. Or should. Or they are just sissies. So there. Anyway, so we wives chatted about maternity wear (Mrs. Munna is expecting) and in-laws and kids and jobs and stuff while the kids fought it out amongst themselves. The men decided to go smoke outside. So typical.

Barry and family stayed on a little longer, then Mrs. Barry and I went out and had some phuchka. We'd promised to get V some churmur but we forgot and I guess I'm not going to be allowed to hear the last of it in all my married days. She and I had a lot of fun though. We are not remotely alike, but there is something inherently nice in her that appeals to me, and so I like her quite a lot.

Oh god, and I still haven't reached the evening's festivities yet. Ok, that'll be for the next post. For now, I want to note that Dada and I did bhai phonta after at least seven years, today. We had even been in the same city on the day, some of those years, but he had taken it into his head that he didn't want it from me and I refuse to do it for someone who doesn't want it. I still don't give him a rakhi and I don't think I ever shall again.

Anyway, it's nearly 2 now, so good night. Bandh tomorrow.


dipali said...

Very eventful! Oh, I just bought some Corelle plates as my mom kept complaining about how heavy the other ones are. Hope you and your brother 'kiss and make up' soon. Life is just too damn short.

Mona said...

sounds just a little crazy, and crazy enough to have been loads of fun!

Rohini said...

Wow! That already sounds exhausting... and there's more?!

Opaline said...

I havent done bhai phota in two years now. Dadarao nei, thakurdao nei. It used to be such an occassion and look at it now.

hack said...

i haven't even read the whole post. and i have to chip in with the fact that the guy i go out with, can also sulk for DAYS ON END. and it's completely galling to have to call up bloody EVERYTIME. my god, are guys/men stuck up creatures.
this of course, is besides the point that he is awesomely kind, my rock, blah blah..

Poppins said...

Uh Oh. Well you can't complain that it wasn't eventful ! Hope you two kissed and made up.

Sue said...

Dipali -- Aren't they terrific? Let's form a Corelle Admiration Society!

Mona -- Yes, it was fun but I'm still not sure whether I spent it on my head or heels!

Rohini -- Yes, one packed evening more. Oh and I slept all morning today. :)

Srin -- Well, that's better than not doing it because your Dada didn't want it...

Sue said...

Hack -- Well, yes, they seem to have this thing called pride which they assume we are not burdened with.

Poppins -- Oh yeah, we made up and went to the Kali Pujo on day 2 itself.

hack said...

yes yes, i so absolutely agree. why are 'men' so strange? i mean none of my friends are like this, i mean the girls.
mane i could go on and on.
and i have decided, on certain decisive matters, i will NOT be the one to go ask.
jesus, it is tiresome. i mean sometimes you want to say, just get over it, or take a hike.

Sue said...

Hack -- LOL! You sound like a certain Prof Higgins, only from and speaking of, the wrong sex.