My husband has been excommunicated from the Bengali community.
He does not have the typical Bengali traits and hates everything the community loves.
In the current football crazy Bengali world, he is showing utter apathy towards the game. He does not know how many teams are playing in the FIFA World Cup, he does not know the names of the players, he has no inkling as to who Ronaldo is and what colour jerseys the Brazilians (the eternal favourites of the Bongs) wear. His sins do not stop there. He hates fish, the Bengali's staple diet and has not touched the creature in the last 20 years. He hates Rabindrasangeet, every self respecting Bengali's pride and joy and he absolutely abhors eating rice before going to work. Naturally the community took major offence and finally kicked him out.
But my mother, the most loyal supporter my husband ever had, of course is not giving up. She uses every trick in the book to convert him back. And the most lethal weapon that she ruthlessly uses for this noble cause is the Jamai Shashthi.
For the uninitiated, Jamai Shashthi is celebrated all over Bengal on the sixth day of the Shukla Paksha of the month of Jyeshtha. (Translated into English, it means every year in June, around this time.) On this day, the mothers-in law prepare mouth watering delicacies and invite the jamais, or the sons in law to their homes. It goes without saying the food prepared by the moms-in-law happen to be the favourite of the jamais. Bengalis love to eat and on this day, tradition demands a grand feast. The more exotic the food, the better. Since my husband hates the traditional Bengali food, my mom actually serves him Chinese. Then there are the sweets. There are at least 5 varieties of them. And yes, in between the sweets and the fries and the lunch and the dinner and elaborate tea, there are also huge plates full of fruits. After this, a lot of jamais simply collapse and are unable to attend office the next day. Most bosses in Kolkata also suffer from the same condition and hence fully sympathize. The leaves are granted without any hesitation. They later on compare notes on whose mother in law prepared the best fare and who got the best gifts. (Did I tell you the jamais get gifts also? Shirts, trousers, wallets, books, watches...whatever they fancy) The daughters, though lament the fact that there is no special day assigned to them, do not really complain very loudly. Along with the jamais, they are also invited to their parents' homes for the feast.
Today happens to be Jamai Shashthi. My mother has been calling me for the last 2 weeks, nagging me to take my husband shopping to buy him whatever he wants. My husband asked if he could buy a BMW but my mom said she only had the money to buy him a cycle. So he had to be content with some clothing. She again called me last night, and then this morning to check if I had prepared his favourite stuff. Not satisfied with the food cooked at home, she demanded I take him out for, you guessed it, Chinese.
This has been going on for the last 17 years. Since my mother and I stay in different cities, she sends me some money every year and coaxes me to take my husband out for dinner. Next day she calls me again to know what all we ate. As he loves sweets and fruits with passion, she expects me to fill up my refrigerator with his favourite stuff and feed him all that periodically.
Today Kolkata would be wearing a festive look. Over too much food, the jamais and the rest of the gang would be discussing the rising prices of the fish, Brazil's not so charming display of football this year and the latest spat between Mamata and Budhdhadev. There would be a smattering of jokes that only the Bengalis could come up with, there would be some Rabindrasangeet and of course there would be enough food to feed the entire country. My husband, who is going over to Delhi on work, would be missing out on all that fun. In the morning he surreptitiously tried to find out what all my cousins would be eating today at their sasural and seemed a bit unhappy for missing out on all those jamai shashthi sweets.
BTW, the other day I said, "Did you see Messi? Absolutely dazzling foot work!"
He replied, "Your masi came? When? How is she? And since when has she dazzled with her foot work? She can hardly walk...."
And then he said, " Your Kaka, Masi are all in South Africa to watch football? How come I did not know?
So guys, do you think the Bengalis were wrong to throw him out of the community?