Thursday, June 17, 2010

Phish, Phutball And Jamai Shashthi

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?

41 comments:

UmaS said...

OMG...I am laughing so much that my tummy is hurting....

He asked for a BMW, when she said that there is money for a cycle ???

WOW, what all occasions to treat the jamai raja ???? Pray to be one, in the next janm, to hog on those fish, sweets and lay down my head on the pillow, listening to rabindra sangeet...kya life hai...

Messi and Kaka - thats the height of football fever !!! LOL !!!

Aparna, This post is damn hilarious....

Lazyani said...

Brilliantly hilarious post , Aparna.

Messing up with Kaka can be forgiven, but missing up rossogolla and illish/chingri is sheer sacrilege.

Jyothi said...

ROFL. OH wow..hehe..haha...good one...Really needed the laugh. :)

Nope! Not wrong at all! He should defintely be out!

BTW,I am not following FIFA either, and sometimes I feel as though I am committing a crime! Keralites are crazy about football too....But, I can't stand that noise!!!

ZB said...

After reading this i have come to conclude that Mallus and Bongs are ditto-ditto same. Fish, Rice, football, communists. But i dont think we have this festival in Malluland.

I am, too, an 'excommunicated' sort of guy, so i can understand your husband. Actually Mallus too are proud of their malluness. And i absolutely adore my mom-in-law. She is a sweetheart. I am sure she loves me more than her daughter.I have adopted her as my mom.

Absolutely great post. Loved reading this. :)

wordsndreamz said...

LOL! Are you sure your husband was not switched at birth or something :)

But this Jamai Shashthi business is so cool! They get what they want(BMWs apart), and get to eat their favourite food as well! Lucky Lucky men :)

My husband is one of the few men who do not follow any sport. He has been sitting down in front of the telly, in a effort to understand what the fuss is all about. Apparently he has nothing to discuss with his colleagues at work during the football season :)

Lazy Pineapple said...

heheh..this is phunny..
I had heard about Jamai Shashthi...
I have a Bong friend..she too hates anything Bengali...I guess born in the wrong house :P

BTW you still have not written to me for your trophy...you won the last Caption Contest...

R's Mom said...

hahahha! Hilarious..and my hubby has all the characteristics of being a Bong...check this out http://readingthroughrsmind.blogspot.com/2010/05/calcuttan-at-heart.html

The Holy Lama said...

Was he born before 1962 when it was iNdi chini Bhai Bhai. Poor fellow. Don't pull his leg.

manjujoglekar said...

Great post- you have such a gift for humourous narration!

Wow! You have Jamai Shashti every year? Lucky Son-in-laws!

In our family, the Jamai gets spoiled once in three years - during the Adhik Maas (the 13th-extra-month, which comes around every third year).

RGB said...

Phunny from start to end, and insightful too! And man, your man sounds simbly non-bengali, just as I am non-malayali!!

Sharmila said...

LOL Aparna! Ar bhaat khawa gol gaal jamai babaji der bhunri with their dhakai kurtas bursting at the seams? ;-)

PURN!MA said...

hahaha.. lovely post. and btw thanks for upgrading my knowledge on Jamai shashti... :)

kavita said...

I love the fact that your mom understands him and accepts him just the way he is.That's the true spirit of Jamai-shasthi.

Messi and Masi..haahaaa !Hilarious post Aparna.

Nona said...

I protest!

Jamai Shashthi should be a national event!

Anyone to second me?

kirti said...

LOL.hehehe. Aparna,
thats a cute post.you are disclosing poor jamai raja's traits to sooo many readers.we all had fun at his expense, I hope he doesn't mind it.
Even my husband is least like any marathi manus ( he calls all the maharashtrian traits as MMM -ie middle class maharashtrian mentality)

Haddock said...

I think I am soon going to face the same situation when it comes to Cricket.
And I will be ex communicated by the who of India .

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

think of my mom...she has to cook vegetarian for my husband!!

Aparna said...

UmaS, i know, what a life indeed! The jamais of Bengal love this festival and all bunk office to go their sasural on this day!

Lazyani, unfortunately, my husband is not a fan of either Messi or hilsa!

Jyothi, every day I'm glued to the TV watching the matches and he comes home and says what are you watching every day!

ZB, I think all Indian moms-in law dote on their sons in law, it is unfair!

Wordsndreamz, I won't be surprised if he was switched at birth, have to ask my mother in law :)

Lazy Pineapple, sorry I could not contact you, I was a bit busy. Will send my email id ASAP

R's mom, checking the post right now!

Holy lama, I am positive he was born after '62. But there is a possibility he was switched at birth as wordsndreamz suggested!

Manjujoglekar, yes jamai shashthi every year! Life is unfair for the wives and the daughters...

RGB, *sigh* all I ever wanted was a man who would appreciate my fish curry!

Sharmila, jamai der to ektu bhunri thakbei, it goes without saying!

Purnima, you are welcome! Tell your mom to adopt this Bengali custom!

Kavita, after 17 years they both understand each other perfectly!

Nona, I think you will get a lot of votes from the non Bengali men. You have to ask the non Bengali sasu mas as well!

Kirti, MMM! that's funny.

Haddock, you don't like cricket? Are you sure you are an Indian?

Roshni, I fully understand your mom's plight. A vegetarian jamai is every Bengali woman's worst nightmare :)

The Panorama said...

Great post as usual, Aparna.
My mouth was watering for all the Bengali delicacies!
My son is also not into football so here it is the mom who is watching the matches and he goes in his room to play:)
Argentina is a huge favourite this year so let's see what happens:)

Nikita Banerjee said...

Hilarious and yes it is sad to see that your hubby doesn't enjoy football...my father would cringe.

Now as a part of Bengali community, I am not quite so Bong. I am a pure veggie. I enjoy my rotis. I cannot eat shukto. And this is the first year I learnt about jamai Shosti...I am getting hitched soon and my would be hubby happens to be a Punjabi...

SavvY said...

Well there is still some hope left for ur husband coz like most of the Bengalis he loves sweets. About Kaka and Masi, don't tell it to any other bong, for they excommunicate u for such a sin of ur hubby.

BK Chowla, said...

I cant make fun of him about football as me , myself do not know much about the game.
Lucky are the Bengali sons-in-law

A New Beginning said...

Lucky Jamai I must say :)

starry said...

enjoyed reading this post , made me laugh.I think he needs to be in.

silentlyexpress said...

hahaha BMW kya dil khol ke maanga hai :D..damn lucky the bengali guys yaar :)..*repeats" "marry a bong, marry a bong" :P

sm said...

Brilliantly hilarious post

Vivek Patwardhan said...

Hilarious. I hope he gets his BMW from his m-i-l some day!
Vivek

Onkar said...

Very funny indeed. Jamais are treated like this in all communities at least in our country.

千TatianaCallan惠 said...

I guess I will need a lot.................................................................

eye-in-sty-in said...

ha ha ha.. that was so nicely narrated! i'm laughing like i'm mad.

Anil P said...

This is new to me. But I liked the essence of the festival. How wonderful.

Anil P said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aparna said...

@ Panorama, Argentina is my favourite too, lets see :)

@ Nikki, shukto is not bad, it is an acquired taste, you start liking it after a while!

@ Savvy, I guess I have been excommunicated too!

@ BK Chowla, all Indian jamais are lucky.

@ New beginning, right!

@ Starry, thanks.

@ Silentlyexpress, yeah yeah, get married to a Bong, won't know about the wife but the mom in law will surely make you feel great!

@ Sm, thanks.

@ Vivek, considering my parents' current status, it is highly unlikely!

@ Onkar, you are right.

@ eye-in-sty-in, thank you:)


@ Anil, thanks

Smita said...

lol!!! Men!

Double-Dolphin said...

While I'm not totally clueless about soccer, I'm not too much into sports in general. I'll watch a football match, sure, but it's not the end of the world for me.

The smell of fish makes me vomit, and I get extremely irritated when people ask, "You don't eat fish? Not even Eeleesh?". What is Eeleesh? Pork roast?

I don't hate Rabindrasangeet, but I have never read much Rabindranath.

Looks like I should be expelled too!

Destiny's child... said...

Hilarious! Totally rofl at Kaka, Masi part :D But what a day, Jamai shashthi! Lucky men....

Aparna Radhakrishnan said...

Dear Aparna,

Hi...how's your reading going?

Just wanted to know if you have heard of Mitali Perkins? Have you read any of her books? The link to her books is below:
http://www.mitaliblog.com/p/my-books.html

If you have, please let me know what you think...

Dr.Banashri Bhuyan said...

Aparna, I am reading your posts ,one by one,and would like to say that this one is extremely funny. Would be following you...do keep up the good work.

Aparna said...

@ Smita, lol :)

@ Double-Dolphin,looks like an expulsion is in order!

@ Destiny's Child, yes, isn't it :)

@ Aparna Radhakrishnan, my reading is progressing very well. I had not heard of Mitali Perkins but I did check out the link you sent. Seems she writes for children. My 8 year old will perhaps love the books. She is constantly reading. But I have never seen her books here. I wonder if they are available here.

@ Banashri, thank you very much. I hope you will keep visiting. It always is uplifting when someone appreciates my blog. Gives me the reason to write more frequently. Thanks.

The Ketchup Girl said...

my sides are aching, laughing. I'd like to meet your husband sometime, coz i really think we'll hit it off well with all the bong-bashing I so love doing. I married a bong, and my life is dedicated to bong-bashing. And really, you tell me, which self-respecting normal human can have Bhaat and go to work! Sheeesh. He hates footy? hahahahahhah. Man, he must surely be ousted :)

NANDKISHOR WAGH said...

wonderful piece of information, I had come to know about your blog from my friend Nandu , Hyderabad, I have read at least 7 posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your website gives the best and the most interesting information. This is just the kind of information that I had been looking for, I'm already your RSS reader now and I would regularly watch out for the new posts, once again hats off to you! Thanks a ton once again, Regards, Marathi Kavita On Mother