Sunday, June 8, 2008

Jaamai Shoshti: Celebrating the Son-in-law

For the first time after our marriage, My parents are present on Jamaai Shoshti. This is a celebration specially amongst Bengalis where women pray for their children and mother's in law treat their son's in law to a scrumptious meal and give him new chlothes. Hence the Mr went to office in his new shirt and Ma is getting ready to do a small puja with mangos and a special kind of grass (durba or dubba) which is used to bless the children. We collected the grass from the middle of the road where it was growing at the foot of a lamp post, needless to say, the passers by thought we were a pack of crazy people looking for our screws!
My father was a very difficult jamaai, avoiding his parents in law as much as he could, it was his loss because my maternal grandmother was a sensational cook. She was a pro in certain traditional Bengali (Rather East Bengali or Bangal) dishes like kochurloti, kochur shaag with ilish maachher matha, chital maachher muitha, and so on and forth. All the dishes are difficult to make and were the favourites of my father. Once he took his good friend to his in law's place saying that his MIL mis a very good cook. The friend came back singing my grandmom's praises.
My paternal grandmom was not a very good cook but her jamaai is a mom in law's dream come true. My aunt's husband, my dear pishemoshai enjoyed his food and is a loveable human being. His easy going charm and fun loving ways always thrilled us. If Pishemoshai was in town then everyday was jamaai shoshti! There was shopping (the children got coco cola, which was unthinkable if Baba took us out), there was lots of good food and we got to see the latest Amitabh Bachhan movie in town. I cannot remember one jamaai shoshti occassion separately but I do know one thing, pishemoshai was the only jamaai I encountered who is completely at home in his inlaw's place. I saw my father poke him in the ribs and say "ki moshai bar bar bhuri duliye shoshur bari te eshe jaan..." (well Sir how can you come all the time to your inlaw's place) The translation is not half as offensive as the original Bengali, if someone had said that to me I would immediately arrange for the offender to be murdered, but pishemoshai smiled non-chalantly and sipped his drink without turning a hair and without wasting any time in giving an answer to the joke. That was my father's sense of humour and pishemoshai understood it completely. My parents and pishemoshai share a strong relationship that has withstood many ups and downs. The death of my grandmother was a down and 9years later the death of pishi created a void which cannot be filled. My parents and pishemoshai support each other through all the crises in their lives. But I know one thing, those good old days will never come back and they won't make jamaai's like pishemoshai any more.

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