Tuesday, July 6, 2010

An interesting encounter...

I have read somewhere that life is like a box of assorted chocolates, you never know what you will get next....it was this thought that first occurred to me when I met Mrs.Rani at a party (name changed to protect her privacy). She exuded so much warmth that I was immediately drawn to her. One moment, she was asking about my job and was making intelligent remarks and the next moment, she was urging me to try the desserts in the dinner buffet. I felt so comfortable and attached to her that I took her invitation to visit her home too gladly.

She wanted me to visit her for dinner but time permitted me only to visit her for tea. When I saw the spread she had prepared, I was glad I had just had fruit for lunch ! There was everything from dhokla to samosa to tikki.

I still cannot believe I spent 2 hours with her because time just flew by. We talked about a variety of topics from travel to inter-caste/race marriages and I was taken aback by her open mindedness, perspective and understanding. She is probably as old as my mother and when she told me that she was/is completely ok with her son having married an American girl without the slightest hint of regret, I was surprised.

When my son told me he wanted to marry an American girl I asked him why, he said ''she makes me happy'' and when I asked her why she wanted to marry my son, she said ''He takes good care of me'' and then I said yes, what more does one need from a marriage?

I was completely stumped by this narration ! I have seen many people boast of being open minded but the rules are always different when it comes to their kids. But here is someone who practices what she says !

Then she showed me pictures and I saw an american girl dressed in a salwar, with mehndi in her hands, entering a house after having toppled the rice bowl - she smiles and tells me that she wanted to give her daughter-in-law a desi welcome and there I saw the perfect mix of tradition and changing-with-times attitude in her.

I was seriously envying her life. Having grown up with a father who was with the army and now living with a husband who is in the army, she has had an interesting life.
- Growing up in the Red fort and seeing Nehru’s funeral procession
- Traveling with her year old son to Sweden (was her first air travel!)
- Living in Vietnam
- Experiencing the bitter cold in Russia
- Visiting almost every nook and corner of India
are just a few chapters from her life.

And what is more she could intelligently talk about all these moments, while still making me finish everything on the plate, discussing my life and giving me parental advice ! I can’t help but gape at how she still manages to be a home maker with a beautifully decorated house and 2 well-brought up children (a son working abroad and a daughter working in India) and did I mention that she also works as a school teacher?

When I told her this, she laughs and says I just taught my children to be independent. I always told them – “Don’t fall sick, amma does not have time for that and neither do you” and then she proudly narrates an incident when her son, who was then 6 yrs old, came looking for her on his bicycle when she had’nt come home at the usual time. I then confided in her about how I was worried that having kids would affect my life since I hardly see many of my friends who have kids and that I was afraid that I wouldn’t be a good mother either since I cared too much about work. She immediately comforted me and told me in a matter-of-fact way “Children teach us everything, I didn’t know the first thing about babies when I had my first one. My son taught me everything, how to understand if he is hungry/sleepy or simply wants to play, what to do if he is sick. My priorities changed and I didn’t even realize it because he kept me busy but once he was grown up enough to take care of his needs even partially, my priorities changed again. Everything is just a phase, you will adjust automatically to each phase if you have the will to do so”.

Even now, I don’t know why I confided in her and how everything she said comforted me so much.

She is also a great photographer without even realizing it. She has an old canon digicam (one of the first models with the teeny-tiny screen) and as I was flipping through it, I was amazed at the pictures – there were people, places, flowers, animals, sunsets, waterfalls and all pictures showed professionalism, she really has an eye for photos and when I suggested that she and I take a picture, she modestly smiles and says that she is not very good at taking photos! Nevertheless, we did manage to take one together. There was no way I was leaving the place without such a souvenir !

When I finally left, she waved goodbye until my car disappeared from her view.

Even though we meet a lot of people in our lives, there are only a few that make a lasting impression….Mrs.Rani was one such person...I miss her and I hope to see her soon. For all I know, I can probably run into her even in Munich! After all, isn't life full of surprises ?
Hit Counter
Website Hit Counter I had decided to have a counter only after I hit a 1000 views and since it happened last week (as on 14 Dec 2009), now is the time to see some stats :)