By - Mridula Chaudhari
Come summer holidays and it’s time for the married ghar ki beti to come and stay with her parents. It’s no more a common concern that the ghar ki bahu stays with her mom all the year round than with her saas. Saas is also comfortable that way since she has all the time to go and play her weekly rummy with her quintessential rummy friends.
So when Shweta, my friend’s daughter, decided to visit her mom on her official visit, it was my duty to invite her for dinner. Needless to say Shweta was not alone. She was accompanied by her two daughters. I started planning the menu. Would she like batata wadas? “No aunty, no potatoes for me. They are too gaseous”, pat came the reply. Being hot, dahi wada was a good option, “Oh no,” Shweta blurted out, “Payal (her daughter) is not allowed to have curd in any form”. I was rather worried about the process of finalizing the menu now. I couldn’t give up though.
I sat watching the cookery shows and browsing cook books so that I could finally froth up a good lip smacking menu for my friend’s ladli beti and make her ‘official visit’ a memorable one.
After lot of deliberations, browsing, consultations and sleepless nights I could come up with an amicable menu to please Shweta. In the process I ran in all corners of the town finding the right ingredients. All this was to please Shweta no doubt but more for Shweta’s mom who is my next door neighbor. If I don’t keep her in good humour, she will not allow my keys to be kept in her house for my guests to pick up. My friend will not even accept my parcels that I order online and for many other unmentionable reasons.
Finally the day arrived and my friend with her daughter Shweta with her two daughters Payal and Piyu in tow came over. My house was cleaned impeccably and decorated with best artifacts removed from the attic to decorate the drawing room. Once my guests were inside and I was about to close the door, I found a Doberman coming in as if it was his right to be there. “Tommy”, “I never go out anywhere for dinner without Tommy”, perked Shweta cajoling Tommy as if they had met each other after ages. “Oh, he is so sweet,” as if I had any choice except to say that.
Tommy made his presence felt wagging his tail and walking all over the place as if that was the most natural thing for him to do in this house. I ran after his tail picking up my artifacts, lest that was the last time they decorated my house. While I was busy doing that, Payal and Piyu ran helter skelter and decided to play hide and seek until the ‘older ladies’ finished their exchanges.
I could feel my whole body drenched in sweat, needless to say that the scorching summer was not the only reason for that. Until now Tommy was all over the place and had now decided to perch himself on the sofa. My heart sank further. The girls wanted toys to play with and Shweta was continuously blabbering away with her tales.
I served dinner, wishing this nightmare to get over once and for all. Girls came pouncing to the dining table at first. They surveyed the menu meticulously and then complained to their mom that they were not hungry. Needless to say, Tommy was sniffing in the background.
Until now my friend had taken pity on me and was scolding the girls. Shweta too got upset and decided to start her dinner at once.
That evening made a dilatable impression on my mind. When my guests left, I simply crashed on the sofa and heaved a sigh of relief. It was a horrific experience. I wanted to please my friend but at what cost?
I am now scared of ensuing summer and summer holidays and Shweta’s Official Visit!!!