This weekend we are holed up at home but the next one will be spent outside, with my family from Madurai. My folks from Madurai are coming to stay with us for a week or so. That`s considered a long stay in Chennai terms, but not according to Madurai standards.
“Amma, why don`t you and sisters come over to Chennai for sometime?”
“Will six months be ok?” My mother casually remarked.
We negotiated an exit-policy like Lord Mountbatten and Mahatma Gandhi (and like Edwina Mountbatten and Pandit Nehru – Shashi Tharoor confirms their relationship here) and came to the decision that that they will occupy my house only for a week. It was decided that my family will withdraw from Chennai in a phased manner – 50% of them at the end of seven days and the rest after ten days. My mother said she felt like the US Army General promising troop withdrawal from Iraq. I asked her not to feel bad, because unlike the General, I knew she would keep her word.
Rekha is very excited about my family`s arrival. She has hidden all her good sarees under the bed. She has packed all her gold in a brown cover, plastered it with duct tape, put it in a plastic cover and has buried it in the garden. She has taken the Bombay Dyeing (But why is Bombay Dyeing? Because Gwalior Suiting! And what is left? Only Vimal!) bed-sheets and stuffed them inside my pile of my shirts so that my family doesn`t know where to look for them.
Rekha has also taken out items like olives, honey, dry fruits etc from the fridge and kept them behind it. When I asked why, she said: “Your mother is getting old and we should be careful with what she eats.” I didn`t argue…she made sense.
Yesterday, Rekha even carried our spare, 10 Kg mattress to a shop opposite our apartment which specializes in making them fluffier. “Will we get it in time,” I asked.
“He says they generally take a month to make mattresses fluffier but for us, he will do it in 20 days.”
“Then, why did you give it? Now my mother will have to sleep on the floor!”
“Don`t you worry, I have already brought 30 A4 sized blank sheets from office…I am going to use cello-tape and fix them up together. It will make a nice bed for your mother.”
I stood there speechless for a while and then gave up trying to muster the courage.
Our house is now ready for my family, but for one small detail Rekha says is pending. When I asked her she said: “We need to remove the swing in the hall.”
“Why?” I questioned her.
“I remember somebody telling me that your mother likes swings.” Rekha always knows what to say when.
Phew! The extent daughter-in-laws go to make their mother-in-laws happy.