Have you ever seen a Golu? I saw it for the first time when I was 21 years old, just after my marriage. You have to understand the situation here. To me dolls and doll houses were objects from my childhood. Of course I remember Gharonda during Diwali but it was when I was a tiny tot. Advent of science, in the form of television and video games, has long ago taken the small-small pleasures out of my life.
So when my MIL started to take out dolls from a huge box during the Navratri days, on the first year of our marriage, I had started giggling. After many blank stares from her and some irritated looks from my DH, I settled down meekly to help her out. She had already asked our house help to keep three tables of the same width but different height against the wall. After the ladder formation was formed, she put a silken cloth over it, covering every inch of the structure.
The thing that attracted me about the whole scene was the reverence on her face. If I was not so jaded in life with all the religions being hammered in my head and yet remaining a non- believer I would have definitely thought she was seeing some avatar of HIM while she decorated the steps.
Slowly and surely the Golu started taking shape. Dolls in every form started adorning the steps. Dancing dolls, smiling dolls, sulky dolls and traditionally handcrafted dolls; all stood in an order of a military rank. I was damn fascinated by the whole process. I suppose the little kid inside me came out and against my will I started enjoying it. I even brushed a hair or two off some of those dolls. It was a weird feeling. Like catching up with something I had lost earlier. Lost innocence?
In silence we both worked together. Unknowingly, in tandem with each other's movement. At last everything was set. The fairy lights twinkled along with the hand painted diyas. The dolls looked illuminated in that light as if taking a life of their own. Without thinking, I hugged my mother-in-law. A think I had never done such a thing before. She hugged me back. Then we both looked at each other, a red hue creeping up her face - which I am sure was in reflection to mine.
"Make tea - or are you planning to play with dolls the whole day? " she asked me roughly, slightly pushing me away.
Thank god she was normal .. or I had almost liked her at that moment.
FYI : Those who don't know what a Golu is .. here is a link to see what it is all about and why it is done.
I could never understand the love my mom had for serials. Are they not supposed to be a waste of time? Should she not at go out of the house and meet people or start thinking of working. My mom would always give me a tolerant smile and tell me softly, “This is my survival pill, why do you want me to stop watching them? They are my window to other’s life, something I won’t dare to do in my own life.” I tched and would always make fun of the stupid serials where one day a man would be married to a woman – only to be divorced the next day.
Then I got married and lo behold my mother in law was in the same boat. Zealous. Passionate and if you dare to speak to her during the serial – her killer looks won’t spare you. She would be the angry doppleganger of her former self, vomiting venom on any poor unsuspecting soul daring to take her eyes off the idiot box.
I sweared I would never do that ever again in my life. At that point of time I was working in Aptech, in New Delhi. Newly married and hated my MIL with a zealous fantasy. The feeling was mutual. I remember the lunch hours I spent in the office regaling my colleagues on the antics of mother in law while watching the serials. Her angry face, her sad face, her fighting for the oppressed bahu face (that my dear, was the most funny one.)
Then my DH got a transfer to USA. I was so damn excited. Away from the MIL who didn't give me a moment of peace. She wanted to watch her stupid soaps and for that she made me do all the work. So here I was packing happily, while my MIL was shedding a few tears on the departure of the old Saas to her heavenly aboad.
USA was like a dream come true. Everything was larger than life. Newly married and now issues- was a honeymoon period. But like every fairy tale has a snag, so did mine. I couldn’t work in the USA on my dependent visa. Initially it was fun – doing nothing. Munching Haldiram the whole day, baking chicken nuggets and hogging them and the chocolate mouse ..yummm.. !
Then came the infilteration of silence. I never knew the silence that I had craved for so much could be so deafening. Every single sound from outside had risen in decibel. The honk of a car, the rain pelting on my pane and the crickets were unanimous in their own symphony. Till one day I couldn't take it more and picked up the remote.
Initially I stuck to a movie or two with a heavy dose of news channel. Who was murdered where, the gory rapes and the political idiosyncracies were more depressing then anything I have ever seen. Oh, I did try to see a few adult porn also and they made me puke. No that was not for me. So the next step was picking up the phone and calling up the Dish channel. Soon the idiot box had a company on the table and I was the proud owner of all the indian channel. I felt closer to home.
One serial caught my attention – the cute love story between Arnav and Khushi.I watched mesmerized as their love story unfolded from hate to love. The passion palpable. Then my DH dared to come and ask me for food while Arnav was about to declare his love. I was my MIL incarnated !