Friday, October 24, 2008

Daal? Ummm....green, yellow, white...

April 2007:
I am invited to dinner...by a very formidable lady. I get there, she looks me up and down, from head to toe. And I was kinda looking around, waiting for someone to say something, wishing I could run away, or disappear into thin air. Uncle asks me some thing, I answer, silence again, again some inane question and answer. I ask Uncle and Aunty how their flight was, how do they like it here so far, you know the usual pleasantries. And this goes on for some time. Then we all head to the dinner table.

I try hard not to head into the kitchen, and warm up the food and do my thing. I had to really restrain myself. She looks for some things in the kitchen, muttering where did it go, looks at her son, where did it go, he looks at me, and all I can do is smile. I know exactly where it is, but I am not supposed to know, so I just watch in amusement.

We finally sit at the dinner table, and she asks me,

खाना बनाती हो? (Can you cook?)

I nod.

क्या बनाती हो? (What do you cook?)

रोटी, सब्जी, दाल, येही सब... (roti, curry, daal, etc)

कौन सी दाल? (Which daal?)

Holy shit! I know their colors and how to cook them. I know a few names, but I cannot always link the name with the shape and color! I bet her son, who had his head down and was eating quietly, was dying to burst out in laughter! Coz I knew HOW to cook daal, but I hadn't actually done it in at least 5 years. He probably must be thinking, "Maggi, frozen food, more maggi". But I digress...

So I blurt out a few names...

मूंग, तूर, मसूर, उड़द, और वोह तेल वाली दाल.... (A few random names of daals, and finally...oily daal)

तेल वाली? वोह कौन सी होती है? (What's oily daal?)

And I mentally say a BIG thank you to my mother who cooks that oiled yellow daal every day at lunch (Kanan, do you know what I am talking about? Is it tuvar daal?). So I give aunty all the gyaan about this very special oily daal. She is content that I know what I am talking about, and, me, well, I am happy that she doesn't know exactly how much I know ;-) And the ice is broken :)

This, my fellow bloggies, was my first meeting with my MIL. We got along quite well after that, but man, was I nervous that day!

Earlier that evening, as I got ready to go to meet them, I felt SO alone, I so desparately missed my parents and my sisters. Weren't they the ones supposed to go meet them? Why just me alone? That was the first time in 10 years that I absolutely HATED being in this country, so far away from my home, all alone going to meet my future in-laws for the first time. This was a very big deal, and I was all alone! I had spoken to my sister much earlier in the day, and that soothing voice had already been forgotten, replaced by mammoth butterflies in my stomach. I called my best friend, even she didn't pick up the phone. I had the strangest of emotions that day. My dad was coming to meet them a couple months later, but this first time was just ... I don't know, just wanted to run back to Daddy and let him handle the important things.

Thankfully, today, I have "aunty's son" by me through everything, and I know I am not alone :)

39 comments:

--xh-- said...

:-D i love that last line - it feels so nice and sweet...

hm.. so this is how u cracked the first round of interview... :)

Cinderella. said...

:)

~ ॐ ~ said...

hehe... sahi thaa wo conversation !

Renu said...

your aunty's son seems to be really gem of a person, and i am happy for that:). I dont know why but when my inlaws came to see me---i was trying to please them, and when i went to meet my DIl, then again it was me trying to melt the ice.
its arhar only and i cud never differentiate between arhar and chana dal:)

T and S said...

that's quite and experience. And looks you managed well

I am said...

so sweeeeeeeeeet :)
muuuaaa and hugs...

lovely post..

my space said...

lol!oily daal??I am sure u r friends with her now...believe me few years down the line u will actually start liking the 'formidable lady ' also..

Cuckoo said...

I can fully understand the feeling of going alone to meet/to show yourself to your future in-laws. Even if you are a very confident person, managing all alone at that pt. is difficult.

But you handled it quite nicely.

Ria said...

Aww tht was such a sweet and interesting post! Had fun reading it, but i know wht u must hav gone thru. And to think of it, i dont even know to cook these different varieties of dal. Mebbe its time for me to learn some cooking. :)

Kanan said...

LOL! awesome write up. I can only imagine the feeling... but I know some interviews are like that and those I've been through many or should I say th-rough ;)

That daal is chana daal - the one we put lemon juice, onions, dhaniya, etc in and eat for snacks, right? chhapa na kaagal par muki ne aape laari waalo. :D

Kanan said...

I always wonder whether this kind of nervous feeling is in higher amount when the parents-in-law don't speak the same language as you. I can never imagine that for some reason.

CяŷştąŁ said...

Hi Aneri.
You haven' come down my blog since LOOOOOOOOOOONG :X
Miss ya down thre!

carolinagal said...

Haha!! Good one!!
I had to re-read it after the ending coz at first I couldn't understand what you meant by how you knew where everything was in the kitchen.
I hope 'Aunty's son' knows how lucky he is :)

Ankur said...

tel wali daal!! :P :P
hehehe

sahi poocha aunty ne, woh kaunsi daal hoti hai!! :P :P
par aapne finally pass kar hi liya, i dont know whose more lucky in u two... i guess ur hubby, no no.. u!!! :D

and so be he stands all the time with u, by u, for u... wish u lifetime togetherness!!
Amen!!

Cheers!!

Ankur said...

and btw... results aa gaye honge, i m lazy to ask so now tell me!! :)

D said...

That's lovely Aneri :)

There's something about first time meetings that leave me feeling so vulnerable. But it so helps to know there's someone with you through it all!

aneri_masi said...

@xh, thanks :) Yes, it feels very nice. And yep, cracked the first and only round of interview!

@ella, :)

@prashant, haha, you shlda been there, bro. Tab pata chalta how interesting :) Your camera would have totally loved the expressions on both her face and mine!

aneri_masi said...

@renu di, yes, he is :) And about you trying to melt the ice...there are always such ppl na, who try to intimidate others, and then there are those with a bright smile who try to make others comfy and at home. Your DIL is lucky for sure :)

@thomas, thankfully, yes!

@tanu, :)

aneri_masi said...

@my space, yaah, we get along ok now, and I think she likes me too!

@cuckoo, yeah! whew!

@kanan, no no, I mean the daal we use for daal-dhokli and stuff? Which one is that?

And about the language, yes, it is VERY tough for me too. Somehow, to me, family=gujrati, anything else cannot be family. Its just been wired into my head like that. So its been quite a trial to unwire that from my head!

@ria, oh no, you can't imagine :) Not you who are planning to take your mom along as "dahej" ;) And about cooking...einh...learn when you feel like!

aneri_masi said...

@crystal, I do read all your posts, just busy/lazy in commenting. Will drop by soon again!

@cg, yeah, I can laugh at it now too :) And I think he knows :)

@ankur, woh tel waali daal hoti hai :p And chalo, lets take the middle way about who's lucky...aunty is ;)
And thanks so much for your wishes :)

@d, Exactly! That first impression is such a pressure!

P said...

scary! I haven't met my would be MIL yet. Have talked to her few times on phone and she regularly sends me nice e-mails. But still meeting them first time sounds really scary :(
btw, what is this oily dal??

Kanan said...

Aah that's tuvar daal. The oil is supposed to be what we call divel/eradiyu. Not sure whether it is the same in the packaged kind.

Oh man! you're one heck of a courageous lady. My friends and family call me racist for I would never consider marrying anyone but a daal-dhokli eating Gujarati. :D My cousins and Guj friends are married to folks who are Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, American, etc. so there is so much variety but I just can not imagine myself being in their shoes. No way!

thearmyguyspeaks said...

yeah i also dnt know names of all sabjis and dals...

nice encounter that was.. and then u got married on my friends bday...

thearmyguyspeaks said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Macadamia The Nut said...

Awwwwwwwwww!!!!!
That is SO SO SO SO SO cute!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Veens said...

i don't know, but i really really found this convo very cute!
u r sucha cute person..

i also always wanna run to mommy...for everything..let her handle it :)

we will neva grow up, we need smeone always... and that someone seems to change innit?

aneri_masi said...

@p, you'll do fine since you are already in touch with her, I wasn't.
And oily daal is toor (or arhar) daal, smeared with oil, i think its done to preserve it better.

@kanan, yaaaaah, that's the one I was talking about. And I am totally with you! I didn't know I was like that too until I actually had non-guju family! Tough time getting adjusted and integrated!

aneri_masi said...

@armyguy, is this samby??? Well..its ok, not everyone knows all the names! And your friend's bday? when is that?

@mac, :D

ceedy said...

Hahaha funny...a dummies guide to Desi MIL welcome is in the making kya?

Ekta said...

awww...tats such a sweet post!
In fact in one of my previous blogs I have blogged of exactly the same thing...my first rendevous with my MIL!

david santos said...

so sweettttttt! I love it!
Congratulations. Have a nice day.

Akshay said...

I have the same problem with the names of dal's....I mess up each time I go to the store to buy'em....

Pri said...

awww...couldent help but smile esp at the last line :)

by the way, does aunty know u mention her soo much on ur blog? heehee

Manasa said...

Nice conversation! So you got married 10 yrs ago?

aneri_masi said...

@ceedy, yeah, you could call it that :)

@david, thanks so much!

@akshay, chalta hai yaar...as long as you are not grilled about what is what ;)

@pri, do I mention her that much? I didn't realize it!

@manasa, no no, I got married in Dec '07...less than a year ago. Have been in the US for 11 years, that's what the "in all the 10 years..." was refering to.

♥bμşγ-ŵŗϊŧēŕ♥ said...

This is just SO awwwwwwwwww!

my space said...

daal par thesis likhi jaa rahi hain kya???kahan hain aneriji??

Solitaire said...

Very soon..you will be in her position.

Renu said...

hmmm, your post took me down memory lane :). I kinda had a similar experience and could empathize with you totally about missing your parents then.