A woman after marrying into a family is first greeted from a bunch of eagerly waiting and inquisitive family members to bring the new bride into their fold. More easy is the situation when the new bride and groom are to shift to a new city for fulfilling the requirements of a demanding job of the groom. The situation is completely new for the bride; that of being now a married woman with the responsibility of a home and a new citizen with the need of adapting to the native culture and language.
I had the fortune of being one such juggling woman who was enjoying my marriage and attempting to be a good learner at cooking and adjusting to being in charge of the house; not to mention my juvenile attempts at learning Telugu and acquainting with new neighbors of the city of Secunderabad. Till then I was in a very different situation at my parents home where I was expected to only take care of my studies and later on a job and whatever personal jobs had to be done. Me and my sister would help out with household chores during the weekends and do some gardening too. This life had been much too relaxed; now I had to plan and execute everything, from arranging for the grocery to looking after the house. To make matters worse for me, my husband was excellent in cooking and would desire a sumptuous meal. I still struggle with this expectation !
Such were the initial days which soon changed after the arrival of our daughter. Our home was now full of activity and guest would come often to the delight of our new arrival. My in laws too shifted with us which was a big relief for me as being a full time mother without any help can be taxing. Our time in Secunderabad flew and our 18 month old daughter started picking up Telugu words from our neighbors. At times her gibberish talk made more sense to our neighbor, Murthi, a college student, than to us. Just when we were all settling down, my husband announced that he is taking up a lucrative job in Pune and we need to shift around Diwali. This came as a surprise and we were all eager to be in Pune where all our relatives have willingly settled. Now so many arrangements had to be done; the packing of all belongings, their transfer by road ways, booking railway tickets, preparing a baby bag full of things for the journey and so on. My mother in law also pointed out that we needed to stay at one of our relative's home as our daughter would need warm food every now and then.
A call to our uncle and aunt allayed all our apprehensions and it was decided that we would be staying with them for a couple of days till our truck would deliver us all our belongings. Calls were made to the movers and packers for their quotations and finally we decided upon one such person who assured us that he would pack and load all the articles in the truck before we started for the railway station. He also mentioned that the truck would take at least two days to reach Pune. And so the day arrived, with a big baby bag and so many suitcases, we all started for Pune after seeing our truck leave for its road journey with our belongings.
Our morning in Pune started with a piping hot cup of tea and 'poha' which refreshed our nerves after staying awake the whole night because of our baby crying and cringing at the sudden change in environment; from home to a railway coach. Aunt and Uncle put us at ease with a restful good nights sleep in a cozy bed. The next day was the time to expect the truck somewhere in the evening. So all carried about their work as usual. Our Uncle left with my father in law (Baba) for the bank on his twenty year old scooter, my husband went to his office and we were busy with the kitchen and food. After an hour, Uncle and Baba returned without the scooter due to some clutch and gear problem. The North Indian mechanic was known to Uncle and he assured him that once he had fixed the problem, he would contact Uncle by phone. With all this update, and a afternoon nap, we were drinking tea and speculating the arrival and the flurry of activity when our truck would come to Pune; how it would manage the heavy down pour; whether the furniture and things inside would get drenched; would the man be able to find his way through Pune city; and so on it went. This was when the phone rang.
"Hello, Kolhatkar sahab", said the voice on the other end.
"Ho bola, kon boltay (who's talking)", prompt was Uncle's reply.
"Sahab, gaadi ke baare mein bolna hai (I want to talk about the vehicle)".
"Ok, mein apne bhai ko phone deta hoon", so saying Uncle promptly handed the phone to Baba.
Baba, a born Puneite had stayed in Sadashivpeth and was eager to give the road directions to the truck driver for reaching our house. "Sahab gaadi ka buffer toot gaya hai, aur gaadi road ke side mein rakkhi hai. Gaadi ka saara saamaan dusri jagah nikaal ke rakkha hai. Durust karne ke liye paise chahiye. (Sir, the vehicle's buffer is broken and I have parked the vehicle near to the shop and on the roadside. I have also removed all the things from the vehicle and I need money for starting with the repair work.)"
"Arree samaan aise kaise dusri jagah par rakh diya aur woh bhi itni baarish mein ? tula kahi akkal aahe ki nahi ?? Abhi koi samaan leke gaya toh hum kya karein ? Mujhe to pehle se hi lag raha tha ki tum barabar kaam nahi karoge..... Aur tum tumhare company ko bolo paise dene ke liye, hum to truck aane ke baad hi paise denge".
"Ji, par sahab, thoda to samaan hai, aur paise ke bina mein woh buffer kaise kharidoon ?", said the voice on the phone.
"Woh mein kuchh janta nahi, buffer toota hai toh tum dekho", said Baba with a firm voice.
"Par sahab .... woh.... gaadi,.... buffer......", the man on the other end staggered and his confusion was reflected in his thoughts and words.
At this point, nobody knew what could be done. I was worried about the house articles and furniture lying on the road, unattended. My mother in law was tense due to further delay in setting up the house. Uncle and Aunt were also perplexed as to how the customer could be bothered with such issues. All this time, my daughter was enjoying herself with the new set of dolls and cutlery that Aunt had given her.
My father in law could no longer continue his stern stand and thought it best to hand over the phone to me. Now I was also at an utter loss of words and problem fixing solutions. Still I managed to mumble, "Hello, yes, kya problem hua". To this the man immediately calmed down, "arrre Madam, mein mechanic bol raha hoon Raja Ram bridge wala, woh Kolhatkar sahab ne gaadi repair karne ko di thi, uska buffer toota hai, jo scooter mein samaan tha woh to nikal kar rakha hai, par ye sahab truck truck kya kar rahein hain ....... ", the voice on the other end suddenly generated a surge of joy and relief through me. I say joy because the problem was not a problem at all and relief because our household articles were not on the road side".
I voiced my thoughts aloud, "This man is not talking about the truck from Secunderabad but he is telling us about the scooter Uncle has left for repair work". The sound of loud laughter drowned my further instructions to the mechanic. After the call, we all analysed the entire conversation and laughed at how our mindset and expectations set the ground for misunderstandings.
This entire incident brought us all together as chirping little kids and I looked at my family in wonder and appreciation. This added spice to our lives and the Kolhatkari thhecha sure was well served.