We need fresh to be happy!
I have been married for a couple of years now. And each day has been a new learning, a new discovery and a new revelation. There are so many elements that go into a happy marriage and if you’re in the same boat, you will know what I mean. There are all those much spoken about ingredients like love, trust, understanding and friendship; but if you’re in an Indian set up (other cultures too, but I more of an expert on my own), there is also the hugely critical additional ingredient of a happy marriage – mother-in-law.
You must have heard of the classic:
HOW many mothers-in-law does it take to change a light bulb?
One. She just holds it up there and waits for the world to revolve around her.
WHAT’S the difference between a mother-in-law and a vulture?
The vulture waits until you’re dead before it eats your heart out.
Please stop laughing and listen to me. My mother-in-law is definitely not what these jokes paint the general picture as. But despite it all, I still continue to be, errrr, terrified of her. She has been nothing but nice to me all through, taught me a bit about cooking, helped me set up my new place after we moved to a new city away from her and hardly complained about our lack of visits to her town. And I think that is why I call it an Indian thing, while growing up, one of the most common stories you hear is about the mean mother-in-law. Your aunts teach you tricks to please yours, your mother warns you not to be a brat in front of her and your friends, once they start getting married, whisper scary things into your ears about adjustments and compromises.
So you cannot but help it to be terrified of yours no matter what setting you are in. no matter if your marriage was arranged or a love match, no matter how educated you are, how pretty, obedient, smart or anything. So once I got married, I stepped into my new house with the collective burden of all those stories on my shoulders. While extended family and relatives came to see and wish me, I kept looking at my MIL to find whether she approved of me or not. When she asked me a few questions one evening in the first month of our marriage, suddenly it was as if the cat got my tongue, my mouth dried and no words came out. Sadly, my husband saw that exchange and he still teases me about -= but that’s another story altogether.
Anyway we moved to a different city soon after and started seeing her not more than two times a year on annual festival and holiday trips. My MIL and I settled into a cordial relationship and I stopped thinking too much about any of those early anxieties or impressions. I hired a cook who is my life saver and lets me hop around town without worrying about cooking. The other things also have more or less settled into a routine and I am this average educated daughter-in-law living in another city.
But that was only till two months ago. Two months ago, my mother in law called me and said that she had some time off and would like to visit us for a few days. Well it was almost normal, because she did visit us every year though mostly it was only around the holiday time and this was not such a time. But anyhow. Then she said that she would like to bring her sister along who was lonely and needed a change of scene. Gulp. How could we say no. And then she said that they would both reach our house within two days, by Saturday. Ok then.
So I walked over to my husband who was busy watching the latest cricket match (yes, he is a hopeless cricket fan despite all the betting and fixing!). I told him about the conversation, about MIL coming over for a visit, about it being for a few days and about her sister coming along. He hardly swayed his eyes from a screen, did a quick uh-huh-hmm-ok and waved me away like I was some attendant in his service.
So I came back to our room and sat down on the bed. Things had settled between my MIL and me, we had known each other for a couple of years now and had accepted each other’s role in our lives. So how was it that this news had sort of disrupted the tranquility of my mind? Was it the suddenness of the call and the trip? Was it the long-ish period of the stay? Or was it the added companion? I couldn’t be sure. It would be any one of the reasons or all of them. I had not interacted much with the sister, but I was not sure what the sister thought of me. She knew I was weak in the kitchen department, that I was away for work mostly and hence did not have time for ‘home’. And I don’t know what else had my MIL told her.
I did not know what lay ahead of me.
I went to office the next day as usual but my mind was not really on work. The usually bitchy colleague was at her meanest best, but strangely she did not irritate me as much as she usually did. Despite knowing the uselessness of it, I opened some cooking related websites after lunch. I scrolled through seemingly easy recipes of malai kofta and pindi chhole, though I knew their looks were totally deceptive. Was I really going to learn cooking now in two days and serve up a feast for them? Nah! Who was I kidding! I shut down the websites and decided to take a tea break. There I asked my closest friend and confidante about what her relationship with her MIL. It was not really a topic that we discussed usually, considering ourselves the high flying career women so she was a bit surprised. But then she told me that it was not much of a relationship, just some cordial acquaintance given the fact that they too stayed separately and hardly got a chance to spend time together.
This was not going to help. At all.
In the evening as I sat in front of my laptop, busy with my obsessive social networking, I chanced upon this Facebook pge, and I don’t know why, but I felt like a load had been lifted off my chest. It was tiny and may not actually lead to anything but somehow I felt that things won’t be as bad now. I almost squealed which made my husband turn around and look at me quizzically but since I didn’t want him to know of the strategy I just shrugged.
The next morning being Saturday morning, we went out for our quick weekly grocery hopping. This time it was more important since we were expecting my husband’s mother in the after noon along with her sister. So we stocked up on some additional tea and coffee, butter and jam, bread and cookies, namkeen and fruit cakes, a pack of cards and some magazines and whatever we could think of to keep the two ladies engaged inside the house while we were away at work. Before we reached billing I did not forget to stop at the home section and load our cart with an Ambipur Set & Refresh Thai Dragon Fruit Starter and an Ambipur Air Effects Blossoms & Breeze 275Gm.
When we came back home, the cook had loaded the table with some delicious food and things already began to look good to me. I changed up and cleaned the house a bit, while the husband unloaded the shopping and then drove over to pick his mother from the railway station. After he left, I sprayed some Blossoms and Breeze close to the main door. And then I walked to the bathroom and placed the Thai Dragon Fruit starter in a bathroom corner.
At around 1:30 PM the door bell rang and I went to open the door. My MIL entered first with a small purse and a box of sweets. She hugged me and handed me the sweets with a smile. And then I waited for her to come inside the house. But she just stood there.
For many infinite seconds. She just stood there.
It seemed as if she was concentrating on something, her mind was somewhere far away. Soon her sister had also walked over from the car and joiner her at the entrance. I bowed down in a Namaste and she extended her hand on my head to bless me.
Again, both the ladies stood there mesmerized trying to look for something or remember something.
By then my husband had also come over with all the bags. He saw us three locked in a trance and said, “What happened? Are you women planning to stay here forever?”
No response from the two ladies.
“What happened ma?” He asked again.
Suddenly MIL was jerked back to the present, “I don’t know. Just that I feel that I am reminded of something beautiful from the past but I cannot pin point it. There is some fragrance that is bringing back some beautiful moments to my mind but it is all so hazy…”
Her sister added, “Yes I feel the same. Something fresh and breezy, some holiday taken long ago, some lovely moment spent with loved ones. I don’t know what but I feel like all of that is coming back.”
“Okay, you can both try to remember that over lunch. Let’s go inside now.” My husband stepped inside.
After keeping their things in the guest room, they both came out. I asked them if I should serve lunch. While my aunt-in-law said she was hungry and ready to eat, MIL said she wanted to freshen up first. So she went to the bathroom and I served food for the remaining two. Just as I was pouring Daal fry in one of the bowls, there was a cry from the bathroom.
“I knew it!”
We all almost got up to run inside, but then my MIL came out of the bathroom looking very pleased.
“What happened, ma?” My husband asked.
“I discovered what memories we were reminded of, what shared moments made us both so nostalgic.” MIL said.
“Oh, what is it?” Her sister asked.
“It is the flower and fruit garden next to our house where we grew up, didi! Remember how it used to bloom in spring and send fragrance shooting across the entire area? How we used to long to go inside there and touch and feel all those lovely scents ourselves?”
“And the maali didn’t allow us!” Her sister interjected.
“Yes! How that beautiful garden made our growing up years so fresh, breezy and exotic!”
“Yes! Yes! You’re right! You’re so right! It is definitely memories of that beautiful garden of our childhood! Yes that is what I was struggling to remember! I told you something very beautiful from my past is coming to my mind, but I can’t pin point exactly what!”
“Yes, how wonderful are those memories!” My MIL gushed.
“But how did you suddenly remember?” Her sister asked.
“I don’t know. It just happens some times, you know.” My MIL sat down at the dining table to eat with an all-knowing air. I wanted to laugh but I kept quiet. “I was washing my face in the bathroom and there I remembered the scent of all those fruits and flowers. Then it just all came rushing back to me. Isn’t it great Chicku?” MIL grinned and looked at her son.
I laughed as she had used his childhood nickname and looked at him. But instead of looking at his mother, he was actually looking at me. And in that instant I knew that he had figured everything. He knew about the beautiful
fragrances floating around our
house and making our guests so deliriously happy. He smiled at me with his
naughty dimples. And I winked at him with a giggle. :) Ambi
All my apprehensions flew out the window along with the bad odors. And you know what the great thing was? That
beautiful fragrance had kicked both of them out! Ambi Pur
This was going to be a good trip.
for making my home so fresh,
inviting and exotic. Being a world leader in home and care fragrances, you
understand that room fresheners are not just bottled cans of random flower
smells anymore. They are about recreating a beautiful experience right at home,
about bringing back memories and experiences, about transporting people to
exotic places just through their sense of smell. Ambi
Refreshing all my old memories,
You made me smile.
Took me somewhere exotic and far,
Ambi pur, I love your style!
And for my lovely blogging friends and readers: If you don’t believe me as to how interesting and fascinating the world of smell can be, watch this very interesting video which is a true experiment conducted by ambi pur:
Here are details of both the products:
Product name: Ambi Pur Air Effects Thai Dragon Fruit – starter
Quantity: 5.5 ml
P&G Ambi Pur
Price: Rs. 220
Lasts for: at least 60 days
Designed For: Home
Product name: Ambi Pur Air Effects Blossoms & Breeze Aerosol Air Freshener
Quantity: 275 gm
P&G Ambi Pur
Price: Rs. 220
Lasts for: at least 60 days
Designed For: Home
This is the link to buy both the products. Here's another ambi pur video that I had seen on TV last year and liked... sharing here if you want to check out more of the #freshnhappy experience....
By the way, you can take the Ambi Pur #RefreshYourLove test on their FB page and win movie tickets every day and 2N/3D holiday for two in Bangkok.