Ludhiana

Enroute
When someone feels just like Ma. (Ma-si)

When you’re THE blackest sheep of the family, meeting the members at times feels like a colonoscopy. But sometimes, Hallelujah! it’s like a much needed balm ( did you just imagine something else? ) Especially, when that member fits perfectly in your arms, just like your mum. Sorry, I’m rather superstitious these days, so you can’t see her pretty face, in the picture above.

Between my first shot and second, I finally finished Indra Nooyi’s autobiography that a friend had gifted me ( to propel me forward) and was pondering on strong female role models in the family, who must have struggled with balancing work and family, harsh criticism and making harsh decisions and the two people who came to mind were: my masi and my youngest mami. Tough women, that life has flung all kinds of adversities at and they have risen to the occasion and steered things in their favour. I was thinking of them and the next day, almost on cue, one got a message from my aunt, to attend a function, in Ludhiana.

I wanted the father to attend the 75th anniversary, so that he could get a much deserved break, from his somewhat monotonous existence. But he insisted I should shed my anti social ways and ‘go and meet your masi, who is very fond of you!’ Incase you’re attributing her fondness to any quality I possess, I have my doubts. I’m just reaping the benefit of being my mum’s daughter. Though, he was really pissed off about me traveling by myself. This is a new thing (totally understandable, though) that one is having a hard time adjusting to. I don’t know whether it’s due to how lost one can be, sometimes or because I’m the only one left, that he just doesn’t want me to go anywhere unaccompanied. And I loveeeee company, especially when I’m driving. Not!!!!

After much coaxing- Me, music and melancholy, took off at a reasonable hour. Along the way, melancholy paused to weep as Rabbi Shergil sang, tere bin sano soneya, koi aur nahi labana and then music and I bid her goodbye. The number of cameras on the way, pissed the crap out of me. That highway, requires a minimum speed limit of 110 but I guess that’s debatable. The car and I seem to have aged in the past two years, though. As the wrinkles set in and one grays, one seems to have less control over not just the mind but also the bladder. So, a lot more pee and tea breaks, along the way.

At a gas station, fifty kilometres from Ludhiana, much to the amusement of the employees, one quickly dolled up. After a little meandering through the city, one found the Gurudwara. What a lovely function, it was! Though, one claims that marriage is highly overrated, one does tend to appreciate the ones, that survive in sickness and in health…for richer or poorer. Seventy five years of togetherness, four generations under one roof, warmth and love filled the air. To one’s utter disbelief, one was made to feel so welcome by the entire family but most of all one was so happy that the aunt was thrilled to see me. One basked in the warmth of kinship (as one chatted with the cousins) after so long that a part of me really wanted to stay back but work called.

Life is all about the balance, I guess. Some people will drag you down and others will lift you up. But much can be learnt from the ones who struggle and thrive. The rest should just be avoided, for sanity’s sake.