I am so damn a conformist that I want to kick myself for this once again. Being a conformist , seeking approvals , pleasing people has been characteristically me but damn it ! I am not bringing an iota of change around me.
This Diwali was a very cozy affair for us. No invitations given , none accepted (in fact none received) being in a new city and my poor inclination for socialising .The only three people who visited me were my bhabhi's mom and sister and the sister's co-sister. The co sister lost her husband a few months back so they very thoughtfully brought her along so that she gets some change from her otherwise subdued mood. Everything went on well . we chatted , we laughed , we discussed kids , heard of old times when bhabhi's mom was a young bride .It was an all-women party . My GMIL( age 100 years and is hard of hearing ) , I and those three had a good time together. We were women from three different generations and were talking about the changes that have come in last century in a woman's life and her expectations from her family and expectations from her by her family . We all by and large agreed that things have changed for better.
It was time to say bye and just then GMIL suggested to give them haldi kumkum ( as is customary in traditional way). I don't offer haldi kumkum to anyone but mostly around festival times and when GMIL is around she insists on offering it to married women . Me being stupid me , cannot ignore what elderly people in the family suggest ( Mostly some innocuous though mostly illogical requests are made which I try to follow as my conflict avoiding mechanism like offer blouse piece to ladies visiting (matching be damned) bring red roses for God ,bring beetle nut , paan and some useless stuff to be given to ladies which I am sure would be lying in their fridge for days on) . I don't do it if not reminded but I invariably do it when old people insist upon, but for once I should have given her suggestion a neglect . Asa GMILmade suggestion the cosister immediately left and started wearing her sandles and lingered outside in Verandah , bhabhi's sister ofcourse was ill at ease like me while her mom and aji(GMIL) were looking at me with expectation that I would go in and bring haldi kumkum box .I felt the pressure and did not want to make it very obvious that I was avoiding it as bhabhi’s mom (who was a young widow herself) waited . Finally I gave haldi kumkum to the only Suvasini(whose husband is alive) among the three hastily .
The granny has been staying with us for more than 15 years now and is almost 100 years old , I do not expect her to make a change in her thinking and on top of it she is stone deaf and we have to engage in a lot of dumb charades in order to communicate with her . Bhabhi’s mom is from previous generation and comes from a very traditional background so she must have resigned to her fate and still attaches importance to haldi kumkum and stuff ( I remember last time when I visited her for brief time , I despite being in a great hurry , she took me to her DEV GHAR ( god’s room) and asked me to put haldi kumkum for myself(she is not entitled to put it on my forehead herself because she has lost her husband) .
This lady(C-S) who is still grieving her husband’s death , already learnt the dirty rules by which traditions go. She is intelligent enough to know that haldi kumkum offered or not is not a big deal but discrimination she will have to deal with is a reality and I feel she experienced it pretty early and may be in a bitter way.
And you know what I feel?I feel such TRADITIONS BE DAMNED and PEOPLE CONFORMING (be it wily nily)to such traditions be damned .
Guys! I plead guilty.