Family

Home Sweet home

12:44 PM

After a little over a week of silence, I am back in action. As mentioned previously we headed to Lucknow for a week in order to celebrate our daughter’s birthday in a huge function that is normally done on the first birthday but had to be postponed until now. 
I will go into the detail about the party in another post later in the week, with cake pictures.
This post is more of a reflection on the whole trip and how the culture and lifestyle differences we faced and are all starting to notice more and more after each passing year.
DH is very clear about not liking to go to Lucknow more than a week a year or so, the reason being that first MIL can’t seem to behave with me and with each stay she find new sadistic cunning ways to get at me. And the other being that in the house in which DH grew up it seems the time stands still. Days are long, with little to do, and he himself has less and less of topic of conversation that his parents can relate to to share, call it generation gap, and the fact that he is like his brother who lives in Delhi a big metro dweller, with the metro dweller lifestyle to match.
We never go out in Lucknow, because each time there is a question of doing so it becomes a family expedition and MIL and FIL arguing the necessity of it as in “Why do you want to have chaat outside when we can make them home”, hanging out in a restaurant is not something they do, when outside food is ingested that means going to a family restaurant, asking them to pack the food to go, and still cook rice and chapatti on the side, to my in-laws the notion of just going out to have a good time is alien.
This time we did go out for chaat and the next day to the mall where we ended up having Mc D with BIL and SIL, only to have MIL ask the next day if we were going to do that everyday. The thing being that even my BIL and SIL who lives with them were eager to have an excuse to be out, if that says that much about the home environment.
Ishita didn’t cope too well with this trip either, I was pretty proud to have her nearly potty trained and not have to face MIL’s disapproving stare on disposable diapers, but it turned out that my darling daughter got so scared of the bathroom there (we have no idea why) that she ended up peeing in her pants, so the diapers went back full time, she also refused to shower and we were met with screaming matches every time we wanted her clean, coming from a girl who LOVES water no less. The next Ishita issue was with the food, she likes rice, dal and chapatti home, but refused to eat there, again with no reason we could know of. She hated breakfast there and that one at least I got why. At home we do eat fruits and yogurt and sometimes eggs for breakfast, in DH’s home it’s fried food stuff every morning, or almost, Ishi isn’t a fan of white bread toasted in the tawa with butter, she doesn’t like parathas much, and Maggi doused in tomato sauce is really not her thing one bit (she likes hers plain). So much so that she drank tons of soy milk to make up for it, and we bought munchies for her to snack on, because trying to explain to his parents that she likes fruit is useless, they don’t get it, the only fruit that makes it in that house is mango during the mango season. We could have bought some, but the fridge is always full there, and nothing stay fresh outside more than a day in that 40 degree Celsius heat we had at the beginning of the week so there was little point in trying to get any fruits in. She ate a little mango (which isn’t her favourite by far) and that was about it.

The last time we went was last November, and back then Ishi was down with a viral fever so she was pretty happy just to sleep the whole day long and watch cartoons on the laptop, this time she was healthy and full of energy she had no way to burn, her beloved playground was nowhere to be seen and there was no substitute for outdoor play, because despite the house having a garden, my nephew almost never plays outside even in the evening, so no fun toys around. SIL from Delhi was the only one to understand the fact Ishita is an outdoor girl and to think it was a good thing to let kids play outdoor.

For DH and I it was though to kill time too, first the power cuts are more frequent than ever before in Lucknow, and 20 minutes without AC is torture in that scorching heat. Then we had a Tata photon connection that stopped working on day 2 of the trip, leaving us with little to do, and there is only that much book reading you can do, which in my case was anyway close to none as I was reasoning with a fussy hyper toddler while DH did some chit chat with his family just to keep up.
We are lucky that our bedroom is the only one on the top floor and no one goes there, so we had some privacy, but the bathroom attached to that guest room is the one with the most water problem, no matter what we never ever got to have more than a drizzle about half the width of a pinkie finger to come out of the taps, which means filling the bucket to wash ourselves in the morning takes a solid 15 minutes if not more, and because the toilet doesn’t flush right a stale smell of urine lingers in there (thinking of it that might be what Ishita hatted about the bathroom.

What dawned on me and Dh to some extent is that we are feeling more and more like outsiders. We are used to a faster paced life in Mumbai, to functional toilets, no more power failures, different diet, schedule and pastimes. We even run our own household differently. What I find challenging in my in-laws home is that they have that massively huge kitchen, but it’s even more storage deficient and unpractical as the average apartment kitchen in any cities. There are so few pots and pans that they always run out of them because they wait for the maid to wash them, which results in shouting for the maid to come clean them or try to find an alternative, when all that would be needed would just to buy an extra pan or two. The same goes with spoons and forks which are always in short supply because no one thought of buying any new ones. And as far as cleaning goes, I am used to not wait on the maid to get a spill taken care of, I take a sponge or a mop and wipe it off, but there are none of these to be found there, they just cut half a handkerchief sized piece of old cloth for the maid to use, and no one else touches it because it’s making cleaning any spill time consuming and more messy. I provide my maid with high standard cleaning products and gear so she has the tools to be efficient, and so that I can do it myself when needed.
What more with kitchen work MIL always complained that I don’t do much when I am there, but because of the lack of cutting knives around, and cooking gear, it’s pretty much designed so only one person can work in there at a time, so I just don’t see where the complain is really.

All in all, DH and I were both happy to be back home yesterday, we both enjoyed beer, a nice shower and preparing chicken without running around finding the tools to do it efficiently. Ishita was happy to find her Danone vanilla yogurt and fruits and ate more in the evening of Sunday than she ate the whole week combined!
For her the highlight of the trip was the airplane ride, she couldn't get enough of it, I don’t even think she was that exited about cakes and gifts as running in the airports in both Mumbai and Lucknow saying airplane over and over again jumping with excitement at their sight.

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