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Mutual respect despite a difference in cultures marks this lovely relationship, which thrives despite the (hilarious) hiccups along the way!
I had written earlier about my (slightly exaggerated but true) wedding story, with my Punjabi parents & Tamil in-laws, and the hilarious mix of cultures. I’d like to continue with some more tales about what happened post my wedding, in my 11 years of married life.
Of course, as I said in my ‘author’s note’ in that article, I have exaggerated some of the conversations, which I am guilty of doing so here too, but taken in the context, these conversations between my Punjabi mother (referred to as mom) and my Tamilian mother-in-law (read as Amma) have given us (and will now hopefully give you) some laughs.
Amma – Oh our kids are setting up a new house after marriage. Let’s help them out.
Mom – Yes surely, we will help them figure out the furniture and you can guide them on the electronics.
Amma – Superb idea!
The Tamil ideology of simple and minimalist living led to a small fridge, because after all how much storage does a young couple need? My husband still gets a earful from me on this, despite having bought 2 huge fridges post that!
On the other hand, Punjabi opulence led to grand couches and crockery cabinet which were a challenge to fit in our very first Gurgaon apartment.
Amma – Both of you come over to our house for a simple meal.
Mom – Oh sure, we would love to!
Mom reached her samdhis’ house carrying a fruit basket, dry fruit platter, sweet boxes and gifts for both of them.
Amma, dressed simply, was overwhelmed, and decided it’s time to explain what Tamilians mean when they say “simple”: just lemon rice followed by curd rice. Unlike Punjabis for whom simple means fewer people and five dishes instead of ten!
Amma – Our relatives would like to invite you home for a get-together at 7 pm. Just a small gathering with the whole family.
Mom – Oh sure, we will be there!
Mom & co. reach at 8 pm Punjabi standard time to learn that most of the relatives had already finished their dinner, and they were asked why they got late!
Mom – You are invited for my nephew’s wedding at 8 pm. Do join
Amma – Of course we will be there.
Amma & co. arrived sharp at 8 pm, and waited outside to enter with the baraat at 10pm! For the next wedding they made sure they left their house only after the baraat had already entered the venue!
Amma – We have a special ceremony for mothers-to-be. Married women make her wear bangles and give her blessings.
Mom – That’s wonderful, let’s start planning. I know my daughter won’t be comfortable wearing a sari though. She asked if she can wear a dress.
Amma – Oh sure. We understand that! Dress is absolutely fine.
Only once we ventured out to buy the special baby shower outfit did we realize that Amma meant dress as in salwaar kameez and Mom (and I for that matter) meant a western dress.
Tradition triumphed there, but I can’t complain as I looked my splendid best!
Amma – Usually Tamilian Brahmin boys have Janeyu (thread ceremony) when they achieve a certain age. Shall we plan one for our grandson?
Mom – Yes sure, we love traditions!
The idea was shot down when everyone realized that the Punjabis just wanted an excuse to party, and had no interest whatsoever in the ceremony!
So this is still pending for my 7 year old son.
Everything said and done, my Amma and Mom actually get along very well. They click despite varying backgrounds and cultures. I often wonder why?
The answer lies in their mutual respect for each other and acceptance and appreciation of their differences. Mom admires the Tamilian simplicity, rich culture, and appreciation of small things. Amma on the other hand is inspired by the Punjabi larger-than-life celebrations, jovial nature and spirit to live in the moment.
This relationship is a telling statement on how diversity makes us richer and stronger.
Image source: a still from the movie 2 States
Prerna Wahi worked in the corporate world for 7 years. In the past few years, she has been a stay-at-home mom. She has been enjoying the new role ever since and likes to read more...
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Does Ranbir Kapoor expressing his preferences about Alia using lipstick really make him a toxic husband?
Sometime back, a video of Alia Bhatt with Vogue went viral where she shares her go-to make-up routine and her unique way to apply lipstick. It went viral not for the quirkiness but because she said that after applying the lipstick, she “rubs it off” because her then boyfriend and now husband – Ranbir Kapoor likes her natural lip colour and asks her to “wipe it off”, whenever they are out on a date night.
Netizens had gone crazy over this video, calling RK toxic and not respecting AB’s choice to wear makeup. I saw the video a couple of times to understand the reason behind the uproar but I failed to understand it. I read many comments and saw people saying that asking your partner or dictating terms on how they should wear makeup is a major sign to leave the person.
Modesty or humility is viewed as the hallmark of a well-brought-up girl, which makes it hard for us to be open to any real compliments without feeling like an imposter.
Why is accepting that compliment so hard?
Colleagues: Have you lost weight? You look good!
She (who has spent months doing Keto and weights): It’s the dress that’s making me look thinner!
Guests: Your house is so beautiful and neat!
She (who spent the last five hours mopping and polishing): It could be tidier; there is just so much dust.
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