I completed 10 years of marriage earlier this year. And, till date, I feel strange that how quickly the 10th year anniversary crept up on us, because it seems only like yesterday that we had gotten married. However, on hindsight, it may seem like yesterday, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it. I have lived the ups and downs (and remember them too), and can see the changes in myself (both physical and psychological) and in my relationship in these 10 years.
Ten years ago, I called my parents’ home – my home. Today, it is my parents’ home – my pihar. I don’t love it as I love my home; but I have a strong connection with it. That’s where I have grown up, and have lots of memories attached to it. I love my home and it is my sanctum. When I leave it to go to my pihar, it is with certain misgivings. You see, I do not have a cunning mother in law or scheming sister in law staying with me, so when I go to pihar, I am not running away from anyone. When I go, I leave my home behind.
I remember as a small child seeing my mother’s excitement to visit her parents’ house, my nani’s (maternal grandmother) house. On the train journey from Ahmedabad to Surat, she would be as eager as us, for totally different reasons though. We were eager because of the eventful train ride (the spicy chanawala (split chick pea vendor), munfliwala (peanut vendor), milk from Baroda Dairy, masala jaamfal (spiced guava)), while she was to meet her family. And, all through the summer holidays that we spent at my nani’s house, I distinctly remember my mother more as her parents’ daughter than our mother. That was what visiting her pihar did to my mother. Put a spring to her feet, a charming lilt in her voice, and made her a child again.
It happens to every woman. No wonder, visiting pihar is such a sacred event in the life of married girls. No wonder, come the summer holidays and women are talking about going to their parents’ house. It’s the annual pilgrimage that every married woman likes and wants to make, so that she can go back in time and be that little girl for a while. Where she is the taker, and not a giver for a change.
Enough about what the girls feel about visiting their pihar. How about thinking from the parents’ point of view? My mother insists I visit her every summer vacation.
My father still goes for his morning walk and goes to the office at the same time every day of my visit. He doesn’t talk much to me either. But, I know he appreciates my coming over, because during those days, he would bring home all those fruits and foods that I love, and ask my mother whether I have been having them or not. This is his way of showing love.
My mother on the other hand changes her routine drastically. She takes a break from her friends, cancels her kitty parties and concentrates only on me and my daughter. What will I eat, where would I like to go take precedence for her. She is getting older, her movements slower, but when I or my sister are around, she has a renewed energy. Her life revolves around us for the entire duration of our stay. She has a lovely daughter in law and a cute little grandson, but when her daughters visit her, she loves the fact that her entire family is once again living under the same roof. She too, like me, tries to capture a handful of the beautiful past.
So, even when there are times when I don’t want to visit that inferno of a place called Ahmedabad in the summer, I still go, for my parents. Because, they might have given their daughters away in marriage, but we still form an integral part of their life.