Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gup Shap again.

My husband recently complained that I seemed to be folding clothes all the time.

Folding clothes? With three school going kids I could have been seen folding clothes but with just the two of us occupying two corners of the flat why was I folding so much clothes? Then I found reason to be happy. Take any of these serials and soaps telecast ‘from Monday to Thursday’. The lady of the house, every hair in place and dressed up (read decked up) as if she planned to host a party, seems to fold clothes as if it were her hobby. That the folded items are a treat to my middle class eyes is another matter. Silks and chiffons, with and without zari and zardari in all colors do appeal to a person like me who would feel baffled inside a cloth store. Watching them from a safe distance and betting to myself about their possible price and quality kind of keeps me occupied since the plot or story offers little or no interest. So if husband really felt that I was folding clothes was it possible that my class was being elevated? Did I really belong to the group of ladies who neither cooked nor cleaned but folded clothes all the time?

God is sometimes unkind and he doesn’t let me be so even in my imagination. The truth has to dawn upon me within seconds. Earlier I had two daughters taking care of these things. All I had to do was to collect the dried ones and dump them on the cot and thank God for giving me two very understanding daughters who’d fold and stack them. I have to do all this myself. Or else the clothes would be hanging in the balcony for days together.

That brings me to another question that bothers me. Apart from Kerala we Indians have an arrangement where the son and daughter in law take care of ageing parents. So I looked after my mother in law and my sisters in law looked after my mother and it went on and on. In the early days of my marriage I’d feel that if the Kerala arrangement was followed there may be less of those MIL versus DIL conflicts and life would be a lot more peaceful. Those were days when I looked for my mother in my mother in law and felt disappointed. I would have liked to live on at my mother's place if possible. In Jamshedpur I often see that married girls usually in their teens would stay on with their mother and the unemployed son in law would join her. The couple would have children and the poor father would have to feed not only the daughter but also her family.

“Why did you get her married at such a tender age?” I’d ask.

“Unemployed boys demand less dowry and we have 2/3 more girls to marry off.”

But did they live in peace? Not at all. The mother daughter equation changes once she is married and mother daughter clashes are even worse than the ‘TU,TU main, main of the MIL/DIL group in which women exercise some caution and have some consideration for the son/husband caught in between. There is a woman who sells masalas and other items like soap, detergent etc. I normally don’t buy anything from her but she stops by on Sundays to ask. She actually feels comfortable sharing her problems with me. She has two married daughters staying with her and says that the very girls who shared the same roof till about 2 years back do not want to stay in the same room for more than a few minutes. They fight over the chores in the house, the preference given to one or the other son in law and what not. The woman goes to a school to help prepare mid day meals for the children. The time she is away is the only time that she can think straight she says.

She approached the older girl’s in laws and asked them to be strict and order their son to return home.

“Chase them out” was the reply. “They left of their own accord and will have to return on their own.”

I wonder if they would say this if their son was earning.

All this makes me infer that lack of money causes problems and clashes occur when one is dependent on another for finances. Wouldn’t it be better to educate the girl and encourage her to have a job or a small business that fetches her money before getting her married? The logic behind getting one’s daughter married to an unemployed man to save dowry has always baffled me. Can this be called logical?

If lack of money was causing problems does excess of it solve them? The ex CM of Jharkhand has apparently siphoned off 4,000 crores during his tenure as mine minister and later as chief minister. The former CM of Bihar is famous for his role in the fodder scam. What do people do with so much money? Poor man Sukhram stuffed currency notes in pillow covers and almirahs not knowing what to do with it. He did not have a friend to advice him about investment options. Compared to the current bunch of politicians, helped by computer savvy associates, the man was a novice and consequently na├»ve. And to think Bangaru Lakshman of BJP resigned as party president (?)for accepting a bribe of just one crore. They say that the chair corrupts people. I am beginning to believe it too. But that is not my question. Do these guys sleep on currency notes? Do those who own flats in every known metropolis ever spend an occasional day in them? A boy whom I met during a program on AIDS awareness used to work as the actor Rajesh Khanna’s cook in Mumbai. According to him Rajeshji would visit the house once in 4 or 6 months (On a rotational basis perhaps?) but the cook, watchman, 2 dogs and the servant maid had delicious meals all through the month and enjoyed other luxuries too. At least our actors toil in the sets to earn that kind of money. Politicians can’t even see to it that roads laid with the tax payer’s money do not get damaged in the next monsoon season. And they have crores of rupees invested in deals that are of no benefit to the country.

Amassing wealth much beyond one’s requirement is also a mental illness. It hardly matters whether it was obtained through fair or fowl means. If you have money to spare use it prudently the way Warren Buffet did. I have a power point presentation on him but I don’t know how to upload it. But it is very interesting and lifts up one’s spirit. I’ll try putting it up or alternatively I’ll mail it to Suranga or Usha who can put it up in their sites. Let the money generate jobs or help eradicate illness. In short let money be used in an intelligent way by intelligent people and not by a bunch of self centred people who cannot think beyond themselves.

That was a long post and I just remembered that I have clothes to fold. Let me imagine that I am the mother/mother in law in an Ekta Kapoor serial who folds clothes with manicured hands looking as if she has a hundred others to do every odd job in the house.Thanks to Usha and Praveen I've managed to link Warren Buffet's power point. go ahead and enjoy!


Ugich Konitari said...

HHG, thanks for mailing the warren buffet thing. Am trying to figure out how to put it in a post.

And yes, along with the manicured clothes folding I have also wondered how they pack clothes in the serial, once they decide they need to leave the house. They chuck clothes along with the hangers into suitcases, without folding. No towels, no petticoats no nothing. And everytime they cut veggies in the kitchen, its such a slow action, you wonder how everything is going to cook in time . Then there is the cutting of the finger. Such fuss, I tell you.

Enjoyed the rambling post...

Usha said...

This post was almost like having a leisurely conversation with you while you are folding clothes.
It is true what ails our nation is the disease that people have for hoarding money.

Praveen said...

hi Hip Hop Grandmom!
as usha told you, pls add that link to your post directly and people can view the pps.

Aathira Nair said...

Aah... I hate folding clothes... and I still have to do it. The only good thing is that I have an area where I can let the clothes dry and then remain there for a few days before I feel real guilty.

Now let me go and see that ppt.

R's Mom said...

Nice post! You are right at the end of the day poverty seems to be the cause of all trouble and there wont be any poverty if people were educated...
My mom also misses me for all the chores but fortunately she has a DIL who is much better than me in folding clothes :):)

WhatsInAName said...

Lol I agree with Usha. This post was like chatting up with you while you were folding the clothes. I loved the way you meandered from one topic to the other seamlessly without losing a thread :)
And I do agree that mom-daughter fights are worse than MIL-DIL . Have seen umpteen examples within family. Luckily my mom and me stay in diff cities and so our love continues without getting nasty he he

Hip Grandma said...

Suranga:When one does not understand things that means one is ageingg. I knoow Iam. I keep wondering about so many things that the youngsters seem to do.But then who said I was young?he,he.

Usha:why don't you come over?we could have a long idle chit chat.

Praveen:thanks for your help. I'll need you to help me from time to time.Do you mind?

Aathira:Lets shake hands. You don't know how relieved I feel when I meet others like me!Did you find the ppt good?

R's mom:I hope I am blessed with a daughter in law like your SIL. As of now I am apprehensive and wonder if she'd stack me also in a corner table and say 'Do not disturb'. She hasn't yet made her appearance.So I keep speculating.

Whatsinaname:I've seen mother's at wit's end not knowing how to deal with the married daughter. We talk of selfish in laws. There are girls who want their retired father's to give them a share of their superannuation funds.These girl's were not poor believe me.They claim it as their right.

Praveen said...

With pleasure. You are most welcome :)

Vishesh said...

Nice slide show :) People have no clue what to do with money....and well buying houses is investing :P

Hip Grandma said...

Vishesh:Buying house is investing so is buying gold. But when it is done for the sole purpose of using illegal money it becomes worrying to the likes of me. It starts appearing to be a mental illness.

Hip Grandma said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chitra said...

I chanced upon your post while reading Petals.I really liked the way you write.It is as if you are sitting beside me and talking. ok I too write blogs f you have time and interest you may visit he same.
see you.
I want to read your older posts also.

Hip Grandma said...

Chitra:Thanks. I'll definitely read your posts.BTW I've been to Dindigul as a young girl before marriage since my uncle was posted there.

chitra said...

Born and brought up in Kerala.. We are working in Dindigul. Permanent residence is in Chennai

Unknown said...

I love folding clothes - very cathartic to fold organise and put away stuff.
As Praveen says pls share the Warren Buffet ppt

Unknown said...

I love folding clothes - very cathartic to fold organise and put away stuff.

Hip Grandma said...

chitra:looking forward to meeting you in Chennai when I next visit the place.

eve's lungs:I too like folding clothes but not as if it is the only work that I need to do. And BTW I am a crazy person. I can dump clothes and play computer games.

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

I am very bad at folding clothes! A point that I want to make in reference to Kerala is that education has made people so self centric and selfish that in-laws typically fear their daughters-n-law. There are daughters who fight and argue to get their father's pension or car or property. There are daughters who scream at their mothers and treat them worse than domestic servants.

Is this a right reserved for daughters? I see this happening across Kerala and it angers me.

Hip Grandma said...

swapna:'There are daughters who scream at their mothers and treat them worse than domestic servants.'

And we say that girls are more caring. It is ultimately the individual's choice as to the way one behaves. Selfishness prevails in all communities and both sexes. Boys were blamed because it was customary for them to take responsibility for ageing parents.