“Thank God! I thought I would die a slow death before I’m put to use again,” I can actually hear the whining and grumbling in the whirring sounds of my dishwasher that had been lying unused in its secluded corner of my kitchen.
The washing machine, too, doesn’t seem to mind the repetitive cycles of laundry it has to tumble and turn, rinse and spin during a single day.
It seems to be in a jubilant mood, somehow, after lying in a semi-unwanted stupor for months. The entire house is abuzz with life-existing noises and sounds because my two little birdies are visiting the nest for a short while before their next sortie.
Since we live in a joint family, their visit seems like some festive and joyous occasion not only for me but for the entire family. The grandmother is busy making her signature Rajma Chawal for her much-adored granddaughters while their chachi pans out lavish Chinese cuisine for the nieces.
The little cousins are enthusiastically preparing “welcome home” greetings and gathering little knick-knacks to offer as gifts of their own. Their chachu is making countless visits to the supermarket to stock the pantry with chips, kurkure, soft drinks and what not, lest his adorable nieces need anything to binge upon during their late night TV watching.
As for me, I’m already on cloud nine, running about, up and down, catering to their endless demands of, “Oh we don’t get to eat this in the hostel.” The empty nest, though bustling with youthful energy only for a week, fills my heart with unfathomable delight.
A day before their arrival, when I went to my regular grocery store, I hopped from one shelf to another like a wee kid, stuffing my cart with this and that. The guy at the billing counter looked at me with wide eyes and said, “You don’t buy such stuff, usually.” I couldn’t help but gush over and spill, “My kids are coming home for a week.” I wonder if I need to tell that to the store owner!
Time has its own way and its own speed. It seems like yesterday when we were kids and our parents would be excited about our visits.
In the blink of the eye, we are now in our parents’ shoes, waiting and counting days till our kiddos make their short sojourn into our mundane lives to fill a few days with their effervescent presence.
It also strikes me if their visits would be as exciting and entertaining had we been living in a nuclear family. The warmth and love that spreads through a joint family is a cozy blanket enveloping all its inhabitants on a cold winter night.
The cohesiveness of a joint family is like a mathematical equation where joys multiply and sorrows get divided because you know that there are elders who will be responsible for you and there are younger ones who you should be looking out for in the same manner. I’m glad that my children understand and cherish the essence of a happy extended family.
(The writer is an associate professor at SD College, Ambala Cantt.)