Sunday, August 20, 2006

more 'ventures; the second part

Bandipur, no? We came back on Monday. Most of us. A few left the previous day: my uncle because he had work, the family from Boston because they were leaving for Chennai the next morning, and the other cousin because he was headed back to Atlanta (and, incidentally, his final semester at college) the next evening. This meant the bus was rattling along with only seven people in it. It was a pleasant ride. This time the food situation was not as elaborate, and that necessitated a stop for lunch. We ate apples and pears and oranges (none for me alas) along the way instead.

Monday; 14th August 2006

I went over to spend the evening at my uncle's place because of the cousin; where I then proceeded to take over the entire packing operation, thus effectively wowing uncle and aunt and relieving cousin. Also ate some kisses and got a pair of shorts. Yay!
Sang some songs. Talked some talk. Had tea. (we drink a lot of tea in our family.) Reheated my uncle's tea twice in the microwave. Watched the cousin perform the touchdown dance of some Atlanta football team. Lounged on the sofa. Admired Sam Cooke. Felt happy.

Incidentally, the three of them had been invited out to tea. Since the second load of laundry still had a good three hours to go before it could be folded and put away, I decided to accompany them. The invitation was for seven in the evening; from my uncle's neighbours, a relatively young couple living with their two children.
At five-thirty, my aunt, cousin and I walked to the nearby supermarket and bought, for the host family, one box of cookies and two mango fruit bars. At six, we went to the temple. By six-thirty, we were back. By six-forty-five, we were all ready. (except for my uncle, who was doing his yoga in the middle of the bedroom through all the mayhem) Since we still had a good fifteen minutes to go before we were expected across the hall, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for all of us to check our mail. While my cousin was telling some friend of his to perform some rather questionable bodily contortions, I remarked, to no one in particular, "It's seven o'clock."
"You guys had better go", said my uncle in the middle of his veerabhadrasana.
"If we go over now, no one will be more surprised than them", I told him.

We did finally go over, at a quarter past seven (no one in my family is very good at being fashionably late). We were greeted by the man of the house and its younger scion. The evening then passed in a series of obscure snapshots that had me in a state of unholy glee the entire time.

We entered the house.
"Wow, what a couch", said my cousin.
"Yes", I said.
The child saw us and then decided the time was ripe to begin an exciting game of "let's pretend there are no guests in the house".
He proceeded to spend the rest of the evening by running up and down the hall in a most distracting fashion.
Mrs. host popped her head out of the kitchen for a few seconds to nod and smile.
The three of us sat down on the large couch.
Mr. Host stood next to the large couch.
The television was turned on to Eenadu Marathi.
My aunt handed over the cookies, which were received without a sound.
Mr. Host stood next to the large couch.
My aunt forgot to introduce me.
The little one ran up and down, and collided absently with his father's legs.
Mine host continued to stand; awkwardly, remotely, uncomfortably.
The cousin found a colour-pencil in the couch.
The two of us had a little side conversation while my aunt tried valiantly to engage our host in conversation.
The little one ran up and down and jumped on and off various pieces of furniture.
My aunt and I made several forays to the regions of the kitchen.
(we were, incidentally, utterly incompetent at convincing anyone that we needed to leave soon, that all we'd come for was a cup of tea, that it was much preferred to actually talk to one's hosts rather than simply stuff our faces. we stopped trying.)
My uncle arrived.
The conversation got a little better.
I sat still and tried not to laugh.
The elder child arrived.
She played the same game her brother was involved in, only rather more vehemently, which only meant that she'd stare straight at us before pretending we didn't exist.
We drank orange juice. (i did not)
We ate chaat.
(it was delicious. the cousin had four pieces, and also a piece his mother couldn't eat. i had three.)
We ate son papdi.
(the cousin couldn't stomach his, and so he crumbled it all over the plate)
We ate some more.
The younger child's peregrinations led him to the bedroom. He then set up a glorious wailing from that direction, which his mother proceeded to ignore.
I pointed out to my cousin that he was sitting on an orange lace hat with bobbles.
"I thought it was a seat cover", he said.
The kids wanted cookies, so my aunt opened the box for them, after which they disappeared; except for the few seconds when they'd return to plunge their hands into the bowl of sev and then into their mouths.
We started "making a move" as soon as the plates were in the sink.
I went to wash my hands in the childrens' bedroom and stepped in urine. (incidentally, urine is such a funny word. make note, suhas my dear)
We thanked them and put on our shoes.
"Good night", I said.
I was the only one.

I like this world.

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