sati savitri

Saturday we were at a Diwali event at a local community. Don’t quite know much folks there, but since the kids were to perform, went over. Recognized this one lady who MC’ed to be a local doc’s wife. I’d met her earlier at a common friend’s place. Since then she’s been one of those you bump into at arbit places. Like the grocery store far from her place, the movie hall [the random time I go!] or at a complete non-descript party I get dragged into going, and hey presto she’s there! You’d think a smile and a nod should suffice, but no, the woman learns magically some random stuff and details about me and launches off into inquisitive flowery questions, and almost always leaves with a parting shot that declares to no one in particular “I am sending my daughter to you for dance one day!”

The daughter in question is younger than my munchkin.

Sweet and flattering and all, but it’s just one of those conversations that you can’t come out feeling content . Or safe.

Last year I got tricked into going to this doc-husband’s clinic for one of the kids, I forget which kid. It’s one of those bugging itching throat thingies we had to go get an antibiotic for – you know the kind a mom diagnoses by herself because well, she’d faced enough of throat, ear infections over the span of grade schools? The kind that if you were in India, you’d just hop over to the local medical kadai and lean over the counter and tell your buddy pharmacist – gimme a 10 pack of that streptomycin pa, and we’d pop in those and continue on happily ever after? The kind that out here in the US, we’d have to make a special trip to the doc’s and worry about your Insurance getting accepted, wonder about co-pays, and scream secretly in your head “just give me the damned prescription, I shall me on my merry way outa your face!”

In any case, so this doc-husband is more of an amway sales guy than say a doc. The guy by now knows am a walking akshayapatra for his business. I mean, Mom of 3, ain’t I the gold mine for an attack! The moment he set eyes on me and my side kicks at this friend’s place, I knew his brain over worked the numbers and churned gears. Now that I think back, everytime the wife has asked me how my kids were doing and if the season wasn’t giving them the bugs?! Hmm..

So coming back to Saturday, apart from the wife’s misplaced jokes and killer pronunciations of good hearty South Indian names like Rajgopalan, or Panchapakesan, or even a Rastogi, the lady comes up with ridiculous sexist and inappropriate comments. As in announcing an entrant’s dance number from “jhoom barabar jhoom” she says “So now we have bla bla dancing for JBJ, and I’ve seen her rehearse and boy, she’s so good, all the young boys in the audience will enjoy it so much!”
The girl in question was all of 7 years old.

That line pretty much irritated the heck outa me. I had half a mind to bonk her head with the mike and perhaps hand it over the 7 year old. Am sure she’d have sounded sweeter and made much more sense. In any case, during the course of the event, there was some kids competition that got held and our Doc had sponsored the prizes for it. So the other saner MC, while giving them out mentioned that the Doc couldn’t come up due to “medical reasons”. One would naturally assume safely that the guy is not present physically, either coz he himself is sick or attending to the sick.

So, after dinner and juggling plans of all-girls sleepovers at one friend’s house, while the boys could come over to ours, I bumped into the lady. Again. Politeness made me stop and do an ‘omg, your son’s so grown up“, with all the right expressions thrown in for good effect.

She: Ramble Ramble
Me: nod, nod.

Out of the blue, the said Doc arrives with daughter in tow. I step back a bit hoping to slip into a sea of colorfuly dressed women, but no such luck happened, and I had to force talk inane 2 bit pieces of dialogs with the man himself. Luckily he gets ‘bravo’d’ by another male and leaves me alone with the wife.

So the natural curious question, this time from me, that followed was: “O I thought he wasn’t here, the MC said something about him being away on call or something? ”
She: O no, he was here all the while. He just didn’t feel like coming on stage.
Me: oh Right, I know, these husbands! *in a fake attempt to connect with her on the wives-getting-together-to-bash-husbands angle*
She: You see, he is not the vain kind and since there were other sponsors, he didn’t want all the glory for himself, he is such a nice person. He thinks about everyone else you know, not selfish – that’s the kind of great guy he is!”

Me: *speechless*

Once the effect was beginning to wear off, which took a good 30 seconds, I sensed a hole being burnt into my back from my husband’s steely look across the hall. It’s a code now between us, when it’s time to head out he’d start shooting those dagger sharp looks, and I’d in turn have in built sensors that would make me turn around and leave. The kids are tuned too. Such IR puppetry we exhibit.

So, I murmur a hasty: ” gtg, chaos with kids and sleepover plannings, catch you laters
To which she replies – yet again: “Okay sure Rads, my little one is coming to you for dance, soon” right on cue.

Great!

So on the drive back, I had all these guilt pangs appropriately attacking me every few turns on the road and though it was probably not right to have such a conversation with 3 – 12 year old boys and the munchkin behind, I couldn’t shutup and threw a rhetorical pensive question at the dashboard. Hoping of course, that the FM radio didn’t carry my voice backwards.

Me: So, would you like for me to sing praises of you to random people, like you know do a sati savitri style dialog, my husband’s so nice, he cuts veggies for me, does the dishes, see, such a great guy?
Husband: Huh? Which age are you living in? 500 BC? Please don’t say such stuff about me to anyone!

I slept like a baby that Saturday night, missing my favorite SNL.

Guilt, what guilt?

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28 thoughts on “sati savitri

  1. Man! Seriously its a talent to be able to talk to random people just like that. I am really scared of such women, I am usually outright rude to them, to get them off my back.

  2. Exaggeration (‘atisayOkti’) is a uniquely Indian trait.

    As I keep telling my mom, there’s absolutely no reason we should feel guilty just because someone else is doing it.

    Feel free, though, to laugh at them.

    @December Stud: :-|

  3. Rads, close your eyes and imagine…

    The next time she yaps like that, you sock her in the face. Hmmm.

    Keep imagining and take deep breaths. Isn’t it nice?

  4. Really funny! I guess, some people are born with such talents! A very similar incident happened to us last weekend and we (wife and I) were talking and laughing out our a** abt it… we were visiting my colleague who happens to work for me. While the guys were out in a diff room doing guy-talking(u know… wii, iphone, ps3, NFL, NBA and such.,), the colleague’s wife was apparently bragging to the girls abt how her hubby is sweet, caring and blah… but the heights was, she went on and on abt how her husband is at the pinnacle of his career… all this when my wife was around and she knew that he works for me ;-) Like u, my wife asked me whether she is being mean to me by not saying nice things abt me to others? I guess, we have met some similar people…

  5. the game of one upmanship.. ~ “whose pencil is longer” played in kindergarten.. you might have read this

    now that I am on a roll, I vaguely remember my grandma telling that bombasting isnt a nice virtue because it would invite “disthi” which isnt supposedly good.. the reason might be labeled as blind-belief, but the result is peace_of_mind

  6. Pavan: hehe, yes of course that was a good one. I actually translated it into good old Telugu for the extra zing. Sounded sweeter! :D
    Drishti and all devuderugu, normalga vindanikey it felt unreal!

    Dee and AV: Welcome newbies! :)

    lol@ AV’s tale. Well, we need such folks to entertain our otherwise redundant drab lives. Women are fun aren’t they!? :D

    TAAmom: Yea, not regularly these days tho’ :)

    Terri: Of course! Your daughter sounds a charm! She and mine would get along famously with pink polishes and works.

    Baph: Oh yes, socking folks are my favorite dreams. Seriously tho’ I wonder how ‘twud be to sock someone… Really, you see all these movies and wonder “man that sounded like a fun tight slap! Dammit, I live in the real world, and I can’t slap anyone.”

    See, now that’s one of those unrequited dreams no? ;)

    Cyd: hmm, correctey.
    This was a creative post :P

    DS: Thanks :)
    Gultee joke solpa boring becoming now. :P

    SK: hehe, see, look at it as bloggin material ;) You wil hit 2 birds with one stone. Blog post, and also get over your initimidation for such people. What say? :D

    SB: haha, nice to see u comment again. Hope u are coming back with your “detailed” one :P

    Kiddo: That’sall you gleaned from the whole long post?! Cha.
    Yes yes, i did, do occasionally.

    KC: From what I understand, you’d be the one getting the training ;p

  7. @Rads: I dunno what it’s like to socked someone, but I’ve been socked a in the face. And from the look on the guy’s face after socking me, I think it feels quite good.

    p.s. I exaggerate of course.

  8. Giri: Oh Lord, that was extreme! :O
    They aren’t too bad you know, just laughable not sockable or finishable :)

    Sines: LOL, yes yes, I know viruses are nasty and worse. :)
    disclaimer: I have huge admiration for docs, and am not saying that coz you are one! I didn’t dwell on this particular doc’s diagnostic skills too much here. Didn’t want to. :)

    Re dance: Kuchipudi, semi-classical, fusion stuff. Essentially once you know classical, the rest just happen along.

    baph: er, I don’t want to get socked. I am pretty sure it would hurt. :|

  9. rads…u must have been there..

    giri… yevalo periya paiyan aaite… (how big have u grown…) they ask when am in college final year..gosh..isnt that obvious?

    giri.. ippo yentha class padikire? (which class is giri studying).. asked when i was preparing my visa papers to uk

    giri.. is he going to UK? giri’s mom, better get him married before he leaves..or else…bla bla bla

    giri.. how long will he be there? will he not come?

    after coming?… giri..why did u come back? my sister’s son got work and is he got is PR .

    bloddy nose poking aunties(i dont even know a single aunty’s name)… dont u have anything else to do..other than monitoring all random guys..

  10. Baph: No problem. Done.

    Deepa: yeah! :)

    Giri: lol, sorry, that is truly unfortunate. I forget, you live in India. I guess there are more such “aunties” there than here :)

    Vijay: Thank you?! :D

  11. rads:

    detailed comment follows …

    first of all, why the diwali party in late november?!!

    “As in announcing an entrant’s dance number from “jhoom barabar jhoom” she says …”

    i hate such mcs. this is off on a tangent (as most of my comments are!) the problem is compounded at classical music concerts – at least some of the ones i’ve attended, as in … “here is err … (name murdered) … gharana … (murdered that as well yada yada yada”. i mean, why don’t the ones who really know music step up and do the intros? and why don’t those who fuunded the event realize that it is better to step aside and let someone knowledgeable do the intros rather then they (the funders) insult the artistes as well as the audience with their fundas (or lack thereof!).

    “Once the effect was beginning to wear off, which took a good 30 seconds, I sensed a hole being burnt into my back from my husband’s steely look across the hall. It’s a code now between us, when it’s time to head out he’d start shooting those dagger sharp looks, and I’d in turn have in built sensors that would make me turn around and leave. The kids are tuned too. Such IR puppetry we exhibit.”

    telepathy honed by years of married life, eh? ;-)

    “… like you know do a sati savitri style dialog, my husband’s so nice, he cuts veggies for me, does the dishes, see, such a great guy?”

    hey!!!! you should. even alpha did so – once.

    – s.b.

    p.s.: the virus or the bacterium, which was in the dc area recently, has moved south now. fortunately or unfortunately for me, it arrived just in time to start a weekend. noses a running, throats a tingling, you name it, we’ve got it!

  12. “my husband’s so nice, he cuts veggies for me, does the dishes, see, such a great guy?”

    Ooooo. Thats so sweet. Can I borrow him? I mean, just for the veggie cutting and dishes.

  13. OK: Not sharing! :)

    sb: wow!
    re Diwali in Nov: If you have just a finite number of Saturdays and High school auditoriums with increasing desi associations, we celebrate when we find the time and space I suppose :)

    re MC’s – well, those who can do a good job aren’t the chest-thumping limelight seekers! Any case, these days, apparently all ladies want to be on stage “dancing” nothing less. :|

    re telepathy: Of course, it’s pavlov’s theory. Am sure wife has a cue for you too :p

    re virals: Ouch, take care. Vit C is definitely helping, we are mid-way through a 2nd round :)
    Will check Alpha’s :)

    Zhu: lol, yes. It takes all kinds to make the world. :)

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