The In-Laws

Day six in India.  Things are going relatively well.  I’m surviving having a period during this time.  I’m also surviving hanging out with my in-laws daily.  By hanging out, I mean I bring my laptop, iPhone, magazines, and books, and sit in my in-laws’ living room throughout the day.  Bob and his parents would chat and do whatever they do and speak in Tamil.  I will try my best to go online and chat with whomever is still online on Facebook.  I am kind of hooked on 2048.  I rarely play any games on the phone.  Before I left for the trip, I searched for the game that had the highest rating and found 2048.  I can understand why now.  Anyhow, I did it because I knew that I would be doing what I am doing everyday, sitting at my in-laws.  

My in-laws are “interesting” people.  At least, their lifestyle and Bob’s upbringing are very different from what I am used to.  My MIL doesn’t believe in eating out.  She cooks every single meal daily.  In fact, when they came to visit Bob five years ago in the States for almost two months, she cooked every single meal except for eating out once.  I can understand my husband’s preference of eating at home and why he had a very difficult time with the concept of going to a restaurant when we first started dating.  So my MIL’s idea of our time in India is for us to go to their house daily for both lunch and dinner.  She also wants to see her son most of the day since it had been two plus years since they all got together.  That I get.  But, imagine me flying all the way to India sitting in my in-laws’ living room daily.  

You may say that we can arrange for my in-laws to go sightseeing or shopping or hanging out with us so that we can all have fun together?  Then there is my FIL who does not like to go out.  He’s a homebody and doesn’t change that for anyone, even his son.  The only time that he would go out is to go with Bob to see Bob’s grandma, who lives about 10 minutes walking distance away.  Otherwise, Bob’s dad stays home.  In order to hang out with his dad, Bob stays home too.  And Bob’s wife?  She stays wherever her husband is.  Hence, iPhone, laptop, magazines, books, and games.

This is how my MIL’s ideal day will go: We arrive at their house in the morning, have lunch there, hang out in the afternoon, have dinner, and go back to the hotel. 

This is how my ideal day will go: We have breakfast, chill, workout, or do whatever we want to in the hotel, head to a sightseeing place/mall/whatever, have lunch, head to his parents’ place for dinner, and head back to the hotel.

You see the difference?  I think my way is better because you keep a non-Indian wife sane while allowing my MIL to have her time with her only child.

But I don’t get my way all the time.  So we headed over to my in-laws’ for two days.  With the spotty internet, it’s sometimes difficult to maintain my sanity.  My MIL doesn’t want to go out in the afternoon because of the heat but she often wants to take us out instead of letting us venture on our own.  Yesterday, we didn’t head out until 5 something.  We first went to my MIL’s uncle and aunt’s house for a visit.  Again, I sat there, smiled, and did not understand a word of Tamil there.  When we were leaving, I was given a parting gift with a piece of cloth called blouse bits, fruits, and a string of jasmine.  As a married woman, I am to tie that string of jasmine on my hair.  So I did.  

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There is a nice fragrance of jasmine lingering around me all night long.

My MIL didn’t quite know how to get to places.  We rely on the auto rickshaw drivers to take us to places.  They aren’t always the most trustworthy.  The first one after we got out of the station took an additional passenger in the front:Image

It was a total stranger.  He didn’t ask us if it was okay for him to take an additional fare.  He dropped us off early and claimed that it was our destination: the alley way that we needed to get to.  Of course it wasn’t.  So we had to walk quite a few blocks and asked for directions for a few times before we got to our first destination.

After we left the relatives’ house, we were heading to a mall that was supposed to be only two miles away.  We stood by the roadside and were quoted by many auto rickshaw drivers two times of what we were supposed to pay.  My MIL finally settled on one guy who had absolutely no idea where he was going.  Well, my MIL wasn’t any better than he was because she also had no clue what the mall was supposed to be called.  The mall was called Phoenix Marketcity and she asked to go to “supermarket”.  It’s beyond me how they communicated with each other and how we eventually got there.  The guy stopped to get gas, raced his rickshaw down the roads in a general direction, and eventually stopped two more times to ask for directions from two auto rickshaw drivers.  After an adventure of about 20 to 25 minutes, we got to this very modern looking mall.  I was appalled that the auto driver had the guts to ask for 25% more of the fare because he drove longer.  I was even more appalled that my MIL paid him.  Didn’t we agree on one fare?

The mall has many brands that are available in the US.  I wasn’t interested in any of them.  I knew that there are some Indian department stores that sell traditional Indian shirts.  I bought a bunch of them at another mall last time. So we bypassed all the modern stores and went straight to an Indian department store.  Happy to report that I got some very nice shirts.

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I was dead tired though.  We didn’t eat until 9:30.  Bob and I went to a food court.  I ordered this meal with mutton… and 20 minutes later (don’t ask me why it took so long), we were given this tray with three pieces of mutton swimming in curry sauce.  We were totally cheated by this place.  Bob refused to wait in line any longer.  We went to another place… and didn’t get back to the hotel until almost 11pm.

i protested today.  I don’t want to go sit at my MIL’s for the whole day and head out again late in the evening.  So this morning, after Bob’s done with his job search stuff, we’ll head to the mall ourselves before we head to my in-laws’.  This is my last chance to do some shopping before Bob spends quality time with his parents for the next three days.

Hopefully the internet will be reliable at my FIL’s until we leave for Hong Kong.

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12 thoughts on “The In-Laws

  1. Love those patterns!!!! 2048 – omg – I never ever play games. Ever. I made the mistake of downloading this and can’t stop!!~ Good hearing an update on how you are doing!

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  2. Um, I’m sorry. I have “fun” in-laws as well but at least I can understand them and kind of be part of their conversation. But.. it may be nice to not understand them. lol. I can’t imagine not being able to explore on my vacation! Those shirts are beautiful.. Enjoy the rest of your trip lady!

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  3. Ooo, your hair looks beautiful with the jasmine! And I love those shirts. Glad to hear you are making it with the in-laws without too much stress. I agree, you have the patience of Job dealing with all that! Hope the rest of the trip is fun–sometimes the best part of vacation is coming home, though 😉

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  4. This sounds dreadful! You must feel so trapped. Worthwhile sacrifice for hubby to be able to spend some time with his family, but… Ugh. It’s be losing my mind. You’re a very patient woman!

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  5. Eek, I hate the feeling of being “trapped” in a foreign country. The first thing I would do in a new city is get a map and start walking, often by myself. But I imagine that is probably not a good idea in India. It can be hard to coordinate even the most genial and cooperative of family groups, never mind people with vastly different tastes and values. But you are right to try not to let it get to you, and I’m glad you’ll at least have one day that goes you way. All the best!

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  6. OMG! You are describing my experience with my in-laws! They have no friends, no hobbies and they only go out once a year on Christmas Day. Thus, when we visit we just sit around their house and watch TV as we exhaust stuff to talk about in 15 minutes. My MIL will offer me a cup of tea, and even if I don’t want any tea, I’ll accept, otherwise she’ll keep asking me every fifteen minutes. Husband brings his laptop, as he’s a workaholic. I’ll often bring some journals to read and I’ve banged out a lot of CME credits during these trips and I’ve written an article or two from their sofa. It’s hard to look forward to “my holiday in England” as this is all stuff I could be doing at home, and thus no one really understands when I explain that it’s not really a vacation. I feels so trapped inside their house. I’m so sorry you have to go through this too, but it’s so nice to know I’m not alone!

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    • That sounds so much like my visit! I don’t know what is better: not understanding the language or understanding the language. I hope you at least get to go out a little on your trip to England… otherwise, what’s the point of flying all the way there???

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  7. oh man, it sucks you aren’t able to enjoy India that much stuck in the in laws living room. I am *not* going to download that game so I don’t get addicted to it 😉

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