Tale 1 – THE REPLAY
Naanu(maternal grandmother) at 12:am in the night at one of the Sharma family “goshtis” ( gosscusions -gossip + discussions)
“… Aur phir Sheebu bola..Amma ho gayi..dhula do”
(Translation -And then Sheebu said, Amma,I am done. Come clean me up)
And we burst into laughing.
Naanu at 2:30 am.
The ghosthi is in full swing.
“.. Aur phir Sheebu bola…Amma ho gayi..dhula do”
And we burst into laughing, yet again. It is the sheer dialogue delivery.
Naanu at 4:00 am.
The ghosthi is still on. It is the winter. Some 8-10 people in one blanket. 5-6 tea cups lying around. And 3-4 uncle chips.
Yes, she has this amazing capacity to be awake, keep cracking and participating in jokes.
“.. Aur phir Sheebu bola…Amma ho gayi..dhula do”
We all scream. Naanuuu, century ho gayi …ab bas karo..!
(Translation- Naanu, you have told this joke a 100 times over. Now you can stop)
Naanu at 5:00 am.
And then we wait for the double century.
Poor Sheebu , he has gotten terribly famous because of this.
Tale 2 – THE FASHION CRITIC
Naani,” yeh kya pehen liya, toone, kuch aur nahin hai kya”
( Translation – Naanu exasperated – what are you wearing ? Don’t you have anything else to wear?)
Me specially annoyed as I was absolutely thinking , I looked like a stunner!
“..kya Naanu,yeh abhi chal raha, this is in fashion and it is so hot , bus main jaana hai..”
( Translation – Naanu this is fashion and in trend. Moreover, it is hot and I have to go in the bus.)
Naani laughed and her laughter is grand..and remarked..” ..change kar le, yeh toh baniyaan jaisee hai..”
( Translation – Change it. It looks like a vest!)
I laugh. I change. I leave. I see her put her spectacles back on her nose and dig deeper into the Jagran.
And I look back and laugh again.
Tale 3- THE SWEET AFFAIR
Naani(maternal grandmother) has this love affair with sweets. Cannot have enough or atleast the taste bud doesn’t tickle any remote sense that she has severe diabetes.
Naani,” Prem, ja 1 kg jalebi lekar aa.”
(Translation – Prem , go and get 1 kg of jalebis- sweet meats)
( Prem is very close to Naanu. Just like her son and a complete participant in Sharma madness.)
Prem, ..” But Amma( mother), kya karogi ,1 kg jalebi kaa..”
(Translation – But Amma, why do you need 1 kg of jalebis)
Naanu,” ..arre Shubhi aa rahi hai Mumbai se, uske liye mangaa rahi hoon..mujhe thodi khaani hai.”
( Translation – Shubhi is coming from Mumbai. I am getting sweets ordered for her and not for myself)
Prem leaves with a “as if I don’t know and can’t guess.” Smiles and goes out to execute the order.
I arrive. Naanu, ” jalebi khayegi ?.” I am all smiles as I love jalebis.
” Haan Naanu, but with you.” I know her too !
Naanu,..” Achha chal, 1-2 main kha leti hoon..”
(Translation – Okay, if you insist , I will eat 1-2 pieces.)
900 seconds later, Naanu and Naati( granddaughter) finish 1 kg of jalebis. No questions asked.
Only ..”aur khayegi ?..aur mangaooon..”
(Translation – Naanu asks, “Would you eat more, should I call more of it?”)
Tale 4 – THE CHAAT QUEEN
The ” chaat”(spicy fast food) party is on at Naanu’s house.
Naanu,”..Jhaanvi , jaldi lekar aa Aaloo Tikkis..”
(Translation – Jhaanvi , get the potato chops , faster)
(Jhaanvi is sous chef as Naanu has prepared the mixture and now she needs to fry the potato chops)
Jhaanvi already behind schedule as Sharma cousins are devouring the chaat items like an avalanche,”…laaa raheen hoon,Amma.”
(Translation: I am getting the potato chops,Amma)
I say,..” Naanu, tum mat khaana, too much oil in it..”
(Translation: Naanu, please don’t eat these. There is too much oil in it.)
Naanu..” ..jhaanvi..laa mujhe surf chakha de..dekhoon toh to theek banayi hai ki naheen..”
(Translation- ” Jhaanvi, get them here . Let me taste , have you got them right or not”)
Jhaanvi comes out of the kitchen with a plate full of aaloo tikkis( potato chops).
Naanu looks at the serving and remarks,” ..itna kyoon le aayi..khana thodi hai..taste karna hai..chal..idhar de.”
(Translation – Why did you get so much? I will not eat so much . I have to just taste. Give the plate to me.)
Jhaanvi smiles and says..” Haan Amma, kar lo taste ..baaki chod dena..”and smiles again.
( Translation – Jhaanvi smiles and says Amma eat however much you want to. Leave the rest. Knowing very well, that wouldn’t be the case.)
Sharma family matriach has two strengths – weakness for sweets and weakness for chaat( spicy fast food) and it pretty much makes up our DNA.
Hail fast food. Hail sweets.
The chaat party ends with Naanu’s final call..” ..Jhaanvi, la ab coke pila de..sab dhul jayeg..”
( Translation – Jhaanvi get me a coke. It will dissolve all the rubbish in my tummy.)
And we boo Naani and she boos us back !!
Tale 5 – THE INSPIRATION
Naani and all her bhajan mandali is at one of their jam sessions.
Naani sings, “..jai ho meri maiyaa mere rai, jai ho meri maiyaa meri …”
( Translation – I pray to you my goddess with folded hands..)
The tune is melodious but vaguely familiar. I wonder where it has been lifted from.
Ranjani aunty( One of Naani’s very close friends) repeats the line,”..jai ho meri maiyaa mere rai, jai ho meri maiyaa meri …”
I am still trying to figure out which song is it when the entire mandali gets into a vigorous rendition.
It is quite enjoyable and sets you on a very Bollywood spiritual spin. And I am getting the hang of it when suddenly Usha aunty instantly sings ..” Tan dole mera man dole, Mere dill ga kya kara..”
(Translation – My body swings, my mind swings, my heart is very restless. This is a Hindi oldie)
And the entire toli( group) bursts into laughing.
The inspiration finally makes it presence felt. Ultimately, Almighty has his/her way of making the truth prevail!