Didi is the word so frequently used in eastern India to address any female. Madam is the other word that is used widely in remaining parts of India. But I don’t want to write much of those philosophical stuff about Didi or Sisters. Didi is the lady that I know since May 2012. Don’t ask me about the date. I think it shouldn’t be before 26th May, the day when we exchanged our rings and sought the elder’s blessings. It was also a day when I started drawing a new family tree in my mind. I thought it would be a good looking simple tree with very few branches. One like a mango tree. But I was wrong. There were 4 trees in all. My to-be-wife’s mother’s father’s side. My to-be-wife’s mother’s mother’s side. My to-be-wife’s father’s father’s side. And the last tree of my to-be-wife’s father’s mother’s side. Those were a total of 4 trees that I have to remember.
I had heard a lot about Didi right after 9th May 2012, the date when we both committed our remaining life to each other. I dunno why Didi is a Didi to most of them but I happily accept that Didi is a Didi to all of us. Didi is actually my wife’s Father’s Father’s Brother’s Daughter in long. Didi is practically my wife’s Father’s cousin Sister. But Didi is my wife’s Didi as experienced. So the answer to your thoughts is, she is also my Didi… Didi has become the celeb in my extended paternal family. Being a celeb like didi in the family is no easy job. Didi has certainly acquired this status after years of hardwork, maybe. I add MAYBE because I know her only from May 2012. But they all can talk about Didi and their childhood for hours without a pause.
Didi’s marital life is like that of Chetan Bhagat but can be titled 2 Districts (of Gujarat). Only similarity is that her spouse is Chetan. Though not a Bhagat, some of us have accepted him as our Guru. Their lovesparks have given Didi and Guru a pair of daughters and they are a happy family. Those were the days when I wasn’t using Whatsapp and hence not so much in the network.
Didi’s father wasn’t doing well healthwise ever since Didi’s mother had left everyone behind in April 2012. After we tied the knot on 9th Dec 2012, his health deteriorated faster. He preferred to be in bed more than any other place. We both frequented to see him at his home in Ghatkopar. We spent time with him and our Kakas-Kakis and their children. Didi also visited there more than once in a day to see her father. It is possible only if you stay like two miles away within Mumbai. During these visits, I got few chances to interact with Didi beyond the formal acquaintance. His health was no good but looked like stable in condition for all the time he spent with us. There were few bad spikes in his health and he was admitted to hospital for medical help.
Everytime we got news of his admission to hospital, we both would also visit there. Didi and other close family members used to be present in the hospital. Everyone interacts with each other there. I was a little shy of those interactions being quite new in the family. Though I managed to interact a little instead of being dumb silent. Didi once treated us – the jain wadas of Ghatkopar. Jain coz they were made out of raw bananas, the substitute of potatoes. By this time I had noticed the smile on Didi’s face. I don’t remember an instance when we all are around and Didi’s smile is missing. Not even when her father is going through illness. Of course, it went off when her father left everyone behind in August 2013.
My wife’s brother got married in June 2013. I had stayed at my in-laws place for few days as I was the important man to the groom, being the only Jija to him. Other Jija stays in Gujarat and couldn’t make time out of his priorities. Didi frequently visited this house too and contributed to planning for the marriage. Visits to her ill father and visits here were very well managed by Didi, with a smile on her face amidst all the physical and psychological stress. I was a little amazed by Didi’s abilities to manage things with ease.
Somewhere around this time, Guru’s brother left his wife, kids and everyone else behind in a tragic road accident. Didi and Guru had additional responsibilities to manage the situation in tough times as Guru is the eldest son (my guess) there in his family. I haven’t heard Didi raising her voice in any of those odd situations. Has Didi acquired this quality of calmness in all situation as an inheritance or with experiences as life progressed? It felt a little odd to pass my condolences to their family. So I asked my wife to phone them and pass mine as well. I don’t think I had spoken to Didi on phone yet. By this time I had realized Didi has more than 2 spectacles as she is forgetful about it. About 5, if I am not wrong. Didi’s spectacles are placed at all of those places where she needs it more. In the car as well. May be a souvenier for guru to remind him of his other half everytime he drives it?
Didi once planned a casual gathering followed by dinner. She phoned my wife and passed the message. I was around at my home and Didi casually asked my wife to pass the phone to me. Whoa! I was speaking to Didi, (I believe) for the first time ever on phone. It felt like I was the previleged one. It was a good gathering I would say. You get to open up yourself and get comfortable with all the energies around. Dressed in a very simple kurti and leggings, Didi was on her feet throughout her house. Though she has a full-time-maid to assist, Didi was busy giving her special touches to the arrangements. I found the casual conversation in bits with Didi and Guru more interesting than the Punjabi dishes on menu. Didi’s hand-made parathas were more tasty than the assorted breads from Ghatkopar’s finest dine-space. My wife has often mentioned about such gatherings in past at Didi’s place. It was a nice ice-breaker.
Time progressed, and the medical reports enlightened about the gift of nature in my wife’s womb. There were many phone calls to me, my wife and my parents from our well-wishers, congratulating. The joy of these phone calls can only be understood by those who receive it. 🙂 . Didi was also one of those well-wishers, while she was enroute homewards from Khandala. They had been there for a small break since Didi’s daughter was on a small vacation from her college in Delhi. Didi sounds the same on phone like in personal. Her voice is always neutral and free from any emotions but one can feel the smile that is on her face in the background. I had met Didi with the magical smile on my wife’s baby-shower too. Didi is very good on touring. Either with daughters, or with Guru or alone to her extended family in Gujarat. I wonder how can Didi manage all the backpacking tours that we get to know from her. She might be in Ahemdabad today and in Rajkot tomorrow. And you might see her shopping on M. G. Road in Ghatkopar on day after Rajkot. She has been to Vasihno devi, Chaardham and other such places of worship which I have kept on my wishlist but simply avoiding because I am not comfortable to go out of my dear Mumbai.
Nature’s gift got delivered to us on 29th April 2014 at about 1:30 pm. I think Didi was the first guest after the very close family members to welcome him. She was carrying a dabba full of muthiyaa, a popular snack in our community and a flask full of elaichi-waali-chaai. It would be around 4 pm. She spent some time with us and the new born. While Didi moved out of the hospital she assured dinner for the new mother and all others. Khichdi for my wife and Theplas with pickle for us was the menu. I think my mother-in-law spent that night with my wife and our boy in the hospital, reliving us from the stressfully exciting day. When I reached next day morning with some essentials for my wife, there was a casserole full of steaming upma available for breakfast. Didi was already there by 6 am to relieve my mother-in-law. Unfortunately I had a full breakfast at home. I cannot leave my home without a breakfast.
My wife spent about 3 months in her maika after discharging from hospital with the nature’s gift. I visited there every weekend almost. But I hadn’t met Didi untill 8th June 2014. We had arranged a pooja and gathering for near and dear ones to meet our newest member. Also with an intention that everyone meets everyone else too. Didi and Guru too had been there with a boquet of home-made chocolates. But with so many of my maternal and paternal relatives around, it was little difficult to interact with everyone. This is something where Didi makes a difference. Being a host, Didi ensures to speak to each one invited. 29th July 2014 was the day when my wife and Arham were scheduled to come back to their home. Me and my sister had been there to take them back. The only other person apart from 3 of my wife’s family was Didi. But again, there was less time to interact with didi.
By this time I had got into the world of whatsapp and also into our family group. There are so many forwards and interactions happening there each day. Everyone stays quite far from each other and not to mention everyone bein busy in their own schedules. It is good to have a family group on whatsapp and interact with all. Feels like we are again living under one roof. Didi’s never forgets to greet a good morning in one of her own ways, and also wish a good night to all. Being an early sleeper I usually don’t get a chance to reciprocate the same wishes. But an early waker gives me a chance to wait eagerly for Didi’s good morning. I always prefer chat conversations more than voice ones and whatsapp is one of the modern day boon for me. I shy away to call Didi periodically to ask about her well-being. It is good to ping her personally once a while and ask her well-being. Maybe it is not right method as per our elders and speaking on phone gives a little more contentment on both sides. But I just live it my way. I am always contended with the very little that I get.
Should be almost a year now when we had jammed up whatsapp of all those who were in the group. I was at home with my mom on saturday. My wife at her mayka with our baby. It was a very slow paced evening and there was nothing good on tv. History TV disappoints me everytime they have Pawn Stars series going. It feels like Sooryavansham being shown on Set Max, everytime I see Pawn Stars. I had switched it off and was on my Android phone. There were forwards, forwards, and more forwards from everywhere. Browsing through each group, reading and deleting each message. I usually kept this family group at the last to jump into, like a dessert after full meal. This group can be nominated as one of the happening group apart from my mother’s side group and my father’s side group. I don’t remember but I think Didi’s elder one had passed some competetive exam or something of that sort. Everyone had already congratulated throughout the day. Some of them were online at that time wishing. Me too did my bit. My wife’s brother was also online. He too added a bit. We were in an attempt to applaud her success a little more. And our attempt went a little overdose to all. Those who switched on their data services a little late, received about 700-800 messages from this single group. One of the group drained his battery reading the group chat. Jini lost her mind and seemed to have reached Ahemdabad junction to board the very next xpress to Mumbai, equipped with the armour to control the situation. Nevertheless the chat got into normal mode after much of pulling over Pri and Pri was named once again after her rebirth that day, PriRajni – The girl with Rajnikanth’s powers. Didi too joined us on whatsapp, sportingly, that day. The other day my wife switched on her wifi and received about 1200 msgs. No more words about the fun we had, squeezing out the last drop of creativity within us to shake anyone out of his/her comfort zone!
Recently Didi had planned a visit to our place. Well in advance informed visit and we were much happy about it. It was Didi’s first visit, 19 March 2016, to our new rented place, almost after a year since we shifted. So many plans and menu being scribbled in the scratchpad within our minds. But there was something else on offer for us. A day before Didi’s visit, our baby got sick. Friday morning fever. 101 °F, 102°F… comes Saturday and the fever continues… emergency test for malarial parasite, urine infection etc. When all tests turn negative, the only conclusion doctors draw is the Viral Fever. He had lost his appetite, gained friction in his behaviour and unexpected loss of weight was very evident in him. The only attempt we did was to not let the fever reach his brains and complicate the situation. By Saturday evening his body has accepted 101°F and he kept easy. Sunday morning he had a settlement done with 102°F. He would walk out of battlefield when it clocks 103°F. I had some planned office work and I was very much on it since Saturday early morning from home. Switching between work and my sick child was a little messy but another experience one must have in life.
The plan was altered to evening with snacks instead of lunch in afternoon. Didi arrived with few close ones by about 4:30 pm. I thought to pause my work and meet-greet everyone arrived, but I held back to finish one more task. And then one more. And then more. By that time Didi herself made way to see me and my well-being. It is a little embarassing when someone does something that is to be done by you. I kept up the smile to cover the embarassment within my mind and went back to my tasks assuring I would join her and others in a while. They were there for about a couple of hours and I could join only for last few minutes. It becomes little tough to accept that you haven’t given your time to the one who was expecting from you. And there were no other expectations from me except my time. Too much embarassment. The hour passed, the day passed and then another day passed. Our baby was fighting with fever and we were administering medicines as prescribed just to keep his fever in control untill paediatricians are available on monday for consultation.
I jumped out of my bed at 4:45 am on tuesday with a shock to see some disturbing emails on blackberry. There were some issues related to weekend work and then there was much embarassment lying ahead of me at work. Usually engineers get reprimanded for doing something wrong. But this time it was different. I was getting it for not doing something that was to be done. I wouldn’t say much about this not-happ thing but just that it was fate of time. May be I did something wrong that saturday, so nature did something wrong to me a few days later. I hope to see Didi soon and give her the time too. no more risk to be taken. 🙂
DiDi… we alll lovvee youu…!!!!