My niece Nitila and her husband Viren visited us last weekend. Her mail to the family via our family group portal is reproduced below to show how a visitor to my humble abode feels.
Thatha in our language Thamizh is Grand father. Mama is maternal uncle. Mapillai is son in law. Chinna Mapillai means Junior Son In Law. The Son in law has a very special status in our culture. He is usually molly coddled. I sure was.
“Viren and I were in Pune over the weekend as his family was getting together there. We visited Ramana Mama and Thatha on Saturday.
Ramana Mama is now walking with an elbow crutch and is quite mobile. He has also lost a lot of weight since I last saw him.
Thatha was in full form and quizzed the Chinna Mapilai and me on all possible aspects of life – health (thyroid, blood pressure), careers, house help, logistics, work travel, etc. In order to be able to hear all our responses properly he went inside to put on his hearing aid. At the end of all the questioning he declared Viren to be unchanged since our wedding (when he last saw him) and was kind enough to attribute this to the fact that I must be looking after him well.
He then proceeded to make enquiries about his own Mapilai: health (diabetes, blood pressure), career (teaching, Loyola, etc) and seemed reasonably satisfied by the responses provided.
He was very pleased with his new sweatshirt which he wore promptly and also liked his new diary so much that he said he would not use the one bought by Ramana Mama the previous day. He then started working on filling the diary with all sorts of important information so that when I visited yesterday again he made Ramana Mama write down all the birthdays (except Jai’s because he said he was sure of Jai’s birthday).
Yesterday he also informed Ranjan that I am the baby of the family : I am therefore wondering what the status of my four younger Rajgopaul cousins may be.
Since I was well advised by Ramana Mama to declare myself to be in the best of health, Thatha had to find some other prescription. Consequently I have been told to acquire a Chinese dress on my next visit to Hong Kong or Singapore.
He is now awaiting his next visitor (Barath Mama).
It was a fun trip!