The last few days have witnessed the slow but sure strangulation of something that is very close to me. Something which I jealously guard and hug very closely to my heart. Something that I gloat to the hubby about. And that is the easy camaraderie and the effortless flow of conversation that I have always been able to maintain with my parents for as far back as I can imagine.
The one thing that I missed most when I married and moved away from my parents was the long gossip/conversation sessions that I used to have with them. I still see myself perched next to the stove as amma cooked, and appa sat on the floor of the kitchen. Just talking. Talking endlessly, about everything and everyone under the sun.
I always believed that my parents had such a rock-solid, strong marriage because they talked to each other. My earliest memories are of waking up from bed and following my parents voices to the kitchen where I would find amma and appa talking and working in happy harmony. There would be nights when there would be HUGE fights and I would cower in fright. But I would always wake up to find them sorting out their issues by really talking..and listening to each other.
When I went to my husband's house for the first time, the one thing that stuck me as most odd was how NOBODY would just sit around and talk at the end of the day. Or at the beginning of it. Or at any other time. People would come in and go out and talk in passing. The place seemed to me to be always in a state of flux and it drove me mad to see people not sitting and having a conversation. When I complained to Hubby about this he always seemed to be mildly amused and tried dismissing it as another quirk of mine. 'Your family discusses things till my ears are literally ringing with all the voices', he'd laugh!!
This time when amma and appa said they were coming and staying with us in Bangalore for a WHOLE month and a half, I knew I had died and gone to heaven in sheer ecstasy. I'll take a couple of days off from work and just laze around the house doing nothing, I told myself, rubbing my hands gleefully.
And so the D-Day arrived and my parents came. I went to work and tore back home early, eager to be held in that warm, comfortable coccoon of good conversation. And saw them watching the television. ALL evening. Its been 2 weeks since they came and so far there has not been a single evening that the television has not blared out those mindless soaps into my living room.
If it's not soaps, its the blasted IPL that appa sits glued on to. Now Hubby and I quietly retire to our rooms in order to be able to have a conversation without shouting above the din made by TV. A habit that I learned from my parents and brought into our marriage has become so important that both of us feel unsettled without those few minutes of quiet conversation. And the tragedy is that I have barely seen my parents have that in this trip. I am heartbroken. The Television monster has struck again. And the darned BCCI has SO much to answer for!!