My Dad is the kindest of all and he has as always acquired another mass of pets
The pigeons circle him when he comes out and the dogs ( which he tells me, only like to eat meat ) are always waiting outside with looks of vacuous adoration for him
The skies are blue and its very pleasant ( almost 70 degrees everyday )
But Purulia dwellers are always cold
My parents adore DH - and also son in laws are always given special status !.
My mum makes fish for him everyday. Unlike the west, the main meal of the day is lunch
A note on Purulia would be incomplete without mentioning how direct people are!
One of my cousins is trying to conceive and all the aunts and uncles discuss things like "cycles" and "dates of possible conception" without a thought and in front of the couple in question ( who are also participating in the discussion )
Though if it were me, I think I would die of mortification.
Its like this with everything .
One day we are at a restaurant and someone who has been discussing their problem with being constipated .
In the middle of the meal they announce that they are "feeling the force".
Everyone respectfully makes way so she can go to the bathroom !
And the rest of the meal everyone talks about when they had similar experiences and whether the food in Gopal restaurant has any special qualities that enables the force
Autism awareness in Purulia
Nobody knows anyone with autism( my dad is almost definitely an aspie- a very high functioning one and has a special understanding of R because of it. )
But despite this lack of awareness they treat R with so much love and tenderness
My sister and nephew and niece are doting towards him
It seems he is perpetually hugged
He loves his rickshaw rides as always ( here he is with my sister )
What is different this time is that R is connecting with everyone
He has this game with my sister where he pretends as though he is going to pick her nose
She gasps in mock horror !
And gives him a mock scolding which makes him pass out laughing and squealing "no picking maashi's( aunt's) nose"
My niece and nephew play a simple game they have called "aaaaah ... wheee".
This simply involves them yelling a battle cry ( aaaaah ) and descending on him with a tight hug( wheeee) .
My mum tells him that he must stop saying "eeee.. eee"
I explain to her that this may damage his self esteem- to which my mum replies that "just explain to him that it makes him look different"
But R thinks its a big joke and specifically does a lot of "eeeeee" in front of her so she will giggle and say "no ee ee" and this provides him with much amusement
R's sweetness wins everyone over
One day my dad and mum tell me in all seriousness that they wish every child was like R :-) ( and they mean it )
Once when I am expressing worry about R's future my mom says nonchalantly "he can eat, go to the bathroom , entertain himself, has good manners . what else do you need?"
Only once do I hear something disparaging about R - we are out at dinner - and one of my old aunts ask if R will always be like this
When I related this incident to my mum., she replies that that aunt is " like a cracked drum .. no one knows what sounds will come out of her next "
Do you find shopping lists very revealing ?
I feel if I only read your shopping list ( with some detail of why you wanted a thing ) I would know all about you.
I found a shopping list in my phone which is written by my sister and I put it here as it will show you our priorities
Sweets are mentioned twice ( which tells you how important they are )
Once for our house and another time when we are visiting our aunt ( champa mamima - which autocorrect has turned to Champagne Mamma ). Its customary to take sweets with you when you go to visit someones house
The Clothes pegs are because we hang clothes in the sun to dry ( there are no dryers in India )
The "lower" is a warm pants to wear under jeans - for my nephew ( kukku) to wear - even though it reaches 70 degrees each day- the minimum temperatures of 47 are perceived to be arctic like. All the kids wear plenty of warm clothes
( when my sister and I go and look at the available assortment we are so amused that some manufacturer without really understanding the cultural connotation has purloined the "playboy" logo -complete with bunny- for underpants for small children . I am guessing he means" boys that play" )
Sooji is a delicious cereal my sister made( kind of like the English porridge - only a million times better)
And I think the last line my sister is trying to remind herself that there are more people to plan and cook for
There is one small market in Purulia which we go to all the time as this the main entertainment ( apart from gossiping )
There are two main shops here .
One is called "Big Mirror"- the other is called "Small mirror"
The first day DH and I go to "Small mirror"- apparently this is a big social gaffe as - our family patronises "Big Mirror"
Shopping in Purulia is a lot of fun.
Even in a small town like this , the women are conscientious enough that there is an entire lane devoted to clothes simply called "Clothes Lane"
While all saris look alike to westerners. each region in India has its own craft of sari.
For example Bengal ( where Purulia is ) has atleast 6 main subtypes of sari crafts
One of the famous subtype is "Taant"- paper thin saris made in hand loom and having bright borders .
My sister has requests from all her colleagues that she must get saris for them . Here are the shelves in the sari shop - tell me have you seen more vibrant colors
Its the same with sweets ( and Bengalis love sweets ) . The distinct thing about the candy here is that they use palm jaggery instead of sugar ( which tastes like heaven)
Cows wander freely in the markets - a point of great joy for R
R has this curious quality of being able to identify when someone is feeling off.
He has always had this and will stick to the people who are not well.
Everyday that my mum is not well ( and she has a heart problem - a source of great stress to all of us ) R is completely by her side all the time snuggling with her and a great comfort
The child's sweetness moves me to tears sometimes .
There is a lot of goodness in him
I think of all the evaluations which show how behind he is in so many things
But with a little distance and perspective - I sometimes also think of the many things he is so much ahead in