Category Archives: Married Mayhem

#A2ZChallenge: S is for “Sasuraal”

Dear Sasuraal (hindi, translated literally to the house of the father-in-law)

Marked: Urgent

You need to change your PR agency. I have done a review of your marketing profile, and some things do not look good. There is some amount of image erosion over the last several decades, which we can tackle through a two-pronged approach (these prongs, however gross they sound, are important to any strategy, anywhere). First, damage control. Second, positioning, influencing and profile building.

Damage Control

Stop being that place! In some depictions, sasuraal is the place where fun is a persona-non-grata. Visa permanently denied. In other extreme media representations, this is the place where people mix lizards in hot milk for DIY poison. This is, in the very least, the place where you cannot wear your torn and faded pajamas forever and forever.

It’s almost like where Cinderella lived, before moving out to the prince’s castle. Except Cinderella’s luck was really crummy, and it was her “maika” and not even “sasuraaal”. Tough luck, Cinders. When vacation time is divided between mom’s pad and sasuraal, some complicated differential mathematics leads to one or two days less at the latter. Human analytics, it is called.

You are more fun that that! You have to stop all these uninviting associations. Stop hanging out with the uncool guys. Get rid of the archaic rule book, and get in some amendments. Let the grandkids run the place through a blind trust. They will be fair to everyone, especially themselves, which should work out for everyone. Let judgmental aunty say “this place has gone to the kids.”

You need new slogans

This is just another place where you meet your best friends, set a few boundaries, intuit each other’s strengths and weaknesses and in the end, through all the quips and fights, come through for one another. But why do we have to be so “Hunger Games” about it? How about easing up a bit, and changing the atmospherics a bit?

Doing some hashtags might help.

#SasuraalRocks #NotallSasuraals #HangoutattheSasuraal

Maybe one of those classier tourism promotions can cut right to the chase. I think Amitabh Bachchan does one for Gujarat. Kerala has its “God’s own country.” Pretty much all the stunning states in India have their own “visit us” marketing collateral ready. So should you. You can makee free movies online, just stringing together happy and candid pictures of sober tourists, and also a list of chief attractions. Throw in an upbeat Latino number in the background, and your website will crash with booking requests. Get a few TripAdvisor points too, just in case.

Visitors Advisory

Often times, we play along with the customs of the place. We dress up as locals do, we eat their food (hunting out the farthest corners to do so) and we stop them to click selfies with their cute livestock and carts. When in Rome, I guess, we could do a few things as the Romans, if not all. I mean, the Romans used to throw people to the lions while the townsfolk watched. Hard to be a fan of that. Maybe tourists could do the top 50 things recommended by TripAdvisor. For all the other activities, we can seek out that old wooden box that says in red and bold  – YOUR FEEDBACK. And then we can write all the “Can you not” stuff? For instance, Can you NOT throw humans to lions or vice-versa? Can you NOT put lizards in milk, I am vegetarian. Can you NOT be so hung-up on full-sleevs in all forms of clothing. Stuff like that.


Saajan Chali Sasuraal

S is for Sasuraal


#A2ZChallenge: M is for Marie Kondo

Dear Marie Kondo,

I am a fan. Since being introduced to you by a friend, I have read of you, read you, watched your videos and simultaneously slipped into a reverie of being in a decluttered, cherry-blossomed Japan too.

And when you say that tidying up is life-changing, dear God, you are not fooling around! At first, I was tentative, but then as I folded away t-shirts and socks and gave away magenta ribbons, I was inexorably drawn to the prescient value of what you preach.

“Ms Kondo delivers her tidy manifesto like a kind of Zen nanny, both hortatory and animistic.”, says the New York Times. I could n’t have said it better. In fact, I COULD NOT even have said it because “animistic”. Also, “hortatory”. (Times why you do this to me?)

Anyhoo, I thought I was an “organization” all-star person till you happened.

KonMari, that’s Japanese, not Hindi

What if we liked less stuff? And where is minimalism a well-understood concept? Nowhere, that’s where. I have in one day shopped for

  1. A charpoy (since it was collapsible, it was collapsed immediately upon purchase, how it stays till today)
  2. An automated garden sprinkler (for a large garden comprising four pots of coriander and basil)
  3. A German mop operated over the Internet (this one though)
  4. An annual subscription to (which requires me to attend a retreat in Auckland first)
  5. A Zara scarf on discount (which is hideous on the inside and the outside)
  6. A clicker for dog training (for a fully trained dog, who just shook his head in resignation)
  7. Any Fisher-Price/ ethically responsible toy which my child rejected straight-away for an old bucket
  8. Top hits of Mithun da you missed (the real gem in this disastrous list so far)

When I started journaling (buying a spanking spiral notepad, because the few million I had stashed fell short), then I saw the destructive pattern. And I turned to KonMari, your patented take-no-prisoners cleaning-up diktat. “Unless something sparks joy, it has no place in your home or your life.”


This is the spring cleaning that I am used to – selling three things online every year, giving Kamala amma clothes apologetically and sending the rest to my mother. You put the focus back on just how much accumulation mankind can do, left undeterred. Me, as Exhibit A.

It starts with letting go of (or responsibly donating) your less loved wardrobe items, kitchen pans, bath salts, free ketchup sachets, the ugly stuffed-toy pangolin in the living room. You have helped clients go lighter by over a million individual things! It also goes onto relationships that are unnecessary and exhausting. I knew you were the true apostle of organization when a client wrote in that she got a divorce, as part of her tidying-up quest.

And ah the ritual. The act of saying thank you to that thing you bought and used little or sparingly, and then bidding adieu. When I first said goodbye to my origami papers, it felt mildly crazy. Now, it’s like a one-armed bro hug.

I wonder though how that client said bye to the husband. “Hey you were good and kind and a husband. Our paths must separate now. I must declutter of you. Thank you. Here is your copy of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and also, my forwarding address. Long live and prosper.”


Recovering Clutterbug