Category Archives: Mother-in-law

#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


I can barely hear you.

Kumuda was late to the evening event which was one of 12 such carefully orchestrated stages of pre-wedding parties of cousins of guys we marry. She was supposed to meet with Kailash “right outside” the gate. Of a building that had five gates altogether, discounting the one that had rusted into some kind of metallurgical anomaly. Kailash was also running late, because his long day at work was still not done. That meant Kumuda had to contact Mrs A (A is not for Awesome), her husband’s mother. Not.a.good.late.evening.plan.

Kumuda texted her identifying her location and asking for directions to this complicated sanctum sanctorum where this party was. Mrs A had scoped her out in minutes, and rushing to her, making her loud “emergency evacuation in progress” noises, she was already pretty close to annoying Kumuda grievously.

“Kumuda, you are not appropriately dressed.”

Yes, yes, I see that. I am wearing my best Wednesday work-wear ensemble which means I only have four pants going around which I must cleverly contrast and pair with my shirts to make sure I don’t violate any dress code policies at work. I get off work early, making small talk at the elevator and avoiding direct eye contact everywhere else to make this cousin-pre-wedding-mayhem-chapter 8. I should be having extra dark hot chocolate somewhere. Why should I listen to you? All F words deleted.

“Mama, I did n’t get the time to change. So I wore this FabIndia stole over my slightly long shirt, which is also called a tunic. It is considered almost semi-ethnic in some parts of the world.” Is what Kumuda said.