One of the advantages of staying away from hometown is that you’re less likely to run into people who have seen you grow up, who remember what fashion sense (or the lack of it) you had two hundred years ago, who mocked you at a wedding when you were fifteen because you chose to wear an ordinary cotton salwar (“Didn’t you find anything better to wear?”) instead of bedecking yourself for the event and who believe it’s their duty to remind you every time that your tastes were so dry and pathetic and different. 

The chances of bumping into them in your yearly visits to hometown are pretty slim. Moreover, you’re now better equipped to handle them: you are armed with defense weapons and protective shields before you even plan the trip! But there are always some of them around every nook and corner, if not the ones from the past, there will be some from the present, who manage to demolish your prospects of happiness for the entire visit. They never tire of asking annoying questions or offering unsolicited advices. Even the few good folk you encounter fail to salvage anything from the rubble.

Here are some of the questions and suggestions with the replies they deserve to hear. Nasty, I know. But that’s all I can do – blog about it.

You’re so thin! Don’t you eat anything?
You have no idea. My Mother is a horrid woman who doesn’t give me any food. I have to work part-time for the money to buy myself something. With the studies and everything, you know how tough it can get.

My God, your son is so thin! Doesn’t he eat anything?
Actually I hate cooking, so I let him starve most of the time. It’s okay, he is getting used to it so well.

What! You lose your patience if your son doesn’t fall asleep even at the end of two-three hours? You should never be impatient. You should tell him a thousand and one stories, sing two thousand five hundred songs even if it takes you six hours. By then any child will sleep. But don’t ever get angry.
Oh, these days I tie him to the bed at sleep time and gag him so he lies still. That way he falls asleep very easily, haha. No trouble at all. You should also try it on your child.

If your son prefers not to waste time on food, there is this great, simple, effective method. Walk after him, like about twenty five times around the house and wherever else he wanders off to, and by the end of three hours and a half he would have eaten five idlis!
Brilliant idea. Why didn’t I think of it before! I only have to wake him, the five year old, old enough to eat by himself, at four in the morning so that we can have a jolly ride around the apartment with his breakfast before school, and when he is back it is only a matter of another three hours for his lunch, and another three hours around the apartment at night for his dinner. Wow.

Oh, do you know cooking?!
Not really, but please don’t tell anyone. I sneak in something from the hotel through the back door when no one’s looking and present them as if I made them. My family doesn’t know, the poor fools.

… the Q&A to be continued…