A salwar kameez clad girl stood outside a building in Madras. There was a man standing on the first floor of the building, beaming down at her encouragingly, beckoning her upstairs. With her mother pushing her forward, she slowly climbed the staircase. Each step seemed to take more effort than the last, until she saw them both standing together - the man who had called her upstairs and his wife, a tiny little lady who looked a little nervous. The moment they spotted her, they welcomed her with open arms. She smiled - maybe meeting his parents wasn't going to be that hard after all.
As you have clearly guessed, that girl was me. And the beaming man and tiny lady are Ka's parents, my future in laws. It sounds silly to say it now, but I was so scared of ogre like in laws that I almost died of nervousness the day I made that trip. And now, I complain to my mom in law about Ka, I exchange smses with his dad - it's amazing how they have given me the perfect little place in their family, without me trying too hard to fit in.
It's not just them I was afraid of though, I had built up an image of Ka's sister in my mind which I'm sorry to say was rather mean. Blame it on the Hindi serials that I watch, but I had pictured a scheming sis in law who would hate me and try her best to create obstacles in my way. Far from it. She gives me practical advice on every little thing related to being married - it's like she is my guardian angel when it comes to setting up home and getting married and I LOVE that about her.
What I love more about her though is her son. Ka's nephew and (soon to be) my nephew! He is such an adorable little kid, he chats with me on the phone for ages about everything from school to books (we're both reading Rick Riordan and like Artemis Fowl!!!) to his attempts to learn Hindi. I love how our conversations and uninhibited, almost as if we were friends. I love how smart he is and how whenever I ask him a questions, he thinks carefully before replying - it's such an adult thing to do but it fits his personality perfectly.
The person I was most scared of though, has got to be Ka's brother in law i.e., his sister's husband. I just don't do too well with men in general - they're usually not very good talkers, there are awkward pauses and weird "hmmm"s peppering the conversation. Plus I had no idea what on earth to call him. The short version of his name and my nickname are the same!!! And I'm sorry, but I draw the line at calling someone by MY name. And that too, a man. God! But one day, not so long ago, my grandfather lost his hearing. After a week full of anxiety, it turned out that the doctor had given an incorrect diagnosis and that there was very little chance that he could ever hear again. I called Ka in tears and he did the most sensible thing he has ever done - he called his brother in law (who is a geriatric doctor btw). For the next two days, my mom was constantly in touch with him and he went out of his way to find out the right course of action for my grandfather. Happy ending? Yes, indeed. While my grandfather's hearing couldn't be 100% salvaged, it did get much better with the right treatment. After this, I was in awe of Ka's brother in law. When I finally spoke to him this Diwali, all I could manage was a feeble "thank you". He sounded so warm and kind on the phone! I cannot wait to meet him now.
So there you go - Ka's parents, his sister, his nephew and his brother in law - my amma and appa, my didi, my nephew and my brother in law. I'm lucky to have them all. :)