I’m feeling a bit sad … Really missing home. The joys of being an Indian girl.
Our family friends were over last night and she was telling me what she was going to be doing today – she’s unmarried and living at home with her family. She described her day and it made me feel so nostalgic – it took me right back to what my Sunday’s were like. Especially Sunday mornings, which were the same pretty much each week unless we had a wedding or function to attend.
The familiar sound of mum opening and shutting cupboard doors, the kitchen tap running with kirtan from Darbar Sahib on full blast downstairs, the beautiful aroma as she prepared Sunday morning brunch. Me wondering what flavour paronteh we’d be treated to today. Lying in bed, gazing outside my bedroom window hearing the familiar sound of the same bird that would come chirping every single morning, wondering when my sister Goov was going to wake up (she was a squatter in my room). Wondering whether she’d wake up in a good mood and I could push it by poking her or whether she’d be in a foul mood and me waking her would result in a crying melt down.
Ive always admired how much energy mum has. She’d be up before the crack of dawn (2am) to do her paat (Sikh prayers) and would be at the temple for 4 to do Simran (meditation), back home by 5, go for an hours walk and then go back to bed for a few hours. How does she survive on such little and broken sleep? Because she definitely has Guru Ji’s blessings. “How does she have the energy to make us brunch” I’d often think? She’s almost double my age but has twice as much energy as I do. I admire her so much. She’s the mother I wish I could be. She’s constantly rushing around after others. I worry about her. I wish she’d slow down sometimes. I guess it’s the same worry she has of me when she sees me trying to manage multiple things – but I don’t know any different. Maybe I learnt to be that way from mum.
I’d be expecting my dad to walk in any minute in between returning from the Gurdwara and walking Chico to see what we were doing and when we were going to be up. His gentle voice lovingly referring to us as his “love loves” (he even has us stored in his phone as that”). Chico and his bushy tail following closely behind dad. Jumping up on our bed and licking our faces dry – dogs, full of unconditional love.
Goov would be awake by now usually telling us she needs another ten minutes. Harv would be in the other room fast asleep or listening to music on her headphones. She was always the latest riser. I’d always wake up feeling warm and fuzzy just inhaling the beauty of my life and how blessed I was to have my family. How blessed we are. How hard my dad has worked to provide for us and give us the best life he possibly could – how everything he’s given us, however big or small, has always been full of love. Like all families, we’ve faced financial hardship. But whatever he’s done for us, he’s always given us the love and support every father should. He’s given us the best in every situation, he’s always done what he can. His eyes glisten with so much love. His voice and tongue always utter sweet words. You’ll rarely catch him angry. Wish I’d spent my years growing up learning to be like him. Learning patience.
Dad would have taken Chico out by now leaving us still in bed. Sunday mornings were always a bit of a slow mo process at my parents. But I loved it. I had the chance to pause and embrace, reflect and be thankful. I wasn’t woken half way through my sleep by my baby, I wasn’t rushed off my feet with social engagements, I didn’t have to take care of the running of a whole house let alone a baby. I wish I’d realised how much life changes post marriage. I mean I was never one of those girls that was just in love with the idea of my wedding day, I was always quite a realist and quite aware that things DO and WILL change, I just didn’t realise how much it would impact me. It isn’t that i don’t like my life now, I love it. It’s that I miss my life then. It hurts so bad, I long to be a young girl again living in the comfort of my parents home. I miss them so much. I always thought I’d see them all the time given they only live 15/20 minutes away. I barely get to spend any quality time with them now.
It’s heartbreaking – parents give birth to you, put food in your mouth, provide for you, raise you, deal with your highs and lows … Only for you to be “given away” to spend the rest of your life with someone else. I know it’s all part and parcel of life, I just don’t do well with change. I always struggle with that part being an Indian girl. It’s just what you do. I know we live in our own house, but the difference is, for an Indian boy, it’s a choice. They can choose to live with their parents or they can choose to live alone. For a girl, there isn’t that choice. Culture hey? Always worries me given we are three sisters. What will happen to my parents when all three of us are gone? How empty will their lives feel? All three of us dote on our parents and we’d never let them go a day without seeing one of us at least, but getting married and seeing how things change has made me realise their lives are going to change drastically when the twins get married. There will be Sunday mornings alone. Maybe they’ll welcome the peace? Lol.
I was always usually the first one down on a Sunday. I’d spend half an hour or so speaking to mum and dad while listening to the kirtan and helping to make the tea. Catching up on with them at the same time. Mum would often use this time to “sound off” about the twins to me (she’d do the same about me to them given the opportunity! Haha). By the time the paronteh were made, dad would be calling the twins down (who’d still be in bed mooching around). Mum would sometimes get wound up that their food was going to get cold.
When the twins finally did come down, we’d sit around the table together and eat. It was a family affair. Something we did together. We’d catch up on the weeks ongoings, catch up on what the plan for dinner is (something’s never change!) and what the plans for the day were. Dad would often tell us Sikh stories usually to teach us a lesson based on the stories we’d share with them. He’d encourage us to do more Simran (meditation), paat (religious prayers) and seva (selfless community service). He always encouraged it. Why did I never make enough time for those things? Why didn’t I go to the Gurdwara with him in the mornings more often to do seva with him?
After brunch, Goov and I would religiously watch an episode or two of FBI Files with my dad. Mum would sometimes join us depending on what she had planned for the day – she may not work but that woman is busier than me! Harv was always too scared to watch anything remotely scary so would end up upstairs. She’d scream “dad pause it” if she had to come downstairs to put a washing load in the washing machine (that was her “home job”). We’d always try convince her that it’s not THAT scary (even though it was), we never succeeded in our attempts! It’s strange, as we were all sat in front of the TV, but it felt like wholesome quality family time. I know how much it meant to dad, us taking out a measly hour or two to watch FBI Files with him (outside of the time we’d spend watching Indian soaps with mum during the week which dad was forced to sit through though I’m sure it was his guilty pleasure!).
Why didn’t I make more time? Why didn’t I realise that even that precious hour would be gone once I moved out? In my head I had it all planned out, I’d spend at least one day at my parents house once married. I’m lucky that Preetam gets on so well with my family (touch wood). Surely that would mean what I had planned would be the case?! I have no idea why it hasn’t worked out that way. Why every Saturday or Sunday we have something going on. Life is flashing by, time is not on my side, one day I’ll regret putting others before my family.
One day my sisters will be married and will also be in the same predicament I’m in. They’ll be facing the same heartbreak and longing to be with my parents as I do. One day the previous time that they spend with mum and dad watching TV will also be taken from them. They just don’t realise it yet. Things will change.
I wonder how it feels for them. I wonder how heart aching it must be for our parents to set us free. It must be rewarding too to see us get married and watch us become parents ourself. I wonder if they miss the times I miss. I wonder.
Don’t get me wrong, Sunday mornings were often the host of several “I’ve woken out of the wrong side of the bed” fuelled arguments too but my fondest memories are the ones above.
They were perfect.
I miss my parents.
I miss my sisters.
I miss Sunday mornings so much.