On my last visit to Madras, when we went around looking for a flat for my in-laws, I heard the current owner describe with great enthusiasm how the flat was close to this madam
and that kovil
. She regaled us how it would be ideal for a septuagenarian couple as they would not have to go far for their daily dose of religion. What if, I later wondered to my sister-in-law, the average pensioner looking to buy the property were more interested in a night of partying than a day of prasadams. We both laughed at the unlikely image such an elderly person conjured up and made our way to see the next flat.
The conversation came back to mind a few days ago when a friend shared an article with me in which an Indian man talks about what it was like growing up with a sports-obsessed mother. Clearly, the man thought that it was an anomaly for a woman of a certain age to have anything other a passing interest in sports. He, like most others, had reduced most women to being overtly obsessed with food and children and once the children had consumed the aforementioned food and flown the nest, then religion. Evidently, he thought his mother who followed cricket and football and taught herself the complicated scoring pattern of tennis by religiously following Wimbledon, was somewhat of an (affectionate) aberration and therefore, merited a mention. He clearly had not looked around.
A few days ago, on our weekly conversation, my mother-in-law commiserated us on Germany's loss in Russia a few days earlier. She lamented how a country that gave the world the likes of Beckenbauer had fallen to such dismal standards. Germany to not get past the group stage at the World Cup! Unheard of! She reckoned that the gecko that had been predicting a victory for an Asian country may be right after all. South Korea had been playing rather well and (at the time of speaking) Japan had thrown a couple of surprises.
|From a F1 race we saw recently. One of the few sports my |
sports-loving mother-in-law cannot understand.
My mother-in-law is not alone in her fondness for sport. There was once an aunt who would set an alarm to watch Olympic Games in a distant land and would fight with her children to be the first to read the fortnightly Sportstar magazine that you would be forgiven for thinking it was Vikatan
It annoys me no end when Indian women in their sixties and beyond are routinely reduced to a limited palette of characters - hard-working, selfless, god-fearing, kind and sweet. In other words, dull and harmless. As if all the vibrancy of their youth would give way to a plain, bland version once they cross a certain age.
The next round of World Cup football matches are scheduled for this weekend I have yet to ask my mother-in-law for her predictions. I am certain she has already studied the fixtures and has picked her favourites.