Wednesday, July 28, 2010

With Ravi Baswani's death, it's the end of a generation of comedians in Bollywood who didn't have to try too hard to be funny

Making people laugh isn't easy. If you've tried it, specially at a gathering, you'll know. Unless you're one of those brilliant stand up and improv comedians.

When it comes to Bollywood movies, I think the subtlety is lost. It's very often loud, slapstick and a grating delivery of dialogues that our Hindi films try to pass off as comedy. I mostly squirm when our films attempt it. I'm not being mean here to an industry i dote on. It's just that I think we're not very good with the comic element.

I hate it most when actors make the jokes and then laugh at them themselves! That's supposed to be a cue for audience to laugh, i guess (duh!!) but it falls so flat on its face.

I also hate it when at a theatre, the audience is howling with laughter, holding their stomachs and doubling up and I'm feeling cheesed off. I mean, I doubt sometimes if I'm human at all. (When most in the theatre are crying, I'm often all giggly).

Most of us from my generation must have watched "Chashme Baddoor" and "Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron" and laughed and smiled, watching it every single time it came on TV. What makes Baswani different was that we laughed at his comic timing, we laughed at the situations and dialogues. We did not laugh at him.

In Bollywood, comedians were laughed at because they were fat. That's what happened to Tun Tun most often. People just saw her come on to the screen and laughed at her. They equated being fat with being laughable at. Then there was the comedian Lilliput who was supposed to inspire laughs because he was short. Most of the jokes/dialogues were about such physical attributes of the actors.

Let's admit it, (may his soul rest in peace) that Baswani wasn't exactly good looking. He also had a bit of cross-eye, something that he could have allowed directors to bank on or he could have used himself. But he didn't. He wasn't funny because of the way he looked. He genuinely had a comic sense, brought out excellently by directors like Sai Paranjpe and Kundan Shah.

I'm not one who subscribes to Priyadarshan's brand o slpastick over-the-top humour. I hate it when Paresh Rawal screams his dialogues (he's immensely talented, yes, but hie's equally great with emotional roles). I hate it even more when Akshay Kumar laughs that incredulous stupid laugh of his. I could never stand Jagdeeps' double entendre and loud jokes either in the films of yore. Even Lakshmikant Berde became unbearable with his exaggeration.

I'm no expert on films, and I can't give a point-by-poinbt criticism here. But all I'm saying is that there are very few comedians we've had who were great, individually, as well as in groups. They were offset by teh humour, chemistry and comic timing of another co-actor who held up their talent for us to see -- Satish Shah, Shafi Inamdar, Swaroop Sampat, Farooq Sheik, Rakesh Bedi, Deepti Nvl, Kader Khan (sometimes). But most of these people worked for me because of those around groups. Yes, Farooq and Deepti can't be termed comedians, but if you put these names together you know what kind of movies I'm talking about.

I could appreciate Johnny Lever only on some stage shows, never in films. Anupam Kher, I still believe is best at human, normal, emotional roles. Keshto Mukherjee just tripped on drunken humour.

Amitabh Bachchan (esp. "Chupke Chupke") and Aamir Khan have some good comic timing.

Whew...ok this is too longish a post. I hate reading them, I'm sure you do too. So I'll stop just liek that. Peace to Ravi Baswani.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A for akshee, B for blob in nose...T for tonsilitis

I'll never see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel will I? I mean, I'm forever groping around in the darkness of the tunnel, going around in circles and coming back right there.

If the whole of last week wasn't bad enough for Sunny Boy with the sniffles and the leaky drippy nose, now it's full-blown tonsillitis and a chest congestion. Why-o-why-o-why? The poor soul can barely swallow food. Won't eat much. Keeps sneezing and coughing . I want to really fly up in the sky and pull out dear Sun who's hibernating behind the clouds in Bangalore these days. I mean I haven't seen a bleaker week in my entire life in this city.

But, he's been a good boy and takes in some home remedies very willingly to ease the congestion.

And before I forget, I'm putting down all anyone can do to ease the child during such illness (I keep doing this putting down things for myself, because whenever i ask my mom what she did for me when i was a kid she says she just can't remember. And me being forgetful me, I haven't much hope). I also help anyone else struggling in a similar situation can make use of it and find some relief.

1. Give lots of warm fluids -- ganji/kanjee made of roasted rice and boiled with some daal give sustenance and strength. Is warm soup for the soul and is easy on a swollen throat. Add some veggie from squash family -- pumpkin (white or yellow), or doodhi/sorekai (bottlegourd). Cook it in the ganji and mash so nutrition goes down as masked (hopefully) as possible.
2. Warm water to drink. This must be a fairly cooled down version of water boiled with some turmeric, tulsi and ginger in it -- a light decoction. (Thought he would puke it out. But, as surprises go, he loved it!) Best thing first in the morning.
3. Steam inhalation. Easier said than done. My boy is never going to go through this even if i try conning him, tell him he's going to play with water and steam up the bathroom. That's the ONLY time he doesn't wan to play with water!
4. My friends do this often; I've tried it sometimes and it helps, but my brat just resists everything (so pls understand my frustration as i crib and weep over and over) -- apply some lukewarm milk with a a few strands of saffron as a thin film on chest and forehead. The "heat" of the saffron absorbs the congestion. (For adults we use a mix of ginger/turmeric but that would be too strong on a baby's skin).
5. Another alternative to No. 4 is strapping on a strip of cloth (this is only for the chest) in which you've rolled up some crushed garlic -- some pods with skin peeled and crushed. (I tried this on Sonny Boy, who promptly pulled off strip after much wailing). But if you have a very willing baby (like the rest of the world seems to have) please try it. It eases congestion/phlegm built up in the lungs.

All these are tried and tested grandma's cures used for generations in my or friend's families. Just be careful. Whatever you apply, never near the child's eyes. Best applied after they are fast asleep if they are the rather unwilling kind.

I'm just oh-so-depressed. Can't take leave from work because I have almost none (saving the few for the rest of the calendar year). Can't concentrate on work because I'm thinking of the poor dear. Can't sleep peacefully because I keep waking up when he struggles to breathe.
And just sad, sad sad :-(

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bangalore's weather report reads all grey

Dreary, cloudy, life's all dowdy. Cloudy skies and cloudier minds. Drip drop drip drop wet wet wet. The grey of the clouds mirrored in the grey of my soul, my being. Give me some sunshine, don't give me rain. The pitter patter of raindrops more a tedious tantrum of the rain-gods than a childish rhyme. No romance to these rains. No love. No giddy-headed giggles on water-soaked lips. No filmy white dress to dance in the rain. No dance. Only rain. Only damp laundry. No space to dry out. Cold winds sweep the house, cold floors announce I'm home. Squishy squalour, my world's taken on a pallor. A smile breaks out, quick but striking, like a flash of lighting. The silver lining to the gloomy fluff of clouds.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Immunity in children -- that illusion...that mirage

How many people have told you that it's inevitable? That's the way they do it...that's how they're made etc etc every time your toddler falls ill.

I'm sick of it. I've been told by most people, fellow parents, knowledgeable elders, and my paediatrician that he's going to be falling ill constantly till the age of five!! FIVE??!! I've got a loooong way to go. And meanwhile one must keep mopping up the result of the sniffles.

I'm tired of Mr. Runny Nose, who also has a chest congestion most of the time. Will vomit out phlegm and food very regularly during such episodes. Of course, I feel really sad for him and in fact start crying sometimes when I think how difficult it must be for him to bring up the phlegm and get it out of his system. He looks horrified after he vomits each time and it takes a lot of calming and soothing to actually get him to stop shaking from the shock of the process.

When all of the scientific the world put can concoct a thousand different vaccines, why can't they give children a shot at birth to just boom up their immunity? Wouldn't it be logical that one shot that gives a child's body some super-duper immunity is way better than giving a shot each for one strain of Hepatitis, or pneumococcal fever etc. But then, why would pharma companies develop such a winner, right? It would just kill the vaccine industry.

And i HATE it when the paediatrician tells me that till he develops good immunity, his tummy's going to pack up every time he goes nibbling on his toys and random things he picks off the floor. How in the world does one prevent that? And then when I try to be all clean and wash his toys etc, people laugh in my face and say "You must let him play in the dirt. It builds immunity" Hello?!!! I know, but then when he fall sick after that, who's going to sit there and nurse him back to health?

Yes, don't over-protect them. Let them be, is one line of argument that I'm willing to take considering in the long run it may help the child actually develop a stronger immunity. But if it's anyway going to take five years to get there, what do you do in between?

And, if like another line of argument goes, you end up pumping them with antibiotics each time they fall sick, they become immune to that strain of antibiotics, isn't it, say by when they are 15 or 20?

If you opt for an alternate system of medicine, like homeopathy, the whole world will swoop down upon you and tell you, hand son the hip and fingers pointing accusingly at you, that you're feeding them with things that are not "scientifically sound", "placebos" etc.

So what does one do? "Brace the child, fortify him with fruits, vegetables that will build up his immunity" is easier said than done. And that's the other half of the battle, right?
It's so damn frustrating to see your child sick. It negates your very existence.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Am I the only one who thinks there aren't enough good cartoons to watch on TV?

Keeping Sonny Boy entertained is no easy task. There's only that much time he will colour and doodle, or play with his toys or watch rhymes when left to himself. He otherwise winds his way to the kitchen and winds himself around my legs.

When I try to get him to watch cartoons, which I thought all children like universally, I'm so disappointed. None of it really holds his attention.

I always thought, "Wow, kids today have so much to watch. In my days there was only National TV- DD". (Remember Sunday mornings with He-Man, Spiderman, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, a robot-based serial whose name I can't remember - he used to keep flying up and fighting evil forces.)

From what I recall offhand, now there's Nick, Pogo, Animax, Disney, CeeBeeBeeies, Cartoon Network, Hungama, ...have i missed any, people? Phew! That's still a whole lot of choice.
And yet, there's hardly any stuff for toddlers. It's mostly teen oriented or tween driven content. And S is light years away from least I would like to believe so.

There's anime and manga kind of Japanese samurai cartoons, Power Rangers, (which put me and Dear S off).
Then there's SpongeBob, Tom and Jerry, Richie Rich, Tele Tubbies, Scoobie Doo, Dora which for some reason doesn't interest this fellow at all. There's now the India-specific content with Chota Bhim, Hanuman, Bal Ganesh, and Krishna and I can't remember what else. But beyond a few minutes, S just turns his face away.

I shouldn't be complaining. Most parents complain their kids watch too many cartoons all the time.

In fact I was surprised when I asked S if he'll watch Tom and Jerry with me one day and he said "NO. Run run run...thap thap thap" with a hitting action!!!! All that cartoon critics say of inherent violence in children's cartoons is so true, I figured. My little one already associated the two together! And he didn't like it. Muah Muah... two big kisses to him.

The only one that remotely excites him is Shaun the Sheep. Cute. It's one thing I also love watching.

I'm beginning to wonder if I just put the TV on at the wrongest of times? Or if at this age, they aren't really interested in TV? Or is the content very similar, standardised -- for whom?

Or is just that there's too much choice and we are so much more spoilt for it?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Five things you must know about raising boys

1. Boys will be boys. Never have doubts about that. They're not in any frame of mind to break gender stereotypes (as much as we want them to). In the middle of the story you're patiently telling them about the princess who broke free and ran toward an independent life, they will start a car race with their Hot Wheels.

2. Boys being boys (and on their quick way to being men), will be obsessed with their wee-wee, playing with it endlessly, commenting and laughing about it, and giving it a new nick-name every other day.

3. And with their wee-wee mentioned, their pee-pee/soo-soo can't be far behind. Boys love to pee. Specially when not in the bathroom/toilet. They love to pee most when they're fast asleep. So beginner mammas, be ready for lots and lots of diaper leaks. Specially from the front-top. Yeah, that's where the shot is always aimed at at night, however much you "position" it when you strap on a diaper. And most diapers available in India do not have boy-specific diapers (with extra padding in front).

4. Till they grow up to be daddy's friends, YOU will be their best friends mommy dears. And as best friend, you get the privilege of feeding and bathing them, getting puked on, putting them to bed, cleaning the poop, carrying them around. You will be the one they'll cling to in unfamiliar crowds. Have you every heard him scream "Daddy?" in emergency situations? Like when he's held his hand over a candle flame to see how it feel? It's always "Mummy", isn't it?!

5. They start really young with giving themselves importance, going about thumping their chest and claiming things as "mine". There will be fist fights, there will be kicking and screaming over the same red car the other boy wants, there will be much boasting and seeking of applause for things others seem to do so naturally and as part of their everyday life. In other words, you have another man in the house.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bilingual, trilingual...multilingual and loving it

At one of our recent bedtime stories, or rather, now bedtime rhymes time, dear S started singing a rhyme in Hindi! I was amazed. Because I didn't know he knew any rhymes other than English and Kannada ones.

I guess playschool does make a difference. And I recalled how at admission time they told me they teach children rhymes in three languages so that they can pick up all of them and develop their language abilities. This is the age apparently, when they are able to learn most of the languages that come their way.

I've also suddenly started noticing that he repeats bits of conversation I have with any other family member. He'll at least catch and repeat the last three words. Which, i feel is great.

So he now understands (some of them mostly only in parts)
1. My/husband's mother tonuge
2. The national language
3. My mother's mother tongue
4. English
5. The nanny's mother tonuge
6. ....and jeez, at the cost of sounding like a show off, even parts of my father's mother tongue

That totals to five Indian languages. Hmm till i put it all down as a list, I didn't quite realise it.
He loves saying the word "water" in four languages every time he asks for a drink and i love that. Absolutely.

I know there are arguments saying kids get confused. I'm not too sure about that. With dear S, i guess he associates one language with each person, so he absorbs and uses that language with that person alone. Let's see how it goes in future.

I was a multilingual kid myself, and I can manage speaking about six languages myself. And I don't think I got them all mixed up. In fact it worked to my advantage because I could hear a speech for example in one language and immediately take notes in another, like English, translating along the way.

But there's the BIG disadvantage to sonny boy's language skills -- he picks up the not-so-nice words really fast. He's then like SpongeBob. And between me, hubby and brothers-in-law, that vocabulary of such words is pretty vast. I believe there's a certain ring, a certain aura to these words that just beckon children towards them, seduce them into using them. And there will be a gleam in his eye as he realises he's saying the forbidden word. And once you say "don't say that word" that's it. It's like a special invitation to say the word in loops, over and over again, the voice raising to a crescendo with each utterance, till you've got a earworm.

As of now, though, most of the time I simply enjoy the pitter patter of words and new sounds.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Ten Commmandments...that my son has given me

1. You shall not tell me what to eat/drink, or when to eat/drink or for that matter, how to eat and drink what I want. I will eat noodles with my hand and soup with my fork. You shall also not tell me what I can't eat. If I want to eat the dirt off the floor, it's my will.

2. You shall not take me to the park when I want to stay home and play with the toys, and you shall not tell me to play with the toys when I want to watch my rhymes on TV.

3. You shall not decide what I will wear to the playschool. I will not wear a jacket even if it's cold because it hides the cars on my t-shirt. I shall try out at least three sets of dresses at morning rush hour before I decide the colour code for the day.

4. I know you work six days a week. But that does not mean you can rest on Sunday. It's the day I poop most and decide not to have lunch. It's a holiday. I shall give eating a break. You shall not nap in the afternoon because it's the one day i get to see you at that time. You shall scream, roll on the floor with me, growl, and be my fellow-lion at the zoo. And yes, I'll have the privilege of giving you with a pretend-hairwash.

5. You shall not covet my Maggi, my ketchup or my chocolates, my story books, my chips and my grandfather.

6. You shall listen to my babbling for 45 minutes every night before bedtime, even if you are ready to snore. You shall not pretend to listen and catch a few winks...I'll catch you at that game any day.

7. You shall not interrupt the interesting conversations and games that grandpa and me share. I shall scream my head off if you dare do so. But you shall allow me the privilege of being part of every conversation you and daddy have, sitting in between you both and occassionally giving your conversation a much-needed break with my rhymes.

8. You shall hand over all your jewellery to me as soon as you return from work. First I will try them on, then I will play with them, rub them on the floor to see what happens to them etc. I shall try to pierce you with the earrings and use your necklaces as whips.

9. You shall not hug, nay, not even touch daddy or grandpa or grandma. You are mine entirely. You shall not hug my cousins or the neighbour's kids. Or anybody else. You're mine.

10. You shall accept me with all my tantrums, smiles, hugs, kisses, stubbornness, screaming crying, gooey nose just as I have accepted you with your temper, spanking, smiles, cuddles, dirty scary stares and pampering.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

She said, he said...

Act 1 Scene 1
She said: (Enthusiastically) Let's figure out logistics for our li'l boy's birthday!! We barely have a month...
He said: (Trying to start the TV, fiddling with the remote) Hmmm. Ya ya, let's do that.
She said: So what do you think? A few relatives and lots of friends? That'll be good? Or we separate the two crowds so we have enough time for all...
He said: (Looking slightly-open mouthed at TV) Ya ya, we can call everybody.
She said: Shall I says we'll have about 200 people over?
He said: (Eyebrows raised high and for a minute paying complete attention) 200??!!!
She said: Ya...that's what the guest list will look like when we put together your relatives, mine and our common friends.
He said: (Absorbed in his TV again) Ok!
She said: Shall we make the guest list first, so we know for sure how many people, before fixing the venue?
He said: (Looking more distant than ever before, and wanting the Earth to open up and gobble him) Ya sure, let's do it... but don't you have to clear up after dinner? Let's do it once you're done.
She said: (A nasty glare followed by footsteps into the kitchen and noisy stowing away of pots and pans)

Act 1 Scene 2
She said: (Rather terse and businesslike) So shall we get down to making the list?
He said: (With zombie eyes from continuous TV watching and no blinking) Hmm? Ya, sure. Why don't you get a paper and pen?
She said: (With fire in her eyes) Can't you even get up to get those?
He said: (Still looking at the TV) I'll mail you my list from office tomorrow. Anyway, your list will be longer...
She goes to the room and softly bangs the door behind her (or the li'l one will wake).

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Isn't it time for the second? No?!! Tch tch...

Dear S's second birthday is coming up and it's that point in my life when one more BIG question is thrown, very casually, in my face. Very often.
"So when's your next baby coming?" or "Now that he's two, don't you think he needs company?" Or simply "Oh you must have two kids...look at me." Or "My second one arrived just in time for my first baby's second birthday."
It's all about timing. Keep the distance. Your two years are up. Time to face the nosy relatives.
I'd love for Sonny Boy to have company. And not have teh fairly lonely life I've had. I'd love for him to have someone to grow up with, to play with, to share his joys and sorrows, his toys, his smiles.....oooh yes. I'd love for all that to happen. But the kid must just automatically take care of herself. Ya howwwl as much as you want. Flare your nostrils. Grunt at my obnoxiousness. But I'm game for a second for very selfish reasons, but honestly have no energy to care for her. Which is why I can't have her.
Her, I say. That's another reason. If I ever EVER have a second, it has to be a girl. And since God gives me no guarantees on that, I'm taking no chances. I'm going mad with one boy. Two will ensure I lose even that tiny bit of sanity left in me.
But i like the nerve of relatives who just assume I'll have a second. "Why not?" is scathingly whipped out in my face when I smile and try to say "No, I'm not having another." Like it's a sin. No offence meant to mothers of two, three, or more children. In fact the more number of kids you have, I worship you so many times more because i don't have the fortitude for it.
Some pity me in response. Most start off on their glorious (or rather smooth) experience of the second. They reassurinly tell me that THIS ONE will be easy because you've been through it all(yeah right...I'm not getting tricked again!)

But if I, the mother, is unwilling , because I'll fail to giver her my best-est, I don't think it's anybody's bsuiness to worry for me and for my son.
I wouldn't like to give someone whom I bring into this world anything but my best.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

...and the doc said (very sweetly) "you're overweight by ONLY 10 kg" !!!!

Yes, it finally happened. The annual medical do at the workplace where they always tell you to stop eating fried food. To bring down your trigliceride levels. To start exercising. (Yes, I DON'T EXERCISE AT ALL.)

I'm glad i took the test. I'm not complaining. Poor souls from the office, they come and beg us to voluntarily take all tests (including some optionals) and follow it up with a doctor's consultation.

The moment I got on to the weiging scales, I was miserable. Most of my male colleagues at that time in the room weighed less than me and had such sick grins across their face.
:-( If THAT is not depressing, what is?

During my pregnancy I lost about five kilos (I was overweight by seven kilos pre-pregnancy). So i was superthrilled at one great side effect of my pregnancy was that i actually LOST weight. Most of my family and friends had expected me to pile on at least 15 kilos because i love sweets and fried foods. But Sonny Boy made sure mamma threw up everything she ate right through till she got to the labour room almost.

I even managed to stave off the weight after getting back to work, posibly because I was still nursing him. Then I stopped. In the initial months after the delivery I was on a rather strict "confinement diet" (any Indian woman from an orthodox and traditional family will know what i'm talking about). But I had lost my appetite (from post-partum Blues) and actually didn't get around to eating much. My dear dad and hubby would occassionally sneak in foods i craved -- chips, puffs, spicy veg stuffed buns from the bakery, and even a burger once!

But once i came back to work, i would sneak-eat bhel puri and samosas, and masala dosas outside. Sneak eat because I was blackmailed every time the lil one took ill to not eat any food from outside home, not eat fried and other spicy food. :-)

But once I stopped nursing him, it was almost like i broke free. I ate, rather binged, on all my old favourites with a vengeance.

Now, that's showing. I knew it all along that i was gaining weight. I wasnt fitting into clothes that i could wear after i had Sonny Boy. So there. The knowledge was there. But i wasn't ready to act on it.

But now, when the doctor very sweetly (and genuinely at that) smiled at me and cooly said "You're ONLY 10 kg overweight. But it's ok. You can cut down oily food, exercise and try lose one kilo a month" it was a stinging slap on my face.

I've started to pile on more vegetables on my plate. Am planning to slowly phase out rice at dinnertime (which is very difficult coz rice is my comfort food). Trying to see if I can eat fruit for dinner (over a period of time).... oh it's so difficult. Just when I decide this, people are suddenly visiting and bringing gifts of!

But I will try. Control portion sizes, type of food, change eating timing..and yes EXERCISE. Fellow mothers, pray for me.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

KITCHEN WARS ...where M-I-L is always the victor

I fail to understand why mothers-in-law are wired the way they are.
What makes them treat their sons so differently from their daughters-in-law?
Why is it acceptable for a son-in-law to get away with saying "I can't live with your parents. Period." How come we daughters-in-law get the cold turkey treatment if we ever say the same?

My MIL has just been putting me through such a devastating family drama, and the centrepoint of our war -- from where we've both been shooting our volley of words -- is the kitchen.
I like her. She's been good and kind overall.

But what i don't understand is why I must make all the compromises all the time... specially in the kitchen. If i take three steps down the path to make certain changes to suit her, I also expect her to take at least two steps to make some modification in her kitchen rituals, and not waste food.

I also believe in "doing as the Romans do in Rome" so when I'm visiting her, I always adhere to her kitchen style, rules, etc etc. But when she comes visiting, it is just plain unacceptable for her to make some adjustments. Why is there such a great resistance to change?

I have certain pots and vessels for certain foods and it's really unacceptable for me when she uses my curd-making vessel to boil tea!!! It's seasoned for a purpose and I always make it a point to set things aside and tell her before leaving for work, but it's like talking to a wall. The tea will be made in that same vessel ONLY.

She needs food made fresh -- once in the morning and once again at night. I don't have that kind of time. One meal is all i can handle. So i organise a cook. MIL refuses to put away the noon's leftovers in the refrigerator. She believes such food gives her a stomach ache. So I invite her to make for herself whatever she wants, fresh. She doesnt want to cook. If i keep something in the fridge and ask her to put it out by evening for some natural de-frosting, she won't. "Because I don't eat it" is the explanation i get!!! Well, I eat it. But who's listening?

All this is still fine. What I hate is her throwing away leftovers, saying it's spoilt. I don't believe in wasting food, not when you see so many people in the world having nothing much to eat. It's not like I make large quantities either. I don't mind refridgerating and eating the food a day later.
And so my battle continues. Never once will the sons even suggest that perhaps she could comply with keeping food in the fridge even if she doesn't want to eat it. All of it doesnt have to sit out in the sun and rot. Her dear son(s) always supoort her and tell me I must not take these issues seriously and let her just throw the food away. It's no big deal, I've been told.

From where I come, that's blasphemy.
MIL created a scene one day, said some nasty things about my pareents, and walked out... now she will come to town but won't stay with us. She'll go over to the other son. I'm ok with it. It keeps us off each other's "danger" territory and we're back to our old easy cordial relationship. But my husband mopes. Goes off food and talking to me when she's in sucks.

I am now this mean daughter-in-law who refused to adjust with her MIL, who quarrelled and split up the family over some "trivial food issues".

God!! you can never please everybody...or for that matter, anybody.