While growing up, I was in denial about where I came from. Bombay is where I grew up, and that city stamps you with indelible ink. One willingly embraces the ethos of the city.
So is it age, a maturing of the mind, motherhood perhaps, or even mortality that makes one delve into the past for one’s roots ?
I am from Haryana.( get an inkling of why I was in denial ? ) A state not at the top in the popularity charts. Stereotypes, and some truth, have given the state a reputation – It would seem like unemployment, poor education, rape culture, rude behaviour, all reside there. But also, my mother is a Haryanvi, as was my father. My siblings are Haryanvi. And most of us aren’t the stereotypical lathmaar/uncouth Haryanvis. Neither is my extended family who reside there. My Naani was a strong, intelligent woman. My aunts remain women of character. Some of my uncles have been gentle, family men.
I don’t speak Haryanvi very well, it is a dialect, has no written script, but these days, in our email exchanges, between the family, and whatsapp messages and Skype calls between siblings and nieces & nephews, that are geographically scattered but still very close to the heart, broken Haryanvi conveys meaning like no word in English ever can. Smatterings of haryanvi jokes make every one crack up.
So here I am today. Full nautanki, full Haryanvi, embracing my roots, draping this block printed cotton mull, in the Haryanvi style, aping a jumper style blouse that I have seen my Naani and Daadi wear – it’s a T-shirt from Australia. See, the world of fashion has been influenced by Haryanvis ! It just doesn’t have the side pockets stitched on, that Naani would keep her chabbi ka guccha – keybunch, in.
Saree # 12/100. Abhi toh paarttee shuru hui se !
I’d like one order of Elco chaat from Bombay, with a paneer paratha from my aunt’s kitchen, in Kurukshetra, sent to Bangalore, please. Thank you.

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