Every time Maa and I have a quarrel, we stop phoning each other. However, a complex system, other than just refraining from the phone calls, is often at work. Despite being angry with Maa, I feel a desperate urge to share a juicy bit of gossip with her. Until I do that, i feel restless. So I start looking for substitutes. I try confiding in my 89-year old grandmother. But she is rather hard of hearing, and as I am trying to tell her about a cousin and her date, she tells me about the price of dhyanrosh at Bhowanipur market (it's one of her obsessions - checking the market price of vegetables at all markets of Calcutta, as printed on the paper). Maa, on the other hand, needs to vent about the acquaintance whom she ran into at the market in Siliguri. Since she has obhimaan, she will not call me. She tries telling Baba who is not interested. I try calling Baba up and telling him about the cousin; he says he's not interested. At last, after two days of waiting, hoping the other one calls first, one of us dials the number, the other one picks up, and after a few seconds of obhimaan related accusations, then laughter, we finally indulge in soul-baring bitching and exchanging notes. This system has been repeated time and again over the past six years, and I have discovered a semiotic triangle that correlates to the culinary triangle modeled by Levi-Strauss. Confiding in Thamma, is like boiling while cooking. The latter needs a receptacle, and hence is not a natural culinary method. Thamma cannot decipher the depths of my thought as dhyanrosh and jhinge crop into her mind, and hence is not natural. Confiding into Baba could be associated with roasting meat. The latter is a natural culinary method, and is associated with men in many cultures. However just like my disinterested father, meat can lose some parts when exposed to the fire, and thus signifies destruction and loss. But confiding into Maa, is like smoking meat. It takes more time than roasting because we have our feelings to resolve before picking up the phone. It is rather natural, but involves the phone as an outside agent like dhyanrosh and jhinge, and makes it somewhat akin to boiling. Other methods of confiding can also be situated within this triangle. Confiding in friends will not elicit the same reaction as confiding in Maa, because the former will demand a lot of footnotes. That could be like grilling, a method which involves placing the meat closer to the fire than roasting (ref: Baba, who's not interested at all).
Of course, the associations are not completely perfect, but it's not completely dismissive too, innit?
This is disgusting.