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Jamai Sasthi

Jamaibabus, take note — here’s what makes the perfect modern son-in-law

Moving away from the traditional notions on Jamai Sasthi, Kolkatans list out their opinions and expectations from the jamais of today’s generation

Debrup Chaudhuri | Published 12.06.24, 08:17 PM
A pleasant disposition and financial stability are only starters — the expectations from modern-day ‘jamais’ have many more fun facets

A pleasant disposition and financial stability are only starters — the expectations from modern-day ‘jamais’ have many more fun facets

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The day of the pampering of the jamais is here. Certainly a unique Bengali festival, Jamai Sasthi traditions entail you treat your jamai as your own son (or better) and pamper him to the brim with a feast.. The expectations from the son-in-law or Baba jibon have been rather simple over the years — financial stability, bhalo mejaj or a good disposition and taking care of the daughter. But what about a modern-day jamai?

On the occasion of Jamai Sasthi we asked four people — a father-in-law, a mother-in-law, a daughter and a son-in-law — their thoughts on the qualities of a modern-day jamai and a new age Jamai Sasthi. From light hearted to deep — here is what they had to say…

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The ‘jamai’ who is thankful for no Jamai Sasthi celebrations 

‘I am treated like a king every time I visit my in-laws and I hope it continues,’ says Subhashish Paul

‘I am treated like a king every time I visit my in-laws and I hope it continues,’ says Subhashish Paul

Courtesy Srijita Bose

Being married to the youngest daughter of a rather large family, what is the pressure like on the jamai to take care of everybody’s little princess and how does the jamai get treated by the in-laws? Subhashish Paul, a chef, sheds light on the experience.

“The expectations from the in-laws are simple: take care of their daughter as best as possible and let her do as little work as possible,” he says. Subhashish and his wife work in different professions and are best friends first, so naturally the in-laws have bestowed all their trust on Subhashish. And of course, there are expectations on how their jamai should treat them as well. “On family trips, ensure the rooms and hotels are properly arranged with rooms on the ground floor and wheelchairs on standby. Apart from that make sure there is plenty of cold water available for drinking (and mixing) and delicious hot food as well,” he explains, adding that the last bit, of course, comes courtesy of his profession as a chef.

So, what do Jamai Sasthi celebrations look like for the chef who has been married for three years now. “My in-laws do not celebrate Jamai Sasthi, so there is no pampering happening on that day,” and he is thankful for that because every time he visits them, “all hell breaks loose and preparations are no less than a wedding menu.” All of his favourite food is made and the feast leaves him so full that he finds it hard to move. But Subhashish does love the pampering from his in-laws, though he believes that might stop now that the ‘honeymoon period’ of two years is over. For now though, from the time he enters the gully of their house and finds all the cars moved so he can park his to the time he leaves the driveway, Subhashish feels that “I am treated like a king, and I hope it continues.”

The mother-in-law who wants her jamai to make ‘abdaars’ 

Kajal wishes her son-in-law would make ‘abdaars’ that she can fulfil, like cooking his favourite dish

Kajal wishes her son-in-law would make ‘abdaars’ that she can fulfil, like cooking his favourite dish

Courtesy Kajal Basu

With her daughter being an only child, Kajal Basu feels that she missed out on catering to the whims and asks of a son. Now that she has a jamai, she wants him to make those indulgent demands that she can fulfil. Speaking to Kajal, an educator, we found out that she has a specific list of expectations from her jamai. “Chele ta ektu abdaar rakhle bhalo hoy. (It’s nice if he has some innocent asks). If he tells me that he wants me to cook something for him or buy him a shirt in any particular colour, I would really love to fulfil those wishes. But my jamai is a very good boy and he doesn’t make any demands.”

Kajal’s daughter and jamai are not in Kolkata this Jamai Sasthi, so she has sent them money and asked her daughter to make sure they go eat out somewhere where her jamai can eat his favourite food to his heart’s content.

As per expectations from her jamai, this mum-in-law has a very fun short list — unique for sure but not impossible. “He should be ready to fight anybody to protect my daughter, which he does, and he should know how to operate any type of vehicle, be it a scooter or a lorry.” A teetotaler herself, she is happy for her son-in-law to play bartender for the family on trips. “When we go on family trips, he should take special care of us by making sure our glasses are filled and keep making our pegs.” Let’s hope jamaibabu is ready for a fight if needed and has a Heavy Motor Vehicle licence because making pegs is the simplest thing he’ll have to do for his in-laws’ approval.

Balance is the key for this father-in-law

Someone who puts family first at home is an ideal ‘jamai’ for Biplab Pal

Someone who puts family first at home is an ideal ‘jamai’ for Biplab Pal

Courtesy Biplab Pal

For businessman Biplab Pal, it is all about balancing the responsibilities and never compromising on love. In his jamai, this sasur-to-be expects qualities that do not go out of vogue with changing discourse of time, the most important of which is mutual respect for each other’s family. As someone who grew up among siblings and in a joint family, Biplab understands the difference of growing up in nuclear families and without siblings in today’s time. Commitment phobia or evasiveness is a big no for this father, because support and shared responsibilities are his mantra for a successful relationship, while also having a thirst to do well.

“Ambition in life — there should be no dearth of that, because no job is small, and there is no replacement for hard work. The eye should be on bigger goals,” says the self-made entrepreneur who gives his best shot at work every day, and expects the same from the next generation. The dad wrapped up summing up the qualities with family values and respecting the cultures and traditions of the family. “When you are at home, your first and only priority is your family,” says the family man.

Jamai Sasthi with practical gifts and realistic expectations is a daughter’s ask

Practical gifts and reduced expectations to lighten the load and enjoy the occasion would be Soumita’s modern Jamai Sasthi

Practical gifts and reduced expectations to lighten the load and enjoy the occasion would be Soumita’s modern Jamai Sasthi

Courtesy Soumita Saha

With the unrelenting heat looming over Kolkata, singer Soumita Saha, hopes Jamai Sasthi celebrations are a simple, no-fuss affair and that her husband doesn’t harbour unrealistic expectations from his mother-in-law. “It is unreasonable to expect her to cook an entire spread. If she prepares just one of his favourite dishes herself and orders the rest that should suffice,” she says.

Soumita also hopes her husband doesn’t get emotionally blackmailed by her mother. As it happens, the invitations often leave the jamai feeling like a fish out of water at the in-laws. “The jamai should be allowed to stay within his comfort zone, and this one time a year there’s no emotional blackmail into feasting and celebrating” is what Soumita expects from the celebrations. When it comes to gifts as well, this daughter feels that it’s time to break the traditions of the jamai carrying a huge matka of doi and fish — “doi signifies mangal (auspiciousness), so a smaller portion should also serve the same purpose.” Gifts must also move away from things like saris to something more useful and practical, like a “music player, a gadget, a foot massager — basically something that is more practical and thoughtful to cater towards the mother-in-law’s needs.”

Covering all the bases to reduce the expectations on all parties we can all agree that Soumita’s ideas could make for the perfect modern Jamai Sasthi, where everyone can enjoy the celebrations together without the burden of expectations and without burning out due to the heat. Watch a movie, enjoy some cold drinks and order in. Don’t stress yourself out to make things perfect, just enjoy the occasion with the ones you love.

Last updated on 12.06.24, 08:18 PM
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