Category Archives: Relations

Relation velation

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Last week attended a marriage of a cousin’s daughter.

It all started with a discussion on whether we should go or not. Parents advised us not to, though cousin being from mother’s side, mom was okay if we went. I took a high pedestal and bragged to wify that we will go because the cousin is not well-off, and it’s a girl’s marriage, we should go. Wify snubbed me for the superiority complex and asked to be realistic. If we will go, we will go, don’t talk in terms of poor or rich, it’s all relative.

So we went. It was a working day with ceremony in a distant town, and we wanted to be in time. So we took leave from our office and drove to the place. While on the way, mom called and said no one has gone and we should go straight to the engagement in the afternoon. Bro also called. We were shocked as mom and bro live in same town. Still no one went and they wanted us to go. We talked over phone what do we give. Father advised that we should all pool the monies and give as family and not separately. I somehow don’t understand this funda, but out of respect to father I normally agree. So we wanted to give 500 each to bride and groom, alongwith a gift during engagement. Father said no give only 100 each, and no gift. He gave the argument that there are many marriages in the family, so we should restrain ourselves. We did not like it but we ag reed. The time was 11 am, we reached at 12-30 still the function had not started.  We met all relatives. And we gave 100 to groom and gift to bride. That was our midway solution. Strangely two-three of our relatives gave us lectures on adopting child. The host family never bothered about us earlier, but they started complaining why we did not come earlier and all that.

In the evening a cousin met and started asking obvious question. Which car you drive, what is your designation, your house is rented and all that. I hate it when relatives start asking these mean questions.  Aniways we met many more relatives and exchanged usual questions. Our effort of specially coming out and attending marriage was worth it since we could meet so many relatives.

We were discussing how friendships and relations are gradually becoming weaker, because we do not take the trouble to go to such occasions and revive the memories. BTW wify was right and the host family had really made excellent decoration and food arrangements, which we did not expect. So I stand corrected and agree that richness is relative.

Though somehow I felt awkward as I had expected better welcome and reception from the host, which was ofcourse wrong of me. I did think of myself special, which I am not. They were instead giving more time to their maternal relatives who had helped in making arrangements for marriage, which was justified. But human nature being human nature, knowing very well that I was wrong in expecting anything else, I kept thinking in that direction.

Father who was not in mood of going at all, went because we were going. Brother who also was in two minds did come to attend the ceremonies. So our going did help in this way also.

Relations need maintenance, as do friendships.

Don’t you think so?

Joint Family & Me

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Last weekend, we went to parents at our home town. And as always, mom told a lot of things about my childhood, which I felt like chronicling for myself.

It was a huge house, with our grandparents and families of four brothers including my father, living there. We must have been 40 people in all. So both mom and dad used to work. Mom was a teacher and father a clerk. My maternal grandma took care of me in early days. Those were the days of no-huggies, and homemade cloth nappies were used. So my nani used to take care of all those shitty, literally, things. My paternal grandma was not very keen on doing all that, I was told by mom. Okay, so a year or so after, my nani passed away. Then my mom’s deserted elder sister took care of me and later my younger brother. I had a very weak stomach, and docs advised drinking goat-liver soup. My paternal uncle took that responsibility upon himself. He brought the meat, boiled it and gave the soup to me, and enjoyed the liver himself. Sadly that uncle is no more now. And so is the aunt who had a very unfortunate train accident. May their souls rest in peace. By the way this uncle had a dairy farm, and we used to have milk straight from the udders of buffalows at times, and the butter-milk and fresh butter. Those were really the days.

OKay, so this and other paternal uncle used to teach me to abuse and call names to our parents as fun. I don’t have a real sister but cousins are aplenty. I was taken care of them when no one was around. And I faintly remember one or two older cousins having fun with me also, but those are childhood memories. So these cousins used to play with us, eat with us, and take us for walks.

There was always grandparents rooms, which were always a shelter when I was upset or wanted some alone time. My grand parents, as most are, were really nice people with no pretensions. My grandpa used to smoke hukkah, and once or twice we also enjoyed a smoke or two with him. Grandma used to make savoury sweet dishes and very tasty vegetables. She used to cook on earthen stove and the resulting taste was out of the world.

When a joint family lives together, there are always fights and quarrels, so my father and his brothers and their wives used to have usual fights but we were spared of the temporary animosities. And we could have lunch or dinner anywhere we wanted. My uncle who bought the first TV and fridge in our whole family, allowed us to watch movies and programmes and we used to borrow chilled water bottles and ice-trays from them.

WHen anyone of us fell sick, there were a whole lot of people who took care turn by turn. If our parents had to go out, they were not concerned about where we shall stay. We used to sleep in open verandah in the middle with 10-12 cots lined side by side, and enjoyed the open skies.

But now-a-days, joint families are a rarity. Even we are living separate from parents, as a nuclear family. Don’t know after 1-2 generation, will anyone remember joint family atmosphere or not.

An aside, today happy came to me and very respectfully said- I want to take your blessings for today’s interview. It gladdened my heart a lot, and I got the feeling of an elder brother. Some things even small give you great happiness, maybe happy knows this and therefore allows me to have this happiness. May god bless her.

 

Sister

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In India, we have a festival named Rakshabandhan/Rakhi (literal translation- thread of safety). This is celebrated once every year  by Hindus. On this day, sisters tie a wrist-band on the wrist of their brothers. This wrist-band is called Rakhi in Hindi and the festival is Rakshabandhan. It symbolises the sister’s love for the brother, and the implied meaning is that brothers give silent commitment to protect their sisters from all problems. Well all that and other related stories you can find on wiki and google.

My purpose of writing about this festival is the sad feeling I get on this day as I don’t have a real sister. I have many cousins but real sister is real sister.  I remember my childhood days when I used to wait for my cousins to come and tie this band. But for them, their real brothers were first priority, and we came second. They came when they felt like. On some years, they did not come. For example, if we or our parents had a fight days before this festival, they won’t come. So it was more of a formality rather than a true bond or love. Then I was  dependent on my parents for giving gifts to the cousins, a tradition of the festival. I ended up giving small change or very silly gifts, which made me a laughing stock. Then as if a game, cousins came on rotation on different years. It was all a sham. We were a joint family, so I saw my cousin brothers enjoying the love and affection of their real sisters. I was envious and jealous that I did not have real sister.

That is why maybe I had  this funny habit of making my girl classmates my sisters. In class-5 in one school, Varsha and Vanitha, my class mates were treated as my sisters. In class-8 in another school, Geeta was like a sister to me. Now that I think back, I realise it is the absence of a real sister that made me behave in this silly way.

But I do remember that every year, on this festival, I had a very sad feeling. I used to wait if the cousins will come or not, which cousin will come, what will I give, will they continue doing so all my life and so on. I felt like an emotionally dependent idiot but I could not control my feelings and could not share with anyone also.

This foolishness has come down now but now that I write about it, I think of happy, a present team member as my sister and have told her so also. So my feeling of lacking something in a real sister still continues. Some relations  or their absence maybe tortures you throughout your life.

I know having a sister is not all a bed of roses. In this world a sister means a big responsibility also, but still I miss having a sister, specially on this festival day. I wrote a poem in Hindi today on this feeling. For my Indian readers, here it is

वो कैसी होती होगी, वो क्या एहसास होगा,

बिना शर्तों का मासूम प्यार, अठखेलियो का वो संसार,

ममत्व, अपनत्व , सौहार्द , निस्वार्थ सा मीठा सा आभास,

वो लड़ने-झगड़ने का अनुभव, वो रूठने-मनाने का मज़ा,

कुछ कड़वा, कुछ खट्टा, कभी अज़ीज़, कभी लज़ीज़,

कहीं बचना बचाना, कहीं सजना सजाना, कहीं चुगली लगाना

कभी दोस्त, कभी बेटी, कभी माँ सी

कभी डॉक्टर, कभी नर्स, कभी दुआ सी

ज़िन्दगी जैसी, बंदगी जैसी, फूलो की क्यारी जैसी

प्रेरणा, संवेदना, प्रार्थना, निश्छल संवाद का नाम,

कुछ अजनबी एहसास का नाम,

एक अधूरे रिश्ते की कसक.

एक अलभ्य की ललक.