Circa 2005: Me and my eldest brother had gone to the airport to pick up my Dad. Upon arrival we were told that the flight was late by half an hour. While I sat at the chair outside, my brother went to pick up some magazines. Suddenly I saw a Taxi arriving and disgorging a whole lot of my relations from Kerala onto the road. There was my Uncle (my moms first cousin) and his brand new wife and her parents and siblings. I had been to their wedding and hence recognized the brides people. I was so happy to see them that it escaped me that no one knew of their presence in Bangalore. It was while talking to them that it came to light that they had come to Bangalore a week before and the fact that neither of my parents or any other relations knew of the same.
I felt terribly hurt. I did not understand how he could have come and gone without even calling up to say hello. This did not happen in my family. We are a very close knit family with no formalities amongst us. Anyone can drop in anytime and expect to be given food and board without question.
My parents dismissed the incident with an excuse that perhaps he was too busy to call up. But I was not convinced and felt very hurt. He did call up later and apologized to my parents and never did it again.
Circa 2008: Last week I went to drop my ex colleague and good friend to her PG after a movie. After dropping her to the gate I was walking back to the car when I heard someone shouting my name. I looked around and saw my Uncle from Kochi waving to me furiously. He looked so happy to see me!! I was flabbergasted to see him in Bangalore because I didn’t know he was here.
He came running huffing and puffing, mighty proud to have caught up with me. He explained between gasps and pants that he was shouting my name for some time and was quite sure he would have lost me. He explained that his wife’s cousins lived here and they were visiting them. Soon the wife came and joined us. My aunt explained with an embarrassed smile that they didn’t have time to call us. I pretended great understanding at their predicament while inside it hurt bad to know that this Uncle, one of my favorite since childhood, had not called up home or told us that he was here, even though he later made it a point to drop in home .
In both cases, the new entrants in the family, the wife were the people who were unaware of the culture of a large family. Some were even miffed at their spouse’s penchant for following age old family customs. Over the years, many new entrants have come and been assimilated in the family and are happy to be part of this large whole. These are people who realize that they are part of a family that accepts them no matter who they are and what their net worth is.
On the other hand there are some like the two examples above, who harbor the age old feelings of envy and or inferiority complex or plain aloofness that prevents them from appreciating familial bonds and niceties. What a pity. I have seen several new relations like this, who act all boorish and then with age, regret the time they kept away from a large but loving group of people for petty reasons. Life is short they realize a bit too late.
But it hurts bad when you come across cases like the ones I mentioned above. It is like being rejected by ones own. I wish every new entrants into new families, whether a guy or a gal realize this and accept and appreciate the spirit of their new families!
p.s do read this beautiful post!