There is this old uncle of mine, lets call him John. Now John is among my favorite Uncles. Recently my mother revealed that years ago, Uncle John had taken a portion of her family property through doctored documents. He was exposed and the property returned back to my mother’s family many years ago. But all these years when we visited him and his family I never had an inkling of what had transpired between him and my mother’s family.
When my Dad came to know that my mother had told me this family secret he was annoyed. He felt that I would not respect this gentleman like I did before and he felt that "children" should be kept out of family politics. My mom, who usually backs down when it comes to my Dad’s policies like this, held her ground this time and argued that it was time that I knew the truth. She felt that I would still treat him the same as I was capable of independent judgment now!
I was shocked to hear about this facet of my Uncle! And unknowingly my mom opened a can of worms and soon a lot of family secrets came tumbling out of the closet of secrecy! My head started spinning as I heard the tales about people I love and their part in the small intrigues that most families harbor.
Though the family secrets shocked me, what really amazed me was the family’s attitude to erring members!! No matter how big or small the crime, it was forgotten after resolving it, with no trace of bitterness or revisits! I realized that no matter how horrendous the crime, a family member had to be forgiven and accepted back into the family fold. Of course one has to be cautious with the knowledge that one has about people in the family and their weaknesses, but one has to forgive too because there is no other way out here for errant members except complete ostracism from the family!
For the first time in my life I felt in awe of my extended family and their willingness to turn a kind eye to the mistakes of the weak among them and keep the family bond strong despite so many unsavory aspects amidst its members. What I took for granted i.e the extended family, was a result of a lot of hard work, a lot of giving and taking and forgiving! And I am glad that these people worked at it than taking the easy way out, i.e breaking off relations and depriving us i.e the youngest in the family the privilege of knowing and growing up amidst this huge sea of very nice but very human people.
I would like to believe that this revelation was my mom’s way of telling me that I am grown up now. However the look she gave me when I told her that I wanted to drive to Goa alone with a few friends, would have melted a bar of cast iron! *sigh*