Thursday, April 26, 2012

Welcome to the family!

Photo courtesy: 80thbirthdaypartyideas.org

It was my maternal grandfather's 80th birthday, and the whole of my mother's side of the family was there, people I was meeting after 10 years and some I was meeting for the first time. There were my mother's first cousins, second cousins, even my grandfather's first cousins and their grandchildren and by then, I had lost track of who was who. There were so many introduction sessions going around at my Mama's place, it almost felt like it was the first day of college and all the classmates were being acquainted. Never had I seen such a huge crowd together, where there were so many unfamiliar faces, yet we were supposed to be family. My grandfather seemed very very pleased to be reviving lots of childhood memories with his siblings and cousins. 

And all of his children and grandchildren were busy being perfect hosts to all the relatives who were going to stay with us. We were going over sheets of papers, the adults over what menu was decided for what occasion and the younger generation over the entertainment part of the evening. There were going to be lots of people, all our relatives, my grandfather's friends and colleagues, some of his students, and basically anybody who knew him well.

The day of the celebration, a small "Pooja" was organized, and everybody participated in it. The evening was set for more fun things like a song and dance performance by all the grandkids; the youngest grandson reciting a verse from Gita as taught to him by our grandfather and what not. The most interesting part of the evening was when we had planned a quiz based in trivia related to our grandfather, like "Who was his favorite actress, what was his first school?". It was hilarious to see the audience guessing answers about who his favorite actress was, some saying "Madhubala:, others guessing "Nargis"; and finally when the answer was declared to be "Deepika Padukone", a cumulative sigh was heard from everyone.

Photo courtesy:  www.mansibhatia.com/2010/10/perfect
Now, during all this excitement, there was one person sitting in a corner of the room, feeling a little shy, a little left-out, a little intimidated. He was not sure why he was there. Of course, he was there to convey his wishes to this wonderful man, but he was not even related and he could have given anything to run away for a bit, and get some air. He fidgeted with the gift in his hand, in the process spoiling the elegant gift-wrap. He looked around the room, his eyes following the few familiar faces he knew, and trying to meet eyes with them. His eyes finally met the eyes of one person he felt comfortable with and felt a little calm, after receiving a smile from that person. But, very soon this person got busy with the duty assigned to them, and again he felt lost.

Soon enough, the evening came to an end, and everybody headed towards the dining area. This is when, I walked over to this person and tried to make him feel comfortable. I chatted about regular stuff, like the weather, how his family was, and other common topics. I was quickly joined by all my younger cousins and my sister's in-laws, and they tried joining in to the conversation too. But you know how it gets, when cousins are around, we tend to ignore everybody around and talk in our own secret codes, bickering about stuff, giggling over apparently funny things, which seem completely normal to the rest of the world. We did try involving this person in our chat, but it was his first time being around this group and naturally, took time to warm up. 

Photo courtesy: americanancestors.info
Just as he was getting a little settled in this company, with all of my guy cousins talking about video games and action flicks, to his horror, he was being ushered into a crowd of adults, being introduced to all of them. And as Indian culture goes, very soon, he was seen bending down a hundred times to touch their feet. This person was my then husband-to-be and it was his first time being introduced to the family. Ours being a love marriage, and both of us coming from opposite corners of the country, with huge cultural differences, we always knew meeting the families was going to be a challenge and making room for ourselves in each other's families a huge step out of our comfort zones. And today was the day of the verdict.

Of course, he had met all my cousins, and aunts and uncles, but today was the fateful day when he met our extended family. He had said he would be fine meeting them, but I guess, what he hadn't anticipated was, how large this extended family could be.  It was like he was the star performer of the evening. Everybody wanted a piece of him, to scrutinize him and get a chance to know what he was like. He looked like a fish out of water, considering the fact that his was a pretty small family and this was the first time he even came to know of how many possible relations there could be. Fortunately my parents were with him all the time, and signaled one of my cousins to come and get him, when they thought he had gone through enough. 

As soon as he saw all of us, the poor thing literally slumped into the chair in front of him. Me and my cousins tried being decent, but there was no way we could have stifled our laugh. looking at his puppy dog face. The jolly man that my husband is, he eyed us for a minute and broke into laughter too. He muttered, "I am glad some of your relatives are based abroad, otherwise with them, I am sure your family would be equivalent of a kingdom  in itself"!

Till date, everybody in the family talks about that day and appreciates his courage to face such a huge family. "I am surprised he was not scared away by that meeting" says my grandfather. "But the fact that he was able to hold his own and get all our relatives to like him, is testimony of his character and assurance that he can survive in this huge family". It sure was, today my husband has bonded so well with everybody in my family; that of course, if you ignore the part where he still does not remember their names! For that part, we might have to look elsewhere  for help organizing the family tree!

This entry is a part of the contest at BlogAdda.com in association with imlee.com

12 comments:

  1. Well! Cant blame your husband much considering that you, yourself, admitted to not knowing most of them:) Good post and all the best for the contest

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    1. Thanks Suresh...if not for that day, we wouldn't have something to look back at with smiles....

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  2. Aah poor P. I can imagine what he must have gone through! :) Nicely done, especially the part where he slumps into the chair and erupts into laughter. I started laughing too imagining that. Well, yes, there's pros and cons of a big family - especially the joint ones. Heard both sides.

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    1. Thanks Deepa....You can ask him about it and he still shudders at the thought of it :)

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  3. Nice read. I like your family too ;) They seem quite warm and loving :)

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    1. Thanks Namrata....I will be sure to let my big big family know of your compliment ;)

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  4. hmmm though i have never lived in a joint family but i am sure its fun... all the best amruta !

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    1. Thanks Alka....oh it is so nice to be around so many people, especially when all your cousins are almost the same age....there is always something exciting happening :)

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  5. Hey lovely family, felt very nice while reading.. All the best for the contest :)

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    1. Thanks Bharathi...I am glad my family could bring a smile to your face :)

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  6. Good one...I am also a part of your huge family & also was a part of this ENCOUNTER...really sometimes the position is very funny in such cases. Love.

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    1. I am sure, Chacha, now that we look back on that day, it brings smiles to everybody's faces, and it is these funny situations that make for wonderful memories!

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