Monday, July 2, 2012

The Web Glue!

"Sukhakarta Dukhaharta Vaarta Vighnachi, Nurvi Purvi Prem Krupa Jayachi..."
Even as I was ringing the silver bell in my hand and my husband held the Arti Thaali, we could hear the chants of the Ganesh Arti from behind us. The voices were coming from the laptop, and no it wasn't a pre-recorded Ganesh Puja! It was my parents singing the "Arti" with us on Ganesh Chaturthi. The laptop was strategically placed so that they could see the Ganpati idol and actually be in front of the Lord. Even though we were thousands of miles away, me and my husband in the US and my parents in India, the great invention of video chat had enabled us to actually celebrate this festival as a family. It felt wonderful to be able to do that and to virtually have our parents with us. 

You see, every family has small traditions that help them bond over things that other people might not understand. For some, it could be a particular restaurant or type of food, for others, it might be a favorite movie. No matter what that common thread is, every family has a unique glue that keeps them together. For our family, there have been lots of small things that made my childhood so memorable. But, there are some that just stand out. Since, ours is a multicultural family, we celebrated almost every festival. Be it Ganesh Chaturthi, Holi, Diwali, Gudi Padwa or Sankrant. Apart from the glee over the fact that we would have a day off from school, the preparations for the small or big festival, as a family, is what has lingered on with me even today. I fondly remember the traditions associated with each festival and the family time we would spend over it, trying to get everything perfect. Making the rangoli, preparing sweets, the flower garlands, all of it made that day so much more special. I have a distinct memory from each festival: visiting all the Ganpati Pandals around town to see which was the biggest, most colorful, most beautiful idol in the city; driving up all the way to the biggest Durga Puja procession on the first day of Navratri, with loud drums sounding over the silent city; getting ready with water balloons for Holi; running downstairs to our bicycles, and later our Scooty and Dio, to clean them up on Dusshera. 

Irrespective of the festival, all I can remember are happy faces and the wonderful feeling of togetherness, that can only come from being around family. Today, even though my sister, me and my parents are spread over the world, these festivals, preparing for them and even virtually being a part of each other's celebrations, ignoring the crazy time zones, is what has kept us together. Reminiscing over how we used to do it, and carrying forward that tradition gives us the feeling that we still belong together, even with the physical distances. It is human nature to want to feel like we belong somewhere, that is when we feel most comfortable and are unguarded. 

Apart from these festivals, there are many other anecdotes of our family time together. Summers would be the best time to bond, since we didn't have homework or anything to worry about. Once done with dinner, we would step out for long drives, pick up some coconut water, and put on songs, which me and my father would sing to, word-by-word. That is how good we were at going over and over these songs, until we had them memorized. Even today, if a song that we bonded over, plays in the background, we can't resist from singing the whole of it. What is amusing is, this happens even when I call him overseas and still we can sing out the words and have a good laugh over the memories. I love that we have these little things that make me feel so close to my parents, that I almost forget I am half a world away from them. 

It is things like these that make it easy to pick up where you had left, when you go back home on vacation. The fact that I can watch Marathi serials with my mom, is only because we talk over it even when I am not in India. It is these little quirks that keep the comfort level going and doesn't change anything, no matter how old you have grown or how far you have flown. I am glad that unknowingly these little traditions have stuck with me, and me and  my husband have adopted those to be a part of our routine, like going out for long drives as my family did; or playing cards once a week, like we did as children in the summers. It is natural for us to try and repeat those things that brought us joy, since we associate happiness with those activities. And I for one, can assure that doing family things even if you are seeing them after years, never fails to bring on the smiles. When my parents visited me and my husband last summer, we did all those things that were trademark of our family, and it was surprising that these little things eased my husband into becoming a part of the family too. 

I am sure, every family has wonderful little memoirs of their together time, but I only wonder, how different things could have been, if not for this great invention of internet, which has given us social networking sites, video chat options and the possibility of staying in touch all the time. Internet has given us a lot of blessings, in terms of easy access to information, e-banking, etc., but I personally, consider its ability to tie the family together as one of its biggest innovations. 

This blog post was written as a part of a contest on Blogadda about family memories, but I ended up sending a different entry. So, just revisiting an old post!


  1. Very nice post Amrutha..:-) All the best for the contest..:-)

  2. Hi

    Very Nice post and yes, Internet has played a huge role in retaining family bonds....

    1. Thanks, I am sure a lot of us would agree on that :)


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