When you stay away from home - you're scared, worried and distressed. But if you have family to comfort you - all the worry goes away.
For my parents staying away from home - meant moving to another country. Boriya bistar bandkey. Their common concerns involved finding suitable accommodation, good school, make enough monies and have a relatively calm/normal social life. Luckily Mother of mine had her Maamujaan staying there.
One evening we were introduced to a group of people whom we never realized would become our family away from home.
We spoke the same language. We had a similar background. We had all left our "homes" in search of a different life.
My fondest memories of City#2 were about meeting almost every week for pot luck dinners, planned picnics, birthday parties, Diwali, Eid, New Year Eve parties, movies at Strand, meeting by chance in school.
The evenings would only begin by 9:00p.m and go on till 01:00am. The amount of food and Coca Cola is indescribable. We would play Bingo, 4 corners, passing the parcel, Queen of Sheeba and the list goes on. Tanzi being the youngest was always given a prize ! Number 11 was Sonali Bendre's legs !
Eventually - the group got larger. The youngsters grew up, got married ! Their spouses didn't know what hit them - with the uncles and auntys making them the butt of all jokes !
This family would go to any length to make sure that they were part of your happy event be it in the city or at Home. They came, they danced, they cried and they laughed !
Then came small small bacha party. Also, retirement struck - the group dwindled and people left. There was always a void that was impossible to fill. But thanks to Gtalk, Facebook and various online Amchi groups - we've stuck together.
When the hard realities of life struck - this family never left our side. They were there. They are here !
Today, everyone is bending backwards, standing on their heads to get prospective grooms to get married to a few of us. We find it amusing, overwhelming and heart warming.
For my parents - this was their Clique. It is their Clique. For so many reasons that are difficult to express in words - I'm glad my parents moved to City#2 and were welcomed into their homes and hearts !
Now, I say Thank You; For the wonderful memories of an unknown land and for being better than the best.
I understand and have begun to accept the hard truth that you and I can probably never be on cordial terms. Which is fine by me. However, I'm beginning to worry. Just a little. So, again I ask of you that... next year -
Get the Metro work in Namma Bengaluru up and ready. The roads, the traffic - making people mad. Tempers flying all around and people's stress levels soaring way too high ! Also, dust - lot's
Give me strength to move from my seat and get myself a Driving License. Mother of mine and I can finally go on our much pushed away gastronomical journeys !
No heart breaks for my ponjees and Me. Now, we're tired. Either it's someone worth it or nobody at all. No in-between(s).
Good weather throughout the year.
Lot's of holidays to far away exotic locations
Monies so that I can head to Mumbai and Dilli - whenever !
Please, please - growth/supply of cocoa beans in this world never decrease/end due to global warming or any other environmental factors.
No funerals. I'm tired. Fed up.
Healthy lives for those who believe in the gift of life. For those suffering - put a stop and help them move on.
More poochie love !
Big fat or simple happy - engagement(s) and wedding(s). But lot's of reasons to look pwetty, dance and cry big tears of joy.
Children(s) get admission to good schools, colleges, universities and have the time of their lives.
Pink must never go out of fashion. More shoe stores to open in my city.
Good - jobs and pay packages - for all.
Lot's of tip tip barsa paani moments; preferably in the company of awesome-ness.
Never ending louve, support and madness from family and frandships !
I hope you get where I'm coming from, Karma.
On that note, thank you for the valuable lessons of 2010.
December happens to be my favorite month. It's wintery and cold. There are always weddings to attend. Time to dance, party and look pretty. Out of town(ies) make it a point to come over and then all hell breaks lose ! Ponjees' burrday(s). It's Christmas - so there's midnight mass, AuntyP's awesome pork curry/grilled lamb chops. Of course, New Year's Eve when people get out of their minds and things can go - pretty - wild.
One year ago - I had a relatively similar December. However, for 4 days of that month, that year - I was transported to a different zone altogether. Suddenly, I was saying "hello" way too many times ! I met - what I call today - The Clique. A group of fun loving, smart, cute, friendly, awesome, happy, cheerful bunch of people ! It was sort of "a chance" meeting. Lemony suggested I should stick around in the city of dreams and meet her Tall Darling's frandships. I couldn't refuse - because I like saying "hello."
It was a crazy time from the word go. While I had no idea about K - we hit it off. My suggestion to cook butter chicken with whatever ingredients and utensils he had was met with extreme enthusiasm. My suggestion to make jell-o shots were also received with happy-ness and ofcourse a little apprehension. As I sat there - in came Gandalf with a smile to die for and an attitude to fall for. The tall consultant followed who had a counseling sessions with me followed by a conversation with another gult that K always enjoys narrating. We head to the airport to receive Lemony, Sleepy and The Local Banker (TLB). From then on it was a sooper fun time that I'll never regret agreeing to be a part of. With crates of Carlsberg, frozen strawberry jell-o shots, Blue liquids, jeera aloo, maggi with scrambled egg - the unknown became the known ! Visit to Chillis, Mondy's, HRC ! Carrying my heavy large suitcase around - Basillico and Theos. The glowing talking ball - the passing it around - the staying up all night long youtubing - WVWT ! Strangers becoming Friends and not wanting me to leave for another day. Promises of more fun times - that have always been kept ! The downing of Tang with God knows what and why ? The auto ride to the airport without a ticket and of course Sleepy having to leave his mark roadside while Dada sings ! The next few weeks revolved around reminiscing happy times and commenting on pictures and always making sure that we sing/play Tip Tip Barsa Paani for times of immense joy.
Gtalk - Blogs - Trips to other parts of the country/world - Blackberry - Facebook - Phone Calls : Much Heart-ness !
Post this awesome winter - I'm glad and thankful that these strangers became friends. I'm glad I decided to say "hello." This Clique of this particular winter - gets my vote for many categories.
My three favorite categories of women that you invariably find in your social circle are -
The damsel in distress - who pretends to be "lost" all the time. Doesn't like doing anything by herself. Talks like a child and is always batting her eyelids. All she has to do squeal when an ant crosses her path and you'll come running to her side. One tear (fake or real) is all it takes for you to leave an important meeting. She will hold on to you. You feel needed, no; You feel wanted and in control ! Although, you're never in control. High maintenance - yes, lot's. Lovable - yes, lot's. Great practice for fatherhood.
The crazy friend - the girl who'll sit and talk to you about "anything" all day/night long. Drink lot's and lot's with you. She will help you scout. She's "awesome" and maybe you want her but you're scared - to ruin what already exists. Sometimes, maybe, it is possible - that - she intimidates you. She, on the other hand, may want to be picked but at the cost of ruining her "un-romantic" image ? Talks a lot no matter where and when. Is your mother's pick - most often. High maintenance - emotionally, yes. Lovable - lot's. You will probably get tired of this friend when she begins to steal your thunder.
Ferocious independent child - as much as she tells you that she doesn't need you, the truth is that she really does. She likes her space and enjoys the company of a select few. Snobbish at the sight of those she feels threatened by. Trying to draw boundaries sometimes with the risk of being extremely guarded and then inviting trouble. You like this child because she makes sure she's in control yet also makes you feel wanted - she craves some attention. High maintenance - yes. Lovable - lot's.
I am the granddaughter of a woman made of steel, grit and lot's of iron !
A gold medalist in mathematics, growing up in Mylapore - (quintessential Brahmin locality in Chennai, India), working in a bank. Married her 3rd cousin who loves non-veg, entertaining, golf, yoga, music and his large family.
While being lost in a society she was never exposed to, she never forgot to keep her chin up and learn to merge - to become one of them. In that process not losing what she has always firmly believed in and all that she has grown up with.
Moving and relocating to northern parts of India did seem difficult initially but this gave her an opportunity to meet the Who's Who of the advertising, marketing, FMCG industries and feel important.
She would and still does enjoy cooking. Anything. Any number of people.
She knows her languages. She fought a life threatening disease and didn't succumb to it. For that, I'm thankful !
Losing her husband at a relatively young age didn't leave her stranded but made her stronger. With the children staying abroad, she managed to relocate permanently to a city she knew nothing about. She showed the world that all it takes is courage and sheer determination to deal and survive. Living alone for the longest time - got many of us worried, but she refused and still does - to ask for or accept help; unless absolutely necessary.
She looks after my finances. She takes care of my mother's needs. She will worry for you, your family, your entire clan. She's stubborn and sometimes indifferent. She'll remind you to book your tickets on time and never visit a restaurant if she's had a bad experience there. She has given me the strength and ability to not lose faith in myself despite all that I've gone through. She wishes to see me married, someday. I wish that for her, as well.
While we argue and it sometimes gets crazy with 3 hyper women living under one roof - there is a special bond that goes beyond blood and familial ties. There is an unsaid connection of respect, admiration, love that keeps us going. We watch t.v shows, gossip about sheer nonsense, play scrabble, make mithai, holiday and laugh together - all the time.
Today I salute the woman who has taught me to smile in the face of difficulties, take care of myself, looked after my craziest needs and managed to bear with my antics for over 2 years now.
I now realize, after many years, that the definition of a relative is that of a person that you meet, greet and exchange small talk with during an important family occasion. It is only a handful of relatives that you actually intend on keeping in touch with and are able to reconnect with in a jiffy even eons after having met last.
Relatives do sometimes tend to get on your nerves, especially when you have to be on your best behaviour and answer all potentially embarrassing / uncomfortable questions diplomatically.
‘No Sir, just because I play bass in the college rock band doesn’t mean women flock to me and cling on to the point where I need to peel them off.’
‘Yeah, I DO realize my cousin is getting married as we speak and that she’s a year younger than I. This doesn’t automatically mean that I need to be next in line, maybe because I am happy at 26 and I’d like to do as little as possible to change it.’
‘Yes, an MBA is called a Post-Graduate Diploma in Management, its not like I’d be wanker enough to do a diploma AFTER I completed my engineering, you know.’
The worst ever statements are about setting one up for a future marriage, ‘laying the groundwork’, so to speak when one truthfully owns up to being single. Sometimes, it might be ok to lie to have a little less bio-gas sent your way regarding how I should go about shaping my life.
‘If I do wish to be setup, I’ll ask for it when I am good and ready, until which time, maybe you’d prefer it if I did my searching on my own?’
Love them or hate them, you’ve got some DNA in common. Some of my relatives, though, are among the most insane and awesome people I know. So I guess things balance each other out, at the end of the day, and all is at peace with the world.
The writer is a fellow clan-mate and B-school graduate currently up North. Enjoys traveling - alone, music, happy hours and a wonderful conversationalist. His writes frequently on the Notes section of his FB page.