Wednesday, January 02, 2008

My Family..

Family gives us an identity - both personally and in social circles. This was one of the characteristics of the term 'Family' i learnt in class 7 or was it class 3 now? School was not my happy place, so i don't remember the nitigrities too well.

My family, like all other Indian families i suppose takes this above mentioned trait to a whole new level. I could call myself, Gayatri Bhadran - almost graduate, fraud mallu, potential field journalist, wannabe Bipasha Basu et al.

But in THIS family, I am the great granddaughter of C. Keshavan - writer, freedom fighter, philosopher, the very first Chief Minister of Kerala state. Or i could call myself Gayatri Bhadran, youngest granddaughter of Captain P Thyagarajan - Deputy Port conservator, a very charming, dashing merchant navy officer who had a tale or two to tell - which would either leave people completely shocked and at a loss for words or it would leave them amused and in splits of laughter.

When i was younger, I LOVED family get togethers, back then Family Gatherings = Loads of good food, mischief and 25-30 equally crazy, mad cousins who'd help me with my pranks.

But the older i got, I began to loathe these family gatherings. There were too many nameless faces who walked up to me and enquired with glee, "Gaayaaatri, do you remember meee?" and right there I'd find myself in a tight spot.

Aunts of all shapes and sizes draped in expensive sarees, looking everyone up and down and commenting on how much weight has been gained or lost, where they got their earrings from, who is the prospective groom X for bride Y - that lucky girl, she has quite a catch, the servant lady ran away with the driver man - and so and on and so forth. Juicy tidbits of gossip always float around these women.

The uncles on the other hand are loud, huge, boisterous and crack dirty jokes like nobody's business. They claim to know all about computers, IT professions, fitness regimes and who Bollywood's sweetheart is at the moment.

Yesterday, after a grueling zillion hour train ride, I stepped foot on God's Own Country - my native town - Trivandrum or Thiruvananthapuram (Phew!) No sooner had i reached home and bear hugged my grandmother, she announced that I must get ready A.S.A.P and rush to a close relatives' house as it was the 16th day function of his late wife and as a passing comment she mentioned that i looked emaciated and food deprived.

15 minutes later, we ( mom, gran and me) squeezed ourselves into a Maruti Wagon R and headed off to the relative's house. All eyes were on us latecomers (a few disapproving glances and head shakes) as we got out of the car.

The widower, one of my grandfathers (i have roughly around 10 grandmothers and grandfathers - its all part of being a malayalee) looked up from his food and teared. We rushed to his side, hugged and kissed him and then seated ourselves for an elaborate, sumptuous Sadhya (a typical south Indian vegetarian meal served on a banana leaf)

Sadhya done, I chatted up one of my favourite uncles ( yes, again i have a million uncles and aunts) said polite hellos to the aunts and then settled down with all my uncles.

The next 2 hours were a blurry haze of nonsensical chatter, huge bellies wobbling with laughter, crude comments and of course dirty jokes (this goes without saying you know)

MY FAMILY - You'll either fall completely hopeless head over heals in love with them OR you'd loathe them at sight. But i assure you, if you stick around a while, they'll grow on you and before you know it, you'll be one of them.


Compassion Unlimitted said...

Hi Gayatri..nice one to begin a new year with..great to know more about you and your family and for being open about it in the blog..many of us dont yet have the courage
Family reunions have so much in them especially on the bonding
great ma

crazyBugga said...

"C. Keshavan - writer, freedom fighter, philosopher, the very first Chief Minister of Kerala state"

And then there's u. [:P]

kiddin! have a nice new year!

Mark IV said...

hmm... nice... me- ive carefully stayed away from boring reminisce and unrelated past, random comments and other such things that these tend to bring in... but well, i always knew there was an other side as well! :-)

JollyRoger said...

Nice post. This will soon past with nuclear families!!!!

Sai said...

Hahaha I think all us Fraud Mallus OR NRKs (for want of a classy abbv) would Nod in agreement over this 100% :D .. U know wot babez, When sm friggin aunty, who might be related to me in those chain links our relatives use so often (father's mother's bro-in-law's & few more... u get the picture), comes to me asks me "Mone do u remember meeeeeee" .. I jus give a small smile n say "No". Thats it n then i turn around n give my evil grin. I even call few of my relatives as "Black n White","the uncle with tht dog" (haha I love it) .. But generally I think relatives are pests !

Sai said...

P.S: Wasn't EMS Namboothiripad the 1st CM of Kerala ? .. Oh wait Wiki says CM of Travancore-Cochin .. Wow babe Nice ... my family also ahs the habit of throwin ancient names around .. Deewan of Kollam n blah blah :D (I admit I sometimes use it too just to show off to my mallu frenz) lollz. Vanity eh ?