Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My big extended family..

The cousin whose marriage I went for in Hyd has moved to Bangalore now! I have two maternal cousins in addition to the scores of paternal ones in Bangalore with this latest addition!! Yay!!

She visited us last night with her parents, my aunt and uncle. They had dinner with us. It felt good to meet up with them in leisure, the wedding was a rush (adding to which my Dad fell sick) so I couldn't really participate in any conversation back then. This particular cousin is a little special since as a kid i actually used to be dead scared of her. She was a week younger than my younger sister who is three and a half years younger than me. Ok, there its out. Yeah, I was puny and a coward like that when it came to people with definitely better physical strength than me;) Whenever I visited this particular aunt I used to dread her. Anything this cousin asked for I had to give else I could be faced with a broken jaw or anything in a similar degree. I used to run from her and lock myself up in a room and scream for my aunt who was my only hope of rescue. My sister of course, when I was three years older and couldn't do a thing, she didn't stand a chance. So she rarely used to risk staying overnight at my aunt's place. But being the obedient kid that I was, I usually went wherever I was asked to go. I would tell my mom I don't want to, but you know how it is. She is your younger sister, what can she do to you, and all that. Yeah right ;)

So anyway, she has grown into a very nice girl now. I still look at her and wonder (even aloud and even to her) if she is the same girl thinking of whom I used to have the shivers. And she says "Po akka, nenu ala yemi chesedaanni kanu". (No sis, I never did anything like that)

Yeah, shall we rewind? :))

Makes me go back in the past and think of those days spent idling away with cousins. My cousins are all a very important part of my extended family. And I have learnt a lot from them. They say you can never live long enough to learn from you own mistakes. So for better or for worse, my cousins were always around. When they made mistakes and got kicked, I learnt not to repeat the same things. When they did good stuff and got praised, I learnt to emulate. Summers were FUN because of them. My mom has 8 siblings. And I have 18 cousins as a result. Although the younger ones were far too young for us to play with as a team, my moms immediate elder sister's kids were the ones we most hanged out with. Her oldest daughter is 8 years older than me I think, her second daughter is 5 yrs older (she is in Bangalore too!!) and her last son is 2 years older than me. One of our favourite summer pastimes was to dance to the tunes of "Shiva" and "Maharshi" and other such Ilayaraja greats under the able supervision and choreography of my older cousins. Our favourite song of all times was "Botany Patham" from Shiva. When we met after a long long time (almost after 6 years thanks to my US life) in this cousin's wedding, we remembered that and did a mock dance of it much to the amusement of my cousins' kids ;) They were definitely wondering what kind of crazy moms and pinnis (mom's sisters) they had ;) I am sure.

My older cousins have all gotten married and have kids. I saw some of my nieces/nephews come into this world before I left for the US, some I didn't see till now. In those short visits to India, you hardly get time to catch up with people in town and as my cousins are now settled out of Hyd, it used to be impossible to see them. I was dreading meeting my niece from this older cousin. I had last seen her when she was four I think. And she is now 12. And five feet taller. It would have broken my heart if she didn't recognize me. But she did! And she settled comfortably in my lap and asked me questions about why my face has changed, how/why I became thin and such. My god I thought! She remembers all that?! Gosh!! Kids today, I tell you ;) Thankfully the only thing she didn't remember is what she used to call me. And that was "Dayyam Pinni" (devill aunt). It was partly because I used to trouble her a lot and partly because that is the best she could pronounce my name back then (this is how I console myself;) ). I reminded her promptly and we had a good laugh over it.

I so love having a huge family :)


Laksh said...

Very nice post. Reminds me of my childhood and the huge gang of cousins I grew up with.

DivSu said...

Thanks Laksh! I guess all of us have some fond recollections or the other of the cousins and the extended family especially since families were just getting more and more nuclear around the 70s and 80s.

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