It was with ill grace that I started peeling soaked almonds on the evening of Bhai Dooj. We were going to have a family get-together of sorts and by chance, a lot of my mom’s cousins were here in Delhi. Hence this meant that there would be a lot of people here for Bhai Dooj. I’d been pretty excited about the whole thing because I was going to meet many people after a long time, especially a lot of cousins. But all this was driven out of my head when I was woken up from a delicious afternoon-nap and handed a medium-sized bowl full of evil, brown nuts.
Basically, my thought process went something like this – what was this whole event other than a chance for people to come and ravenously wolf down food, talk amongst themselves and then go? What was the use of all these ‘get-togethers’ and all anyway? Was it going to help me hold on to relatives even if I wasn’t too fond of them or vice-versa? So why on earth did we have to go through this whole charade? Why?!
This mood continued till the time I was peeling those bloody almonds (do not, EVER, voluntarily take up the task of almond-peeling. It’s tedious, irritating and in the end, you wish you could ask Hermione for that spell she gave to Neville so that he could get all those frog-guts out from under his fingernails, because you’ll most probably need it, though not for frog-guts). Then, thankfully, I could go get ready and sit pretty till ‘the guests’ (yeah I was still slightly pessimistic) arrived.
And then, my mood changed.
You know, when you meet people you love after a long time, that first look hits you with so many memories. You remember the good, bad and best moments and you think, it’s so great seeing them again! Being surrounded by family is just so beautiful. I feel sorry for those people who have the chance to be surrounded by a loving family, but refuse it because they feel it’s overrated or unnecessary.
I, being an only child, feel the need for cousins ever so much more than many others. And I feel blessed to have cousins who love me, maybe almost as much as they love their own siblings. So how could I ever think they were coming only for the food? As my closest cousin sister chatted away with me at top speed and her younger sister followed our ‘big sister conversation’ carefully and added certain points at times, the smaller ones either got pally with each other and ran all around the house, or followed me around to complain about someone or ask me for something or just be with me. I’ve never missed out on playing the elder sister, thanks to all this. And need I say…I love every bit of it.
Coming to the uncles and aunts, most of them have seen me grow up from a newborn baby to the twenty year old girl they see today. They still reminisce about my baby days and take an active interest in my future life. Not everyone is as warm, kind and loving, but majority of them love me. And that’s what counts.
Utterly ashamed of having harboured such negative feelings about people I love so much, I threw myself into all the work to be done and helped all I could. And in the end, even though my mom, dad and I were left with piles of plates to sort out, lots of leftover food (because my mom insists on the fact that there should never be less) to store away, we were happy and upbeat. We talked about how this cousin had suddenly shot up in height or how that tiny baby had picked up the phone receiver and said “Hewo” into it, and who all we had to thank for some things they’d brought along. In short, we had loved it, in spite of all the work to be put in, before and after.
So, when’s the next get-together? :D