About a year back the twins had to make a family tree and while helping them I found my side of the family far outnumbering the Husband’s side - my five siblings to his two. It was only later that I realised I had included my cousins in my count of siblings. But then the Hindi language doesn’t really have an exact word for ‘cousin’ and that’s how it was with us.
We didn't live together but the summer holidays would see the six us of in our hometown. Since we lived with our grandparents our home became the place where some fifteen to twenty of us would gather for one whole month of crazy celebration.
It was an old house, not too large. We wonder now, how we fitted in. What's more we managed with a single washroom between the entire bunch of us. (We now have two washrooms and three people in the house, with the husband being away, and yet there’s constant squabbling).
Studies and work finally put an end to the tradition and almost a decade rolled by since we were together. We tried to meet up a few times but the magic half-a-dozen was never complete.
Then last month one of our cousins was in India for a couple of days and we decided to give it a serious shot. We realised how hard it is for six people to drop their responsibilities even for the space of a single weekend!
One had to postpone dropping off his daughter to boarding school, another one rushed back from a a holiday with his family, yet another one wrapped up a seminar she was organising.
The Husband flew down to look after the kids(and attend a PTM that had to crop up just that weekend), while I was away.
After much planning and coordination we were there, together, in my aunt’s house. Nothing seemed to have changed. Of course the figures were fuller and the hair was thinner but that was about it.
|US: Then and now and that quote is one of my favourites|
It was like we’d never been away. We sat around the dining table and talked. Then moved to the verandah and talked some more, then decided to take a siesta and ended up talking again.
It was two days of catching up, piecing together memories, one filling in details the other one left out, debating who’s fault it was in ‘that’ incident, digging out long-forgotten nicknames, laughing over incorrigible pranks, reminiscing about the time we smuggled cigarettes, got caught and got the blasting of our lifetimes.
And there was food —- enough to feed a garrison.
Those two pictures, taken at the same place, years apart, will remain one of my most cherished memories. Nothing can beat the warmth and affection built over years of togetherness and I shall forever be grateful for that. The memory of this trip will last a long long time but we're not going to wait another decade to meet again.
and also to
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