My mother’s sister and her husband inspire me in several ways. This post is just a massive thank you to them.
My earliest memories of India are deeply rooted in spending time with my aunt and uncle in Bangalore. I was the NRI kid who came down for a month or so, and when I did, there were certain things that were bound to, and had to happen.
The first was that everyone would notice I had grown. Sometimes I had become slightly chubbier and more round, sometimes I had tanned. This one time I had gotten a new set of teeth. Observations about a species educated in a foreign land tended to take up a lot of time. Apart from that came the fact that I was paraded around as ‘My Mother’s Son’, a title I’m proud to hold, but one that meant meeting too many people I didn’t remember. Which led to more people observing me and wondering if I was the same as a kid from Bangalore.
Will he like chakkali? Can he eat our curd?
Yes, and no.
I love chakkali. I could not eat curd that was made at home. Mainly because of cream, which disgusted me as a child.
The first people to break away from this trend of spoiling and catering to my needs were my uncle and aunt. Note, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t pampered by them (I still am). It just meant that they were the first people I was totally comfortable with. I feel a large part of that has to do with the fact that I was 1 year old at their wedding, parading around in my multicoloured wardrobe.
The other thing that happened, every single time I came to Bangalore, was trip to Amoeba followed by Pizza Hut. This HAD to happen, and I looked forward to weekends very often, just to go bowl and eat my pizza. I sucked at bowling, big time, and needed gutters to help me. But I grew through Bowling and Pizza – eventually to the number 6 ball and a medium pizza with garlic bread (on my final trip here as an NRI).
This trip was a lot of fun because it was mostly just the 3 of us, chilling. I could talk about whatever with them – that still holds true today, without any fear of judgement, and they always found a way to keep me entertained, be it boxing with me or buying me storybooks my mother had an aversion to(thanks for Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire [Gangarams]).
It was beautiful. A large part of that relationship stayed the same when we moved back to India, because they saw me grow in front of them.
See, my blogposts will tell you how cool my parents are. My aunt and uncle? Well, you decide.
I went to my first IPL game with my uncle and we had a blast. My aunt came for a fundraiser concert we organized when I was in school. They both also ensured that while I was being disciplined at home – in terms of, ‘work hard, it’ll pay off’, I learnt to give myself a break when I deserved one.
My uncle, to this day, is the one person I admire because of his breadth of knowledge on a variety of topics. The NBA? Cricket? Politics? Books? Movies? He’s got you covered. He is one of the few people in front of whom I feel like my opinions need to be water-tight. Faff can get me past a lot of people. My uncle? Never.
My aunt is who I go to when I’m having a rough time, and I didn’t realize this until today. Since my dad was abroad, a lot of times, my aunt has come and stayed over with my mum & I, if Amma was unwell, or if something was up. We’ve gone over to their house too, just to stay over, if Amma needed a break. She’s also super, super creative, and if there’s one person in our family who whole-heartedly appreciates my horrible jokes, it’s my aunt. She’d be the only one genuinely laughing if I did stand-up comedy. Even my mother would laugh out of pity.
I saw this correlation in my brain when my aunt sent me French language jokes today. I didn’t understand why – she hates forwards as much as I do, and we have pretty much the same opinion toward most things (though I don’t get how she doesn’t like chocolate). It was when I replied, and she said ‘Mission Accomplished! I knew this would bring a smile to your face :)’, that it hit me. I’ve been having a rough few days, and to think that she wanted me to laugh it off was pretty awesome.
My aunt and my uncle were this crazy alternative support mechanism I had, because along with my parents, these guys bridged an age gap by being cool and relatable, but also mature and strict at times. Physics was legitimately the lowest point of school life, and while both parents were super supportive, lots of analysis and self-actualization about Law came about in one conversation with you both. Swalpa senti I’m getting but I remember things vividly.
So, thank you guys. I need more words to explain everything, but thank you. Thank you for housing me for a month during internships, for packing my dabba daily when I worked, for telling me I need a girlfriend in life, for explaining to me that decisions are easy when you compartmentalize your wants.
For taking me to the doctor when I fell sick in Bangalore, for making tomato saaru with floating tomato pieces, and, for being the ONLY people to understand that a 2nd Grader DOES NOT need to do Holiday Homework.
I’ve been lucky to have you around. Thank you. 🙂