Annual Relatives Meet.
It has been a fair time since I wrote last. It has been a fair time since Diwali got over.
Diwali, of course, the festival of lights, crackers, smiles, and relatives. Relatives are altogether a different breed. Obviously, even I am somebody’s relative but being only sixteen, I am too young to be one. This breed has two branches, namely, close relatives and distant relatives. Branches of the same breed but traits so different. I never wish to meet these breeds. However, parents do manage to take you along forcefully. Curse your luck. And thus, the Annual Relatives Meet is here. Over the years, Distant relatives have become irritating because I have grown up now and all the protocols are too boring. Over the years, Distant relatives have become predictable because I have grown up hearing them. They never change. Same dialogues. I mean, come on, you need a script writer.
The first dialogue that is heard, with awesome voice modulation, “Arey, yeh toh kitna barra ho gaya.” and then you are analysed for the next five minutes, “Patla ho gaya hai. Naah. Lagta hai height bhari hai. Bhari hai na?“. Not only listening to them becomes difficult, to maintain that fake smile for five minutes takes some talent. This is not all. Next, you will be asked which class are you in. Whatever class you say, “Arey!! Eleven mein chala gaya.” The way some relatives say this dialogue may make you feel that you were celebrating Halloween instead of Diwali all the while.
If you thought it was over, think again. The second innings is when you do get bowled eventually, but how long can you resist the yorkers and the bouncers is decisive. Tea, snacks and dry fruits; three deliveries that the bowler [distant relative] may opt to bowl. “Mewa lo naa. Aur Chaai piyogi? Aye Raamuu, chaai leke aana. Naashta toh khaana hi parega. Naashta khaaye bina kaise jaane de” from one end, and “Nai Chachiji. Nai. Dekhiye aur bhi jagah jaana hai. Aur ghar se khaa ke aaye hai. Samajhiye chachiji” Eventually, your defense is broken, beaten all ends up and there goes the stumps. Lunch break.
Another round of resistance follows after lunch break. Batsmen [us] continue to struggle. This time there is no food. They have envelopes. “Aise nai. Lena toh parega hi. Hum barre hai. mera baat tumko sunna hi hoga. Hum kuchh nai sunenge.” In this round, I am the spectator. The expressions just spice up the whole act.
Amidst everything comes a reckoning of how have we, the generation X, have forgotten to socialize. Or to say, our ways to “socialize” have changed. Distant relatives, a breed whose existence is endangered.