October 6, 2011

The Jing-Bang of a Family!

Posted by Suruchi at 12:18 AM

Yes, this is in dedication to the big fat clan I belong to-The Arora battalion as I like to fondly call them. I hail from a very widely spread out family tree whose roots and branches are hell bent on spreading in as far a direction as would be physically possible for them. Often people ask me, ‘So how many people are there in your in-laws?’ And I say, ‘You name an in-law that should be and surely would a hand be raised to mark present!’

If I got you baffled here just imagine a typical Sooraj Barjatya flick with an over the top family saga and endless characters taking up the screen space-you’d get a picture of things in my humble abode, only a bit doubled for the members in line here go on and on and on. After my wedding I even jokingly asked our chaiji, my father-in-law’s mother, ‘Aapke zamaane mein family planning nahi hote the na?’ We have five generations living in the same house and all together. And hey, we better not come in the eyes of the Population Control Board else taxes and fines would make us national headlines.

I remember the time I had just got engaged to my dearly beloved. Before putting a tick mark on me by the ‘boy’ there had to be a preview of the ‘girl’ from the boy’s side. So a meeting was arranged in a temple ground and my mom, me and a family friend who got the negotiations started, waited there under the shade of a tree with bated breath, to let them come and the on-the-display ceremony to commence. A big car came to a screeching halt, followed by another car not so big. I was wondering if a police escort drill is under way, when there emerged a seasoned smart lady, followed by another and then yet another and ho!ho! another still! A pretty young thing came out next and then another and another and more galore! Made me wonder how just two cars could have possibly contained so many people or did they sit on each other’s laps and in the bonnet and come?

Oh my good god! Almost the whole jing bang had arrived to inspect whether the prospective new entrant in the family was good enough or not. I looked here and I looked there-anywhere I looked, a specimen of the Arora battalion smiled sheepishly at me and I smiled back. I could sense being eyed from top to bottom and didn’t know what to do to hide my bountiful bottom for even if I faced one-my butt faced another. The introductions came about followed by-what have you studied beta and what do you like to do in your free time- I mean reallyyyy, I was wondering at the back of my mind-they STILL ask these questions? Thank god for small mercies, I didn’t have to bring in a tray of tea and enumerate which all snacks I had made for then they would have to suffice with Maggi and whether the tea cosy was hand embroidered by moi. I was almost anticipating the unfurling of a scroll with some questionnaire and was gearing up with my general knowledge and home science when soon they lost interest in me almost insulting hain na? and a bitching and gossiping session went under way against those unfortunate members who were not present there at that time I later realized that it was a sort of family tradition, carried on perhaps through generations-a little gossip keeps our doctors away. And my god, they were explicit-it was as though I was suddenly transparent and so were they-I mused, ‘Kya family hain!’

Anyways, I passed the litmus test and also finally the boy-meeting-the-girl- test which was strictly "private"-just twenty people from the clan as against four of mine with flying colours because my dearly beloved says he was hooked at first sight. The ‘rooka’ ceremony at my beloved’s home soon came by and yo-ho, more members and more introductions! I was almost tempted to check the closets to ascertain if there were few of them hiding in there because they kept tumbling out at astonishingly regular intervals. 'Beta, yeh hain bade papa, yeh chote papa, yeh Abc papa, yeh Cde papa and more papas and chachas and tayajis and buas and masis and mamis' and endless list of cousins popping out and asking, bhabhi, you remember me don’t you? Ya sure, I would say-you are the cute one, you are the intelligent one, you are the sweet one because honest to goodness, I would be damned if I said I remembered what their parents addressed them with yes, diplomacy is my middle name sometimes. Since the gift envelopes in my hand were doubling with the same lightning speed, I gave up counting heads in a while for even in utter helplessness we women tend to not lose sight of monetary delights amassing within our reach to splurge.

After that was the toe touching ritual. I was pleading to bhagwan ji in my mind-why can’t they all just stand in a line so in one breathe I go about touching everyone’s feet and get over with it. I was even contemplating to suggest the flying-toe touching version like the flying kiss ones. I mean, I had to bend and then stand, bend again and straighten up, hold the neck of my kurta from sinking dangerously low and then bend again. I truly believe that severe back aches in women are an indirect outcome of the toe touching rituals that they are subjected to and also if everyone lived in joint families like these they would not need gyming never mind the fact that I still do-it proves I am exceptional in more ways than one.

At the next meeting with my dearly beloved, I went all armed to face the crisis-a big art sheet, a pencil and a rubber. I drew a big tree and then a flowchart of the members and their siblings with offspring and their off springs and any other extensions I should know of. All names neatly written and relations enumerated for me to go home and mug up and also tell my parents so that they do not commit any blunders that cause the words, "Baraat wapas le chalo" uttered at the mandap and me saying a long, screeching 'Naaahiinnnnn!' And here I had thought my education days were over! My father- in-law has four real brothers and a sister and then his father had many siblings and thereby a cartload of chachas and cousins whom I don’t think I would be able to humanly categorize or recognize even now or ever in this birth!

So like this, a nuclear family girl got entry into a big household, thronged with people of all shapes and sizes, egos and magnanimities, sweetness and sourness-and boy what a ride it has been!

If we could ever collect everyone at one place to be clicked, we'd probably look like this!
 Each one here has welcomed me with such open arms in their existing fabrics that I never felt that I didn’t belong here in the first place. Being the youngest I feel so overwhelmed when everyone pampers me to the hilt-all my eccentricities are ignored and whims upheld as they go out of their way to show how much they care. And the children of the house and I, have formed mutual admiration societies. When the whole clan gets together, the guffaws can be heard till miles down the street and the dirtiest of naughty minds were all born and nurtured here. We can never have small gatherings or small hearts. Oh God! I must have done something right to deserve this and hope and pray that I and they continue to do so!


Rachit on October 6, 2011 at 3:33 AM said...

I can relate very well to it.. we are a battalion of Sharma Parivaar.. :D

But then I love it.. having loved one's in each and every nook and corner of Lucknow with so many cousins. And then so many parties(family) to attend. Just unimaginable but awesome.

Weakest LINK

Paanipuri Lover on October 6, 2011 at 8:33 AM said...

Awww! You are one lucky girl! Joint families are so super, I tell you, 'cause i live in one! And if by mistake I getmarried and have a nuclear family, God forbid, but all hell will break loose! My family has pampered me, loved me, stood by me and I love it! Who'll pull my hair and who'll pick up a fight with me, if I were in a nuclear family? Who'll support me in my mischievous schemes, if it is not my chachu! I love my family!
And as for your family, I know you love 'em too! Lovable they seem!
Nice post! Makes a very interesting read! :D

The DRAGON in the skin of a goat ;-p on October 6, 2011 at 9:02 AM said...

Fun read there Suruchi...I've wanted to get wed into a whole big banyan tree kinda family too, but now that it's happenning it's scaring me to the hilt...each one is a namoona and I can tolerate them only in small doses. I wonder what I'll do when we'll have to share the roof!!! Guess it goes with the territory and we all will learn to live with it. So how many have you contributed to the Arora battalion?

PeeVee on October 6, 2011 at 9:31 AM said...

I don't know half of even my own family members, nuclear family bred outside state and all that, so you have my envy there, Madame.

And please tell me the toothbrushes are not for real!:D

I don't know whether to laugh or go awww because the way you ended is on a very different note from where you started:D
Either way, a Suruchiworthy post, as always.

Red Handed on October 6, 2011 at 9:38 AM said...

I have tasted a joint family too. Hahhah this was such a warm, cut yet funny post. I loved the way you brought the points out. You do your work really well mam!

Alka Gurha on October 6, 2011 at 10:13 AM said...

You are blessed is all I can say....with writing skills as well as a loving caring, BIG family.

maithili on October 6, 2011 at 12:23 PM said...

I seriously loveee the bigg family! All festivals become so much more enjoyable and yes you always have someone to back up for you when you are getting shouted at :P :P

I live in a nuclear family so I really can't say how it would be in a joint family.. What can I say, you are truly lucky to be in such a family!

Suruchi on October 6, 2011 at 12:53 PM said...

I know right-the party never ends in a joint family...there is always someone’s birthday or anniversary...a new baby born or a job acquired. But then you need as many clothes and dressing up as a cake!
The fun part often discounts for it though:-)

Suruchi on October 6, 2011 at 12:54 PM said...

@Paanipuri Lover,
I always feel that girls of a particular set up of family should venture into a similar one-like joint family girls find it very lonely to go into nuclear families and those used to of independence and a handful of people, find it intimidating to run into a mela and interference in a joint set up:-)
Some handle the transition well, some don’t!
Thank you for reading:-)

Suruchi on October 6, 2011 at 1:37 PM said...

@The Dragon,
Oh wow, you are getting married!:-)
Haha and you so sound like me for I am also a very private kinda person and can handle people only in small doses-never you mind...with time you’ll find ways of moving around and with everyone:-)

And I have contributed just one daughter to the battalion although she is as good as an army for she really is THAT mischievous :-)

Suruchi on October 6, 2011 at 1:38 PM said...

Actually not knowing family members is also exciting-there are always chances of meeting cute cousins and distant cool relatives:-)
Those toothbrushes were found on the net-agar sach mein mere ghar mein aisa hota then I would have preferred carrying the brushes in my purse(actually eloping-but never mind that)

Thank you for always appreciating and yes, I never know myself how I begin and how I end:-)

Suruchi on October 6, 2011 at 1:40 PM said...

Thank you so much-though I really didn’t do here anything..it was all done and I was done for;-)

You are such a sweetheart:-)
And here’s wishing back the blessings to you too:-)

Thank you and yes, the sorrows become bearable and joys doubled:-)

TheGirlAtFirstAvenue on October 6, 2011 at 1:41 PM said...

haha... i was laughing all through the post! I come from a huge joint family too and its just going on increasing.. all my cousins got married into families that are just as huge.. so now whenever we meet.. its like an army! The kind of support u enjoy from joint family is great.. it has a lot of advantages but there are times when i crave for a little privacy!

Suruchi on October 6, 2011 at 2:25 PM said...

Yes, absolutely...sometimes you feel there are to many people breathing down your neck and sometimes you feel all snug in the same warmth...

That's how everything in life is na? You can't live with or without them:-)

Thanks for appreciating:-)

subtlescribbler on October 6, 2011 at 7:56 PM said...

Even i have my relatives living near by and i cold soo relate to ur post. recently married 'bhabhi's' keep on asking us as to who is who in the get togethrs!
But having a joint family is like a party every weekend...u really dont need anybody else :D


TheBluntBlogger on October 6, 2011 at 11:30 PM said...

Sigh! How I wish I had a family like that. Mine is a registered marriage against my in-laws wishes and I have not been introduced to the Gupta clan yet :D


Suruchi on October 7, 2011 at 12:06 AM said...

It is not as glorious as it seems on the surface, or at least not always...but yes, get togethers do get a special charge when you realize half the people in the big fat party are on your side by blood:-)

Wow, that sounds sooooooooooo adventurous-and never mind the clan when you have a sweet husband with a plan;-)

Mystical Skeptical Me on October 7, 2011 at 1:34 AM said...

You know, I have not been in a joint family ever, so honestly, I don't know much...but reading about the "Arora Parivar" made me grin and smile all through the post! I can imagine the love being showered on you! :D

Suruchi on October 7, 2011 at 9:14 AM said...

Thank you...it is funny at some time and fun at another:-)
And thank god for the love showered otherwise living with so many inspecting and suggesting eyes would have taken me for a spin:-)

Viya ;) on October 7, 2011 at 4:17 PM said...

haha!! :P nice read ;)
The toothbrush picture literally freaked me out!!!
Man! hats off to you.. :) i don't think i would ever be able to handle a huuugggeee family! :D

Suruchi on October 7, 2011 at 7:17 PM said...

Thanks Viya,
That toothbrush picture is sooooooooo awesome-It could be used by the Family Planning Commission as a deterrent;-)

And thank you, sometimes I wonder it would be nice if I had more hats too off them for myself time and again;-)

meoww on October 12, 2011 at 8:19 AM said...

whoa whoa whoa..it actually sounds like a suraj barjatya style movie..with all the super duper dhamaka..hmm..i have always lived in a nuclear family..just me and my parents..hmm..i always feel i have missed out on so many things..:(:(:(
and it must be tough na..to handle such a huge clan..phew..kudos lady..:):):)

and i loved the post..it was such a warm description..:) lots of love to you and your family..:):) cheers :)

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