The ties that bind

The week before last, my mother and I spent two separate days visiting various relatives and family friends, which is a lot of time considering the fact that, since we kids have grown up, we’ve fallen out of our weekly visiting-the-relatives habit. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I do start missing all those crazy people after a while.

While driving up to see the relatives, my mother and I listened to the “Rough Guide to the Music of Pakistan” mix CD that my brother had compiled for our father a while back. At one track, my mother started at the singer’s distinctively deep voice and exclaimed, “That’s Amitabh Bachchan!”

I glanced at her in amusement. “He sings, too?”
“Yes! Don’t you remember how he sang all those songs in the movie we saw?”
She and I had just watched an Amitabh Bachchan movie the day before, and she still had it on her mind: “Yaadiya, us na putthar jeh moyiay, thi ke kuch karneya? [Remember, when his son died, all that he did?]”
“That was in the movie, Ummy. I don’t think he really sang all those songs. Or this one either.”
“Well, it sounds just like him.”

Visiting the relatives is all about the food. Well, sometimes. There are very few people whose food I enjoy eating; that would be my parents’, my own and my sister’s, and Somayya and her mother’s. Well fortified with kabob, halwa, samosas, and a parathha or two at the behest of Somayya’s ummy, we continued on our way to visit other family members.

[Speaking of Somayya’s ummy, I spent the majority of one of those days hanging out with her, and all I gotta say is, If you were ever wondering where Somayya gets her crazy crackheadedness from, look no further than her mother.]

I love ’em all, but they drive me crazy. As always, conversations invariably centered around my education, the way I dress, my career aspirations (“Umm, no, I’m not going to medical school; why did you think so?”), my car, and, uh, the way I dress. Basically, the usual. Not that they could say anything bad about my car though, because I’ve had it for a month now and it still has the new car smell. Take that! My mother laughed, relaying to my uncle the story of how Somayya’s mother, upon hearing about my new car purchase, had remarked in amusement, “Oh, so it’s black just like that one sweater Yasmine always wears?” Actually, that sweater I always wear is dark gray, thankyouverymuch, but vatever. I am obsessed with sweaters, seriously.

My uncle chuckled at this story and said dismissively, “We are old-fashioned. Our kids, they know what they’re doing when it comes to car colors and clothes and things. We should just leave these decisions to them.” My uncle is a rockstar. The end.

Reminder to myself: Ramadan is coming up, and I need to focus on thinking before I speak. After all, targeting the relatives with sentences like “I don’t even answer my own phone; why should I answer yours?” and “Why are you giving us food to take home with us? Don’t. No one will eat it” sound about forty-seven times more rude and obnoxious in Hindku.

[I hung out a lot with my nieces and nephews – both the really and the fake-ly related ones – during those visits. You can see some cute little kids here.]

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