Thursday, 21 June 2012

Lets talk about the weather

When I was a child, I lived with my aunt. Wait. That came out wrong. We were a joint family, so my aunt was there at home. But so were my parents. And my grandfather. And my big sister. And uncle. For the most part, that is. Occasionally, one or the other relative came and lived with us, briefly.

The aunt, though. She was the head of our household. And boy. She ruled with an iron fist. Margaret Thatcher would have been proud. Why? Indira Gandhi would have been proud as well. I am sure, if she could, she would have made us salute her every morning.

I am not sure why we all put up with her shenanigans. But thats how the die used to roll. Even my grandfather, who was often accused of being a bit of a patriarch, would crumble down in front of her beady, disapproving eye. My parents, they had no hope.

Sometimes I feel I inherit from my mum, not just genetically, but also based on watching her as I was growing up, that ability, maybe disability, to just allow others strong wills to wash over. I argue often that its because I truly don't care. But at the core is something else. Something not too nice, thats inside us both. Which was fostered by years of living in that household.

So the aunt, she was of course one of those traditional ladies of that generation. The kind that holds aloft the rules of bygone eras like shields. Dishes were triple washed. Once by the maid, in tap water. Then by my mum, likewise. One final time by the aunt, using well water (which stank though, again a matter that we were not allowed to say much about).

My sister is not like me. In fact, we are chalk and cheese. In adulthood, you would probably say that she is the easy going one. While I am the vociferous one who might get in your face (if I stopped living my life long enough to care). But when we were kids, she was really, all over the aunt. She tolerated very little nonsense and came up with stuff about all the rules of the household that sounded very hilarious if not for the outburst we were sure it would cause.

One for tantrums, this aunt. For the most insane things. I remember many of the big tantrums, the basic stuff like when my young uncle was to be married and something most silly transpired in that context, and one time when a visiting aunt took my sis and me and got our hair chopped off. Not to mention the time my dad refused to take the day off during a solar eclipse. Seriously, the most absurd things.

We had all these rooms in the house one inside the other. The last one being the puja room which was super sacrosanct and you couldn't randomly enter it during your period or if you visited someone's house where there was a death, and I am not sure, if we ate at a hotel or something like that. She would just go off, like crazy.

I am sure that we all did stuff to irritate her, dad being all rebellious and always insisting that science trumps religion and tradition and stuff, and granddad also being a bit like that. And mum working outside the home wasn't helpful. Not to mention my sister who questioned things all the time. [I was a nice girl also very young at that time, but am sure I got on her nerves too. My squeaky voice for one was enough to irritate anyone, I'm sure].

Dad would return home from college and ask, as he took off his shoes "Hows the weather down south?" That was code for how the mood of said aunt (usually lurking deep inside the house in the puja/kitchen area) was. We came up with various. Sunny. Cloudy. Thunderstorms. Stormy etc. and got a good laugh at that. The mood would invariably reflect in the dosas she made for us, so sometimes I would beg my sis to lay off and not irritate her in the morning time...

I suspect I imbibed some of that, however hard I have resisted it - again, I cannot blame my genes as I don't share mine with her... I am continuing to have a stormy sort of mood. Who knows. Maybe its mid-life crisis. I feel that mid-life crisis is unavoidable, you know, like menopause. When you storm, it leaves a wake of sadness too, right? I feel bad for her now. I am sure no one showed her any love during that time. 'Cause we all just remembered the tantrum and not the person hidden inside it. Anyway she is gone now, very long gone, so really, no point worrying about it... 


Musica said...

What can I say,this too shall pass.

Choxbox said...

go off on a nice long break with child. i just did that with my girls. 1 week at friend’s place in amsterdam, 2 iat various friends in london.

feel like the top of the world. had many adventures too, like almost missing the eurostar in true DDLJ style.

btw am in chennai next weekend with the girls. you aorund?