The Great Bengali Reunion

Every family has a Jiju who makes everyone laugh and is the star of the gathering. Every family has a cousin/uncle/aunt no one likes. Every family has a brother who’s mature and helpful and runs errands for all the elders. How could I not feel at home amongst this family?

The 3 sisters (including E’s mother) become little girls again when with each other. The brothers sit together in the veranda discussing various subjects and get teased by their sisters when they comment on any of the home related affairs. Their wives merely watch the whole show and enjoy it, quite used to it after so many years of marriage. The husbands of the sisters get bullied again, which is no different scenario than home. How do they not expect it especially when they are in minority? The children meet each other and go on with the usual pranks, teasing and joking, replaying the childhood moments. The grandmother looks at everyone with immense satisfaction, very happy just because her house is full and everyone else is so happy.

Not everyone in the family has moved out to big cities. Even though they have gone abroad and lived outside, their roots bring them back to where they belong. Youngsters touch the feet of all the elders on meeting and while departing. Elder men of the house eat first while the ladies work hard in managing the cooks, the food and getting all the arrangements ready. The kids have grown up and are mature enough to help the ladies or sit down to eat first with the men.

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Love between the family members was so apparent. The couples have seen each other grow old and share jokes. The Mausi loves her sister’s kids as much as her own. The girls have the right to demand anything from their Mama as Mamas are meant to spoil girls. A cousin demands mushrooms and within minutes, mushrooms are ordered and lovingly made for her. The girls group around their only cousin brother and he patiently listens to their blabber even though he’s a thorough professional now and feels that the girls are behaving like kids. The Mausas, the outsiders adopted themselves to the family, give an eager helping hand whenever required and shower all their love on the kids.

E’s family is one of those Indian families who love art, music and culture. They make sure they do more than sit around and chat and catch up with each other. They sing together. They remember old stories. They tease each other like old times. They share their passions with each other and get appreciated in turn.

This is one family where the kids have fun pulling the leg of the elders too, knowing very well where the line is.

Joint families are rare today. People move out of their homes to build careers; girls move out after marrying and the direction of their life changes. But in our busy lives, these family bonds are important and need time too.

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