This has absolutely no relation with my article in Education Times dated 17th January. As always, it is another random post on the who's who and what's what of my so-far insignificant life. This time I look at standard dialogues of the apparent members of my extended family.
First and foremost is the introductory dialogue. "Pehchante ho?" Since it is not good to be asocial, I try to blink, smile, then blink again, feigning the 'I am pushing my memory hard to conjure some name' look. On a memory miss, I say a polite and soft "No". Knowing the consequences of the reply, I force myself into a trance to skip the huge chain of relations that emerges out of the conversation, more so, if the reply is in English. "I am your father's maternal uncle's wife's sister-in-law." It would have been way better on my behalf to add an " and I am not interested in knowing you" tag after the first "No" but being curt is not a trait appreciated by most, in spite of the fact that it saves you a lot of time.
The uncles and aunties who have never seen you before will act so fond of you as if they have changed your diapers. "Kitna bada ho gaya hai." I mean I can't say "Aap bhi to buddhe/buddhe ho gaye hain." Again, a stupid smile is called for. On certain occasions, they even go on to enquire about the heights your family has scaled and where do you stand in the ranking.
Further in the cliched conversation, they add "Kabhi ghar to aaya karo." Why? Why should I go to some one's place who I didn't even know before the conversation began? How do you just drop into somebody's house without reason the first time itself? There has to be some rapport between people before they start visiting each other's residences.
False presumptions are a big pain in the ass. Once I was introduced by a self-delusional relative as "He is an intelligent boy who studies a lot. He tops the university. Usse 95% marks milte hain. But he is a loner. Bahut kum bolta hai. Thoda shy hai." Those who are familiar with what engineering in Mumbai University is all about will know how true the '95% story' is and those who know me, will clarify the 'shy' and 'loner' bits too.
Lastly, a mention of all eligible bachelors and spinsters including me, who are not interested in being categorised as 'eligible and available' in the first place. Seriously, when they want to be left on their own and enjoy their freedom, pursue studies and grow in their careers, relative should stop seeing possible couples and marriage proposals and just stick to their normal bitching and gossip. There is enough fodder to feed their jabber anyways. Spare the guys and girls.
Having said all this, if you happen to be my relative and are reading this, it is not that I don't like you, but the next time you talk, please keep the above points in mind and try and not do to the next generation, what the previous generation did to you. You know it was not fun.
No offence meant. Ceasefire.