Family Matters.. or “Why I am the way I am”

Many people have said “You are shaped by your surroundings. The people around you make you who you are”. In fact, there’s a whole TV Ad campaign conveying exactly the same message; I believe it’s for Orange (Cellphone Network).

Either way, obviously this is true. Not only do you get your values and opinions, inspired by the way you were raised and those of the ones around you. Also, depending on your character, you specifically stay away from certain convictions simply because you loathe those that represent them. (Can you tell I’m a bit emotional today?)

So this weekend my mother celebrated her 60th Birthday, at some strange holiday resort in the middle of nowhere in northern Germany. Also, my family, who didn’t bother to come to India for my wedding, got to meet my husband for the first time. It also happened to be our first wedding anniversary so the party aimed to cater to all these occasions.

It has always been my mother’s opinion that family is VERY IMPORTANT. She cannot stress this enough if you give her a chance. “You know, you need to keep in touch wiz ze family! Family is very important!”. Frankly, especially after this weekend, I fail to see why. Once every couple of years we all get together. It seems everybody has a great time, except for me, and in this occasion my husband. People thoroughly enjoy themselves, going through litres of wine and food, engaging in mind numbing conversation.

As a kid I used to avoid such situations, if I was at home, I would steal away and end up alone in my room, reading a book, with my thoughts miles from the torture going on in the living room. I always assumed that when I grew up, the seemingly tedious topics that were being discussed would magically hold meaning for me, that I would find it interesting, if not PLEASANT to talk to my aunts. How very wrong I was!

Not only is now that I have travelled a bit, grew up a little, got married and am starting my own separate life in the UK, is the conversation still tedious to me, it seems it got even more trivial than ever before! (Perhaps that can be attributed to the fact that earlier as a kid, nobody used to find it strange when I wanted to go to bed around 10. Now I’m forced to sit and behave like an adult, with people teasing and prying why we want to go sleep already, at around 12:30. Well to be honest it’s because the conversation is very tiring. I cannot sit, smile and nod endlessly; pretending the various types of birds that live in this part of Germany is a fascinating topic for discussion. I have never particularly liked birds. Deal with it!

Maybe the catastrophe that was last weekend can be attributed to the family being incomplete? This year, one of my aunts was left by her husband. He used to be a lot of fun. And as my mother’s sisters would sit together and gossip about people they knew 40 years ago, the three present husbands would sit together, smoke, drink and talk about much more interesting stuff. Now it was just two of them, looking lost and frustrated amongst so many loud, whiny women.

But getting back to the main point: Family is important. Family makes us who we are. Well; my family made me understand that there are certain types of neurotic people all over the world. They made me realize that when my friends in India would complain about how much their family meddled with their affairs, I could sympathise with them because I understood. If I do something out of the ordinary, I know it will take around a day or two to reach nearly everyone else in the family. And I also know they will nag the hell out of my mother, telling her she has failed at raising me. Only ever ONCE someone other than my mother directly contacted me to tell me “to my face” what they thought of anything I did. In the most polite manner ever, my eldest aunt wrote me an email before I got married, suggesting I was making a mistake, wasting my life, wasted my mother’s money during the time I spent in India, and moreover, was too immature to get married. Also she suggested that as I was marrying an Indian, from now on I should get used to the fact that I’ll be chained to the stove, not allowed to have any fun in life anymore. It was fascinating. I didn’t think anyone would have the guts to directly tell me anything at all; usually they would just gossip and backstab.

I am truly sorry this is turning into the most disjointed rant I have posted til date. But it needs to just get off my chest.

Family, I feel, would be important, if they behaved like family, rather than just be all talk. If family genuinely took interest, helped out and supported each other, this world might be different. But mine is certainly not that type; instead they talk. They love to talk; their idea of a nice fulfilling conversation is to 1. stomp another person into the ground behind their back or 2. get drunk on wine and spew complete nonsense. And the best bit is; if I told any of them I thought they acted obnoxious and drunk that night, they would be outraged. “We were not drunk! Getting drunk is so vulgar! We just had a few glasses of wine and had a good time.”

Yes you did. Now let me go to bed goddamnit!



  1. odzer Said:

    @ Hedonist : I had to actually read this post twice because once I was ‘multitasking’ while reading it and I felt a bit distracted from my work so I gave up reading it. Interesting as well as disturbing. I guess you should have stayed with your childhood instinct. Children often are excellent observers of human behaviour. I guess next time just give it a skip and send them a small message.

  2. hedonist666 Said:

    I think that’s what I’ll do. Next time (no matter when or for what occasion) I will simply not be able “to get time off work”. That excuse usually works well.

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