Tuesday, December 4, 2012
The Great Indian Get Together!
All of us have been a part this ancient tradition of families and friends getting together and I just thought of describing the various characters of the great family get together. The characters are interesting, specially if have no reference to what they are saying. Also if you are a 22 year old with no company and no inspiration for the next blog post, you have hit a gold mine!
Here is a brief character sketch of the various characters.
The Children :The first people you will encounter are the children. Give them some "no homework -get dirty" time and these kids will love you forever. They are the playing away, finding their own games, screaming. All these small children are just glad they are out. Their mothers are happy that their kids are getting tired which will mean fewer tantrums before sleeping, the dads are keeping a watchful eye over these kids who are getting their clothes so dirty, their mums are going to curse them.
The hosts : The ever so charming hosts of the meal, so warm and welcoming, greeting you a hundred times, wanting to make you as comfortable as possible, asking you if you need something the moment you arrive. "Beta apna ghar samajhna, kuch chaiye toh mang lena". The uncle is trying to be friendly, he loves small talk, asking you details about your job and say "aur kaise chal raha hai" he is very sweetly trying to find you a comfortable place. Both the uncle and aunty kind of realise that you don't frequent their house, so they are trying to be as friendly as possible. The hosts are generally decked up and their house has been prettied up as well. The tables are set and the food is warming up, aunty is too busy checking the arrangements in the kitchen and talking to the other aunties from there while uncle is talking to all the men outside, warming them up about various subjects of the evening including sports, politics, education and the likes of it.
The men: The men in all these gatherings are a separated by age; the married ones, the middle aged men form one group and the younger men just randomly or awkwardly form another group whose singular duty is to simply answer questions that these people pose. If the group of these young men is large enough they get a separate seating arrangement where they laugh and joke about and discuss sports and cars, then there are jobs and life and well, a lot of other things. Their fathers and uncles on the other hand discuss politics... and cricket... but mostly politics. Everything from Kejriwal to Norway and then the verbal OpEd section will continue till late in the night. These discussions are a combination of anger and a sense of humor. They will discuss FDI and the ills of it, they will talk about Narendra Modi and the future of BJP in Karnataka easily flipping though subjects in a matter of minutes. Its like gossip of a weird kind.
The women: The next set of people you will encounter, (note that the order in which I am dealing with the characters is purely based on reach). First you meet the children, then the hosts, then the next group are the men and somewhere deep in the house a bunch of women. Here there are two sets of people middle aged women and the young women, sadly, I have never really had the opportunity to hang out with the young women for a long duration, for some sad reason the young women form really tiny groups and chatter away. I am usually found uncomfortably shifting around these people. The aunties I meet are really chilled out so I don't mind them, they are discussing issues; home and otherwise, I have also met a few gossipy aunties who want to know it all. They will quite carefully structure conversations to point towards somebody and then get details. "She is a very nice girl, I dont know much about her though. School mein toh she was really nice." When I uncomfortably shift, I get asked "Kyun? uska.... " and then trails off, other people are supposed to pick the cue.
The young women group that I have never really hung out with is generally catching up with each other, discussing love, life, jobs and everything and God help us if one of them is engaged. Ah! The details.(That is if she is not on the phone with "him"). He does this, he finished his degree from India and then he was in the US blah blah.... and the wedding date and everything, this gets everybody involved. All the aunties and the young women are all a part of the great Indian wedding. Its like a part of the baarat is just there. I am not complaining this is just an observation. I am not even saying this is all they discuss, I have a few cousins and friends with who I discuss comics, books, travel, careers and everything. So no, Not ALL women discuss stereotypical topics.
The young ones: Two divisions here are the girls and the boys. Both of whom find separate territories and meet each other only at the end of the party. I end up being a part of this group; the 16 year olds who feel like misfits, I am comforted by this group because I feel like I am more a part of this group than any other. They discuss school and tutitions and preparing for exams and then ask for "tips" from me. God save them for asking me how to study. I rattle generic crap that they get to hear everywhere (I can't risk their parents hating me) "Ya, it is important to study. Boards are not that tough, but its is better to be prepared....So how is school otherwise?" and stuff
And then there is me: I am out of place everywhere. I don't fit in with the young men's group because well I don't fit in there. I don't fit in with the young women or the aunties. Most of the times I try and find some social misfits and hang out with them, generally it is a combination of men, women, children all of whom don't know anyone. I also find myself drawn to the kids outside simply because I like to avoid all kinds of questions about my career, life and generally anything personal.
In all, I don't really enjoy the experience, I don't hate it all that much. If I find the right kind of adults or children to hang out with I am more than happy to go back to one of these.