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Family vs friends

india Updated: Mar 24, 2009 18:41 IST
Chickwit | Lalita Iyer

Okay, so the brother got hitched. His relationship status on Facebook gave it away. Yes, it didn’t go down too well with ‘some members of the family’ who were outraged that they ‘weren’t even informed’.

Now, the brother is oblivious to all this in sunny California, but as it turns out, the mother is being accosted by phone calls from ‘near and dear ones’ demanding an explanation. “How come you didn’t bother telling us, when the whole world knows?” said one. “ Congratulations. When were you going to tell us?” said another. “Can you imagine, my son saw it on Facebook? How could you not tell us?” said a third.

She, being the epitome of meek, despite having a vitriolic daughter like me, hasn’t yet mastered the art of saying, “Well, now you know.” Or “How is it any of your business?”.

It’s not that an abundance of love has transpired between the brother and the aforementioned, nor do they really give a damn about his joy. Just that they believe that any opportunity to assert power in the family is not to be missed. And weddings have always been a classic minefield.

‘Family’ comprises two types of people: those who are happy in your joy and those who think they have a right to be a part of it. Friends, on the other hand are usually happy in your happiness, which is why, increasingly, they are beginning to dot a bigger landscape of your life (at least mine) and justifiably so.

When I was growing up, most weddings were typified by a sulk corner and a cry corner. The former included veterans in the family who had been slighted in some way—either they hadn’t received the VIP treatment, or someone hadn’t paid them his/her respects, or the saris they received as booty had one cm zari less than they deserved. The cry corner comprised victims of the wrath of the sulk corner, who were vulnerable enough to succumb to their theatrics.

Most of these grand geriatrics have popped it (thankfully), and family events are less melodramatic now (my wedding was all fun and no drama, except for a disaster hair stylist I was ready to kill). But, thanks to genetics, vestiges of their personality have been left behind in their progeny, who try to pipe up, given a chance. But a suitable glare from someone like me usually does the job, and they beat a hasty retreat.

So when the mother moans about a conversation described in para 2, my words to her are, “No one can do that to you unless you allow it.”