Family Gatherings in India

Indian families know how to stick together and they would go to lengths to make sure nobody dare accuse them of being anti-social. They’re social from level 1: which would be talking to people outside their houses for hours in night suits, to level max: travelling 700 kms to some hill station with their entire families stuffed in a van. This Christmas is another excuse for meeting in large numbers even though most of us don’t even celebrate it or know what exactly the festival is. These gatherings almost always pan out in the same manner. Here’s a list of every Indian family gathering ever.

1. Aunties you don’t recall ever meeting saying “arre kitni badi ho gayi! Itni si thi jab last time dekha tha.” Now this “last time” could be the day you were born (which would make sense because since then you’ve grown five and a half feet tall, graduated, had three different relationships, been on eight trips, met more than a gazillion people and had seven mental breakdowns), or last year at some wedding when you’re certain you looked pretty much how you look now.

2. Little kids whom you are not sure if are your cousins or your nephews and nieces. This confusion doesn’t last long because their parents make you talk to them and introduce you by saying “ye dekho, ye aapke bhaiya hain, chalo hello bolo?” and you stand there just as clueless as that kid wondering whether you should make the first move and say ‘hello’. You’re forced to shake the toddler’s germy hand and strike a conversation because you can feel his/her mother looking at you expectantly, patiently waiting for you to play with her kid.

3. Out of the blue these clearly introverted kids are then asked to recite a poem in front of literally every blood relative, or dance because they moved about once in their house last week. When they don’t budge because they can feel a lifetime of stagefright ahead, they’re asked “accha clapping kar do…yay!”

4. Misogynistic uncles who think women only like to gossip over the phone, spend “the breadwinner’s money” on jewellery and enjoy cleaning and cooking, would introduce their wives to each other and expect them to stay in a group while they get together to get drunk in a corner.

5. Relatives who ask you about your career plans for the nth time, who have no idea about your discipline and make the most generic statements to make you feel better about being anything but a doctor, engineer and lawyer. For instance, when you tell them you’re doing philosophy they say “haan philosophy ke bache toh bohut thoughtful hote hain.”

6. All the parents who stay up till 4 in the morning playing taash (cards) laugh more loudly than what their jokes deserve.

7. Cousins who outrank you in every field, the reason why you’ll never be good enough for your parents because “sharma ji ki ladki ke toh 98% aaya.” Only in this case you’re both Sharmas and you’re the Sharma who is a disgrace to all Sharmas, which is worse.

8. Recipes of that particular dinner being shared around the room after the cook has been sufficiently praised by everybody.

9. Families who consider themselves better than the rest, judge and try to ridicule everybody left, right and centre because they think life is just like the soap operas they watch on a daily basis.

10. That hour when everybody decides it’s high time they left but someone yells “ek cup chai pi kar jana” and they all stay back for another hour…or day. When they finally do get up and hug goodbyes, it’s another long process of kids pretending to refrain from accepting money from elders as their parents look on with embarrassment when the kids eventually give in.

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