As I grow older I realize how much of who I have become was defined by the home I grew up in. And that is in large part is due to the women in my family. Growing up I spent enormous amounts of time with my father’s mother. Now anyone who knows my grandmother will agree that she’s a force to reckon with. Thankfully her spirit hasn’t diminished with time. She may sit in her chair rooting for Virat Kohli and team but there’s no pulling the wool over her eyes and if looks could kill, there’d be a few people burnt alive by now. She encouraged all my crushes, even the ones that weren’t exactly realistic; I can only blame her for being crushed when I found out that Prince William wasn’t secretly in love with me. Given that for the most part of her life she stayed home with her kids and is one of the finest cooks I’ve ever met, not once was I given to believe that my role was in the kitchen nor was I encouraged to sew or clean because “that’s what good girls do”. On the contrary, she told me, nay force fed me the notion that I didn’t need marriage to validate my existence nor did I need to humour a man to have a good relationship. I may have heeded her advice a bit too carefully.
Then there is my mother. I maybe a little biased when I say this but my mother truly is one of God’s finest work. The hugs she gives are proof that God exists. Admittedly I used to wonder if I only thought this because my sample size of people was limited. Now I truly believe this to the core of my being. It’s not that she’s without flaws. Curls can be a tad tedious at times-like her mother-in-law and mother, she has this indomitable spirit but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t wish she’d tone down the spirit on some days. That and her ego. It used to be the size of Poland but now it’s slowly expanding into Slovakia and the Czech Republic too. But the size of her ego is eclipsed by the size of her heart. I don’t know why Hallmark hasn’t called on me yet. Anyway I digress- all my life I’ve hero worshiped my mother so greatly that I fought every instinct that wasn’t her. From her I’ve learnt compassion-I do not practice it with the vigor she does because I do not think HDFC will appreciate a 0 balance account for extended periods of time due to my rather naïve generosity. From her I get my convictions-my world is so clearly demarcated into what’s right and wrong I’ve turned into a self righteous cow. Unfortunately she has more talent in her pinky than I do in my entire body and while I resent her for it, I still write this post to prove how magnanimous I am. From her I’ve also learnt to run everything I do by my father. He has unfortunately taken his veto power a tad seriously. Anyone who has seen my father take me shoe shopping will dismiss the Syria war as a distant crisis given that there is nuclear fission unfolding right in front of them. I’ve never understood why she does it given that he doesn’t know his cheque book from his debit card. But apparently there is nothing as fragile as the male ego and my mother has mastered the art of feeding into it.
The aunts-most of the reason why I’m so deluded. There is not an aunt that doesn’t tell me I’m stunning. Even on days when I think I look like the back of a bus. I am desperately fond of my mother’s sister in all of the most selfish ways possible-she cooks like a dream and her house is like a blank cheque. My father’s sisters however are part friends and part aunts. My aunt L (let’s call her Nin for the purpose of this post-not that I’ve ever used silly names in real life) truly doesn’t believe that any man is good enough for me. To give her credit, I don’t always choose the best of the flock. While I may have great taste in clothes and shoes and literature and music and chocolate, when it comes to the opposite gender-not so much. If men were shoes, in theory I would love a Weitzman or Jimmy Choo but in real life I pick up pond scum and hope to God they’re just going through a pre- faux leather phase and will one day emerge as something even Bata will sell. So Nin’s apprehensions are not exactly unwarranted. But it’s nice to know that if I were to bring Prince Harry home, she’ll say I can do better because he’s too ginger. My aunt H, I practically grew up with. It helped that when I was 10 and 4 ft, she wasn’t much taller. She will always remain one of my weaknesses and for someone who isn’t big on hugs and cuddles; all bets are off when she’s around. Mim and Bosh look at me through rose tinted glasses. They are the reason I have a rather healthy sense of my self.
So I’ve decided to blame genetics and the long line of hard headed women (on both sides) for everything that I am.