The Family Dinner
Having brought up without siblings, in a nuclear family, I had grown to accept friends, family-friends and cousins as closest family. As a child I always looked forward to the three month beguiling yet burning summer for the company of cousins for the midnight capers, loads of ice creams, visits to the zoo, never ending picnics, thrilling rides in amusement parks and temple sojourns with grandpa. Later as we let life grow out of this phase of chaste, it was only at an obscure wedding or family-function that I spent quality time over a meal with cousins, uncles and aunts. Later even this dwindled down to once in a few years with family strewn all over the world map and camouflaged in the name of “Busy life”!
Amidst this transition, I have had moments of sheer bliss and loneliness, which has made me realize that home, is where you want it to be. It can be made at the very familiar coffee place you hang out with friends or the dinner table where you dine with parents. For me it is the few minutes I spend on phone yapping with appa everyday and the brief weekends of poker and dilly-dallying with pals. Yesterday was one such Sunday when I not only laughed mercilessly with my friends but found a family to share the joy.
We were visiting Vikram’s family in Mansfield last evening to congratulate his sister for her 15 day old baby. Having spent ample amount of time shopping for the little one’s dresses and box of sweets for the older four year old shruti, I was but scared to hold the cherubic and delicate sleeping baby. I had reclined to playing Barbie and pacifying the four year old. As the evening unwound over the hot cup of tea and levity of old jokes lingered over the comfortable couch I recalled the very scene back home. As if breaking into my reminiscence, Vikram’s mother came by to ensure we don’t leave without a heavy dinner she had started to cook for the hungry grown ups!
Having tried my hand in playing dart, laughed incessantly over Vikram’s spontaneity and Vilas’s PJs, and cheered little shruti for her gymnastics skills I was all set to devour the amma-made food. Along came the many shenanigans over the dinner table in the four course meal which extended way over dinner time. It’s my experience of all times that the best conversation and laughter you share with family is post-dinner until the plate goes stubbornly dry. It ranges from healthy arguments to old stories re-told and guffawed over. I fondly remembered my mother’s cooking and her child-like loud chortle that I missed so much.
As it happens to all good times, when time flies by and you have not had enough, it is time to stop and get on with monotonic routine. As we drove away from that place last night, I felt I had left a part of me behind, one that had missed home, enjoyed family-dinners and got excited being with people I love. I gave in to the unparalleled love that came wrapped in the sugar coated ‘gulabjmuns’ of last night, before I let sleep take over my relaxed weekend.