I grew up partly in a nuclear family and partly in a joint family. I was born into a huge joint family complete with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins from both sides of my family. As the grandparents died people slowly moved apart and made their own smaller homes and the traditional joint family was no more. That is more the scene wherever I look these days. But this is not about kinds of families but more about stories from those times.
I am an avid reader and listener. I am curious by nature. Probing and knowing is second nature to me. I wouldn’t participate in maligning gossips but it will not surpass my ears if it is being discussed within earshot. All through my childhood I grew up listening to stories from people. Both my grandparents were excellent story tellers. I still know the Ramayana and Mahabharata better than many people, thanks to them. My dad and mum were no less. My dad concocted his own stories which I learned very well how to do ever since I was a kid. Mum was a terrible children’s’ story teller, she keeps going on for ever with one story alone. But she is great at family history from both sides.
So all in all, I had a very colorful childhood, visualizing and dreaming about all that I heard and savored. I didn’t know how precious these were to me till I could rattle off each one after 20-25 years precisely better than all the family members put together. Back at home, we would recall and discuss them as a family. Here, so far away from home, no one knows it to discuss it with me.
So I came up with an innovative way of reminiscing them all. I recite it to baby A while feeding him and putting him to sleep. He doesn’t understand much as he keeps poking his fingers inside my mouth as I talk or just smiles his disarming smile at me from time to time after tugging at a lock of my hair. During these sessions I would have Baby G gaze at me confused but reassured from his corner of the bedroom.
What I didn’t know was I had another ardent listener. One who sat at his beloved computer doing his own stuff, with half an ear towards me. One day I stopped mid story because baby A was snoring peacefully. I got up to arrange the bedclothes properly when I heard a floating inquiry from the next room “What happened after that?”
S asked me why I didn’t consider writing it all down on my blog. The simplest reason was ‘lack of free time’. But it’s true. Sometime in the future I may need to recall a story and have nowhere to turn. Or unlike my grandparents, I may have my grand kids half way around the world where I can’t reach them too often to run them by the same stories.