Keep in touch

It’s relatively relative matter! Visiting your kin or inviting them to your place, either of it may land you in soup. After a hectic weekend, sipping your morning coffee on Sunday, you plan to take it easy and enjoy your holiday to its fullest. And the cellphone rings… It’s perhaps the call you didn’t want to attend; someone is coming to your place or you have been called over… a tough ask! And there’s no ‘Not Applicable’ option.
Wait, I am not referring to those who aren’t social or don’t like people around at all. After spending my lives only with and among relatives, I had to cut down on them due to job demands. Still I have been making it a point to attend major family functions to catch up with my folks. Trust me, these short meetings turn out to be very sweet. To me, that’s a wonderful way of staying in touch with everyone without letting yourself involved in gossips…
Last weekend, I made a small deviation and spent a little longer time on relative meets, thanks to a cousin and close childhood buddy who had come from USA after six years. She had brought a sleek mobile for me. I asked what could I do as a return gesture and she asked for a small (!) favour. She had to visit every relative and wanted me to accompany her.
Our plan was off to a flying start with in-town visits on a Sunday. Everybody received us with warmth and hospitality was at its best. ‘Not more than an hour at one place’, I had told her and she had agreed. I promised to continue the visits over the next weekend. However, I received her call in the middle of the week. She urged me for a visit to Mumbai over an extended weekend. 
Her plan was to cover eight to ten relatives in three days. But after the initial ‘hi’ and ‘hello’ stuff, we would both feel a little uncomfortable. The more we stayed at their houses, the more we learnt not only about their problems but also many others’ lives (which I was never interested in). Soon came a point where I couldn’t take it anymore. Honestly, I didn’t want to backbite or gossip. I firmly believe we shouldn’t be discussing other people’s lives. Some ‘hot topics’ were doing rounds in all relatives’ houses and judgments were just flying around. 
After catching the return bus, she talked about it openly. She praised me for the space I had allowed her in spite of spending some close time. It was obvious. I hadn’t asked her any ‘probing’ questions about her life in USA and calmly listened to what she had to say. At relatives’ places, she was interrogated to the extent of being ‘cornered’. On top of it, many kin not only offered her advices but also scrutinised her opinions! She could see why I wouldn’t gel too well with them!!
It’s not about who is right or wrong. Everyone is fine at one’s place. It’s about getting on with others. Any amicable person, who is well-mannered, is always welcome. Of course, we also reach out to those who genuinely need us. Anyone, who is a bundle of problems or has world’s gossip to discuss, is unwelcome.
The crux is, shorter the relatives’ meets, sweeter the relationships. After all, there’s some distance is closeness too. 


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