Today, I visited this Uncle of mine who used to be a sworn enemy back in the days when I was still a hyper, touchy, volatile kid and when any remark, from anyone, be it in good humour, or bad, used to get reddish sparks of rage flying off my little nostrils and sharp words uttered in anger/ disgust etc bursting out of my motor mouth. I can’t exactly claim to have outgrown all of that but the motor mouth’s slightly mellowed down with age, repeated usage and experience- experience that just two years of staying away from home has given me. Experience, that I had no clue, and could never have had a clue I could have gained had it not been for law school.
This experience, though, isn’t just specific to law school life, it has much more to do with staying away from family. To think of it, it’s not been very long, and I’m not even very far away from my dear, precious ones.. it’s a bare 6 hours drive, and yet, these two years away from them, have taught me familial values that 19 years at home couldn’t teach me. The tough nut that I am.
It’s both scary and impressive how much life away from home can teach tough nuts like myself. It’s scary because the process is just as painful, if not more, than the process of sharpening of a pencil (I know that’s an extremely cliched and poor analogy I’ve drawn there, but I must be pardoned because my lazy mind refuses to work extra hours on Sundays) and it’s impressive because of the simple reason that it’s almost like magic for not just the onlookers and the outsiders but also for the ones undergoing the process of change. It’s a bloody snowball effect. For the parents, it’s all just too fuckin good to be true. It’s a miracle that the child who’d first left home two years back and the one that’s come back after two years are one and the same. It’s all hunky dory for these people because who doesn’t like witnessing wonders. The real trouble and the real confusion exist and plague the poor child’s mind! It’s the little child that doesn’t understand exactly what it is that has changed. I mean, yes, there are changes which are known to the confused child but there are apparently much more significant changes which he’s not even aware of that have contaminated his carefree mind!
Needless to say, the little child here, is ME! Today, when I visited my Uncle, the second time these vacations, I was shocked (not surprised, mind you) to find out that he had been wanting to meet me ever since he’d met me the first time these holidays! I was shocked, because like I’ve already mentioned before, he had always imagined me to be one one of those irritating, bratty, naughty, brutish, stupid, cranky, demanding, impatient (not to mention arrogant) cry babies, that never let go off their Moms, and bawl and make life hell for everyone everytime their demands aren’t met immediately. He, was quite obviously not very fond of me, and did usually never let go off a single opportunity to make his unpleasant feelings known to me. The feelings were completely mutual though and so that wasn’t really an issue. I was just as disgusted of him as he was, of me, and everyone in the family knew about this mutual hatred we held for each other. So his sudden invitation, to me, out of nowhere, caught me unawares to say the least. 😛 I had another surprise-cum-shock hit me when my Mom later told me, on our way back from his place, that my Uncle had been singing praises about me ever since our last visit. I genuinely couldn’t figure out why/ how such an unseemly thing would’ve/ could’ve happened. Whatever happened to our sworn enmity? She then told me that he thought I was now a changed person. The arrogant, cranky, aloof, demanding child had suddenly matured into a humble, interactive, accommodating individual. I was zapped. I didn’t know what the hell to say to that. I mean yes, I had exchanged greetings with him this time when I met him, and I had made conversation with him and been good to him and also interacted with the rest of his family but I had NO clue on Earth that such simple things could’ve had SUCH an impact on his ideas about me that he’d held close to his heart since as long as I could remember! I had no idea pleasing people and winning over their hearts was this easy. For someone who’d been a people-hater almost all her life, this was a huge achievement. J His thoughts about me did a whole trip of the gossip network of our family and soon, everyone was thinking a little differently about the ‘arrogant, cranky, demanding bachcha of the family’. I was still in for a last surprise. When we were about to leave, he had a little gift wrapped up for me.. my Uncle. I was.. confused. I didn’t know why everyone was being so good to me.
This episode reminded me of my cranky Aunt who was lately being extremely nice to me. I’d been trying to find out exactly what her ulterior motives must be for being so sugary to me of late. Today, I realized that maybe she didn’t have any ulterior motives at all! Maybe, just maybe, the world is indeed like a mirror.. it just reflects back at you whatever face you make at it! You smile at it, it smiles back in return. You frown at it, it frowns in return. I’m sure it’s a little more complex than I make it seem but for right now, this simple mantra seems to be working just perfectly. It’s simple. It’s nice. It’s magical how nice being genuinely nice to people can make you feel. It’s amazing how content having a loving, closely-knitted family, both immediate and extended, can make one feel.
Will sign off with that thought.