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Cut to years later, everything came to an abrupt end. All because of one heated argument at home between my aunt and mom where I was caught in the cross fire.
I have three first cousins. Maternal. I don’t have any from my Dad’s side. Mom’s sister gave birth to twins and then a third a year later. In our case the age gap was a good 7-8 years. We did not grow up together, but met every summer vacation. The time spend was memorable and fun. Growing up I was fond of all of them and connected to each very differently.
My aunt always maintained a ‘face’ for society and within the family that they always considered me like her sister. I’d say this is a matter of perspective – but to each their own.
Each cousin had a distinct personality. Let me explain more before we go into how our relationship evolved and then came to an abrupt halt in 2011.
Miss Judgemental: A soft, practical, reserved, charming woman. Someone who suppresses her emotions. Also judgmental (and openly admits it), analytical – again by her own admission. Not ambitious – she always had jobs and not a career in my view. As I grew older I realized she was also full of ‘hot air’. Somewhere deep down she has not found herself.
Miss Emotional: An overly sensitive, emotional woman – much like her mother. “I’m so pissed!” – is always her only emotion. A woman who is far more ambitious and career minded as compared to her siblings. Family and relationships however were not her strong point. Deep down she is a jealous and insecure person.
Miss Chillax: A free spirit, creative soul, quite chilled, non-confrontational yet strong headed. Not a self-mover.
Cut to years later, everything came to an abrupt end. All because of one heated argument at home between my aunt and mom where I was caught in the cross fire. That day unraveled a lot about their true colours. The real people behind the face. The masks fell off.
For 8 years or so before this incident my aunt found every reason or the other to pick a fight with my mother on issues that were mostly inconsequential. She often spoke negatively abut my deceased father. Yet I never let any of this impact my relationship with my Uncle, my aunt or any of my cousins. In fact my aunt never spoke of these issues to her dear daughters. Nor did we tell them of their mother’s behavior. We, as a family, believed that issues must stay between the two parties concerned and be resolved between them too. If my cousins were upset over petty things – they told their mom who conveyed it to my mom. This despite being 7-8 years older than me. Relationships grow deeper and stronger when people express to each other.
But that was not the case here.
This because of my aunt’s over-exaggeration of facts. Though Miss Judgemental and her husband Mr Vicious visited India after that- a new layer of complications opened up courtesy interfering brother in law.
After they left India I noticed communication reducing. The emails stopped (they were overseas) and I was puzzled. Till one day Mr Vicious wrote me a harsh mail with nasty remarks and condescending lines about family values.
“I can’t believe that Mama invited you over to her place after that incident or even accepted an invite to step into Masi’s house.”
All this because I had an outburst? Am I not human? But my aunt’s periodic outburst ( every six months) over 8 years were ok? Why? It was okay for her to interfere in our property matters & tell us what to do with our home? How did we ‘let go’ of her lapses and let her in then? Simple – we treated her as family not an outsider. All families have disagreements – so did ours. We forgave. they held grudges.
Mr Vicious’ double-games are a post for another day. In short let me tell you a bit. The same person who bitched about his mother in-law, sister in-law and father in-law to me, made a 360 degree turn overnight! My guesses are that his wife was unhappy he was in touch with us, my aunt probably felt he needed to side her and so he decided to save his marriage by making me the enemy. This even though he knew of family issues and discord for a while. Insecurities of all of them surfaced nice and proper.
The episode hurt me deeply. For a while I never understood how family dynamics had played out. Till I came to terms with a few things. They never really cared. They were jealous. They were insecure and emotionally unevolved people. No amount of reasoning or conversations could hold the family together. Truth is we were never together.
Recently I read somewhere. Cousins are usually fine together – its the parents that come and mess things up for them.
12 years its a broken relationship. While we were willing to mend – they stood in their pride wanting us to fall at my aunt’s feet. All for what? Stopping her from intruding in our personal affairs!
Image source: a still from the series Khalish
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"There is a story and a vision which makes us gravitate towards cinema. Even as we worked as assistants on ads, we realised that cinema was our true calling," say Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh Raseen.
The Railway Men. Mili. Cuttputli. The Diplomat. Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. And more…
Let me introduce to you the talented designer duo who have worked on these, and can be considered today’s upcoming costume designers for the screen. Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh.
Having studied at NIFT, Gunpreet Kaur Mann sent her portfolio out to several designers. Her first gig was as an assistant stylist with Manoshi and Rushi, who also happen to be a designer duo. She worked on an ad film starring Saif Ali Khan and eventually landed a full time job with designer Vikram Phadnis. Years of experience as assistant costume designer followed, which eventually led her to getting a break.
A ‘thank you’ makes a lot of difference in the way any woman in your life sees herself in your eyes. It might even mean the world to her.
I have not received any appreciation in the past. Probably never will. This is the experience of ample women across the globe. The expectation to be thanked for all the sacrifices she makes to keep others happy has faded. Yet the urge to hear few words of acknowledgement always lingers.
There is never a day when she pushes off her own burdens. She knows not to give up on people she loves. Women in general, are givers by nature and hence, give without asking anything in return. They have been the care givers and lovers since centuries however receive no appreciation.
It will mean the world to your mother if you answer her calls. If your sister seems lost give her a hug and assure her about her strengths. Tomorrow, there might come a day when you would have to make your daughter feel empowered with few words of wisdom every now and then. For the children to feel wanted and loved, you must be able to spare some quality time with your wife and be present in the moment.
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