Nearly three weeks since I posted anything in my blog. The relentlessly cruel Alleppey and the scorching summer months sap my energy. Hectic work schedule in the Bank due to Annual Closing was another reason. And then during the Easter holidays ( 3 days) I had to join P’s family gathering at Munnar.
I am hardly the family man. Relationship among my siblings was never what it should be. Especially after we grew up and each raised his/her own families, the times when the five of us meet would be on occasions such as a death or marriage in the family. There is not much affection lost amongst us. Each of us is to be blamed for the distancing, for the estrangement.
On the other hand, P’s family (5 siblings) along with their cousins and whatnots have always been quite thick. It was a culture shock to me at the time of my marriage; things haven’t changed much in the last 22 years. Of course, I like most of them, is friendly with her brothers and sister, but having been brought up in an entirely different familial network, I feel a bit odd among P’s people.
It has been P’s complaint that I have neglected this part of my duty as a husband; true. So, this time, instead of going home to Trivandrum and Sancho, I went to Munnar, the hill station. We stayed in a cottage that we had rented out in full. The cottage with 5 bedrooms was away from the hustle and bustle of the town. It overlooked a valley; some may find the tea estate view beautiful. But it was pleasantly different and I made P happy. K too had joined us from Bangalore. Since all of us have been to Munnar umpteen times, the entire group stayed at the cottage for the two and half days spent there. The ladies went to town once for shopping.
The dutiful eldest brother-in-law ( Jeezuz, I am the oldest in that branch!) was all pleasant and benign and courteous and polite and friendly with K’s cousins and tolerated all of them and got off. It is not that easy for me to play the family man.
In the morning chill, K and I went out for walks. It has been a long time since the two of us were together in a natural landscape. We were content with each other’s company.
It is not that some men are not in the ‘family way’. Somewhere deep in us, the genes of the lone wolf still pines for its solitude and freedom. I still feel it; the yearning, the strings pulling me away and away, far into the mountains. Lucky are those who haven’t had the dichotomous pull in diverging directions, this strangling, this feeling of never being where you are. It is a summer of discontent. As we drive down to the plains, I am remote.
************** BalachandranV, Trivandrum 19.04.2012