In the earlier post I seem to have given the impression that my brother and I are still fighting. Well, we aren't and haven't for a while now. He lives in Cal now and I give him his space. I like having him over, now and then, and try to feed him when he comes, because I don't think I'll ever forget what it's like to live by yourself and cook rubbish and have to live on that. All our relatives feed him as well, so he's no object of pity, but I'm just saying we may be working out what I think of as a normal brother-sister relationship at last. (J Monster, you didn't hear me say that.)
That settled, now for a description of the rest of the weekend.
V has a large chunk of family from his dad's side based in a house in Bhawanipur. I don't know all of them so well, and it's a scattered joint family now but those members I have met have all been very nice to me. After all the trouble last year I have been defensive and insecure, and, I'll admit, quick to take insult. Now, two sisters from this family, V's cousin Tdidi and his cousin Edidi, arranged a bhai phonta dinner at Tdidi's place last night. I went, a little apprehensive of my reception. I mean, I always feel that the family heard V's mother ranting about me last year and so disapprove of me. Turned out guests were almost all from my our generation, a collection of dadas and their families. So R got to meet his cousins from that side. He took to two young boys, Edidi's son and Tdada's son, while his cousin Mimi made much fuss over him. Actually, everybody fussed over him. Almost all of them were meeting him for the first time, and he can be very taking when in the mood. The other star attraction was Tdidi's baby girl, born in May. A nice, peaceful baby with the most funnily styled hair. Very cuddly.
It was a biriyani dinner from Arsalan. Great food. I had carried The Bhablet's dinner, not expecting Tdidi to get that since she would be busy enough anyway. The Bhablet had some biriyani potatoes and part of a boiled egg. He didn't seem to care for the cucumber from the salad.
Edidi's husband and I discussed the current political situation in the state at some length. I was a bit worried about being so argumentative but I don't think he minded. Those of you who have no idea what is going in West Bengal and find our bandhs a joke, well, I agree with you about them being a joke but the reason behind them is no laughing matter. Some city artistes and intellectuals were staging a peaceful demonstration outside Nandan yesterday and they were arrested. I think what really got to me about this was Brat being arrested among them. He and I were batchmates in JU and neighbours; early in our Uni careers we spent some time together as members of the same brat pack. And I'm telling you, he may be hot-headed but he is neither violent himself nor prone to incite violence in others. I would like to question his arrest, for one thing. For another, since when was singing a non-bailable offense?
Don't get me started on this. I choose to stay off politics in Sunny Days and I will do so now, but I'm deeply disturbed by the farce of a government we have right now.
Anyway, so all in all it was a great evening. And I came home feeling, finally, a part of the larger Niyogy family. V's parents are now welcoming enough, but I did not feel sure of my welcome amongst the extended family after last year. Now I feel a little happier about things. The bhai phonta celebrations of this part of the family are a big thing, and The Bhablet got his second (and third) phontas from Tdidi's mother (the only one of her generation around) and his cousin Mimi. Also met V's cousin Tutul after a long time there, which was pleasant for she had seemed rather nice the few times we had met.
So yes, it was a momentous day, for these two major reasons:
Making my peace with Dada over the bhai phonta issue. Even if he never allows it again, I will no longer take it heart the way I have all these years.
And getting integrated, a little, into V's extended family. To my surprise I found that they not only did not eat Sues, but that they treated her with warmth and courtesy. Shame on Sue for being so suspicious, huh?