Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Of Cousins and Wedding Invitations

I got married in 2006, the first of the cousins on either side to do so. I waited impatiently for the others to get married, so I could do all the fun things they did at my wedding, make all the demands, enjoy all the events, savour the anticipation. Eventually one did get married but his wedding was in another country and his mother, my aunt, did not invite my parents (her own brother!) so I dropped in with a gift at the reception but did not stay. Not much of a happy memory, especially unfortunate given that I met his wife properly later on and really liked her, and their son.

Last year another cousin got married and his father, my mother's cousin, came and invited us and I was quite excited, as were my parents. Except they never did get their invitation. We will never know why since my parents are the kind of people whose blessings people take when their weddings are organised, and I have known prospective brides, grooms and their families to go to great lengths to ensure my parents' attendance at the wedding -- but that was not the case here. This led to some lasting ill-will and ensured that when this uncle's daughter got married some months later, none of us received an invitation. In fact, the family went to some trouble to hide the date from us, which still baffles me!

So, that's three cousins whose weddings I could not attend.

Now it's April and cousin T is getting married in a fortnight in Delhi. She is the closest to me in age and as children we were quite close, confiding our secrets in each other, sharing many common interests. But she doesn't want me at the wedding. Her mother, who I once looked up to and believed loved me, has spent many months telling whoever would listen how she doesn't want any of our family there. When her parents did come over with the invitation to the reception, they were neither particularly inviting nor especially interested in whether we were coming. I don't usually stand on ceremony with close family but I do know when people are being unnecessarily offensive. The wedding itself was decided upon about a year ago but our card was dropped off by Cousin T's maternal grandmother's help one evening, late enough to ensure that we couldn't possibly make it to Delhi. The other cousins I have never been particularly close to but I did not realise Cousin T and her family would take such pains to ensure I would not be around. I really don't know why and I don't think the reason matters at the end of the day.

These are the doings one cannot undo.


Anonymous said...

I like the way you sound very matter of fact about something that must have made you sad. Bravo.

Sue said...

Anon -- Needs must.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sunayana,

It's amazing to have someone write about these things. So relatable. "Why did she say she was sending a present when she clearly wasn't about to?"
"Why am I always the one keeping in touch?"

Or "why did that aunty call to taunt me about not being married yet!"

Glad you write about stuff that falls somewhere between the billboard and the cheatsheets, into which is scribbled so much of our life.

Keep writing :)

Anonymous said...

My cousin with whom I grew up like a sibling, stopped talking to me after she got married. I also heard her tell some acquaintance that I am her classmate. The world is full of weirdos and unfortunately most of them end up being our cousins

Anonymous said...

It is awful when families disintegrate like that. These days it does not take much for people to feel tremendous 'abhimaan' and not keep in touch or not invite someone to some family function or the other. I want to give you a hug for what you felt when Cousin T's whoever's servant came by to give you a card.
The only thing I can say is- leave them to their karma. Starting a marriage with this kind of ill-will is not the best thing, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Very strange. Everyone concerned.

ammani said...

Long story, so please grab a mug of tea. My father is the eldest of 10 and each of his two uncles had 7 and 8 children respectively (yes, they had a day job too). So he had 24 "very close" siblings several of whose weddings and other attendant ceremonies he funded because he was doing very successfully in his career. It was all going swimmingly well until a dozen years ago, when a bombshell of sexual assault by one of the uncles by marriage was dropped in the midst by one of my siblings. It exposed the cracks in the relationships which we had assumed solid and left a large family fractured beyond repair. I have some fifty odd (odd being keyword here) cousins and barring a couple who recently wrote to me following my own expose of the sexual assault that I experienced, not one has been in touch. This is okay since I live away from all the melee and don't care much for that kind of an extended family. My aged parents however, who live within stone's throw from many of them have to bear the ignominy of being ignored and deliberately turned away from. Though I do wonder if my father rather enjoys playing the victim as he would some times attend weddings and deliberately sit aloof. These kind of convoluted entanglements I have little patience for and have come to choose friends over family who were once a vibrant community who ensured that I had the best possible childhood. But that was then, right now the damage is beyond repair and I for one, am not crying over it.

Sue said...

Anon 2 -- Thanks for the words of encouragement :)

Anon 3 -- With time some of my cousins and I are rebuilding our bridges. I hope they last this time round. I hope yours has stopped being weird too.

Anon 4 -- I hear the marriage is a happy one, and for her sake I hope it always will be. I'm at peace with our lack of ties now.

Anon 5 -- Yup

Ammani -- Oh my goodness, that's horrific! Something similar happened to our family once (I wrote about it a long time ago) and most of my elders were wonderfully supportive. I don't even want to imagine how else it might have gone. I'm glad you had the strength to speak up, more power to you!