I so remembered Gerald Durrell for the past few weeks! (Delightful author, bless his soul.)His colorful tales in ‘My family and Other Animals’ has aptly colored my imagination since the days I laid eyes on his work. However, it was not the animals, but the part about the Family that made me think of him.
Much like Durrell’s daily life in Corfu…the past 2 weeks were a riot at home. The whole paternal side of my family had descended into our house for a mega event. The deal for giving away the development rights of their ancestral property to a builder was to be finalized. There were aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. Not to forget the sons in law.
The process to find the chosen one had been on for months now. A willing fellow was found.
Then the negotiations began. As with every land deal, there were the usual complications. My father’s family was sharing the land with their extended family and how to make the divide was a contentious issue. A lot of sound bytes were spent on this particular one. And as if the family was not enough there were the lawyers to add another dimension the ‘charcha’.
In a family of non stops talkers, my Father is a complete misfit. He speaks only when necessary and says only so much that needs to be said. Now that he was the host, he had to do more that his share of talking. (Mother knowingly looked at me…all would be quiet on the front for the next few days after the guests were gone.)
One of my aunt’s, poor thing, had to endlessly extend her stay here since things refused to settle down. The other aunt was managing it to and fro from Alibaug to here numerous times. It was left to Father to take an active role in getting the paperwork done, coordinating meetings, soothing tempers and stirring the discussion down the right channel whenever anybody strayed( which happened too often for his liking). Each issue was cut down to size, debated on and thrashed out in a public debate in the family. And once more at the lawyer’s. After that one would think that it was the last they heard of that particular issue. No prizes for guessing that the issue lived to tell the tale. Once the common forum broke up, different rooms were filled with small groups of people in deep conversation about how they felt about this and that …and how things should be, can be, can’t be, supposed to, could have been, should have been and many such forms.
Mother was playing the perfect hostess, not intruding upon that part of the house where discussions were taking place, but supplying the very essential chai and snacks.
We cousins were, of course, keeping out of everyone’s way. Land deal discussions are known to bring forth hitherto unknown traits in individuals. (Why risk it? ;)) We tried our best to follow each strand of argument and counter argument to its logical end…but in vain. It was an exhaustive study in the number of aspects anything can really have. I could almost visualize that theory about endless lines passing through a single point. Phew! I had my camera handy to capture all those historic moments should any of the folks ever deny having been there and done that!!
Finally one fine day, they agreed to agree and the registration was planned. The deed was done (pun intended)!! Coincidently that holy day turned out to be Holi(y) (another intended pun!!)We had puran poli cha jevan.
The occasion warranted a grand wet party. And where else but at the house they just sold.
Future plans include a trip to Konkan …the whole family to visit the kula daivat. Nothing concrete yet, obviously, since it has to be finely filtered through charcha and more charcha…
Waiting for that to unfold now. (Shudder!)