I spent Diwali in Pune this year after probably 20+ years. There was a time in the first half of my life when almost every vacation was spent in Pune with my maternal grandparents and three mamas and their families — all living together. My sister, and my nine cousins (mother’s side) were all there — some married, and some soon to be. This was a reunion that hadn’t happened for a decade or more. It was great fun! We did the Lakshmi Puja at night and then after dinner and firecrackers, got down to some serious stuff.
Playing Cards. With small bits of money. I jokingly suggested that instead of cash we could use some of the shares of the public companies (given how battered some of them have become)! We played Rummy through the night. It must have been a few years since I played cards of any kind! Rummy was preferred over Flush because of its higher intelligence quotient. By the time we finished, about Rs 300 had changed hands — I accounted for Rs 80 of the losses! Given that there should be a couple of my cousins who will be getting married in the next year, we can expect more much card nights in the next year — giving me a chance to recoup some of the losses.
There was fun and mirth all around. And an invisible bonding that started happening. I am the eldest amongst all of my generation — about 17 years separate me from the youngest. Through the years, we have all grown. There was a time when I used to spend more time talking with my mamas and mamis (uncles and aunts) since the ‘kids’ were too young. Now, time is monopolised interacting with my generation! There were times when I always felt lost between my older uncles and aunts, and the too young kids. But somewhere, the passing years have narrowed the gaps.
Perhaps, my enduring memory will remain of me singing (!) and putting one of my cousins to sleep on the swing in the lawn of their house about 25 years ago. Now, that same cousin will have her first baby next month.