Thursday, August 04, 2005

From the snuff-box

My Dad has sixty four first cousins! Can you believe that? Well if you consider his grandfather (my great grandfather) had two wives and bore him six sons and a daughter, and each of the children produced a football team to say the least, and then to that add on the cousins that came from my grandmother's side of the family...well, it really does add up to sixty four. Needless to say my dad has never met some of his cousins and probably never will. I, on the other hand have only five (whew) .

Some of my fondest memories are at my maternal grandparents house in Ballygunj spent with my Mama's daughter R and my Mashi's sons B and T. We were all kind of in the same age group with 4 years of difference between the four of us. It was always referred to as "Didu'r bari" and never "Mama bari" as my uncle used to live in Jamshedpur and for some strange reason "Dadu'r bari" did not sound right either. We've spent many a day pretending to be detectives and solving mysteries. Of course this was when we were severely influenced by Secret Seven, Famous Five and Five Find-outers. We even went to the extent of calling up a certain Mr. Goon who happened to be listed in the Calcutta telephone directory and pretended to the Five Findouters. For those of you who are familiar with the series will recall that Mr. Goon was the local police officer who was not so fond of the children and would always end up looking kind of silly when the Five Findouters ended up solving the mystery before him. Our Mr. Goon was not very happy about our phone call probably because he was clueless about the books and had no idea what mystery we were talking about.

The other really funny incident that comes to mind is the time when we decided to try out some of Dadu's "noshyi" (snuff). We stole some out of a snuff box stuffed our noses and inhaled......the rest is a confused series of memories where all of us are rolling around screaming with tears rolling down our cheeks and the parents rushing in and trying to figure out what had happened, scolding, shaking and a great deal of noise.

I cannot remember the last time we all got together. Probably before my Mashi moved to Australia in the mid 80's. I've met all my cousins a number of time since but we've never been able to meet up together. Now all of us are married, R has a daughter, B has a son and a daughter, and we are all scattered across the globe. Dadu and Didu are no more, Didu'r bari is now Mama bari. Things are not the same anymore. But it would still be awesome if we could actually meet up somewhere and remember our childhood days. And even if we cannot be Fatty, Pip, Bets, Larry or Daisy anymore, may be we can give the next generation the same thrill of living and being the Five Find Outers.

(This post is getting long. More on other cousins will follow)

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Blogger Sagnik Nandy said...

my dad has 90 something first cousins - simple eqn - i think he has 14-15 uncles and aunts and each one has 6-7 kids. he hasn't met two of them ever - so he keeps joking that "whoever i fall in love with i should at least check the family tree for 2 generations" :))

1:05 PM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

:)) looks like having an army of first cousins was the norm of the generation. We even had a standing joke in the family that every descendant of my great grandfather should have a locket with his photo on it that he/she would wear around the neck so that you'd know that you were related when you ran into each other.

3:22 PM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

Hey...hokey-pokey. May be we are related. Who knows? I don't think anyone was keeping track :)
Thanks for visiting!

4:15 PM  
Blogger Kumari said...

:D I don't know how many first cousins my parents have but since they were both part ofa BIG household and each of my aunt/uncle have a pair of children, i am blessed with 10 Firct cousins on Mom's side and another 10 on dad's side :)

I spent all my holidays with mom's side; we never did play any mystery-solving games but yes we still meet as often as possible (Atleast till The Mr got me here)and now i play with their kids :)

One of the main reason why i threaten The Mr that i shall fly away to India soon. I need to humour my nieces in hop-skotch :)

5:35 PM  
Blogger totti said...

:))...i have about 16 first cousins, not of the same age group but i doubt if i can say it was great fun growing up with them but we still had our moments...nice.

10:11 PM  
Blogger That Girl said...

lol this is so cool!! my dad has tons of cousins as well.. this is so freakingly like my family!! * grabs M and jumps around*...FIVE FINDOUTERS!! HAHHHAA!! i would read them under my sheets when my parents thought i was sleeping... SOOOO cool! your post made me grin!

12:41 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ kumari I used to love hop scotch. I hope you do get to do that :)

@ karthik you have to be the same age group to be able to relate. And since I was an only child, my cousins were the brothers and sister I never had.

@ grafxgurl so did I!!! Under the sheet with a torch, putting an alarm clock under the pillow, walking out of a locked room....everything!

7:45 AM  
Blogger Rimi said...

oh man, do you know how to evoke memories or do you know how to evoke memories!
i used to call my grandparents place didur bari too. still do, as a matter of fact. though neither of my grandparents are with us any more...
it was THE meeting place for my mashis and their families. i have six cousins on my mums side,, not quite sure abt my dad's side. about eight, i think. the thing is, i'm not really close to any of them anymore. we aren't scattered all across the globe, but we never seem to meet up, an no regrets either. just different people, i guess...
i really, really miss my dadu though, best bud i ever had...sorry, didn't want to go all soppy on your blog.

8:08 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ rimi it's totally okay to be soppy and nostalgic over childhood memories. I so miss being a kid...I guess that kind of reflects in my posts, huh? Got to grow up...sometime.

8:23 AM  

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