The get together at the house of my aunt who had a huge house and an equally big heart were always memorable for us right from our childhood times! Each occasion was looked forward to , as it would give us an opportunity to indulge in lots of eating , playing cricket matches in the abandoned historical site across the road and later watching the movies on the TV. Be it a birthday, a festival or any occasion we would never give a miss to the invitations that came. Time passed as we grew up and eventually parted for pursuing our own lives. We would catch up during vacations and share jokes, laughter and have fun!
A few years back, she returned from United States where all the cousins had migrated many years ago and now had their own grown up children. It was decided that we would meet during ‘Goverdhan Puja’ which falls just a day after the Diwali! It was decided that everyone would prepare a few dishes and then reach their place by 12 O clock to be together at ’Puja time’.
When we reached their place my uncle, aunts, their children, grandchildren and four generations were there. In all there were more than 70 people at home. Some had traveled long distances just to be there. The house reverberated with laughter and when the time for ‘Puja and Aarti’ came the ‘prasad’ ( food offered to god) comprised of more than sixty dishes ranging from all kinds of lentils, vegetables, sweets and savories all prepared at home! The aroma filled the air with all kinds of delicacies and the spread was very tempting. We offered the prayers together and to see everyone participating with enthusiasm and vigor gave a feeling of true bonding and togetherness which had not diminished with the number of years that had passed. Our children were indulging in the games that we had indulged when we were young. Our uncle and aunts sat huddled together and played the game of cards just the same way that we had seen as small kids. On that day it appeared that the time had stood still. Small toddlers shrieked and created ruckus while the teens were busy discussing their aspirations and plans. The cousins who had returned from States had not changed a wee bit except for strands of greying hair. The purity of relationships had withstood the test of time and we remembered the pranks we used to play as kids. I remember when I was a small kid someone had asked me how many brothers and sisters were we? I had replied ‘almost a dozen and started telling the names’ . His eyes widened in disbelief and later he realized that all my extended family had been included in my count. Such was the innocence that would be looked upon as foolishness in today’s world! This was my world filled with love and optimism of ‘Stay Hungry and Stay Foolish’ the words uttered by Steve Jobs in his famous speech! (https://housing.com/)