“Hum bhi agar bache hote,
Hum bhi agar bache hote,
Naam hamara hota bablu, dablu
khaane ko milte ladoo,
Aur duniya kehti Happy Birthday to you…”
Funny how I remembered this song by heart all my childhood and forgot it promptly when it became relevant. I guess that is what growing up is. Sad.
Yes, I am.
Grew up in a house where everyone had a greater right to the place than us, the year-round residents. Or caretakers, as I felt of us. A house which was rarely without visitors – friends, well-wishers and, mostly, relatives (well-wishing or not). A weak financial status didn’t help our independence either. And the bullish Punjabi culture around didn’t give much space to our soft, almost meek, personalities.
So, you may understand when I say I value my privacy. That I ferociously protect my private space and time. And I’m very Very choosy about who I call a close friend. Friends, yes, plenty. Close friends I’ll share my heart with on every topic – not even a handful. Yet, priceless.
It may also help you understand why I so diligently maintain my distance from the few close relatives I have in this country. Knowingly or not, they did spoil a lot of things for me while I was growing up. Many more than they could pay for with the gifts they brought on every visit to India. So, when I maintain this distance, I only do them a favour – by not interfering in their lives in a similar manner. Or giving them the faintest of hints that they could interfere in mine.
P.S.: These thoughts were brought out of hibernation by a voice-mail invitation from an Aunt to a year-end family gathering. Interestingly, she called from a private number, asked me to call back and confirm but forgot to leave her number – should I read much into this? :|