F is for Family. The good F word eh? Today is Day 6 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge and I am thrilled to talk about my family’s Fabulous Four.
Should have been five, but I did not have the privilege of knowing him. I am referring to my Uncles – my Mother’s brothers. Today, I am reflecting on all that I have received from my fabulous four. I am thinking about how they have shaped me, my attitude and my inherent nature.
Seldom does one see siblings as supportive of each other as my Uncles and Aunts. My Mother was the youngest of nine – they were four sisters and five brothers. By the time I came along, all the Aunts were married. Three uncles were married and two weren’t. So we lived as a joint family with my Grandma, my Mother, three Uncles and one Aunt (the eldest Uncle’s wife). The others were settled in different cities. Today, am sad to say only one Uncle survives.
My Uncles believed in giving without expectations. I know some people think growing up without a father makes for an incomplete family, but I disagree. I think I was lucky to grow up without mine because it gave me a much better environment to grow up in. The love I experienced made up for any perceived shortcomings. So maybe we weren’t financially big shots, but as I always enjoy saying, the affection made up for it. They taught me that.
I was very close to my uncles and it is amazing how they played important roles in my life, each in their own way. I am glad they influenced me the way they did. They all had big hearts.
The eldest uncle, Kittu mama encouraged me to think that I could achieve anything I set my mind to. While I have had this reinforced by many people in my life, it was he who convinced a very young me that I was stronger than I thought. I remember I used to feel inadequate because I was very short and looked younger than I was.
That he is responsible for my clothes-craze is well-known in the family, but he also taught me how to look for good stuff. He taught me that regardless of what mood I was in, I must eat well because everything looks great on a full tummy. Impromptu movies, shopping for no reason, experimenting with food and recipes, generosity and a zest for life – I owe it all to him.
Next, Venkittu mama. More subtle in his affection, he would act like it was a given that I would achieve great things. I realize what a high I got whenever I heard him tell my Mom “She’s going to be a wonderful person, loved by all. Don’t worry about her. She’ll make you proud. And you’ll be with her all your life”. Ah. He bought me my first “Garden Vareli” saree – a very coveted brand in sarees when it was launched. A beautiful red jacquard saree with a self print. I still have it, except I converted it into a cover for Vidur when he was a baby…and he calls it his healing robe.
After I started working, he moved to the same city we were in and took me out to eat my favorite food every fortnight. We would go shopping around Mambalam in Chennai and he would let me waste all the time I wanted looking at things I’d never buy. He supported me through all my major decisions in life and was a rock.
Gopu Mama. Oh! No matter what I say, I can never do him justice with words. Seldom can one be blessed with such a relative. When I was five, he was five going on 30. When I was ten, he was 10 going on 35. When I was 30, he was 30 going on 55. See what I mean? Today, I cannot believe he is 75. My mind just cannot accept it. He was the one looking after me when I had measles at 5 and my Mother had to go write an exam. He was the one who took me for a walk every morning when we went to buy the milk from the booth down the road.
Every day, I would look at the JNRJ on the cross near the booth. I would recite poems or the tables on the way up. And tell stories on the way back. Then I’d come home and when they opened the milk bottles we would both scoop up the cream on the top and enjoy it. He told me fairy tales like no one else could (not counting my Mom, she was serious competition for him and usually won hands down). He could spin the fairy tale for weeks, adding as he went. He taught me to be self-sufficient and attempt everything before asking for help. And I remember being very surprised when I found that I usually did not need help.
Even today, I laugh when I remember how while studying, he would ask me questions and prompt me with “The” if I hesitated before answering – as if that was a big help. My Mom would be so amused. Yet, “The” seemed to connect with my memory and trigger the answer. So funny. Gopu Mama introduced me to great reading. When others were immersed in Mills & Boon, I was reading Wodehouse, Westerns and Classics and practicing writing, playing word games. Not implying anything about M & B…but you know what I mean! What fun I used to have in his lab – he was a Scientist in the Ministry of Defence. He taught me good values in life, kindness and giving without expectations and most of all, the will to experiment.
Kondu Mama. Cadburys chocolates. Postage stamps from all over the world. Great books. Movies every Sunday. Picnics. Humor. Doted on me as a baby. And doted on my son the exact same way when he was a baby. Brilliantly intelligent – fab sense of humor. Zero laziness and took over the kitchen on Sundays, ensuring that all the ladies in the house took Sunday off from their routine. What about his weekly off? This was his way of enjoying himself. Made friends with everyone in the area. Financed street-dwellers, encouraging them to support themselves – selling flowers, cooking snacks and selling them, sewing… Generous to a fault. We always associated him with being dressed stylishly, fond of spending and always ready to help others. He was Ubuntu at work!
Point is, I could go on and on.What I just said seems so inadequate. But I’ll stop here.
Family is like flowers…bright, cheerful, beautiful and uplifting!
Who, in your family, has influenced you in a big way?
Thank you for your presence here,today.
I am linking up with Sundays In My City, my favorite meme graciously hosted by Unknown Mami. Free world travel from my keyboard. Doesn’t get better than this!
I know exactly what you mean when you disagree with “growing up without a father makes for an incomplete family”.
I lost my father at a young age. My mother, my siblings and I received a lot of support and affection from our immediate family, the extended family, close family friends and neighbours. I can go on and on, but I’ll stop here. My comment shouldn’t be too long!
Who, in my family, has influenced me in a big way? Quite a few people, but the most of all my mother, maternal grandfather, maternal grandmother and maternal uncle.
Proactive Indian recently posted…Frankness
They say we don’t get to pick our families – but I’m so glad you had this lovely set of relatives. I can see shades of all of them in you! ♥
Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…Anything Goes On Sunday 5
When I saw the title , I was reminded of your piece at Coffee with Mi, where you’d mentioned Kondu Mama discovering you and Mi at the railway station, when you’d just arrived from Delhi and Mi was unwell. I started reading this piece with that incident in mind, and when I completed , I felt you’ve portrayed them beautifully, though there are numerous stories which you’ve left untold !
Thanks for sharing this here, Vidya. This shall remind many of us about the wonderful relatives we have, this shall remind us to make that one phone call that’s been pending for ages, and this shall open our eyes again , to many blessings.
It just did for me 🙂
Hugs and cheers for a happy day !!
Sreeja Praveen recently posted…A to Z Random Post # 6 : F – the Friend….
When I read the title I clicked in to find out more. A strong believer that family makes you who you are, I loved reading about your growing up days with your uncles. I did not realise who was influencing me in my family till I became a mother and instinctively I do things the way she had when we were little! Family binds, family breaks and nice to know we both were blessed in that aspect.
mehroo recently posted…Feeling blue
God has his own way of compensating for the loss of something with bounty of something else.The boundless affection shown by each one of your uncles in their own way and their good influence in shaping your personality are the blessings you should cherish
KP recently posted…The button
So blessed to have such a wonderful close knit family. In our growing up years our close ones influence our character a lot, I can see how close you were to all your uncles. I believe in family. And my biggest strength and influence in my life is my maternal grandfather.
Aditi recently posted…Fuchsia Fetish
A great post and hmm, over at http://myeverydaypersonal.blogspot.be/, I wrote on Family too.
Marie Abanga recently posted…Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back, and reason to stay
This is such a beautiful post. To grow up around such caring and loving people. I feel the same around my uncles and mama. My mama would infact jump into the fishery as soon as he comes to know that we are visiting, to catch a fresh fish and prepare lunch.
Rajlakshmi recently posted…The Friendship Ramification
How blessed you are, Vidya to have grown up with so much love and care from this amazing Fab Four! They all sound so wise and profound in their own unique ways. That story about “The” as “the help” that you actually needed is so wonderful! Reminded me of my mother’s prompts when she used to help me prepare for my exams. A heart-felt post, Vidya!
Beloo Mehra recently posted…F is for First…as in First Principle of True Teaching
Ours wasn’t a joint family. My dad used to tell stories about his childhood when he lived in a big joint family of around 40 members and I always thought it might be so gud to be in one such family and I still have that dream. Your post reminded me of all those incidents 🙂 And being in a family where my grand parents prefer boy over girl child, it was my mom who influenced my life and is responsible for who I am today 🙂
swathi shenoy recently posted…F for Fear!!
I love family tales. They bring you closer to your memories and are great ways to bring the old and the young together. I admire the way you meticulously wrote about each Uncle. It shows the tremendous and individual impact each one had on you. Much love <3
Shailaja V recently posted…Faith for its own sake
It is interesting that each of your uncles played a different role in your life. Each gave you something to draw from and to grow. It is wonderful to see close knit families, because when all is said and done…it is what matters.
carol graham recently posted…Dogs – H is for Hiding Behind the Tree
This was such a lovely and a heart-warming post, Vidya! The love and affection and the valuable life lessons that you have received from your Mamas is so priceless! I so loved ‘prompt me with “The” “… how sweet and wonderful is that!!
Thanks for sharing such beautiful memories! Cheers 🙂 ♥
Shilpa Garg recently posted…F is for Forgive and/or Forget
Wow!! A lovely post to read.. My family is just me, mom, and sisters… recently bro-in-law, and nephew, nieces got added. I never know how it is to be with mausi, mama, mami, etc 🙁
S(t)ri recently posted…Fair & Square – AToZ Challenge 2014 – Day6
I think this will connect with everyone at some level… While My parents and my sister have been everything and more that I could have asked for..there was someone, a big brother I can say, who my parents took in when I was just two months old…He stayed with us, studied and today lives a life that makes us all proud… He was the brother from another mother…I was so protective of him…and I’m so thankful to God for bringing him in my life!
nabanita recently posted…F is for Faithful in Friendship
This is so sweet. Sometimes family is not about blood but about who is with us and inspries us and supports us. I loved reading about your brother Nabanita! So beautiful!
Jodi @ Heal Now recently posted…Why you take things personally
What an amazing post…yes, family is like flowers… sometimes petals fall-off and get blown away by wind. A nice family is a great support system and helps in one’s growth as well. I have been also blessed in the surrounding of kind hearted family members..
Jayanta Tewari recently posted…Freedom of Mind- Fight Within
Thanks for sharing that bit of you. I love the love that emanates from your post and that’s what makes a personal piece so universal. Your Venkittu mama was prophetic – you sure are loved by everyone Vidya.
obsessivemom recently posted…F for Helen Fielding
Your post was literally dripping with emotion Vidya! I have two maternal uncles who are as close to me 🙂 Your post reminded me of them 🙂
Gauri recently posted…F – DIY Frame with Old Magazine Pages
Thanks for sharing your family with us. They sound wonderful and families who have such people in them are truly blessed.
Suzy recently posted…Life’s Jigsaw – Forgiveness
Lovely post… truly when your family becomes such a blessing… you tend to become even more blessed…wow hats off to you vidya! you’ve written well about each of them!
I love to peek into your colourful life…It is so cosy in there 🙂 Even my mum is the youngest of 9 siblings… And I am hugely influence by my Mama & Masis. I could so relate to that “The” clue… could see it happening infront of me
Shiva recently posted…Envelopes
Sad you didn’t have your father when you were growing up. I’m so glad your extended family supported you so well, helped raise you and contributed to your well being which is wonderful. Glad you had so much love and support that made you the lovely lady you are today!
Cathy Graham recently posted…F is for Flower
Beautiful write Vidya. I so badly miss my family. It’s been a year since my wedding and I couldn’t meet them till now. But, yay Im going in two weeks time and Im so glad that I wold be able to catch up with all my relatives as their are two weddings to attend too. Thanks again for an amazing post 🙂
Shalini recently posted…FOREVER ALONE NO MORE- 6
I for one too value my uncles a lot.The maternal and paternal they have always held me as their own daughter and that selflessness touches me everytime.
Always a pleasure to read one step more about your life Vidya 🙂
It sounds like you have a beautiful family! My Gran influenced me the most. It is in her memory that I work in research on age-related eye disease.
Thank you for sharing.
Somber Scribbler recently posted…The F Word
In joint-family system all the young ones belonged to the grown-ups. So self-centred and selfish ones were very rare.So the loss of one of the parents was not felt.
How wonderful to grow up with supportive family members! 🙂 My family is more far-flung and not really connected in that way.
Debbie recently posted…#AtoZChallenge: “F” is for FINALE LIGURE
You are indeed blessed to have had such positive and loving uncles Vidya! 🙂
I think, its my grandfather (my dad’s uncle) who has influenced me in a big way 🙂
Hornadu is such a beautiful place na?! 🙂
Thank you, Hema! Grandparents and grand-relatives invariably have an influence! Horanadu was indeed beautiful and the temple is fantastically maintained. Everything glows in the early morning sun! And of course, the breakfast they serve is wonderful.
wonderful words and one can feel the love and admiration coming from your words. My parents were a huge source to always believe in myself, never give up, be strong and be fair, compassionate and one can do anything if one puts their mind to it. Some of my relatives showed me what I do not want to be and therefore influenced me in this manner. You are very blessed to have such a beautiful family and memories
I had a smile till the end. Family is the greatest blessing we get and so glad you have such fabulous relatives. 🙂
You are a blessing and a friend, even if you’re miles away.
Also, I love the new banner!
Star Traci recently posted…Star Preview #6 – Spuni
I come from a huge family too! Each one of them means a world to me.
You certainly were blessed, your uncles all sound amazing! Great post. Have a wonderful week.
Nita recently posted…Friday Fragments
Beautiful post, I visited Horanadu twice in 2013, Both different experiences ! thanks for the share !
Ananya Kiran recently posted…Jack of all Trades — thats me 🙂
You have really had a blessed childhood Vidya!
I wasn’t from a joint family, but enjoyed a lot of stories from my Mom.
This generation definitely misses all the happiness that a big family can bring in.
Sudha C Prabu recently posted…Angels around you
From your comment, “Ubuntu at work” Kondu Mama sounds like a wonderful human being!
Lovely photo Vidya!
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