Well yes I was born in a Desi household, amidst hordes of relatives. We lived in a joint family system. My mother had 9 siblings and my father had 10- Yes I know but they say they did not have TV in those times, hence no other entertainment- If you know what I mean!
Only my uncle and paternal grandparents lived with us, but then there was a never ending party at home and everyone was kind of always present. So my childhood and tween years introduced me to many different versions of aunts and uncles and cousins. And then of course the extended families that spice up the scenario further.
Most in my list are not so positive characters but then that is my personal opinion and my list. Yours might be different and better or worse-who knows!
1- Always-there-for you sister:
If there is one blessing in form of a blood relation, after mother, it definitely has to be a sister. I am the eldest of the ONLY four children of my parents. My sister even though younger, is the smarter and calm one, while I have always been the emotional and impulsive one. Matters of heart, love or anything else, she is my one stop solution. We have our fair share of arguments and quarrels but then what is a relationship without that? Ive personally witnessed women, paternal and maternal aunts, my cousins who would not hesitate to suck the better life out of a sister of theirs; who would selfishly leave the weak one on a side and carry on with the ones that suit their lives. I guess it is because of what they learn from their mothers, and i know what I did from mine.
Aren’t they always annoying? Lets move on.
3- The Always-Behind-Your-Back Cousin:
Yes? The same one you thought of. Who would always wear the exact or almost exact replica of what you wore in the last party and with amicable resistance, express how our outfits are so similar. Or who would write their profiles with exactly same details as yours and when you inquire when did you go to this school or bought this cell phone or learnt to drive or had this love-affair, they would remind you that you are jealous of them and that they been on this stuff for ages!
4-The Know-It-All Cousin:
So there are so many different varieties of them. All sizes and packages. This is the one who writes “tat” for “that”, “ov” for “of” and “thankew” for “thank you”. You dare to correct them and they dish out their envy and ignorance upon you, labelling you jealous. You talk to them in Urdu and they respond in English(their version of it of course) They also prefer to ignore all the fame and fortune that comes your way because acknowledgement of it would only make them lesser of a person that is beyond their tolerance. Pretentious much? I so want to laugh!
5-The Materialistic Cousin:
“Oh I love that lipstick-can I have it?” “When you are done with this dress, its gonna be mine okay?” “Oh this stand needs to be wiped before I put these things here-” You turn around and they are gone. Exactly that type!
6-The Absolutely Fascinated Cousin:
If it was possible, they’d make an idol of you and start worshipping it. This type sees only the good in you, beyond good rather. You’re a role model for them and they just want to be you.
7-The Secretive Cousin:
She pretends she is your best friend; then one day you find out its her second child’s first birthday and you’re like what?
8- The Mirror-Image Aunt:
Of course she is an aunt so she can not copy your dress or shoes or jewellery so she tries to make up for it for all the rest of the things. What your children do, what set of glasses in your kitchen, what kind of hutch in the living room?
9- The Always-There-For-You Aunt:
She may be mean, outspoken and always angry but you get into any trouble and she is the first one to always reach. Call her what ever but this overcomes everything else.
10-The Dreaming-Of-A-Perfect-DIL Aunt:
Since you were a child, you always got special attention from her. More and better presents, love, attention, special introductions at parties-You name it. And it was only when you realized this affection was because of the eligible bachelor cousin at your Aunt’s place who was a perfect prospect for you!
11- The Crying Aunt:
No her tears are not because she is emotional. She cries because she can not bear to see your splendid new house, or glittering diamonds or fearless ride. So she cries!
12-The Always-Sick Aunt:
No its not making fun of any one who is sick. But this one has the same excuse for everything. From why she eats different(better) food than the rest of the family to why she has put on lumps of fat: the answer is always because she is sick and hence she also gets all the multivitamins-Irony!
13- The Crackhead Uncle:
“Oh uncle I got a gold-medal and an amazing job offer from Microsoft”
“Well these days it is so easy to get a gold medal. Ours were the times when one had to work hard. And what ever is Microsoft?”
14-The Free-Bit-Of-Advice Uncle:
You talk about wanting to eat an orange in front of him and he starts about the cost, advantages, disadvantages, dos and don’ts of orange. You would simply want to never even think about orange again!
15-Devil’s advocate uncle/brother:
They attend the services at the local place of worship regularly and talk about faith and belief and how to dress appropriately and how to help others so they ought to right in whatever they are doing. Guess what? They are not. Because no matter what they preach, they sure do not practice it themselves and it is obvious.
But then the one thing that my mother always used to refer to:
And fear Allah through Whom you demand, and (do not cut the relations of) womb (kinship, blood relations)