The bright sunlight was in my eyes forcing me to squint. I rubbed my eyes and for a moment had forgotten where I was and then I remembered, I was in India in my summer holidays 2001. I was on holiday with my mum, brother and my little sister. The place we were living in India was in south India, an area called Hyderabad. The weather was scorching hot and I felt weak and dehydrated when ever we went out. When we walked a sort distance it felt like we were walking a mile, every single journey felt like a prolonged expedition.
I was wondering what to wear because three of my aunts and cousins were coming over to our house, I couldn’t find anything and when I was about to give up a sky blue dress caught the corner of my eye and as I pulled it out of the cupboard I gazed at it for a while and knew it was the right choice. Everyone was home. My grandmother was living with us at the time, she had grown very old over the years. I remembered that she used to have beautiful long thick grey hair and now most of her hair was gone leaving her scalp half empty and she had her hair in a thin fragile plat running down her thin lean hunchback.
Her skin used to be nice and smooth but now full of wrinkles, which were scaly and crusty looking, like the rigid scales on a reptile. All the aunts had arrived with their children and we were all in the lounge having fun and telling jokes. The lounge was full of life and lively but not all the family was there because we have a really big family and I have not even met half of my family because whenever we go to India the rest of the family in other parts of the world do not make the effort to reach India.
Everyone was joking and cussing each other as jokes. Suddenly the phone rang with unexpected and unwelcoming news my grandmother’s sister in law had passed away. I was in shock and because my grandmother was death and dumb we had to explain to her in sign language. With the horrific news, she was completely tormented and disarrayed. She started to panic and everyone called up the taxi and went to the house, where the death had taken place. I did not go however, nor did my little sister and two or three of my cousins.
I did not expect that something like this would happen so abruptly and unexpectedly and at such an instant I just sat down anticipating and awaiting the arrival of my mother and brother. I used to call the women Mammy, she was a really generous, sweet-hearted lady and not that old, nasty grisly bear like some people describe old folk. Her death was a mammoth shot to us all, especially as we were all having so much fun we did not expect news of such a brutal nature. It was the only thing going through my head while I was sitting waiting.
I began to question my integrity, “what is my position in life? I began to ponder. It was getting late and they had not returned the phone had rang and I received it, it was my mum phoning from the house it wasn’t that far, she said that she would be really late because there were many people and many of the women’s sons where in Dubai and America. The next day I went to the house, I have been there several times before and when I got there the house was packed full of people full of relatives. There were people there that I had never met before. I gave my respects to my Uncle and I was feeling gloomy and miserable.
I went into a room where all the young teenagers were sitting all of them were roughly my age some older and some younger but only by a few years. They were all cousins that I had never met before I was excited and overjoyed to meet them all, they seemed pleasant and polite but they were not talking to me I felt a bit left out but after a while they got used to me and started to talk we talked like we were old relatives that knew each other since we were babies, I was really free with them and talked about everything from sports to movies and other things but one appalling thing is that I cant keep in mind their names.
I found out that people in out family had long hands and fingers and I had observed that I had inherited it from my family. After we sat and talked it felt like we were talking for a century I got up and decided to serve food and tea to the people but there were a few people who didn’t talk to me and I thought they were right old sods.
It had been a long day and the time was roughly 1am mum had finally decided to go home and she had also met her cousins after many decades she had grown up with them but they had all moved away. The following day we went to their house again and I went up to the room where the girls were on one side and the boys on the other side of the room they all welcomed me with pleasant warm smiled on their faces and told me to sit down I confidently smiled back at them.
After I sat down some of the people that didn’t talk to me the one day earlier were talking to me I got excited and enjoyed my time with them we had water fights beat each other up and lots more. We were at a funeral but it didn’t seem like it, it felt more like we were at a family gathering after many years, the time I had spent with them was quality time, worth valuing and I don’t think that there can be another time like it.