It's all relative
And so a few days back I get this call from my aunt (my dad's maternal uncle's daughter), who lives in Australia and was planning to come over to Singapore for a few days along with her sons, which basically amounted to the fact that I was going to meet them. Normally it would've had a close-to-nothing effect on me. Heck! It was just going to be a brief meeting, or maybe as she suggested, a stay at her place over the weekend. But no, this invitation triggered a lot more than "nothing" in my otherwise calm grey cells.
The last time I'd met her in person would've been way back in 2001? or was it 1999? Ah kid the years, what's striking is how distances can really make a difference in one's relationships. Yes, we have our own life, they have theirs, it's impossible to connect on a more than monthly or yearly basis. But coming to think of the relatives I have in India itself, how often do I talk to them? Do I even know all of them?
Its sad. Ours is supposed to be a huge clan and yet, on my last trip to New Delhi (which was a year back), I "discovered" three of my cousins I didn't even know existed! It's ironical that I was forced to make that trip as dad wanted us to visit a few relatives on our way back from Jammu, and like any other kid (?) I didn't like the idea of visiting some relatives I've never met before, and going over the same customs of awkwardly smiling, greeting them, being welcomed into their house, being asked about your career, and the astounding fact that children do really grow up being exclaimed repeatedly. I loved my new found cousins though and wished I would've had the chance to grow up with them.
Being the only kid in a nuclear family has its great benefits and yet, it leaves you with this gaping hole, a yearning to know how it would've been otherwise. All my life I've learnt to be independent, to manage my own troubles, to enjoy my own company, and now living so far away from home, trying to lay a foundation for myself in this world, I feel blessed to have the insight and wisdom to make it solo.
The trouble comes in when this habit becomes your nature. I hate to call myself a loner but I must admit, more often than not, I wish to be left alone. I guess the "me-time" is highly over-rated in my life. So when it comes to meeting relatives, I sort of have to switch roles and become this awesomely outgoing person who enjoys being in the company of others 24x7. And that can be quite exhausting. While I would much rather enjoy a quiet weekend in my room, cuddled up with a cup of hot chocolate, reading a good book, I can't help but accede to at least a few of such invitations, for fear I'd get engulfed in my own silence and fade away without a trace.
Yea that's too far fetched a thought.
But it's after long that I've finally been able to come to terms with myself over this issue.
My independence and freedom are so dear to me, that they often stand in way of me developing an attachment with anyone. I'm afraid that if I do finally let someone share my space, and things don't work out, it's going to be painful learning to live with myself once again, but if I don't, then there's no way I'll ever be able to get my true feelings across to anyone.
I dream of having a big family someday. A family where people look out for each other, where time and distance are no barriers to love. A family I can spend a quiet evening by the fireplace with, without a care in the world. A family that's a part of me as much as I am a part of myself.