On family dramas…

It’s Hari Raya again, and as usual it’s time for mad family dramas to continue their never ending saga… As much as most people would say they’ve got a normal family, there is NO such thing as a normal family. Everyone is dysfunctional to a degree, however minute. To accept this madness is the first step towards making it right, no?

Every family that I know of, has had a “Hari Raya Incident”. It is without exception. It’s an undeniable fact of life. I’ve come to this conclusion because this year, my normally sedate and civilized extended family, whom I love dearly, finally finally blew up. And may I tell you, in a spectacular way too. Sort of like a volcano that has been dormant for millenia, finally blowing its top explosively.

It was fortunate, or rather unfortunate some might say, that I missed the spectacle. But I had eyes and ears telling me about what happened… And from the tales I heard, it must have been truly spectacular. To truly understand the magnitude of the ‘explosion’, I must first tell you about my family.

11 uncles and aunties, and all of them loud and opinionated, plus their even louder wives and husbands. 40-odd something grandchildren, plus spouses and great-grandchildren crowd into my grandmother’s house on Raya day, the reigning dowager ’empress’. She is not in the strictest sense, a tyrant like most other grandmothers are when they get to the kind of seniority she has. She’s much more subtle than that. She picks and chooses on who she dotes on, and cooks for… And there in lies the problem…

Some might say, so what? She has the right to choose who she dotes on, right? WRONG! You see, the eleven aunties and uncles, including my father, have been ‘politik-ed’ by my beloved grandmother. Granted, all mothers all difficult to live with, without exception. My father is one of those she dotes on, although she absolutely hates the guts of my stepmother… To make things more complicated, my grandmother is being taken care of by one of my senior aunties, a patient soul if I ever saw one…

And now the stage is set, since I’ve introduced most of the actors… Basically what happened was that they went head to head, because of the words of my grandmother, said way back, before the whole Raya season was even upon us. And when Raya came by, they all just spilled onto the sidewalk, and made a big boo boo mess… With everyone screaming and screeching at the top of their lungs… Some unpleasantness was exchanged, and harsh words were said…

But then the funny thing is, after the screaming, everyone seemed calm again. All was forgotten and forgiven, in the spirit of Raya. Sometimes catharsis is good for the soul. Even for the most even tempered and kind ones. In a way, it was good for them to screech and scream at each other… After all, as we grow older, we learn to tuck away our fears and hopes behind walls inside of ourselves. Some people call it poise, or even patience. I call it the ‘dam of the river of our soul’… Because once we get older and more ‘mature’, we are no longer allowed freedom of expression…

I guess some drama is good after all…. It would only be logical… Don’t you wonder why the soaps on TV do so well? My theory is that if one does not have enough drama in one’s life, you gotta ‘import’ some… It doesn’t matter if its fictional or farcical… What it does is make our own dreary existence seem more normal and well-adjusted. It doesn’t matter if your son has hooves for feet, today on TV Rosalinda had an accident, and just found out the the person who ran her over is her own beloved boyfriend who’s actually her brother-in-law’s gay partner, and is the son of her mother’s stepbrother… See? It’s so complicated, it makes our lives understandable and livable, doesn’t it?

Hoping for a less dramatic life of our own, full of love and happiness – Jasmine.

ps – my apologies for not writing earlier… been buried with the aftermath of Raya… 🙂


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