It's always interesting isn't it, when relatives come to visit… especially when you can't remember who they are. I feel quite embarrassed when I stand before someone I'm sure I've met before, but not sure where, when and why. The faces of the relatives always seem familiar and I can escape with some pleasantries but the trouble starts when they ask annoying questions like, "Naan yarunnu theriyitha? (Do you know who I am?)" Or "Balu ippo un class dhaan (Balu is studying in the same class as you)". The second question can be tackled if you quickly nod your head but if you start thinking about who the hell Balu is, then you're screwed. The first question cannot be dealt with unless you know the person's exact name including the exact relationship you share with him/her like "mama/maami", "chitappa,chitti", "onnu vitta chitappa/onnu vitta chitti".( I never really understand why people call other people "onnu vitta" and other such crap. I used to think that my onnu vitta chittappas were famous for urinating). Most of the time I know only their name or only the relation terminology (RT) that follows their name but sometimes I manage to forget both. Recently a very close relative of ours had come to our house. I would have called him by his name and his RT even if he had woken me up at 1 in the morning (I would have said something foul to him, but still I would have called him by his name). Unfortunately he had shaved his moustache, his identification mark and I figured out to my displeasure that removing your moustache can make a hell of a lot of difference to your face.
My grandmother asked me,"Idhu yarunnu theriyitha da?". I opened and closed my mouth several times. I went "Uhh, ya....uhhh" and was starting to feel immensely uncomfortable. He suddenly gave me a pat on the back. I decided that I had to make the best use of the opportunity and I started howling in pain. I told my shocked grandmother and my equally shocked relative that he had tapped me in the exact place where I had gotten hurt in the morning while playing in school. I ran upstairs, still howling, and when I was out of earshot, I gave a huge sigh of relief and followed that with my evil laugh. This was only the first part of my master plan. To complete the second part, I needed the help of my sister. I went and told her that a very close relative of ours had come and that he wanted to meet her. She took the bait and went down. My grandmother asked her the same question she asked me and my sis gave her the same answer that she always gives to anyone who asks her that question, "Umm, theriyala (Umm, I have no clue)". I covered my face with a pillow (I was eavesdropping you know) to stop myself from giving out a huge snort. He introduced himself to her and I came down almost immediately and went, "#$^@$^ mama! How are you!!” He gaped at me with a confused look and asked, "What happened to your back pain?". Oops. So being the incredibly spontaneous person that I am, I ran up again, howling, "Ahh, my back!", tripped and fell flat on my face. If only Einstein had created a "Theory of Relatives" giving tips on how to dodge them, our world would have been so much more happier.