Mom says relatives are important. They will help you whenever you are in need. Now really! But going by these common instances where relatives come into the picture, I would rather say, thanks but no thanks for the help.
The ‘my kid is my pride’ syndrome:
This starts in school. You are set up to compete with some relative who was born before or the same year as you. They get As and if you don’t, concerned uncle is sure to express concern to some third party about how bhaiya No. 2’s beta is so hoshiyaar or the beti is so ‘susheel’ because she can balance her studies and a tea tray equally well. All the conversations take place in such a manner that they reach your parents in a round about manner for sure. So the next you know is that they are worried about saving face. And you get enrolled into tuitions and courses you never wanted in the first place. All so that next time you beat bhaiya No. 2’s bachha. And so, you either study hard/excel at extra curriculars and try to please all, or you become an out and out rebel.
The girl/boy hunt:
Before you or your parents realise you are eligible, the matchmaking auntie realises. So before you can convince your parents about what are your preferences are in marriage, whether you want a Mr./Ms. Right or want to go it alone or even whether you believe in caste or compatibility, your parents are forced to toe the society’s line. So your parents start fretting even before the word dating crosses your mind. The girl’s mom is worried about her 'virtue' and maintaining a 'spotless reputation' and the guy’s mom is worried that he might be ‘seduced’ by some unworthy girl. And what about the boy and girl? Well….that’s everyone’s personal love/sob story I guess.
The marriage comparison meter:
Ok, so finally, you have beaten the pests during the hunt and have found your soul mate. Now its time for D-day. So how will the marriage be planned? Well, the jewellery has to be from the same place as that of the phoophi’s daughter only grander and heavier. The dowry has to be higher what mama’s ladka got. Everything has to be on a grander scale than previously scaled by any relative. Whatever for? After all, at the end of every marriage, every relative says stuff like ‘dal mein namak kam tha’, ‘sajawat ke phool murjhaye hue the’, ‘jodi mujhe toh pasand nahin aayi par khair apni apni kismat’, don’t they?
So I reason with Mom, that friends are better than relatives. They are the ones who will stand by me and not these relatives. After all, neither they nor I had a choice in being each other’s relatives, so I will be civil but don’t expect more. To which her standard reply sounds something like out of a Bollywood family drama ending with the blood is thicker than water theory. Relatives uff!