Mumbai is where my mom’s side of the family lives. The three of us left for Mumbai the morning after we returned to Pune from Delhi. The first thing that happened when we arrived at Mumbai was to get ready for a family reunion. Technically it was a pooja, but by the number of family members that were there, I’m going to call it a family reunion.
A lot happened there. I met the family I know. My close cousins and family members. ( I don’t even know if that’s a term.) I also met distant cousins and members. That means, the many, many branches of the family tree. People who are related to me but are the daughter of the father whose brother is related to my dad. Or something like that. The most surprising thing about meeting all of them was that they ALL knew me. I’ve never met most of them a single time in my life, yet they’re all coming up to me and asking how I’ve been and saying hi to me. “Nice to meet you too. Who are you?”
All my cousins! ( And a nephew or two in there)
After the last family member and longtime friend was gone, it was time to get down to business. Pictures. We were all dressed up in our best outfits, not looking as radiant as we did at the beginning, but still looking good, and not taking pictures would be wrong.
|The Grandparents and Grandkids|
|Entire family portrait|
The next day was a more relaxed day. With no need to get up early in the morning for some pooja or aarti, I could take it easy. So my day started out with me attempting to solve the most difficult Sudoku puzzle I have ever attempted in my life. Not only that, it was in Devanagari numbers. Despite that, I was able to teach my grandfather how to solve Sudoku.
The day was mainly me and my three cousins hanging out and cracking jokes. This is a continuous thing over the next few days. This is literally all I did there. But, it was admittedly the best time I’ve ever had in my entire life. I think that’s mainly because they’re somewhat around my age. I have two older cousins, and a younger cousin. My younger cousin is 3 years younger while my two older cousins are about 8-9 years older than me. I think because we’re in a closer age range with each other we got along really well.
|Desperate to find out our Harry Potter Houses|
|Us feeding the youngest|
|Ice cream! Sadly we were banned to get chocolate.|
My younger cousin is 10, but has one of the most interesting minds I’ve ever seen. Interesting in a way, I don’t even know what goes on in that kid’s head 78% of the time. He’s a witty, chubby, cute kid who loves history, and for some reason is obsessed with the Soviets. But he’s grown so much honestly. The last time I saw him was this small kid who had his eyes glued to his tablet the whole day, and now he’s off spitting facts about Apollo the card god of Uno ( an inside joke, it’s not really true) and Harry Potter. Fun fact: he got married to a plant recently. I think they may be going through a divorce soon though.
My older cousin is 21, and has the personality of a 15 year old. It’s not bad, and honestly it’s the best. I’d say him and my younger cousin get along the best. brother-buddy-compadre-duo friendship that is really fun. Although my older cousin has the authority of an “elder” to us, he doesn’t use it. Instead, he prefers to tease us more and make jokes to make us laugh. I’d say the best part of hanging out with him is his “professional-ism”. Is that a word? I don’t think so…Pretty sure “professional” isn’t the word I’m looking for as well. Anyway, I admire his ability to become your teasing older brother and then switch into a 21-year-old adult who can help around or has a job interview.
My oldest cousin is also pretty amazing. I think I really liked talking to her the most out of everything. I’ve always wanted an older sister. Always. Even though we are like sisters, we didn’t really develop that relationship further until now. So I think I bonded the most with her. I don’t really know what else to write about her. I can only say, she’s a perfect sister. I don’t know how else I should describe her. She’s just the best.My Mavshi ( mom’s sister- specific term for aunt) is the person to call for fashion advice. She has great taste in clothing and accessories, and is absolutely amazing. She has a bit of a mischievous side, and has a really fun personality. She also doesn’t take no for an answer. If I go visit, she’ll have made or ordered something to eat. And even if I or my mom say a word she’ll look at us to just sit and eat. In a caring way of course.My Kaka ( mom’s sister’s husband) is a quieter person. He usually keeps to himself, but he is very musical. He loves to sing. Sing and dance. He’s also always trying to get to know me. My Marathi is still not perfect, so often my grammar and sentences will be off. He knows that, and tries to have a conversation with me in English so I would understand and feel comfortable.My Mama ( mom’s brother) is a pretty enthusiastic person. He’s always trying to spend time with us and cheat at Uno. He has a very fun personality. It’s always very light, and upbeat. Each greeting is different. A new style. New kind of enthusiasm. He’s also pretty witty, and doesn’t hesitate to tease me at every moment.My Mami ( mom’s brother’s wife) is a very jovial person. Like I mentioned in my first post, she reminds me of my Kaku. However, they both give out different energies. My Kaku is quieter, while my Mami is much more enthusiastic. She’s loud, and laughs a lot. She’s a very compassionate person as well, and has a very caring personality.My grandmother is also enthusiastic. ( Wow. I’ve never used enthusiastic so many times.) She’s a strong woman, not letting anything knock her down. She has a very firm personality, but it’s also very loving. She won’t hesitate to show it at all.My grandfather is a military man. He’s now retired, but he still has those characteristics of one. A bit strict, serious, and observant. He likes telling stories. Mainly about when he was in the army. Or when he was working at a company. Other than that he’s kind of quiet. Except when he sneezes. Boy are those loud.The majority of my time was spent playing Uno with my cousins in a room or watching movies and talking about random stuff. COVID restrictions in Mumbai are stricter, so I wasn’t able to go out much. But, when we did, we went shopping at the nearby markets, or visited Mavshi’s house and my grandparents’ house. But, we also got to do a tour of Mumbai’s prime locations: Mumbai Police Headquarters, Mumbai Library, Gateway of India, and a scenic view of Marine Drive. We also got a bonus tour of Bandra, which is where the majority of Bollywood actors and actresses live. Courtesy of Mami herself.
|Gateway of India. It was SO crowded.|
|Mumbai Police Headquarters|
|Mumbai Police Headquarters 2|
Marine Drive! ( And me)
|A proper photo of Marine Drive|
So yeah, that’s how the first day of the new year was spent. The last few hours of 2021 were spent through a treasure hunt, a forbidden video of me dancing to Permission to Dance, everyone having a blast while listening to some Bollywood music, and most importantly…CRAB.
I feel like I’m going backwards instead of forwards now. I-
So that morning my mom, Mavshi, Kaka, Mama, and I had all gone to Sassoon Dock to go buy some fish. I have never been in a place with so much fish. I’ve been on a port before, but never on a fishing dock. The smell was…fishy. And overwhelming. *Ahem* Not talking about what happened next. Anyway, I got to see a variety of fish I don’t usually get to see, I also got to see a live process of fish being cut in half and gutted, as well as Mavshi unleashing her bargaining skills on the sellers.
After we got home, top priority was cleaning and preparing the fish, crab, and shrimp. I helped with cleaning the shrimp, and watched Mavshi snap the shells off of the crabs she had just finished cleaning with a toothbrush.
For the past 7 years I had watched from the other side of the world as they sent pictures of mutton, chicken, crab, shrimp, fish, cakes, and so many other homemade foods. I had waited 7 years to finally taste their cooking. This was a big deal for me. At last the moment had come. And it was perfect. I’m not the most skilled crab eater or even when eating with my hands, so it was a bit of an awkward, clumsy mess. However, it was definitely worth waiting 7 years for.
That concludes the final part for this trip.