Three kids meant a small family in my parents’ generation. That vast cast of aunts and uncles is unthinkable now. In my generation, that crowd of siblings is replaced by cousins. Looking back, not being siblings made friendships easier. Our relationships escaped the inevitable frictions between siblings. In its place a sense of kinship through shared “fun”. Spend-the-days, joint family outstation trips. Ritual gathering around our shared grand parents and ancestors. It was a closeness that’s closer than friendship. Yet with more space than what brothers or sisters could allow. Not that we knew any better.
Now we are “all grown up”. Our families are even smaller. Exile has pushed us onto different continents. After adulthood, I’ve spoken to many cousins only a handful of times. Time zones and the rhythms of our separate lives makes Skype futile. Social media in all its forms is too detached.
Its heartening that our kids get along so well on the rare occasions we meet. Yet seeing them run around had only emphasises a sense of drift and disintegration. Which I’ve blogged about before in a bout of new year realisations. I used to blame that disintegration on the war. On the stupidity and the greed of the politicians who caused it. A lot of negative energy spent on futile rage. None of this is new. Our parents’ generation went through something similar with their Jaffna relatives.
In the same vein some of us are plotting to re connect. Despite the grim logistics that adulthood, parenthood, geography, visas and money allow. Its something to look forward to in 2016. Its also the one thing that I hope keeps this post from looking like another waddle down nostalgia lane. Even though it is the end of an year (however irrelevant that is to the sun and its planets).
Thank you for reading. I hope you and those you care about have a better 2016 – even if 2015 was a good one.