.. to our beautiful family cabin at Okse for the weekend. Its breathtakingly beautiful and whenever I land up there during the summer, I feel like Heidi returning to her beloved mountain cabin. Oh, and the mother-in-law, when she joins us? She makes fresh rolls every morning. Freakishly Heidi, right?
We’ll be 13 adults and 10 children ranging from 10 years to 3 months. The Viking’s twin brother and kids, and then his cousins, an amazing bunch of them, with their offspring. (Yes, its a roomy cabin with a renovated barn and a sea house).
I have a serious crush on the Viking’s family. Not to say that I lurrve all of them or anything unnatural like that (seriously, can that ever happen? There has to be someone getting the stink-eye in any family), but largely, this family is an extension of my Indian one. They are loud, lively, flawed and tightly bound to each other.
The children of three sisters, who have grown up together, spent ordinary days and holidays togethers, gone through the loss of parents together at a young age (my mother in law and her older sister were widowed early) and simply been there for each other. Inspite of everything they have been through, or maybe because of it, they find joy in the silliest things. I have rarely seen such a playful bunch of siblings and cousins and the laughs are never too far away. We in-laws (or outlaws depending on how you look at it) have had the good fortune of full endorsement and absorption into this clannish Viking mafia.
I make no secret of this to the Viking. Even if I ever gave up on him one day, there is no way I can give up this family. They are so much mine. They are the reason I can live in a small town that doesn’t stand out on the map. My brother and I grew up with a great sense of extended family, and I knew that I could never take it for granted that I could give my children the same. Now my family has spread out in all the directions the wind can blow, yet in this Norwegian town that I had never even heard of before moving here, my children now have this network of grandparent, granduncles, grandaunts, aunts, uncles and cousins – second, third and then some.
Like an amazing trapeze net to catch us gently should we fall.
They keep us non-nuclear and ticking.
The children are so used to the noise, bustle and gaeity of the extended family unions, that nothing in the Indian social set-up freaks them out. Its just like home to them. Deranged Indian family, deranged Norwegian family – potayto, potaato. And whenever I hear denouncements of “western family values”, I think, “You don’t know them all. You have no idea of the loving families that are out there, weaving nets to keep each other safe.”
It so shatters the Asian ego to think that we don’t have the monopoly on loving, supportive and connected families. But thats a topic for a different post:-)
Toodle doo, dears. Its time for me to go get tanned a brighter shade of black and briefly enjoy the Norwegians ooh-ing over my darrrk skin. In about ten days, when I land in India, my Indian mother and aunts will decimate my well-sunned self-esteem with choice words like, “Karikutty” (coal child) and “Kolam Kettu” (the sad state of her) and drag me to the nearest parlour to dip me in a body-sized tub of bleach. Straddling this bi-cultural life, I tell you!
Ooh and anti-jinx times two:-)