..And Off We Go

.. 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!

The cabin. The space. Oh, the space.

The cabin. The space. Oh, the space.

View from the top of the island

View from the top of the island

Run Forrest, Run!

Run Forrest, Run!

Paradise for the cousins

Paradise for the cousins

No. Paradise is a lown mower you can drive.

No. Paradise is a lown mower you can drive.

Good times and popsicles

Good times and popsicles

The hammocks between the apple trees

The hammocks between the apple trees

Ooh and anti-jinx times two:-)



Filed under family

20 responses to “..And Off We Go

  1. wow is this place for real? lovely pics. you are lucky to have formed a special bond with your inlaws- and your kids, luckier to have this extended family….
    enjoy your trip to India as well and ohh..do write about the bleach experience..you are funny!

  2. How utterly delightful!
    What a wonderful family you have, and what a beautiful place to enjoy them all in:)
    Have a blast, all of you:)

  3. anti-jinx 🙂
    looks like an awesome place. Can goosh and i also jump in? 😉

  4. Dottie

    Anti-jinx raised to ‘n’ for the wonderful family you have! the cabin is breathtaking. This side of the pond, we would expect to pay an arm, a leg and $500 and still grin at the deal:) Haffun!

  5. wow, the place looks amazing…have fun !!!

  6. maidinmalaysia

    i am going to be dreaming of that cabin and the rolls:-)

    you going on a holiday?!

    how do we deal with MGM-blog withdrawal symptoms

  7. chuchu

    Wow!looks like sooo much fun and the setting looks perfect…enjoy and pliss keep us posted…why no pics of the adorable meerkat huh??huh??:)God bless

  8. Gorgeous. And it’s right by the sea? I’d go poetic there!

    It’s true that Indian families are very connected, but it’s often conditional, and by guilt and conformity and adherence to arbitrary social rules. I mean, how many would support their daughters even if their *arranged marriages* turned sour?

    I love how us Indians have about 6 ways to describe varying shades of brown, when to anyone else, we’re just, well, brown. 😉 So go work on that tan now. I’d give anything to be in a seaside cabin right now. I’ll settle for living vicariously through you, so have a blast!

  9. whoa, what cabin! we call that a manor in these parts!!
    gorgeous place, and your family sounds wonderful (throwing handfuls of kala tikkas in every direction)
    have fun!!
    BTW, is that a washing line near the house?

  10. Era

    These pictures are like a ray of sunshine!!! There is something amazing about spending time with family, and there is something equally amazing about spending time such diverse families. It really teaches us that despite different geography and physical features, love is love. Enjoy them all!

  11. Era

    That place is jaw dropping gorgeous! I’m amazed. Almost makes you forget about the snow in the winter, doesn’t it?

  12. Era

    BTW, I see you’ve mastered the autopost 🙂

  13. ooh! dark tanned skin and mint green thumb. You must be a sight to behold. The cottage looks so much fun. My soon to be family has a little cottage in norway..not sure about which village though…will be so cool if its in the same one.

  14. Amma

    @Meluhaan Your observation about Indian families staying connected was spot on. Unconditional relationships are there but we see more obligatory ones in our social set up.

  15. Mom Gone Mad

    @Sukanya: Thanks, yes! touchwood, touchwood! Will write about bleach experience unless afflicted with post traumtic stress syndrome.

    @Dipali: Thanks – and yes we did;-)

    @Richa: You and the Goosh-er are welcome anytime:-)

    Dottie: well, the Viking’s brother is Master Builder (protected title in Norway), so this cabin was built plank for plank by him with help from other handy guys in the family. They were also lucky to get this vast stretch of land cheap way back. Maybe thats what makes it even lovelier. Its a family cabin actually (lovingly) made by family:-)

    @Nat and Ersa: Thanks, we did have a great time!

    @MiM: Am full of bloggaholiday intentions dear. And India brings out all kinda stuff in me.. would be a shame not to write about it.

    @Chuchu: Well,meerkat pics are up before I responded to comments!:-)

    @Era:Thanks Era. Yes I do love the diversity of our families. and snow? what snow?;-)

    and yeah for autopost!!!!

    @Meluhhan: re: indian families. I couldn’t have said it better. and brown? no no. my family wants me as Bru milky as possible. Brown is a “chi chi” word!

    @Wordjunkie: Yes. tis a washing line and mother-in-law and an Armaan at 6 months:-) Clothes dried there smell like fresh air and the sea. mmmmm.

    @June:See, no way I could pull off the mint and dark brown. please please find out where your cabin is!!!

    @Amma: Meluhhan is wise indeed!

  16. Is that space real?? Wow!!! Beautiful pics and your little one is such a sweetie pie.

  17. Deepa

    You are so wicked!!!you did that jus’ to make me jealous didn’t you. But…seriously if you everr feel like another wee one( or a five year old) pliss to adopt mine. I pray every single day for the awesomeness of the kinds you just described. Now…off I go and sob into the pillows…..:-)

  18. Pri

    My dad and brother are visiting Norway next month and much like your family, the country looks beautiful. I’m sure he’ll enjoy it a lot.

    • Mom Gone Mad

      Hey Priya, can mail you my contact info. Ask them to get in touch if they are in the neighbourhood and need any help/company.

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