Sunday, 21 July 2013


My slightly weird family of five is un-settled. Literally. Dad's jobs never let us stay in one place for long. He works for some secretive organisation which needs its employs to be always on the run. Ha! Got you! My old man's just a harmless diplomat.

While growing up like a nomad isn't really the ideal situation, if I had to do it all over again, I would, without any hesitation. By my 12th grade I had studied in about 10 schools, I am not kidding! Every place we went I made tons of friends (and a few enemies) and generally had a ball. Before it was time to leave. Farewells were the norm and all of us tried our best to not get emotionally attached to any place or person in our postings. But boy was it hard!
I remember crying each time I left a place...and each time set my foot into a new school, new neighborhood  new city. Much to my embarrassment, it has sort of become our family's inside joke. Apparently I cry and cry and cry. And then forget everyone I left behind. Of course it's all lies. I love each one of the amazing friends I have made so far and will always treasure the unique perspective each new place has offered me. 

What made each move easier was that we were always in it together. It was rough at times, but we still sailed together! And what I love about my family, and which probably holds true for all families in some way or the other, is that we are a bunch of oddballs. I am not kidding, we are insane! Each one of us has some or the other eccentricity which all of us have to put up with( (there's no other way around it, is there?). If I had to give examples- My dad has a hat fetish. He LOVES collecting hats. So wherever we go he manages to buy a hat AND wear it around for the rest of the trip. Of course, like a good wife my mom absolutely HATES this. So often our family walks would end up with my mom pleading with my dad to leave the hat behind and then eventually storming off herself. Rumour has it that my mom has unintentionally *cough cough* lost a few of his prized possessions each time we moved. I think I saw a few homeless people sporting his hats in each city we lived...

My two younger brothers- where do I begin? If I could (or, more precisely, were allowed to) I would fill books after books with their stories. There are SO many stories just languishing in my memory, so it's really sad that I can't share it with world. However, I do have to give credits to my brothers for (un)graciously featuring in some of my better articles. They are the ones who provide the most comedic material for me to flex my writing muscles on. For that, I am grateful!

Coming back to oddities. My mom's main pastime is international smuggling. I have written about it in my previous post, but it won't hurt to mention again. She *adores* cutlery from different parts of the world. So most of our airline woes are because of her really heavy secret stash of wooden spoons. Maybe it's a married woman thing, I don't know, because even my aunts, when asked what they want from Italy/ Malaysia say- don't choke- Kitchen knives. What in the name of everything else that is lovely and nice does it mean? Why would you want kitchen knives and meat scissors from all corners of the world? 

Moving on, my brothers- Both of them have unique personalities and are interested in completely different things. Their shared love in life, though, is making sure I am miserable. I am kidding of course. But there were times, as a young girl, when I absolutely dreaded this deadly duo. Whenever they used to get into fights with each other, I would try to be all suave and get in between them and make things worse, just so that I could have one of them on my side. Sadly, it never worked out. They always smelt out my scheme and would gang up against me with renewed vigour. *sigh*

We weren't all that bad of course. The three of us had a blast growing up- going to summer camps, badminton coaching and generally breaking each others' teeth and bones. It was mostly fun, really. One thing that all three of us hated in equal measure was our Sunday Arabic classes with a local maulvi. A few times, when our parents were out, we put a lock on our front door and feeling like ninjas snuck back into the house through the back door. This elaborate set up was to mislead our teacher into thinking that we were not at home (duh!). And he did fall for it. The first two times. The third time he saw three nervous faces peaking back at him from the window. It was then inevitable then that our adventure ended there... 

Another family feature I am thankful for is our common interest in travelling. We all were bitten by the travel bug at birth and, thanks to God, we were given plenty of opportunities to travel to different around the world. The past three years especially, have been pretty amazing. We have covered most of Western Europe by now.

Something I should tell you- we get crazier when we travel. Yes, it's possible. We love trying out 'different' things when travelling, but the idea of different is, uh, different for each one of us. My dad, obviously, thinks HATS. For my mom it means the local cuisine and probably the cutlery it's served in. For Shereef it's just wandering around with a camera taking self pictures. And for Bilal it's trying the Coca cola there. Me? I am not a pleasant co-traveller from what I hear. I spend an awfully long time in front of each scenery/relic/ building and it drives my family crazy. I also enjoy taking a few million pictures of each leaf and twig within a 50 mile radius. I can see why that can be a teeny weeny bit annoying for the rest of the fam...

Oh, we also do this EXTREMELY brown thing of going to Indian/Pakistani restaurants in European countries. I can never really get my head around it. We are in Italy- the land of pizzas, spaghetti and delicious lasagnas- and what do we have for lunch? Dal Tadka with butter naan. How much more desi can anyone get? This probably features first in the desi 'Things to do when travelling abroad'.

What I have noticed, in my immediate and extended family, is that each one of us have some or the other crazy quirk. However, I really cherish these oddities now. Yes, they may be a bit annoying at times, but they are what makes one family different from the other. These lil' things lend flavour to our memories. It's what makes the trip down the nostalgia lane more colourful and fun! So years down the line, when I am enthralling my kids with our childhood stories, I'll be glad that my dad loved hats and my mom courted knives. And most of all, I look forward to telling them what great fun their mother and uncles had, the time they went to an Indian restaurant in Italy... 


  1. Your family seems perfectly imperfect. HATS off to your dad! :p

  2. very well described....many things similar to my fmly with lil changes here and mum not only tries cutlery but all kitchen items.. Dad tries everything but HaTS.. i simply enjoy the nature s beauty and love talkin to ppl, to knw ppl, to find out how stupid they are and in wat areas they r stupid :)