‘Full Family’

After reading all those L&M and Brats posts, I am sure you think of us as a crazy family. We might be a little quirky and crazy. Well, ok,. The L&M still does not allow one of the brats to go over 50km even on the highway screaming ‘That is over 100kmph!’ at regular intervals; he still wears his T-shirts inside out; and the lady still hides the laddoos and barfis from her brood, now reduced to just the L&M. But we are as normal a family as the next one. Honest.

To put the record straight, I am writing a normal L&M post — about the time we were laughing and dancing on the lawns in front of Chandigarh railway station. What? You say even that is crazy behaviour?

Hmphhhh….

I am sure that is what any normal family would have done after one of their brats had got admission to the Computer Science course in a premier engineering college. And that too the only seat in that discipline that was available for students outside Punjab. (We were in Delhi then, remember?)

Let me begin at the beginning.

Having set his heart on Computer Science, the most coveted stream at that time, the older brat had been dejected when none of the results that had already come in were good enough to guarantee him one. When the results from TIET (Now Thapar University) came in, he was ecstatic. There was a fighting chance for the solitary CS seat, but nothing could be said till the counselling session. Well, it was a thriller that beat all the Hollywood and Bollywood thrillers hollow.

There was no way the younger brat and I were going to miss all the excitement. Chandigarh being the most convenient point for travel both ways, we reached that city the previous day and checked into a hotel.

‘I think you should stay back with the younger one,’ said the L&M.

‘No way!’ said both of us in one voice. We had not come all the way to stay back.

‘It might be chaotic, we don’t know what arrangements are there. Besides, the letter mentions one parent/guardian to accompany the student. You both could do some sightseeing here,’ he pointed out.

‘I am sure there will be many families there,’ I said.

‘And I can get you snacks and cold drinks while you wait in the queue,’ piped up the younger brat helpfully.

Even as he spoke, I realized that the L&M was right. What was the point when we might not even be together in one place? Instead….The Rock Garden! That would be a good place to visit while we waited. The brat reluctantly agreed.

DSCF1626

‘I will bring you a treat,’ assured his elder brother to console him.

Stunning as it was, the Rock Garden only partially held our attention. Designed and created by a genius called Nek Chand entirely out of waste materials, it was a pleasure walking through its winding paths and shingled walks. Amidst exclamations at the artistic creations, we kept speculating about what must be happening back at the college. Would his turn have come? Would he have got his seat or would he have to settle for another subject, maybe in another college? What was keeping them so long anyway?

‘We should have gone with them,’ said the brat for the umpteenth time.

He was right. Maybe we should have all gone together, no matter what the arrangements there were. At least we wouldn’t have been so tense, not knowing what was happening! Mobile phones were still unknown then. He was as tense as his elder brother must have been, the poor kid. While he wanted his brother to get admission to college, I knew how much he was going to miss him.

We had decided to meet at the station if L&M and the older brat hadn’t come back by 4 PM. It was sweltering hot as we waited outside the deserted station. Chandigarh in the ‘90s had a only small railway station, situated way out of the city with hardly any traffic or activity except just before and after the arrival of a train. And in those days there were only a few trains passing that city, so the place used to be deserted for most part of the day.

Just a little while before the arrival of the train, the place filled up mysteriously with people and voices. The train came, stopped, hooted and left. Just as mysteriously it had filled up, the station emptied out. One minute it was buzzing with activity and the next moment, Poof!  Soon the last passenger had left, the parking lot emptied out and the coolies and kiosk owners had wandered off till the next train came.

Chandigarh Railways Station in those days

Chandigarh Railways Station in those days

It was growing dark and I was getting a little nervous waiting in the small landscaped area outside the station. We stayed there since the platform was even emptier and scarier. There were a few rock sculpture like the ones in the Rock Garden.

And suddenly a white Ambassador car, which used to be the preferred vehicle for cabs turned into the station in a cloud of dust. We jumped up and began running towards it, the luggage abandoned….

Even before the car came to a complete halt, the older brat had jumped out and lifted his brother clean off his feet and gave me a hug, all in one motion. His sweat streaked face was fatigued but wreathed in a big grin. ‘I got it! I got it!’ he exulted. The younger brat whooped and I laughed like a loon.

By now the father had also joined the frenzy. We were all hugging, laughing, shouting and jumping up and down like four crazy creatures. The cab driver looked on indulgently and the coolies came running to investigate the commotion.

We heard the story from the L&M and the older brat amidst the pandemonium: With just one seat, it had always been a touch-and-go affair. And true enough, there were two boys with the exact same rank and the exact same marks in all the subjects and both wanted Computer Science at the same college. The counsellor looked at the boys and did some quick calculations. And since our brat was a few months older than the other boy, he got the seat! I didn’t even know there was such a criterion in case of a tie, but what the heck!

The happiest was not the older brat, but the younger one, for not only had his elder brother got admission to his chosen college, but we were also a full family after having been separated for the whole day!

When he had been little, he would wait for the L&M to come home from work – usually the last to arrive. Once he did, the brat would declare: ‘Now we are a full family!’ with the utmost satisfaction, beaming at each of us with such contentment that it made us all happy to be together. He did this every single day of the working week. Weekends of course were the happiest for him.

And that evening outside Chandigarh station, we were again a full family and in a celebratory mood, no less! Though he had not said the words for many years, I knew he was thinking them at that moment.

There have been many such days of happy togetherness before and after, but nothing to beat that day, for it had been the culmination of several years of hard work on the older brat’s part and a lot of adjustments and accommodation on the part of the rest of the family to help him in his quest.

In the end, that is what a family is all about – even the L&M’s, don’t you agree now?

Images courtesy:

Bottom- http://cnu.daejeon.kr/ Homepage:www.africanart.com

40 comments

  1. Such a kovely family.
    It has veen years since we were all tigether and as I read your post. ..memories flooded by of my brother’s entrance, my admission. ..my sister’s wedding and so on.
    I just hope my son too would have some happy memories to look back to

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    1. I am glad that the post made you refresh your memories of your and your siblings’ student days. Every family has such stories of togetherness and we would well do to remember and glory in them. I am sure Taksh will have many of them when he grows up to share with his kids 🙂

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  2. Lovely memories! Since Dad was in the Army, it was always such a delight when we had the ‘full’ family together.
    Reading your blog after a long time, CN – too long! As I read, I was imagining a young version of your 2nd brat and smiling because in my mind he still had a beard! 😉

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    1. Good to see you here Corinne! LOL about your imagining the brat having a beard even when he was a kid 😀 How have you been?

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  3. “Now we are a full family”! How sweet!!
    I think dancing in the lawn was completely warranted!! 😀

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    1. Thank you for endorsing our mad adventure, Roshni 🙂

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  4. Lovely post Zephyr. Family togetherness is such a wonderful thing. And what’s important I realized is to build memories for the kids, just like we have them of ours.

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    1. Thank you for enjoying the memories with me, Asha. Yes, we need to create memories not just for our children, but for ourselves too so that we have two sets of them — one as children and one as parents 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It is such a pleasure having them come over ,even for a short while.
    Family really is full and complete then.
    Very well expressed.

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    1. We come a full circle as we grow older. From the kids deriving security and happiness at being a full family, it is we who look forward to all being together to get that feeling of togetherness. Thanks for reading and appreciating, Chowlaji.

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  6. alkagurha · · Reply

    I read this at a time when I am about to visit Chandigarh next week. My son is joining ISB, Mohali. He has been with us for past few months and it has been the most happy together time we’ve spent in years. I will remember you when I am at Chandigarh station.
    🙂

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    1. Give my congrats to Gaurav, Alka! Look at the pic I have posted of the station as it had been back then. We were sitting on the grass inside the tiny enclosure and had high-vaulted over it when we saw the car turn into the station. I forgot to mention that part in the post. Now, wouldn’t that have been a sight? 😀

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  7. jaishvats · · Reply

    That was such a warm post zephyr….made me smile in the morning and brought back my own memories of getting a seat in college …thanks for both 🙂

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    1. You are welcome, dear. I am so happy to have brought a smile to your lips. Admission times can be harrowing especially with domiciles and quotas and reservations, right?

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  8. What a great post, Zephyr! Amusing and touching at the same time!

    And certainly a lovely memory for you to treasure, I’m sure. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    A worthy addition to the ‘L&M and Brats’ series! 🙂

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    1. We all have such memories tucked away in the recesses of our minds, to be pulled out and enjoyed at will, don’t we? Thanks for noticing that it is part of the the L&M series, a fact which seems to have been lost in the senti tone of the post 😀

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  9. After having spent a sizeable time away from our daughter, I cherish all the moments we spend together as a family.
    Even when we have trouble looming, I say, at least we have each other.

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    1. Every moment is cherish-worthy and the memories only get sharper as the days pass. Oh yes, we have each other no matter what.

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  10. Found In Folsom · · Reply

    That was such a cute post, BM. I can imagine how elated the younger one must have felt at that moment and happy to be a full family again 🙂 When together, we all fight like cats and dogs and when apart, we cannot wait to get back together….that’s what families are like, aren’t they? 🙂

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    1. Oh yes, he was and you can see it from the fact that he was the first one to comment on the post 😀 You are so right about fighting when we are together but longing to get back when we are separated. I am sure you all are creating lovely memories too, Latha. Remember this post when Rushi leaves home. Ammu would be the one to cry the hardest 🙂

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  11. Lovely glimpse into a slice of your life, Zephyr! And don’t I know the ‘full family’ feeling 🙂

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    1. So glad you liked it Suresh. Yeah, just as we did as kids, we always look forward to being a full family even as adults. After all, it is all about security, right?

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  12. Awwwww! Beautiful, Zephyr! I think every family has its distinct personality or quirks, and some are more enthusiastic in public than others. (Mine is a much more subdued bunch. *lol*) But your older son’s news about getting that one seat in the college program he wanted – that’s absolutely worth celebrating, no matter what the family is like. 🙂

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    1. Oh thanks, Sara for those lovely words. We are not so demonstrative in public either, but we took ourselves by surprise that particular day. As you say, it was an occasion that demanded to be celebrated with all enthusiasm and boisterousness.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. The celebratory occasion warranted such demonstrations of joy like hugging,dancing and jumping.
    To the onlookers the ‘togetherness’ of the family would have been evident.
    The post is written in your inimitable classy style.

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    1. Oh thanks for validating our exhibition of such joy in a very public place 🙂 I am sure it would have been more subdued had we all been there but being away when the event took place made it more exuberant as we were all together to celebrate. Thanks for the compliment on my writing style KP. Really appreciate it 🙂

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  14. What an absolutely lovely post, so full of that special feeling of love and togetherness. That ‘full family’ thing is totally awesome! Loved reading it. And I also went and read that hilarious post about L&M’s driving! You write humor with such seriousness, it makes it even more hilarious! Great reads, both of these posts!

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    1. Thanks for the lovely comment, Beloo. When we recall and then recount such instances of which many must be shared by most families, it helps kindle memories and bring happiness to the readers too. Thanks for reading and enjoying the linked post. You could perhaps read the others in the category of L&M and the Brats, which is a favourite with the subjects themselves 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Delightful! I loved reading about this. Symbolized the happiness in being together as a family so well.

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    1. You are the master in such tales, Rachna. Thanks for the compliment. As you grow older the memories become sharper I guess because even the L&M remembered all the details 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. A crucial stage in the children’s and parents’ life…the admission of a child into a good college of his choice. Frist step towards becoming independent, leaving the happy/cozy nest of a happy family! All parents remember these days after many years, like you are doing now and reminding us also of our days, when the children started leaving their nests. Thank you, Zephyr!

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    1. Oh yes, even after years those days return to us and make us smile at the memories. I am glad the post brought back your own happy memories Sandhya 🙂

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  17. Amit Agarwal · · Reply

    Wonderfully written!

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    1. Thanks for visiting and the comment, Amit 🙂

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  18. Your post brought back so many memories from the past:)

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    1. Family memories are all the same, aren’t they? It is good to keep remembering them to bring a smile to our face 🙂

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  19. Such a lovely post, Zephyr!! It reminds me of Samhith waiting for his dad and grandfather to come home when he was just a year or so old. both of them used to work late, and no matter how hard we tried to put him to sleep, he would try to keep awake and wait for them. the minute they entered the house, he would see them, and off he would go to sleep! guess it was the same idea of ‘full family’ which kept him awake.

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    1. I think most kids do it. It gives them a feeling of security to find all their loved ones around them and the only time that is possible is the night. Perhaps in days of larger joint families the kids might not have been that restless to have everyone under the roof.I must ask my elder siblings about it 🙂

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  20. The fondest memory of that day was the look on Vikki’s face as came running with his fists pumping in the air. The joy on his face can at that moment when we were ‘full family’ again will forever live on!

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    1. I remeber the look on both your faces and appa’s. I am sure I must have had the same look of jubilation too. Appa said he could remember every bit of it, and Vikki always talked about that day for years, so that indeed makes it an unforgettable moment for the family, right?

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