Get together

We had a family get together last week. My brother came from Kuala Lumpur and my parents came down from Ahmedabad. The last time all of us came together was four years back when my younger daughter was born. Four years is a long time and this reunion was long overdue. A lot has changed over these years but a lot more has remained the same. And since I live here and the changes were relatively gradual, it took my brother to point out all the stuff that isn’t the same in and around Bhopal.

He was shocked to see the condition of the roads and the greenery around the place. The last time he was here the roads were a joke. He was so impressed with the smooth ride all the way home from the airport twenty-two kilometers away. The weather at this time is near perfect and we took this opportunity to visit almost all the parks during his short stay here. They were all maintained and manicured. I knew that but I had forgotten their sorry state half a decade back. Truly a lot has been done and we have taken to the new layout like a fish takes to water.

Almost all his favorite hangouts from yesteryear have changed. The hep (read ‘yuppie’ here, if you remember what that once meant) crowd has changed their evening rendezvous points in favor of the newer markets with the brand-name showrooms. Even their sense of style has matured. One of the most obvious change has been the lack of smokers hanging around chai-wallahs. Almost no one smokes anymore and that is a very good thing. True, the ‘cut-chai’ concept is still very much alive in Bhopal but the garnishing that earlier used to be part of that lifestyle have since moved on in favor of healthier habits. Kids no longer roam the evening roads on scooters borrowed from their fathers or uncles. Instead most of them zoom past on the latest offerings from multi-national motorcycle manufacturers.

That is a double-edged sword. There is no doubt that a lot of progress has been made in recent years and the average Bhopali pocket has grown in leaps and bounds but the responsibility that should have been instilled by the parents into these kids is sadly lacking. Almost none of them use helmets and almost all of them drive at breakneck speeds through traffic moving half as fast.

Anyway, we all enjoyed ourselves. This time things just fell into place. I can’t remember the last time we had enjoyed each other’s company so much. I don’t know how much we have aged in the last four years but we have grown up a lot. We talked, we shared and we symbiotically grew like we had never done before. This was a major departure from the last time when we did come together but pretty much did our own thing though under one roof.

For one thing, this time my brother helped me migrate to Facebook. I even made a few friends, nothing close to the five hundred plus my brother has but a small start anyway. This proved shocking for my wife since I remember telling her earlier (and several times as a matter of fact) that I was too old for this seemingly teenage indulgence. Now she is sure I am going through some kind of a mid-life crises. Let’s see, so far its been fun.

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