Friday, August 12, 2005

A Family Potrait

I finally saw brother Em and nephew Em, and yes, the family resemblance is striking! S couldn't get over the fact that they seem to have the same noses, the same looks, even the same hand gestures. Uncle and nephew seem to have the same fascination for gadgets as the boy couldn't be parted from his tiny PDA and certainly knows a lot more about Bluetooth than I do. But what's most fascinating is that they all seem to have the same impeccable manners, courtesy and politeness that seemed to me to be Em's special gift for all the time that I've known him. I guess it runs in the family then!

Yesterday I accompanied all of them to Santa Monica where they stopped for a quick lunch at the food court and then walked to the pier and around the promenade. Em's brother was fascinated by the fact that a food court stall was selling Iranian food, as the Iranian restaurants near their home were more fancy places. We talked about British food, and I was surprised to know that you can eat fish and chips with mushy peas and gravy. Perhaps a northern variation? I told them that I knew of a British pub down the road (Santa Monica has a large Brit expat population, so there are quite a few British pubs and restaurants). Em's brother was very excited at the prospect of going to a British pub here, and told us that his favourite beer was a Northern English beer called Boddington, locally brewed at Manchester. And what do you know, the pub had Boddington on tap! And it was a very fine ale and after a long time I enjoyed an afternoon beer, which is something I love, rather than drinking beer at night.

We walked around a bit, and I was quite struck by what a polite and pleasant child Em's nephew was. The boy is a walking advertisement for the joys of procreation, if only all of us are lucky to have noble offspring like him. Mostly American media and newsstories about out of control public schools with serious discipline issues, kids throwing tantrums in public and generally behaving badly everywhere can put you off any thoughts of parenthood. One of the scariest shows on TV is Fox's Nanny 911, about kids who ware so badly behaved that parents give up on them and call for professional help. Quite ironic that a channel that consistently parrots the conservative agenda should put out a shows such an unpleasant side of the most beloved institution of conservative politics - the American nuclear family.

But then I also realize that behavioural problems in children is an issue that the American media has sensationalized over the years, creating an entire generation of harried and neurotic parents in the process. The regular aches and pains and quirks of growing up and finding yourself are turned into "issues" that need to be "dealt with". I'm not saying that there aren't serious problems that do require professional intervention, but those should be reserved for the most critical moments.

So after we ambled around Santa Monica, Em drove up to Marina Del Rey where we drove around a bit waiting for S to come and pick me up (we were attending a house party later). The marina looks very calm and beautiful at night, with rows and rows of sailboats neatly packed next to each other, good neighbours that don't need good fences. The apartments next to the marina, very desirable and very expensive and Em's nephew said we need a good printer so we can print all the money we want to buy them!


Blogger said...

sounds like a lovely day!

11:58 AM  
Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

Thanks for stopping by! Yes it was wonderful, the sea, the weather and the beer!

11:30 AM  
Blogger K said...

My identity is that well known?

2:27 AM  
Blogger K said...

Nabanita-di lived in denial for a few years after that, despite Amartya getting married again (he's on his third right?). That way, my parents separation was a lot more, how should I put it, brutal, one nice clean chop after what some 13 years of marriage. Down to no talking to each other, the bitchiness would make some of the couples I know who split up blush. A couple of years ago when my dad, mom and step-dad all happened to be at the same place (because of me) I was scared all hell would break loose. Anyway, the weather is strange in Bombay today and I must justify my salary right now.

3:58 AM  
Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

@K: No, not really, but I was reading some of your older posts and the SoMP was such a dead give-away.

I guess marriage as habit can lull you into false security. Hard to recover after almost a decade and a half. I think Emma Rothschild is third, second being the Italian Eva Colorni,whom he seduced away from a venerable colleague (apparently hastened his departure from D-School).

I'm really sorry it had to turn out this way for your parents. And it seems so utterly pointless. I'm witnessing this right now with two acquaintances who are splitting up, the needless acrimony, the shouting matches over the phone. And they are really wonderful persons otherwise, but can't be civil to each other.

11:03 AM  
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2:42 AM  
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12:04 AM  

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