I have mentioned in my tag on being judgemental that I simply hate persons who expect others to do things for them. Now this one was especially for family. And tho' I don't normally take off on family, I just can't help myself here.
I have this relative, N, who is not liked by her two younger sisters and brother, and sister-in-law. This is for several different reasons, which I shall not go into here, for those reasons do not really concern me. And while I was absolutely on the side of N's siblings, I had often wondered why they didn't collectively give her a few, tight, well-deserved slaps and drive home reason. Well, now I know why they just ranted and didn't do anything else. They just CAN'T do anything else. The lady is pig headed, selfish, and thicker skinned than a rhinoceros. (I'm sorry, dear pig and rhino.)
N's daughter recently secured admission to a college in B'lore. The interview was a couple of months back, and N came with her daughter, sis, and BIL for the interview. Since at the time my house was filled to overflowing with with FIL, MIL SIL, BIL and of course us, I told them that I wouldn't be able to accommodate them at my home, but could book a room for them, once she confirmed the date. Here starts my crib.
After I booked the room tentatively, she did not confirm the date of arrival or anything, just landed up that evening suddenly..., and expected me to accompany her to the institute the next day! Of course I did nothing of the sort! The next day, after the interview, she went back, and didn't bother to call me saying that they'd reached back. Such niceties just didn't occur to her.
This was two months back. Now, N is not well off financially ( but thinks nothing of splurging with her siblings' money which she thinks is her birthright) and so had to apply for a loan to cover her daughter's studies. The loan took some time getting processed, and so N's daughter couldn't join on the joining date. Madam N asked her sister to call up from Kerala, requesting me to speak to the Institute and ensure that the seat was intact. As it was a matter of a girl's studies and future, I spoke to the Principal, and smoothed matters, but here again, N gave me no idea as to how it was going with the loan procedures and when she would be able to finally join. The Principal meanwhile told me that classes were going to close from the 26th July to the 1st of Aug, and if the student could not come on the 26th, then she could come only after the 1st, as all students would be going home. I conveyed the message across to N, again through her sister. N does have a mobile phone, but she had not given me the number, nor had she the decency to check with me how I managed.
Last week- on the 25th actually, N's sister called me up again, and told me that N was leaving for B'lore the next night and that she had been asked to pass on the message. At this, I blew my top and asked N's sister why on earth she was passing messages for N, why couldn't N call me directly? I reminded her that the Principal had been quite clearcut in requesting the student to come either before 26th July or after 1st Aug, so why on earth was N planning to leave on 26th night and land up on the 27th? @#$%!! (And wasn't there a basic courtesy involved in checking with me if the visit was convenient?) I told N's sister that my maid had ditched, my Mom was unwell, and I was not prepared for a guest at this juncture, and requested her to tell N that she could come a day before the 1st, (certainly not plonk herself on me for 4 -5 days, uninvited, unwanted.) but not on the 27th.
25th passed with no news from N, as also the entire day of 26th. On 26th night, I got a call on my mobile. It was dear N, saying that she was starting out. I made as if I couldn't hear her, and kept saying hello hello, and finally cut the call. I was fuming, and so was my mother. I thought that if I refused to take her call, she would have a re-think, or at least make alternate arrangements regarding her stay in B'lore. Well, I thought wrong.
The next morning, at around 5.30am, our land phone buzzed. By the time we got up groggy from sleep on a coveted Sat morn, it had got cut. Hubs and I wondered if it could be N, but the call didn't come again. I told Hubs, that if at all N had had the audacity to come uninvited, then she could wait it out at the bus-stand for some time, while we made our way leisurely to pick her up. Innate humanity not allowing that we ditch a woman and her teenage daughter in a place they knew nothing about.
About an hour later, Hubs got a call on his mobile. N had reached the road beneath our flat(!!), and wanted to know where our flat was. We were incredulous. Hubs told her the way. If she's found her way upto here, then she can jolly well find the rest of it herself too, without me going to escort her, was Hubs' stance. 15 min later found Hubs, myself and my Mom all looking dazedly at N, daughter and son, across the threshold of our door. I was MAD. And despite instructions from my dear Mom, let loose a volley of scoldings. The lady hasn't stepped out of her hometown without some company, doesn't know the local language, has absolutely no clue as to where on earth our house could be and she has had the temerity to land up unannounced and unwelcome. What does she think my home is- a hotel? (I am NOT close to her, despite the sorry fact that she is a relative, how can she just land up like this, on my precious weekend?)
To cut a long, miserable story short, she was there and she meant to stay. N is separated from her husband and with two kids, she has always played on the sympathies of elders and relatives. And my Mom wanted me to tolerate her - she knows that asking me to be nice to her would be asking for too much!- for the sake of my dear Dad, for N was Dad's relative.
It would be alright if the trio were pleasant company. The three had absolutely nothing to talk about, in general. Hubs was befuddled with the teenage boy who has a newspaper in front of him every waking moment (and when that newspaper is either B'lore Times or Education Times, you know how much reading actually takes place.) The girl was ok, but she too had nothing much to contribute by way of meaningful conversation, other than a polite smile. And N! Man ! It is so inexpressibly depressing to have her moping around. She just stood around, feeling sorry for herself, making herself out to be a martyr. My weekend is all shot to bits because of them. We ended up cancelling tickets to a movie on Sat night( not Harry Potter, mallu movie Hello, courtesy Mom) and sat around looking at the tv. Because I was damned if I would take them around sightseeing like I normally would, any newcomers to B'lore.
It was left to me to call up the Principal (N won'tdo all that! She will just come all the way and plonk herself on people's doorsteps.) and explain that yes, he HAD told me that she was to come only after the 1st, but here they were anyway, and could they come over, please? Regardless of my mother's requests to the contrary, I kept tearing strips off N for her irresponsible behaviour, but I doubt it made any difference. Finally to cut another long, depressing story short, we ended up going to drop the girl on Sunday at the hostel. No sleeping in on Sun either, as the bloody hostel was some 28 kms from our house, and we were to reach there by 10.30 am
We landed back home by around 4 - a day very well spent indeed! In the evening I asked N if she wanted her tickets booked for that night or the next day. N told me hemming and hawing, and meeting my eyes hesitantly, that she thought umm.., would it be ok if, ummm.. they left after the 1st? I bluntly asked her why. She said she could speak to her daughter and see that she had settled in alright in the hostel and in class as well. I was speechless. This is all because of you, I cast daggers at my Mom. You and your misplaced idea of humaneness and not being nasty to unwanted relatives. If I had had my way, I would have....I would have ..
What would I have done? What CAN you do with such relatives? You can't really cast them out, for they don't have anybody else in B'lore. But I sure as hell do not want to play host for another miserable 4 days. And what is more important, I want to make damn sure that this lady does not plonk herself like this any time in the future during the 3 years of her daughter's course. SHUDDER!! Any suggestions?
Hubs came up with the bright idea of presenting her with their tickets home. But for someone who has been self-centered enough to land up on our doorsteps, knowing she was not welcome, will that work? I have told her that in future, if she passes on any message to me indirectly, I will not be responsible for my actions. If she has anything to say, she better open her mouth to me directly.
I am not joking, or being Potteresque, but it is honestly like having dementors at home.
We are normally a cheerful lot, but how do you joke and talk and laugh, when someone in the room with you has an unsmiling face, and is totally cheerless? Even Sonny boy's antics fail to charm. Sigh!
PS: Our natural irrepressible cheer cannot be held down for long. Yesterday after I returned home from office, Mom and I laughed long and hard. Mom was wondering how a person could remain so silent throughout the day. And I gave her a I-told-you-so look and reminded her that it was she who had wanted to be big minded and stuff, whereas I had warned her what we were letting ourselves in for. And she sighed and said "yes..... but....." And suddenly the humour of the situation struck us, (yeah, we found humour in this bizarre situation) and we laughed our hearts out. And we feel the better for letting out some of that frustration. N is still at home, by the way.
14 minutes ago