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All in the Family

Cousin USA- Green-card bhaiya
His kid- baby Hurricane
Cousin India- Ration-card bhaiya
His kid- baby Toofan

Two years ago,
GC bhaiya was in Chicago with family, mainly to visit his wife’s brother’s family. We met them at a mall and exchanged courtesies. Tried to befriend Hurricane (my niece), all of 3 years who was acting like a lady already. She looked like a sweetheart and just tugged at my heart while she showed me her little new dress. There were two kids in all including GC’s wife’s brother’s little boy around the same age as Hurricane. He was a darling too, the way he imitated everything she did, coz she was such a bully. I had to buy the kids something. I had come empty handed like a sorry ass.

I held their hands and ran with them to the Disney Store leaving the parents behind. “Yes Kiddos! This is your kingdom and I am your slave. Go pick whatever you want and Alpha bua (aunt) will pay for it. Go on, don’t be shy.”

Shy? That word probably wasn’t instilled in their vocabulary or actions. They went crazy and ransacked the store. In no time they came back dragging the biggest automated Mickey Mouse twins in the whole freaking planet. Slowly reaching out for Mickey’s shoulders, I pulled out the tag and gingerly looked at the bill while humming a tune. Tune faded and was replaced with look of horror. Aiyya! Yikes! This could have made Walt Disney himself bankrupt! The brats sure had been instilled with an eye for opulence.

Looked around to see if their parents were sneaking up on me. ‘err Darlings, Sweety pies, this Mickey is yucky, bad Mickey! Come here… come this way; see all this good stuff lying in this huge basket that says SALE? Wow! Miniature Mickey! See you can actually put it in your pocket and walk around while chewing on it…how cute is that? How about a Goofy key chain?

“Auntieee! We want this one! Wheeee!” they pulled out two hideous looking one-eyed green monster that screamed 50 dollars each.

“Oh My God, kids, your parents will never let that thing into their respective homes. One monster is enough.”

I tried every marketing gimmick and also tried playing with their psyches. After much negotiation, she settled for a slightly affordable Dumbo the Flying Elephant. He wanted the same darn thing, nothing cheaper (of course). Anyway phew! *wipes sweat from brows*

Happily, they skipped out of the store, each holding an elephant replica. How cute! Their smiles were worth every penny I didn’t spend.

Suddenly Hurricane started wailing and yelping, falling on the floor and creating enough commotion and concern to have Bush divert his troops from Iraq. I was flabbergasted. Maybe she is going to complain to her parents about the cheap tricks I resorted to, tricking poor innocent children. Holi will be played with my true colors in every family get together. GC will think I don’t earn enough and might even offer cash for subsistence. Why didn’t I get them the grossly humungous Mickey and sold my car instead? My ghastly thoughts were interrupted…

“I want THAT Dumbo!” she screamed throwing her own, kicking it to the side and grabbing his elephant.


Recently when I was in India, I spent time in my other cousin’s (GC’s brother RC) house. Lying down on his daughter’s bed and regaling her with some kiddy tales, I saw a very familiar elephant staring at me from the top of her toy shelf. Wondering why that elephant stood out among the rest of the soft-toy population out there, I asked Toofan, ‘Baby doll, where did that come from?’

‘Oh bua, GC chachu (uncle) bought it for me from America!’

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