When I was little, there was an Aunty of mine.
She would go into the sea in a sari and I would be dumbfounded.
She always ate roti and curry and wasn’t curious to explore new cuisine.
She was boisterous and would tell us what to do.
But then she was awkward and even held back at events.
There were so many differences between her and I.
Her culture and my culture.
After a time, I became resentful of her.
Recently, I sat on a swing with her.
She told me how she never really spent time with her father.
She told me of how she sold mangoes but never went to university.
She told me how she and her mother looked after a grandmother who was blind and always swore at them.
She told me of a brother who was mad at her for getting married when she was 18, but she felt she didn’t have much of a choice at the time.
She told me of how she migrated to UK from a small village in India and her mother-in-law insisted she wore a sari everyday and learn how to cook roti and curry.
And on that swing, for once, I understood her.
How daunting it would feel to be solo among your people. Wanting to know them but not really knowing them.
To want to give love to your family, but not knowing what they like.
To show care and concern, to assert your knowledge, because perhaps in a way, that was what she felt she had to offer, but being rebuked, because kids these days don’t like being told what to do.
Where do we go from here? I feel healed in a way. Carrying distaste or bad vibes for someone feels pretty heavy for me. And in some way, I feel like I don’t any more. I can’t change her and nor do I want to. She is whom she is because of what she has seen.
And just like that. Perhaps our souls had a lesson to teach one another and now we are off on our journeys again.
I wish you the best Aunty.