March 16, 2011
With the advent of computers and the subsequent technological revolution, life of a common man like me has become an emotionally challenging one. The question that I have is "to be or not to be".
Just imagine, sitting in the sofa in our room, I have to send sms to my daughter to help herself with dinner, while she is just a meter away from me! She's so busy with her laptop that the only other thing she could possibly notice is her mobile phone when it flashes a message. And for three months, my other daughter back in India does not get a chance to communicate with us as her laptop crashed, but bingo, her laptop is alright as and when she needs cash!
This article is not about my daughters, rather, this is about a recent adventure of my wife in constructing a 'Family Tree' through the internet. I heard this proverb as a kid, in Konkani it goes like this – Kaam Nathullo Achayri, Kule Tastalo – jobless carpenter was edging the bum.
My wife has been a very busy person for the last 25 years – working in the bank, private firm, taking care of husband and raising the kids. After several many years of service, she decided that enough was enough and quit her job. Kids have grown up now and they have no need of a mummy, unless in case of an occasional fever. Moreover, she has realized that after 25 years of determined training, her husband can look after himself without her attention. To make it even worse, husband does not mind cooking, and she has mastered the art of "praising" – it is like diminishing returns in economics – the more you praise, the more likely that the husband will cook daily.
Net result – she got a lot of time in her hands and decided to connect our family or 'construct' a family tree.
The results are there to see - in the last three months whoever she has met, spoken to, or written to, she has asked for connections and we have got connected.
The results are amazing, to say the least. Until three months ago, I had around 50 known relatives, half of them I used to meet, and half of them I knew as existing. Today I am now related to 28,858 family members and this number is growing every second. Fearsome matter indeed. Imagine, I was forced to invite around 1,000 guests for my wedding as both the families decided that we cannot leave anyone that is known from the guest list. Now my fear is that I may have to invite 25,000 guests for my children’s wedding. When will these ladies learn?
And to share with you the assortment of my newly-found relatives – my second cousin is a Pakistani – imagine if both of us were in the armed forces, we fighting face to face! My daughter is the third cousin of George Fernandes' grandson, my great great grandfather is the one who escaped from Tippu Sultan’s captivity, my wife’s third cousin is an American, my uncle is actually my nephew (please do not ask me how, let my wife explain that, remember she has got a lot of time) and one of the great late bishops is my great grandmother's brother and additions like this continue every second. Suddenly, I feel I have become so Royal.
It is not always as pleasant as it seems to be. Normally, when my wife writes, "I got to know you as my family member – from what I gather, you are my husband's mother's second cousin's father's maid's sister's son - can you help me to construct the family line?" or "Mr Pais – you appear in my family tree, but I could not determine how. It appears that your brother Sam is connected to my family. Can you please advise?"
In the above case Mr Pais decided to respond: "Hey lady, who are you? Why are you sending me mails? Why are you bringing up the name of the person I do not have any connection with? Why are you haunting me with my past which I try to forget? If you think the person is connected, ask him, not me...OK?" You should have seen my wife's face and the hurt when she read this mail. It was like ripe tomato - one squeeze and tears rolled.
Imagine, she is doing such a noble service to human kind by connecting everyone to Adam and Eve, and here is Mr Pais asking questions like these. There must be a limit for audacity. These are the people who fall in the category of the rarest of rare cases. Justice should prevail. No, she did not say all these lines. Only I was reading her mind – you know, if you live with someone like my wife for 25 years, you earn certain gifts, and one of them is mind reading.
Nevertheless, she replied to the letter: "Dear Mr Pais – sorry if my mail has come to you as surprise. I was only trying to connect our families, you see...." and pat came the swift reply, "Mind your business lady."
But I must admit, the above incident has not dampened her zeal and spirit. Her conquest to reach Adam and Eve has become even stronger. And by the time this article is printed, I may have more relatives than the total readers of Daijiworld, I may be connected to the President of the United States Of America. So do not blame me if you are not invited for any of my functions. There is a limit for every thing, even invitations.
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