When Your Parents Force You To Speak To Relatives On The Phone
I hate picking up the phone in my house. There’s an 80% chance that it will be a relative of mine. I was born in England and have lived here ever since. My Parents were born in Pakistan, which means that I have loads of relatives from Pakistan. My Grandma and Grandad, my Aunties and Uncles and a dozen Cousins are all there. I hardly see them, which means I don’t have much contact with them. So of course My Mum wants us to “bond” and by bonding she means forcing me to speak to them on the phone. And omg it’s the most awkward thing I have ever experienced!! Let’s put it this way I’d rather have 50 cold callers calling me every day than speak to a relative.
I don’t know what I hate more the fact that some of the people my Mum forces me to speak to I didn’t even know existed until that moment or that they ask me a billion questions that go on forever. I’m ok with answering questions, but its the same freaking questions!!! When I speak to a relative from Pakistan I already know the conversation that’s going to take place.
Me: “Aap kaise ho? Maamoon aur Aunty be teek hai?”
Relatives: “Who‘s speaking? how old are you now? What year are you in at school? What are you studying? Ect…”
That’s all they say!!! The next time they call and I’m forced to speak to them again, they ask the same bloody thing. It’s like, oh I didn’t know you suffered from some kind of memory loss.
What also agitates me is that when these relatives of mine who I have never ever seen or talked to say “Tum ko yaad hai mai kon hu?” (“Do you recognise my voice“)
Me (in my head): “Ermmm no who the fuck are you“
Them: “Ahh you forget me huh, I’m your Chacha, your Mum‘s Sisters Husbands Brother…“
Right pretty sure that doesn’t make you my Chach but hey ho whatever floats your boat.
I also get this wave of self consciousness that comes flooding in, out of nowhere when I’m on the phone with my relatives. Maybe it’s because my Urdu isn’t up to scratch and I’m trying my best with it even though I know they are mocking me and once I’m done, they will go ahead and say to my Mum “Don’t you speak Urdu with her at home?”
Or maybe I’m on edge because as well as my dodgy Urdu my Mum is breathing behind my back and whispering stuff to say because I’m not doing a great job at this amazing “bonding” session.
I thought I was weird that I’m not a fan of speaking to my relatives back home but my siblings are the same. When the phone rings and we hear our Mum say “Abba Jee, aap kaise ho“ We all suddenly have homework to do. We run straight upstairs in order to avoid this call at all costs. When we’re eventually herded into one room we all have to wait our turn to speak to these random people we never see. And then what’s worse is that not only do I have the eyes of my Mum on me, I also have my sibling staring into my soul whilst I listen to these people.
Every Desi person will recognise the relatives I like to call the “Tinder Aunties” When an Aunty from Pakistan asks me my age, what I’m studying and what career I want to pursue in the future then she’s already planning a Rishta for her son. Because Pakistanis love an intellectual angrazi woman.
So after all this awkward silence because I’ve never ever spoken to these relatives in my life and I just do that thing, that when they speak all I say is “Jee, Jee, Jee“ The call is over yet I still haven’t learnt anything new about my relatives and after all that my Mum still isn’t happy that I only uttered 5 words from a 5 hour call. Because in her eyes, she’s only annoyed at the fact she’s wasted her £1 Lyca international calling card on me.