A slice of family history


Thanks to messaging apps and social networks, families and friends have come closer. There is a joy in reconnecting with cousins, aunts and uncles, and knowing that you are family.

This afternoon, on my husband’s maternal cousins’ group, I saw a few photographs. Some of the cousins had visited the family’s ancestral home, and the village temple nearby.

The house, though occupied by other people, has stood the test of time – teakwood staircases and doorways, and lots of memories.

As I saw the photographs, my husband casually mentioned that he was born there, in that house. While I knew that he was born in that small village, I had not made the connection to the house.

That transformed the way I looked at the pictures. This was a part of our family history. My imagination soared.

Then I imagined how my husband would have walked up and down these wooden stairs on chubby legs, being chased by an aunt or his mom; how he would have played with cousins and watched the hens clucking in the yard. The home had a barn, where there was a beautiful cow named Radhamani, who was loved and cherished by all the family members. After my husband’s parents moved to the city, most school holidays were spent in this house.

Four other cousins were also born in the same house. Lots of stories and memories there.

I only know the husband I met nearly two decades ago, but starting from the ancestral home he was born in, and the lovely family who surrounded him, there were so many factors that have made him the person he is today.

It was nice listening to interesting family anecdotes, and to realize that there was a time, when my husband and I led independent lives, unbeknownst to each other.

Tracing the family tree


The afternoon sun streams through the grilled window, forming a golden criss cross on the mosaic floor.

In one corner of the room, I sit with my father in law. We are staring intently at the computer, as we try to bring some semblance of structure to our family history and family tree.

My father-in-law embarked on this project a couple of years ago – collecting bits of information and family stories, pulling out faded books from his childhood and patiently transcribing family diaries and notebooks that were passed on to him by his older siblings. Thus began a journey of discovery that traced our family’s history to about a couple of hundred years ago.

Image courtesy – Clipart Panda

Snatches of interesting incidents that have been passed on orally – stories that are being repeated to this very day, when the family gets together.

The family tree is wide, long and deep. The roots were dropped in a small village in South India. Today the branches have spread around the world – children, grandchildren, great grand children.

In some places the trail runs cold, we don’t know what happened to certain branches of the family.

I am helping my father-in-law transfer and structure the content on Powerpoint, so that he can share it with other family members.

I smile, as I type and make charts. My father-in-law marvels at what technology can do. I am more impressed by our family history.

There are hundreds of people, who had dreams, lived their lives in the ancestral village – their children then moving out for better prospects, carrying their rich culture, tradition and family memories with them to different corners of the world.

My father-in-law is more focussed on getting the flow chart right, he checks and double checks the threads that go down and connect the family. I am amazed by the fact that each box represents the life of an ancestor – a life lived, many stories told, many new branches created.

At the end of the family tree, the names of our family (my husband,children and me get added) – my husband is the youngest in his family, so we are ‘that’ last box on the chart.

I realize that we are not a small independent family, but a family backed by deep roots, wonderful ancestors, thrilling stories and lots of love.

The document finally gets done. My father in law is happy, I am happier!