Family Secrets – An untold story

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 32; the thirty-second edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following BLOG A TON. The theme for the month is ‘An Untold Story

There he lies on the floor. Cold and dead! The man who was responsible for everything concerning me, as a child. From buying my clothes to taking me to the dentist,  ordering my birthday cakes to covering my school books!  ‘Kaku’ – My uncle!

I look around to check who all have reached already. Quite a few! There is my aunt from Jamshedpur, with her impish looking husband  and her son who’s about five years older than me. He never managed to finish college. My older Uncle is sitting in the room to the side. Talking in hushed tones with other’ important’ men of the family. Going over all the arrangements, I suppose. The bedroom door is closed, from inside comes a heart lurching wailing sound. That must be ‘Kaki’ . The pile of slippers outside the room, tell me  her sisters are inside, taking care of her. The small verandah in the backside holds other relatives.  The mamis, taijis, mausis, their husbands and grown up sons and daughter in laws sit on a large woven mat.  Some genuinely upset, others exchanging family gossip, waiting for the proceedings to unfold.  My older  aunt from Calcutta is also there. The one who lost her husband when her children were still at college. Dressed in a printed chiffon sitting on the floor near the body, she steals glances at her well dressed son, Ravi Bhaiya. He has done well for himself. Its evident in the way the others  gather around him, while he shows them photographs from his recent vacation in Bali. Hanging on to every word he utters!

It’s a special trait of my family. They listen to anyone with money. If you don’t have money, you don’t know anything worth listening to! Seems to be the general consensus. Perhaps that is why no one ever listened to ‘kaku‘. He never really had much money. He was the ‘Man Friday’  of the family. The one who did everyone’s bidding. He took my sour tempered  grandmother ‘dadi‘ everywhere she needed to go. Maintained her accounts. Spending long hours bent double, over her books checking and rechecking them. Trying to rest the never-ending doubts in her ever suspicious mind. Whether it was an aunt’s father in law’s funeral or another aunt’s mother in law’s impending surgery or any of the  other numerous occasions that come up in large Indian families.    ‘Kaku‘ was  the one, to make long trips  in rickety buses,  to far off towns  to mark the family’s presence.

And there were many such occasions, considering the family consisted of four sisters and four brothers. ‘Kaku’ was the youngest among all. But because the older brothers were too important to be laden with mundane family responsibilities.  All the useless, time-consuming, tedious tasks that no one wanted to do, fell to him. And he did them uncomplainingly. I wonder if he did them because he had no choice, or he was too simple-minded to realize that he was being exploited.

I always felt bad for him. pitied him even. This uncle of mine! Youngest among his siblings. Not well-educated like others. Always doing ‘non important’ jobs to scrape a living. His wife, my ‘kaki‘ from a humble background married into a large landed family. Always going out of her way to ‘adjust’ and ‘impress’.  cooking endless meals and maintaining a jovial face amidst the endless taunts poured upon her by a demanding mother in law and inconsiderate sisters in-laws. They both raised the protective instinct in me.

Soon after ‘dadi’ died, I got married and left home. After dadi’s death the relationship between ‘Kaku‘ and me shifted somewhat.

Beta! I need some money, the shop is not doing too well”. He called me up one day! The next time I met him I pressed upon him a considerable sum.  “Here ‘kaku‘, use it! “

“‘Beta‘, there is a golden opportunity in the market. A very well located shop that if I can put the deposit for, will give me a handsome return” “The Fixed deposits that dadi left you, can I borrow them, I will return them later” . The fixed deposits were a very large handsome amount. Gifts that my grand-mom left my sister and me, worried about our future. ‘Dadi‘  near the time of her death had become more and more worried about us . her two grand daughters with no parents.  “Ok kaku! You can have them. I said with a heavy heart. “I promise I will return them as soon as the shop starts doing well!”, he said

Unexpectedly the shop did do well. Within a year and a half it flourished into a four level showroom.

“I have bought a new car” Kaku called to inform me. On my next trip I found shiny new  ACs and LCDs in all the rooms, of the house.

Soon after another call – “I have bought a big car! Scorpion”

Followed by another call soon after

“I have bought a piece of land in a new project on the highway “

It seemed like ‘Kaku‘ had finally found his place in the world.

And then the call early morning. “Kaki  sobbed, telling me Kaku has had an attack again”

I did not need to ask what attack. All of us are too familiar with Kaku’s  attacks  – The doctor classifies them as neurotic breakdown. Whenever life throws something at kaku that he finds himself incapable to deal with he takes refuge in the attack!

” A client ditched me, I have lost all the money. What will I do now! How will I make my children study? ”  – That when I went to see him , after his nervous breakdown. I felt like asking him, why he didn’t save when he had the money? Why did he not return what he owed us instead of buying fancy cars and ACs. But I don’t .  Instead I say “You don’t worry. You get well. I am here. I will make sure your children study well”

And then the ‘Kaku’ in the court room – The one who sent legal notices claiming accounts of the very money he had used.

Later the same afternoon, he came to see me. “It’s not against you . I know the money is with me , but I have to do this to make the others pay up.” Referring to his long-standing dispute with his siblings.

“But why drag us into it” I want to ask. Why? after all that I have done for you, Why slander our names?”

But all I hear myself say is ” Its ok Kaku I understand!”

why do I always give in to him?

Why believe his stories?

Why do I feel like I am responsible to shield him from his own stupid actions and faulty judgements?

Why do I always need to protect him?

Always keep his secrets! pay for his mistakes?

maybe because he taught me that early in life.

When I was four or five.

And I slept in his bed and heard his stories…

Secret Stories that were never to be told to anyone…

No matter how much they creeped me out. No matter how defiled they made me feel! No matter how they left me a wreck – emotional and mental!

Those that only he and I knew.

And now that he is gone. The secret stories that are mine alone.

Mine  – to struggle with! to have nightmares about. Mine to be ashamed of! Mine to hide from the world! Mine! To take with me to my grave. The Untold Story – that must never be told!

Hindi terms used in the story

Kaka/ Kaku – uncle, father’s brother

Kaki – Uncle’s wife

Dadi – Paternal grand mother

Beta – Child

Mamis – Mother’s brother’s wife

Masi – Mother’s sister

Taiji – Fathers older brothers wife

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following BLOG A TON. Introduced By: Someone is special, Participation Count: 4

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53 Comments Add yours

  1. Ayushi khare says:

    A big cheers to you mam.. A very nice read…

    1. thanks Ayushi! for the cheer 🙂

    2. thanks ayushi for the cheer!

  2. You write so well, drawing in like a great breath.

    1. That ‘s valuable coming from you 🙂

  3. brudberg says:

    Very well told, a tension inside leaving me breathless

    1. Thanks Brudberg! truth be told, it left me a bit breathless too :):)

  4. Nicely written … It brings out the internal conflicts we seldom speak ….

    1. thanks amit! glad you dropped by 🙂

  5. Megha Malik says:

    This is the third entry, I have read so far..completely different from the previous entries I have read. I am here for the first time, I am impressed with your writing and it created an urge inside me to know what is the untold secret..I hope this is not real. Life teaches us a lot, may be more than we can take in one go. A contrasting take on the topic, well conceived story!

    All the best for BAT32 🙂

    Regards,
    Megha.

    1. Thanks megha! and welcome to BLOGATON. I hope you enjoyed your first time here! I was blown away completely by the immense talent I found here. As for reality, I think only very very gifted writers write complete fantasies. People like me draw a lot from real life! Thanks Megha for the visit and the encouraging comment

      1. Megha Malik says:

        🙂 I am completely thrilled to have read such vivid stories and interpretations of the theme for the month. I loved your story.
        I am sorry to hear this is not fictitious. I hope to keep in touch with you.. 🙂 and the pleasure is all mine. You will see me around.

      2. justanotherwakeupcall says:

        Don’t be sorry Megha! Its drawn from life , not necessarily mine 🙂 glad you liked it! hope to see you around too

  6. TTT says:

    well done Sapna ! great narration … all the best !

  7. Trishanka says:

    I am thoroughly overwhelmed by reading this. You are an effortless story teller. You are here http://trishanka.wordpress.com/links/

    1. justanotherwakeupcall says:

      Thanks Trishanka! I have always considered myself a very bad story teller! so the compliment is very special! 🙂

  8. A lovely read, full of tension. Thanks for the visit and comment. 🙂

    1. justanotherwakeupcall says:

      🙂

  9. a very well written indeed. loved the way it unfolded.

    1. justanotherwakeupcall says:

      Ya! I liked the way it unfolded too 🙂

  10. Deepa says:

    Its strange how each family has so much going on within it! An intricate maze of relationships it is! I am reminded of the Cadbury’s Dairy Milk ad – every family having certain eccentricities! Some families turn out to be more complex than the other!

    1. justanotherwakeupcall says:

      I agree deepa. though i feel all families are equally complex. its only a matter of how well you know them!

    2. justanotherwakeupcall says:

      thanks for stopping by!

  11. Rinaya says:

    This left me speechless with a heavy heart & curiosity in my mind…ATB for BAT 🙂

    1. justanotherwakeupcall says:

      heavy heart and curiosity was what I was aiming for! seems like the job was done! 🙂 thanks!

  12. jaishvats says:

    Very well written and a nice plot . All the best

    1. justanotherwakeupcall says:

      thanks! jaishvats

  13. Could relate to many a families, kakus, and relations around us. Beautifully blended .

    All the best

    1. justanotherwakeupcall says:

      thanks! that’s an interesting blog name! with an interesting story behind it I am sure 🙂

  14. karan says:

    very well written
    ATB for BAT 🙂

  15. Nice read Sapna. You have excecuted you thoughts very well. It wasn’t evident from the first half of the story how this post is related to an untold story theme. But, the end was impressive!

  16. unknownshri says:

    Pardon me for dropping in this late. My mynd got a bit screwed by unprofessionalism in someone.
    And you know what, this piece just helped unscrew my head. What a nice read this was. Very tightly knitted plot and nice narration. I read the end and I was like, ‘please tell me this is not what I think it is…’ and then I saw your tags. I was like damn…

    1. Haha! It probably shouldn’t but your comment made me smile . Felt good to know that a bit of a story could unscrew a head!!! I contemplated a bit before putting down the tags. I had wanted to leave the deed unsaid! Am glad u read this piece and loved the spirit of your comment! Thanks 🙂

      1. unknownshri says:

        I read. I write. Professionally, that’s all I’m trying to do these days, still trying only.
        So yeah, good writing is like an elixir to me.

        I was blessed to have that joint family life way back. I used to sleep with my Chachi then and nothing ever happened. I was and still am her ‘kid’. I read your words very differently than most others. Your tags were my only aid to get what you were saying.

        And yesh, I’m a spirited person 😀

      2. sounds great! only reading and writing!!! the life!!! good luck with the writing 🙂

  17. You have a generous heart and it seems not to end. It is a great quality a lot of people don’t even have in a world clouded with materialism. But then people abuse it too, even the people we consider friends and family. Once I was all trusting, naive and yes gives without asking for guarantees but then one day, somewhat used that goodness and ran away with my family’s money. It was painful and traumatic. Took years to heal but then it made me wise up unfortunaely we can’t totally change who we are and yes, I have that heart to give, just smarter I guess. We all have family secrets but I believe to be free, we need to let it go. We owe it to ourselves to sleep at night at peace. Great writing!

    1. I meant, someone used that…

  18. panchali says:

    Marvellous writing. The whole ambiance right from the beginning is of an overpowering stillness…It takes all sorts to make a world!.

    ATB for BAT

    1. It definitely does Panchali! I am intrigued by your descriPtion “overpowering stillness” , I think you caught the mood of the story well. Thanks much

    2. it does! thanks for the visit

  19. Hi Dear,
    That was truly a remarkable and touching story! 🙂
    Brilliantly added the theme in the last section .
    Best wishes to you 🙂

    P.S.- Beautiful blog 🙂
    Keep Writing! Best wishes

    1. justanotherwakeupcall says:

      Thanks simran! I’ve read a lot of your stuff too. Love it! G

  20. I could feel your emotions while reading the post, very well expressed .

    Do visit my blog http://www.stylisharjun.blogspot.com

    1. justanotherwakeupcall says:

      Thanks Arjun! Will definitely visit your blog soon.

  21. aativas says:

    Vivid description of the events and the emotions. Enjoyed reading.

    1. justanotherwakeupcall says:

      Thanks ! Glad u enjoyed it!

  22. I think you may have missed approving my previous comment:

    “Nice read Sapna. You have excecuted you thoughts very well. It wasn’t evident from the first half of the story how this post is related to an untold story theme. But, the end was impressive!

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

    1. Not missed divakar! Read it! But over the phone ! My phone WP app seems to have a problem. The replies don’t get sent. I was planning to reply to u once I get to my desktop! Anyway, let’s hope ths one reaches you. Many thanks for reading and appreciating the story!

  23. mohipals says:

    Nice memoir of your kaku…feelings Well described

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