The Theory of Relatives

Einstein’s theory of relativity does not cover the universe of fake pleasantries, arranged marriages and second cousins thrice removed (but still not gone) which is as chaotic as the physical one. Relatives appear on otherwise festive occasions to make you miserable and seem to orbit your lives, but nobody knows why. Not a lot of scientific research gone into this phenomenon. Here, I postulate a formal theory of relatives.


General Relativity:

Relations are not affected by a change of state, or even continent.

Nothing can travel faster than the speed of gossip.

Bending time and space. When visiting people during religious holidays, the same relatives can appear to be at two dinners at the same time.

Continuity. Generations of diabetes, blood pressure and gastritis will ensure that there is no sugar, salt or spice in anything on the menu

Simultaneity. An event simultaneously observed by everybody in the room, will be observed differently by everybody in the room, if they’re all relatives

Time dilation. Moving clocks have been measured to tick slower when relatives are around

Length contraction. Distances become shorter when you are in the same city as relatives you don’t want to meet

A relative in motion cannot be stopped, or sent back

A relative with motions can, and should

Due to excessive passing of hands on heads, all hair will remain in a flattened state of inertia no matter how well you set it

Mess-energy equivalence. The amount of mess the bratty child of a cousin makes is equivalent to the amount of energy you spend dissuading them

The family is constantly expanding, new relations are being added every day


The fuss over visiting relatives will be directly proportional to how far away they live

An uncle will get twice as annoying in Lahore as he is in London

The more lipstick an auntie has on, the more likely she is to kiss your cheek

Someone will always need advice on whether to force their kids to study medicine or engineering

Any male upto ten years older than you must be referred to as bhai

Any female upto ten years older than you must be referred to as baji/aapi

People more than ten years older than you must be referred to as uncle/auntie

People more than forty years older than you must be referred to the nearest hospital


Special Relativity:

You may be related to the same person in more than one way

You may even be your own distant relation, somehow

Childhood joy is directly proportional to the number of maternal aunts in a relative universe

Adulthood misery is directly proportional to the number of maternal aunts in a relative universe

Your paternal cousin might be older than your father

Your maternal grandmother might be younger than your father

The old lady without any kids of her own will end up claiming all kids as her own

The number of family marriages coming up will somehow exceed your total number of cousins

You will always have the choice to attend a baraat from either side

You will always look ‘just like your father/mother’ even with extensive facial reconstruction

You will be asked about your plans on getting married

You will be suggested people to marry

This will happen even if you’re already married

You will have to tell uncles what you’re doing everytime you meet them, even if you meet them twice in the same day

Older people will always remark at how much bigger you’ve grown, even though you haven’t grown an inch in years, it’s actually them getting smaller

Embarrassing childhood stories will come up


You will keep on meeting never before seen relatives until the day that you die, some will also show up for the first time on your funeral

The last person to arrive at the family get together will have to individually shake fifty hands

There will be prolonged discussions on who has lost and gained how much weight, everyone will lie about their own

There will be a period after a new addition to the family (whether through marriage or abduction) where everyone will be awkwardly well behaved

This period will not last long

You will get called a dozen different nicknames

You will be reminded of who you played with when you were a child. Hopefully though, not what you played with

Some of them will suddenly get up in the middle of a perfectly unpleasant conversation and ask for a prayer mat. They will also ask for the directions to the Qibla at which point you may point in any direction that isn’t up or down.

There will always be an unfortunate soul who went and became a doctor. They will spend their holidays taking temperatures and prescribing cough syrups


Tagged , , , ,