Insanity and the Family

Psychologists, or mind bender as my grandfather calls them, are objects of much curiosity in my family. I don’t mind their playful accusations of me trying to brain wash people; I’ve met far to many people who demand I read their minds for that.

Yesterday my mother challenged me to diagnose the various tales of bizarre behavior that haunted the family. The first story was about an old great grand uncle who lived the life of a simple shop owner and land owner. Since everyone used to walk back them, he walked a lot too. But one day he left his travel companions to pee behind a bush. He soon returned and began speaking to everyone in Malayalam, which no one understood. No was able to figure out how he knew Malayalam either. He was soon ravaged but whatever afflicted him and his metal health disintegrated.

The next story was that of grand uncle who had an annoying habit of loudly narrating whatever he was doing. Even more irritating was his tendency to narrate what other people were doing while he stood about staring at them. When people asked him to stop narrating and just finish what he was doing he’d walk off angrily. My mother recalled that she hates people pointing out the obvious too and wondered if she was crazy too. She was quickly distracted by other memories of his fingers playing imaginary instruments and him singing notes “ahaaa vheeee huuummm” as he walked the long corridors that South Kenaran houses used to have.

The last story of insanity was of a great grandfather who’d have windows nailed shut if people forgot to close them when he asked them to. He also insisted on people waiting for him to wake up before they opened the front door. Since the bathrooms were outside the house, people inside had to wait anxiously till they could relieve themselves.The fact that he’d wait for his cat, that slept on top of him, to wake up before he rose must have made the wait a lot more painful.

The stories of insanity didn’t really interest me as much as the amount of information my mother knew about the family. I can’t even remember the names of all my uncles. I guess she kinda had to pick it up when one of my great grandfathers had as many as 22 children between two women.

The whole thing makes me wonder what normal is. Normal must just be the generic behavior society wants from you, but honestly I can’t think of many normal people. My grandfather isn’t crazy but I’m sure the people who see him walking around the house quoting 60’s movies and random children’s rhymes have a hard time figuring out what’s happening. Not being eccentric is a little odd given our families history.

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