Don’t be fooled by the facade of your grand-aunt’s house, spick and span as it is, not so much a blemish on the wall. It wasn’t like this just four days ago. It was quiet, stale, mundane and everything this bustling house full of relatives clad in red tries to dissociate itself from. It runs from its horrid past, a quick sprint that happens once every year.
Don’t be fooled by your uncle asking you for your Major in University and your path in life, or telling you about the seeming madness of the working world he warns you against. He doesn’t care about any of it. He just wants to tide over the time, to perform a formality he has performed for over 50 years of his life and that you will too, for the next 50 of yours.
Don’t be fooled by your cousin who looks so good in his button on, who checks his Panerai every few minutes to make sure it’s still there. He has his insecurities too, and hopes that no one asks him too many questions. There are some cracks you can see appear; his willingness to dissolve into thin air and materialise somewhere else.
Don’t be fooled by the fun of Black-Jack. With every hand that you reveal, the excitement mounts and we seem closer than ever before. But in the end, all that holds us together is vice.
Don’t be fooled by the red packet that is presented to you over and over. But then again, if it isn’t meaningful conversations that unite us then maybe all this money can act as a viable substitute.
Don’t be fooled by the pineapple tarts and Bakkwa and Love letters that you shove into your mouth. They’re not good for health. But they’re good for giving you a break from the stifling small-talk.
Don’t be fooled by the Instagram pictures of families closer than ever before, clad in their best and giving the flashiest of smiles. Familial bonds often fall short of the precision of that tailored shirt.
Don’t be fooled by the two oranges you hold in your hand. If you look closely, they are neither perfectly round, nor smooth on the surface. They are in fact the definition of an imperfect whole.
Don’t be fooled by all this reunion. If you wanted reunion you would have done something about it in the 350 days you had before and after. You wouldn’t have waited for this particular time of year to practice this mere formality, to partake in this excruciating performance.