icyhighs

icyhighs
Location
Bombay, Bombay, India
Birthday
December 31
Bio
Icy Highs is the writerly alter ego of Tharun James Jimani, author of 90s pop culture novel, 'Cough Syrup Surrealism' (Fingerprint! Publishing, 2013). He has lived in Chennai, Glasgow, Dusseldorf, London and Singapore over the last twelve years, and is- in Animal Planet parlance- a 'serial immigrant', and averse to nesting. He writes to keep the moss from gathering.

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MAY 1, 2012 4:14PM

The Uncle Trap

Rate: 15 Flag

Today's been a day of discoveries of EPIC proportions. Firstly, I found out that my niblings think I'm a human-sized rodent in a human suit. Secondly, a little less than five minutes ago, I discovered that there's a collective, gender-neutral term for 'the children of one's siblings': yup, it's NIBLINGS! Told you, epic stuff. Here's how it all went down.

 

As some of you may know, my nephew and niece are spending the summer at my parents' house. I beached up on their doorstep a little before my niblings did, entitled brat that I am, to pursue my lifelong ambition of gainful unemployment and partaking-of-free-meals. And the little business of writing. So far, so good.

 

Now much as I love my niblings, I don't particularly care for children. This leaves me in a love-hate existential conundrum whenever I spend more than five minutes with them. The initial burst of affection for my flesh and blood (in a manner of speaking) quickly gives way to the more familiar loathing of our pint-sized brethren, and their disdain for Adult words.

 

To be fair, their presence does not in any way affect my lifestyle as I spend my days locked up in my room any way, my fingers a whirl of type-and-delete. I only ever step out and interact with the rest of the world at mealtimes, and that too only to load my plate and haul it back to the mothership.

 

Of course, every so often I hear them chattering outside my door and go out and play the benevolent uncle: a game of hide and seek, or maybe a drive to the pastry shop in town. But these occasions are utilitarian -they have a defined purpose- and therefore exert no conversational stress on any of the parties involved.

 

Little did I know that my niblings were quite taken by these spontaneous visits of mine to their world, and had asked Mom how best to coax me out more often. Neither did I know that they had taken her throwaway remark rather seriously, and decided to act on it.

 

So I open my door this afternoon, and find a big bowl of melted ice cream, a cherry and a chocolate wafer floating in the mess, and two pairs of eyes watching my every move from behind the couch. I walk past them, casual as a cucumber, push one end of the couch into the wall with a Bournesque flourish, and demand an explanation.

 

They crack like eggs. They sell the other down the river in their desperation for lenience but they're both guilty as sin, the jittery juveniles. They even try to take Mom down with them. As it turns out, she had told them- in jest no doubt- that their uncle would only ever be tempted out of his room by the promise of a good meal.

 

This little nugget of wisdom, coupled with their experience of setting mousetraps in the storeroom with my Dad last week, had somehow snowballed into the masterplan to leave a bowl of ice cream under my door to lure me out, like a common rodent. Presumably, they intended to pop a bucket over my head once I was suitably distracted.  



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I plan to use your new term at a family wedding this weekend. :) ... Write on ...
Hi Deborah, 'nibling' is an actual word, not one I coined. Sorry if I gave you that impression; I did say 'discovered'....in the Merriam Webster:
http://nws.merriam-webster.com/opendictionary/newword_display_alpha.php?letter=Ni

It's a great word, no? I've been looking for it ever since my sis had her second kid. Have fun at the wedding!
Hi Deborah, 'nibling' is an actual word, not one I coined. Sorry if I gave you that impression; I did say 'discovered'....in the Merriam Webster:
http://nws.merriam-webster.com/opendictionary/newword_display_alpha.php?letter=Ni

It's a great word, no? I've been looking for it ever since my sis had her second kid. Have fun at the wedding!
"that their uncle would only ever be tempted out of his room by the promise of a good meal."

I know my niece and nephew use to do the same thing!! Hardly ever worked, especially if I was asleep!! ~:D
icyhighs,

Being an uncle or an aunt is what you make of it. I think you enjoy your niblings much more than you are willing to admit.

Otherwise you would not write nearly so much about them.
Hi Tink, LOL I can just imagine them standing around outside waiting while you're happily asleep. Which is all the more possible in my case since the reason I come out for snacks so often is I still get the munchies about as frequently as a sixteen year old smoking his first joint!

Dear Diary (haha, see what I did there?!),
Of course I love them and enjoy spending time with them- I hope neither of my posts about them give the impression that I don't.
See, they think you're nice and that's where you went wrong. They like you.

I decided to be the "scary aunt" from day 1. I could stop those little niblings in their tracks with a roll of an eye. How's your eyerolling? Look of death? Can you do the look of death? :)
You are an excellent uncle. At this age, you want to leave them wanting more. Too bad you didn't know about the ice cream before it melted, huh.
Niblings can be fun especially with squirt guns and water balloons... arm them and turn them loose on one another.
I was imagining a big sticky blanket of tape that would glue you to the floor. Ice cream is better than that. But don't give the kids any ideas...
The ice cream sounds good, even if it had melted some. You ate it, of course.
I think ice cream could coax me out of a room - too bad it had melted! Maybe they'll come up with more inspiring treats next time! Your mom probably believes the way to an uncle's heart is through his stomach.
When young, my niblings equated my usefulness in direct proportion to the size of gifts they received. These days the nephew indulges me and the niece only sees me as an example of how age kills coolness. I see some disinheritance in the future.
Clever little niblings you have. They sound like good breaks from writing to me. Maybe even inspiration.