Rupa Gulab’s new book, Hot Chocolate is Thicker than Blood, is about Anu, a girl with unruly hair whose life isn’t exactly the best, but then, she finds out she was adopted! Now, along with boys, teachers and boring history classes, she also has to deal with a sister who is no longer a sister, and parents who are bewildered and hurt. But that’s only the beginning…
Here, Rupa writes about why family is generally overrated, and why hot chocolate, and sometimes Bloody Marys too, bring out the best in relationships than expected:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that blood is thicker than water. Well, technically it is, in a lab test that is — something to do with viscosity and er, um, some other terribly scientific things. In relationships, however, I’m not too sure. If blood really was psychologically thicker than water, shouldn’t Romeo and Juliet have thrown poisoned darts, rotten eggs and squishy tomatoes at each other in true refined Capulet–Montague tradition instead of flying kisses while wittering on about nightingales and larks?
Consider this too: if your mum treated you like David Copperfield’s did, and loved you in a vague, wishy-washy way but never ever stood up for you even when you, her birth child, was being tortured by her non-blood related husband, wouldn’t you be inspired to hang the inheritance and write a mean Mommie Dearest book like Joan Crawford’s daughter?
It is also a truth universally acknowledged that you can choose your friends but not your relatives. Since I’ve shamelessly pinched and distorted the opening sentence of Pride and Prejudice twice, let’s dwell briefly on the heroine, Elizabeth Bennet: I’m sure she loved her family, but she certainly had nothing in common with her mum and a couple of her siblings. She found them flighty, foolish and irritating to put it mildly, and would possibly choose their company only if a multiple choice quiz in a glossy girlie mag gave her only two options:
- Would you lock yourself in a cage with a schizophrenic, starving Rottweiler called Psycho?
- Would you lock yourself in a room with flighty, foolish and irritating family members?
Too much of a fuss has been made over the thickness of blood winning in relationships. I have discovered many other substances that are way thicker and much more delicious than blood (even though Stephanie Meyers’s dead sexy vampires in the Twilight series may not agree).
When I was younger, I had great bonding sessions with friends over mugs of hot chocolate, and we told each other things we’d never have told our families – and still haven’t. So yes, hot chocolate is definitely thicker than blood. As I grew older and spent quality time with friends at pubs, I realized that Bloody Marys too are thicker than blood. The more we drank, the more congenial and confessional we became and if we’d all had blood tests after our weekends, our blood group probably would have been the same: -OH positive.
In my family, potato starch (i.e. in the form of crunchy chips and fat french fries) is way thicker than blood. It’s also thicker than the tomato sauce we’re dunking our chips and fries into. When we’re cramming them into our mouth, we can’t talk (read squabble) and it really is the only time we don’t argue at all. Sure, I’d kill for my family but I’d also kill for my husband and my friends with equal ferocity.
The point I’m making is, you don’t have to be born into a family to feel like family. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!