Happy Birthday, good ol’ Guds! It’s super cheesy to write a birthday blog and post it on social media but you leave me with no choice. I’m going to call you at midnight and you’ll be fast asleep with little or no enthusiasm for your big day. So I will to try again in the morning and as always you will be half-listening while the other half is scolding your daughter or instructing your maids. An email would be lying unread in your inbox long after your birthday has passed. With this, I hope you will take the time to read and remember. A little note for posterity.
I have a confession to make. A few days before your big 40 I was talking to a friend about your upcoming birthday and I started crying. As I wiped my tear streaked face, I attempted to answer my baffled friend about why I was crying and I said “because she’s turning 40” and wailed some more while he looked wholly bewildered. He patiently said “ Don’t be silly. 40 is the new 30” and I said “ No it’s just that I don’t want her to grow old”.
So please, for my sanity, stay young forever.
It’s strange that a mature, composed, person like me is reduced to someone who cries quite stupidly when it comes to you. I remember when you had phoned me to tell me the joyous news that you’re pregnant and my first reaction was..to cry. Because I thought you were going to be sick, and would have to be hospitalized and worse I would have to share you with someone. And till date, Kavya and I fight for your attention.I have to concede defeat. Your early experience with a capricious younger sister meant you would ace at motherhood.
All of us have had loved in our lives. The fortunate few have experienced the all-consuming love. Like mine for you. The kind of love that makes you cry and you’re not entirely sure why.
But we often make the mistake of not telling the people we love just how much we love them.
Definitely not in our family where it’s always known, understood, implied, but never said out loud. We’re the family of awkward side hugs, shy greetings and the stiff arm posing. But I’ll try to change that on the eve of your birthday even if you get extremely embarrassed tomorrow.
My weird but wonderful sister, you know you’re unique. You’re one of a kind and thank God for that. The world would be very chaotic if we had more like you. I thought I was the black sheep of the family but when we look at your haphazardness and the curious incapability of planning, listening or organizing, we wonder how you couldn’t be a type A like the rest of us. Before you jump to your defence might I remind you of :
– How you started riding the black scooter that Papa bought us and took me for a ride and declared confidently that you were an excellent rider only to be hit by a car a few seconds later.
– How you were thrown off the train to Goa because your ticket was actually booked for the previous day.
– How you were supposed to take a bus to Poona but ended up in a bus that goes to Latur. Poor Papa waited all night for you at the bus stop worrying.
– How you drive your car, talking one minute and cussing the next and just when I’m about to say something important you say BATTERY BATT.. and the line goes dead. I worry that your last words will be battery battery.
– When you promised to visit me in Hong Kong, booked your tickets and only a few days before the departure date realized that your passport had expired.
– More recently, you made me show you all kinds of exercises like planking, side planking, mountain climbing, Burpees etc with the desperate hope that you would take a video and get started on your fitness regime. All that sweat and tears were for nothing because as I am led to believe that you have just about started going for evening strolls around your building with a cell phone with low battery and an equally low will power. No sweat, there’s always tomorrow.
The list is endless . You’re a case study. But you’re the son that Papa never had. The glue that only a middle sister can be and Mummy’s FD i.e. Favourite Daughter.
I miss you although I’m not sure what I miss exactly. I don’t remember the last time we had a long conversation without the constant questioning that only kids can come up with, the happy- to- be escaping- the- household- chores husband, the onslaught of domestic help and the perennial phone calls.
You try to see me every week via Face Time but between you and your daughter, the phone is passed so many times that I usually have a headache after hanging up.
Truth be told, I don’t remember us ever having long conversations. You just always knew.
As I write this, I’m flooded with thoughts of you. Sometimes you can’t hold on to a thought or memory for too long because you might sink in it. You might fall into that vortex of memories and it takes a while to surface to reality again. But I’ll allow that today because I want to thank you.
– For supporting me through school. Even when you interrupted my classes to ask for water and other things that should have been packed by you. I got reprimanded by MY teacher for YOUR behavior.
– For not telling Mummy that I used to buy veg puffs in the canteen. Even though the price for that silence was the veg puff itself.
– For showing me off to your friends in school like a prized possession. I would be superbly off-key singing ‘Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket and save it for a rainy day”. Why would you ask me to sing? Was it some cruel joke?
– For trying to teach me Mathematics. Maths= Muddled brains. You would hit me but it didn’t hurt.
– For teaching me to ride a bike and a car and not yelling at my failure as I accelerated your car into a tree.
– For telling me about boys. Even when they sent hate mail to you for being the protective older sister.
– For waking up early for me. I would leave for the bus stop to catch the school bus while you were still sleeping in our room. When the bus would do a full circle and cross our house again, you would be waiting at the window so you could wave at me. It was our ritual for which I would fight for a seat on the right side of the bus.
– For staying up late for me.
– I owe you big time for the little lies you told our parents..
– For forgiving your thieving little sister. Sorry I stole money from you. I should have taken a few notes instead of the entire wad from under your mattress.
– For not telling me off when I acted like a whimpering younger sister who reluctantly left the room so your friends and you could discuss boys, Mills & Boon, Basic Instinct etc whatever.(see I was always eavesdropping)
– For taking the time off so you could accompany me for my MBA interview. Not to forget the super short pixie hair cut I got right before the interview. Really what were we thinking?
– For keeping my nicknames as your password.
– For humoring me during my awkward advertising days. At the start of my summer internship with an ad agency I would feel most lonely at lunch time. I wouldn’t have anything to eat or anyone to eat it with so I would call you at work and show up at your office which was mercifully next to mine. You’d ask me to sit in your chair while you ran around with a sense of purpose but not before ordering something from the canteen and a Tropicana juice. It meant I ate alone but knew you were close.
Thank you for being around.
So my endearingly irritating sister, Happy Birthday! Here’s to more madness, magic and memoirs.