Our niece. I was quite taken by the fact that regular readers ( three of you ), wrote in asking for how she was doing, based on my blogpost of 2006 ! Initially all chuffed by the hope that it was my writing that stayed in the memory for so long, but only quick to realise that it is about the ‘subject’.
This post is on our girls in the US !
Her process of choosing clothes can resemble a very conscientious accountant balancing his books. Exemplary care and methodicity in every step, and could often seem to last the time it took for a planet to evolve.
On another note, there are people that walk the earth with exemplary prowess in carrying off anything from a Zenga suit to a dhoti in manner that can be mildly put as ‘superlatively clumsy’. Then there is the other variety. Those , that can carry off anything from street clothing to designer wear with a degree of regality that gets all of the streets to turn and highways to take a bow. She belongs to the latter.
Her culinary skills are galloping away to mouthwatering results.. A knack of baking cakes and lovely milk shakes, always served with a tinge of lazy air and loads of love. By the way, made with one eye on the TV and the other on the oven!
Swimming, Kathak and a whole array of activities, no t to mention academics, keep her and her parents busy ! Which is an equivalent of a Mt.Everest climb for me. Getting to work and back is a tall ask, and if I am in a good spirit after all work and the dodging of the quintessential jay walker, it gets me all excited.
Ah. There is one more addition. To the work that she does. That is to take care of her younger sister. A sister that has auto recharge dynamo within her with which she can generate ‘energy’ at will. A sister whose love for animals is a level beyond any combination of adjectives that I can hope to leverage.
A sister who is bright and bubbly, cute and naughty, rugged and sporty, fast and comfy. Easily enticing any who would care to play and getting them sufficiently tired in a few minutes. We saw her as a toddler years back. With energy bursting at the seams she is a package for whom your heart is perpetually warmed up for.
Together they make a pair that can melt steel ingots with sweeping hug and a simple word. They wear the chaniya cholis just as they wear those jeans. The twin liking for Jennifer Anniston and Abhishek Bachhan defining how equanimity prevails between the two culture whorls that they are in the vortex of.
To them, India is a ‘far away land’ in all senses of the word and the Californian air offers them a rhythm of life, that is so distinctly different than what lies within Indian shores. That is the place they call ‘Home’!
Their life and living is different. We may want to soak up their wonder years in our memory too, by watching it all in close quarters everyday. Questions. Exclamations. Playful shrieks. The purportedly tear jerking sobs, that announce a stomach pain precisely when its time to eat. All of it. And more.
But then their life is over there, ours is over here. Our rhythms are so different.
So, we soaked up a zillion memories and a couple of giga bytes of photographs, of a time with them. That should just about suffice, for now, to offset a desire that pops up about them ‘coming back’!
As I packed my bags and gave them a hug, it required no great effort to be acutely aware that the years will roll on as they have in the past. Each roll weaving in a layer of change over what I had seen in them the last time around. Intricately inter weaving and warping a boundless love that never fails to have us in such a bind.
The years ahead will add many more layers of life, love and living.
I wonder when I will see them next. I wonder how taller will they be ? What new English lessons will they teach. What part of ‘their land’ will I learn from them? What new fare will they cook up for us? I wonder.
And just as the suitcases were getting shut, she cocked her head on one side and asked ‘so, when are you coming back?’.
Just as I rolled my eyes as an answer, the dynamo kid said, with the ‘hands on hip’ stance : ‘Akka, why do you ask the wrong question always. Ask him, why does he have to go’ !?!