Note: I wrote this post in the beginning of July but decided to post it today on the eve of Rakhi for my little bro.
Once again I have come back to Bangalore after a long trip at home in Palampur and Chandigarh. This time the holiday was a very special one as I got to spend a lot of time with my kid brother, who was on his semester break after his first year of college.
I have every right to call him a kid, as he is almost thirteen years younger to me and by the time he was in his sweetest years of growing up I had moved out of the house to college, and onto a job and then marriage. So effectively, June, 2011, was the first time after he was maybe 7 years old that he and I spent such a long time in each other’s company. This vacation was a lovely time for me to play with him and pester him through. Although, its not easy to get a grown teen to spend quality time with his old, married sister.
I wonder if he knows that I chose his name for him. Dad wanted to name him ‘Sachin’ but I insisted on Abhinav because Sachin I felt would be very common for boys his age as a tribute to the great Tendulkar and also because (stating this in public for the first time in 18 years), I didn’t want him to have a name beginning with the same letter as my mum, or my Dad in the dread that if that happened they would love him more than me. Such a shallow, selfish person that I was and maybe still am.
Here it becomes imperative in the spirit of honesty to note that I was not a good sister to him in my teenage years at home and through college. I was too busy with friends and rebellion-without-a-cause to give him the attention I should have showered on him and I carry a huge vat of searing guilt in my heart about that. I was bossy (which I still am) and impatient, which I now realize is the worst possible quality to possess when dealing with a child. I just hope and pray that he never holds that against me.
He on the other hand, was the perfect little brother, who always called me at least once a week when Mum and Dad moved to the East, and remembered my favourite foods even when I wasn’t around. In a child of 8 or 9 years old that is the sweetest thing. He was the one who saw ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ in a store and told my parents that was the perfect gift for my birthday and bought it and then sent it to me. I love to read the inscription he wrote in his childish handwriting on the flyleaf of that book all those years ago.
I remember, this saturday night party in the army where we were all invited and Abhinav and I left early without mum and dad. I was on vacation from college and knew nobody while AJ had all his friends from school and playground buddies there. I remember walking in and then sitting with Abhinav on some chairs, listening to the music and watching the people dance. He kept sitting with me for almost half an hour until I found some company, before going off to join his friends who had been lingering around since the moment we walked in. I never forget this incident of his thoughtfulness and very ‘protective-elder-brother’ attitude at the ripe old age of 12.
We are both very different individuals. Abhinav is serious and withdrawn and almost introspective where I am loud and out-spoken; he takes a long time to make friends while I make instant connections; he eats too slow and I was always a gobbler; he can probably go days without talking while I would burst from the effort in about an hour; he hates to be touched and I love to hug and be hugged all the time; he doesn’t like to go out of the house much and I had to be literally dragged home from the playground and so on and on…. which are admittedly such glaring differences that most people may be forgiven to think that we are in no way related.
And yet, I know that if given a choice out of a 100 songs or books or movies or television serials to choose from we would come up with a 98% match if not more. We make the same comments on the same topics and He has the same low threshold of impatience and irritability that I had, which I hope he conquers a little faster than I ever did. I am a person with good moral and work ethics but his moral standards are so high they are literally off the charts. That worries me sometimes, when I see that the world around us is almost hostile to good virtue and honesty. And yet, I wouldn’t want him to be any other way. I would however, wish for him to develop a better understanding towards those less fortunate than himself and to be able to display kindness to them. Though I suppose that will come with time when the mind moves away from the fog of designer clothes, video games and status symbols.
Abhinav today is in his late teens and is growing up into a very honest, upstanding and principled individual and that makes my heart swell with pride. He still retains an innocence in his manner and way of thinking that is very unexpected in a boy who is college going, watches so much television and reads so much. I think he gets that from my dad. I just wish that he would loosen up a little bit and laugh more and as easily as he did as a kid. There are years enough in life to be serious, responsible and introspective.
I may never have told him how much of an important part he is of my life and what his love means to me. So, here’s a shout out to you little brother on Rakshbandhan (another one that I spend far away from you) that I Love You! I may fight with you and irritate the living daylights out of you but I wish only the best things for you always. I pray that you have a happy and fun-filled life and that you may always be surrounded by people who love you! I hope for a life of travel and adventure for you. I wish that you go around the world and do something in your life that brings you contentment and happiness every single day. And that you find a sweet and pretty girl someday, who can make you laugh and drag you out of your comfort zone and build a happy home for both of you.