Friday, June 29, 2007

Another Birthday Message

Today's the little sister's eighteenth birthday. She has specially requested a post on/for her as a present. As I'm currently too broke to buy her anything else, I shall oblige. But I'm not going to write her a eulogy or anything, she isn't Prithviraj Chauhan after all. I gave some amount of thought to what I should write, and I figured that the things we both remember sometimes are the ones I want her to have on her birthday. So, Pinkerton, here are some memories. Enjoy.

I remember the day they brought her home from the hospital, swaddled in blankets, looking cross even while she was sleeping. They wouldn't let me hold her, which I greatly resented at that point, but I suppose in retrospect that handing over a newborn to a five year old isn't very wise. She was both a delight and a holy terror as an infant. When she was benevolent, she was quite a hoot. Otherwise there were times when she would wail her head off and only my dad could ger her to quiet down by rocking her to sleep in superfast express train fashion. When she was lowered into the big tub for her bath she would cry like someone was trying to drown her, then settle down in the water and gurgle with amusement, and repeat the wailing when you tried to get her out. My fondest memory of her infancy is one afternoon when my dad was home with both of us. I was trying to pat her to sleep, but she was clearly not interested, and as things turned out, my dad ended up putting me to sleep. Oh well.

We were great ones for all kinds of made up games when we were growing up. The most vivid recollection I have is of playing Vikram to her Betaal. She would dangle from these concrete bars on our terrace, and I'd take her on my back and roam around while she emitted her version of ghoulish laughter. She also came up with her own dance form which involved clambering on top of the harmonium and promptly falling off. Then there was weird dancing to weirder Hindi film songs, also on the terrace without caring as to who was watching and laughing, and when I call it dancing I'm using the word very liberally. The first day she marched off to school, she was all smartly turned out with blue skirt and white shirt and red ribbons and shiny black shoes and the works, only to come back home a half hour later, because kindergarten started the next day. Another character quirk I discovered was that she was afraid of everything. She'd cry if it started raining at night, and in Shillong, where it rains pretty much throughout the year, that's a recipe for psychosis. But she seems to have avoided that fate.

We grew up in our own ways and our own worlds, which diverged more as time went by, but we still manage to share a lot of laughs, most of them for no reason at all. When our lives were rocked by tremors, we managed to just about hold on, and we're still trying to fashion out our own versions of elusive happiness. It isn't really as hard or as bleak as I'd imagined it would be, because of one simple reason: whatever happened, we never let go of the laughter.

Now, Pinkerton, you're eighteen today. Have a great day, a great year and a wonderful life ahead. And if sometimes that looks a little difficult, just look back to that little girl who danced on the terrace with me all those years ago. Tough little tyke she was, and she'll make you happy whenever you go back to her. Happy Birthday, you're a good kid. Just stop running up monstrous phone bills.


another brick in the wall said...

and as things turned out, my dad ended up putting me to sleep. Oh well

hehe.. so funny :)

all thruout the post i cudnt stop being all.. ahem.. "aww".. hehe.. nah but it was tht way!

hey pinky.. happy bday.. hav a gr8 life ahead.. enjoy :)

heh? ok said...

@ brick
aww. thanks

probe said...

it's the most beautiful thing to see a sibling grow.
their birthdays are rare occasions that make you feel older.
rare is the keyword in my case.
nice one, i'm sure u got a monster hug for that one.

new age scheherazade said...

fantastic.i don't have a sister, but i'm very close to my cousins and especially my cousin twin, and I loved this post(as always). reminded me of our own days of fun staying up all night for the most insubstantially wonderful reasons. hope they continue all our lives.

raghu said...

hahahaha.. shes EIGHTEEN..shes older than me.. gawd i hate her.. arrgh!
ya but a avery behrry aawwy post :P

Dreamcatcher said...

This was beautiful. I remember my older sister teaching me how to make crank calls and taking me for piggy back rides. Better than a present, this post :)

Sparsh said...

Happy Yappy B'day to your lil sister!

Reminded me of my own sister and the way she used to take our dog to the vet nicely seated at the backseat of her bike, never worrying who all were laughing at her. Lil sisters are the sweetest thing ever:).

N i specially loved the bikram-betaal version:P

pankaj said...

lovely...nothing like sibling love! vikram baitaal was especially endearing!

heh? ok said...

@ probe
no, i got an sms. geography's the villain of the piece.

@ new age scheherazade
they may not continue in the same fashion, but you keep discovering newer ways of having fun, and then write about them ten years later. :)

@ raghu
yeah, so i've been told.

@ dreamcatcher
well, looks like the gift is not going to be forgone inspite of the post.

@ sparsh & pankaj
yes, i'm especially proud of that one. :)

dobereinerr said...

Happy Budday Pinkerton!

Wait, am i even allowed to call her that!

ToOothlEss WOndeR! said...

it's my little sister's twenty something birthday tomorrow.
i've always (only) been a big brother to her, and am trying to make it upto her in little ways now.
got a surprise party planned for tomorrow.
she'll be shocked

sunaina said...

oye thanks vikram.luuuuvvved it.feel sooo important...heheh.but i really did like it.thanks a bunch.ur a gr8 writer...but ur even better when ur subject is little ol ME!love ya...:)

Ranjit said...

awww.. lovely post.
pinkerton, a very belated happy birthday. and heh ok? u've done a heck of a job as her elder sister.

heh? ok said...

@ dobereinerr
that you'll have to ask her.

@ toothless wonder
aww now isn't that nice. i bet she was thrilled.

@ sunaina
you're on your way to becoming a megalomaniac. keep it up.

@ ranjit
hehe, thankee. and you've messed up the question mark. its "heh? ok". there's a wondrous logic behind it.