Thursday, February 23, 2012

My number one girl.

"Childhood is measured by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows."

It was a time of Dexter’s laboratory and Falguni Pathak songs on TV. It was a time of going to school half sleeping in the auto and fighting about who will have the remote control while coming back. It was a time of buying the coolest school bags and raincoats. Of stitching Barbie doll dresses and drawing our favourite cartoon characters on greeting cards. It was a time of Enid Blyton novels and saving pocket money to buy ice-cream from the Madhu ice-cream vendor every evening. Of hiding in cardboard cartons for hours and BOO-ing at passers-by, and buying the perfect pichkaaris for Holi. It was a time of hide-and-seek, Coat piece, Business King, Contra, killing Shredder in the Ninja turtles, watching BBQ, Dragon Ball Z, The Bold and The Beautiful, and Baywatch. Where did those days go?

She was my first friend when I was growing up. She came to my rescue when I was bullied by fat girls in school and she was always there when I needed money for ice cream. She took me back to my class safely when I went to her class bawling because I thought that my entire class had ‘disappeared’. She submitted all my leave applications to the Principal’s office because I was too scared to do it myself, and she always gave a call home when I forgot to get my bag to school. She helped me mug up the paryaayvaachi shabd before my Hindi exam and she always decorated and wrote the headings for all my school projects in attractive italics. She screamed at me whenever I was stupid, and as we all know, she has a very low tolerance level for stupidity. She covered up for me when I got low marks and she always introduced me to her friends. Trotting behind her hurriedly as we walked inside the school gates, and always, always looking back once more and waving that one extra ‘bye’ before we went to our respective buildings had become almost essential. I would feel so happy whenever I saw her with her big group of friends in school. I would show her off to all my friends. “You see her? Yes, that’s my didi.” I still remember what she looked like back then. Tall, slightly buck-toothed, silent, composed; wearing round golden earrings and a red ribbon in her high ponytail.

I hated her as we grew up. She was mean and she yelled at me a little too often. She said the most spiteful things and we fought almost every day. I was not exactly an angel myself; probably was a shrilly, irritating little tattletale. We usually had physical brawls, which pretty much ended the same way. With me wailing at the top of my lungs till I got the satisfaction of mom scolding her, and she passing rude, nasty comments to me for the next few days. I still remember how once she dug her nails into my skin and I showed the marks to everyone for the next week. Worse, once she was running after me to give me a good beating, and I closed the door on her face; resulting into a small injury in her eyebrow. That small little gap is still there, and will always be there, reminding her of our unpleasant childhood scuffles :)

We bonded when I matured a little. She told me about her secrets and I told her about my crushes. I began to like her for who she was as a person and even wrote this in her slam book once “Please don’t be cutta with me for whatever I say because I’ll always be sorry.” :P She continued to roar and growl at me on a regular basis, but we really grew on each other. She introduced me to Enigma, Britney, Shakira, Enrique, Westlife, BSB and I spent hours writing all the lyrics down so that we’d be able to sing them together. (She was really bad at learning lyrics. Still is) She wouldn't start studying before killing all the mosquitoes mercilessly and she hated everyone when it was too hot. She read all my childhood stories infested with grammatical and spelling mistakes with a lot of enthusiasm and always encouraged me to write further. She always had that one last bite of Maggi from my plate even though she knew how much I hated it :)

She fought with me when I made the biggest blunders of my life. I never realized then, but now I do. I should have listened to her then. I wish we hadn’t drifted apart for all those months, until it was too late. Until she was gone for MBA. Better late than never though, I have finally realized it. She was only looking out for me. And her way of showing that she cares is not being an overly affectionate big sister, but being a hard, strong teacher.

My didi, who always picked my clothes out for me when we shopped, and showed me how to colour inside the lines, and who hugged me tightly whenever she heard me crying softly in bed, and who always gets me the most wonderful gifts every time she meets me, is getting married. Yes, you heard me. That girl, who I have seen grow up before my eyes. The girl who had major temper issues, who had terrifying arguments with mom and dad. The headstrong girl, with a lot of dreams inside her, has finally become an independent, fully grown-up woman.

I cannot believe she is getting married. Married?! Where did those days go? Those never-ending laughing sessions. The studying together during exams, and her sending me off to make tea and then asking me to wake her up after half an hour. The long, long, conversations that would outgrow the night and we would be in splits on the floor. The times I missed her when she stayed in her locked room, talking on the phone. The times when I was jealous and proud of her at the same time. The times when she woke me up by trying out something innovative each morning and the hysterical laughing sessions looking at each other’s ponytails in the morning. The naming all our toys and throwing parties to celebrate their birthdays. Cycling in our lane, skating on our porch, going out for Big Bun's burgers, MKOP's truffle, Bhagat's bhalla...

Where did the carefree pasta-making, movies-watching, song-singing, dancing-for-no-reason days go? It seems like only yesterday when she would hold my hand and take me to summer hobby classes and swimming lessons.
Though we are completely different people in every way, I still smile when people say we look like twins, or when they point out that the way we speak and laugh is similar. She has always been my strength. She has always, always been there. She listened to me when I called her up crying in the middle of the night during my existential crisis phases. And she always rolled her eyes when I told her how and why my life couldn't be better.

Didoo, I know after reading this post you are probably going to say “Nautanki!” but I really, really want you to know. I love you. And I’m sorry if I’ve never been appreciative enough, if I’ve never made it clear. You know what an idiotic emotional wimp I am. Our conversation in Baroda made me realize you cared about me as much as I cared about you. It’s just that you are not that expressive enough. But I have always loved you. How could I not? You were always there, supporting me, providing me a cushion that I could always fall back upon. And being a witness and a partner to all my craziness.

You actually are getting married. (Good lord!) I’m so happy you’re marrying someone you love and someone who loves you back. I hope you have an amazing life ahead. I hope you get what you’ve always dreamed of. I know all about them :) You’re my number one inspiration, my number one best friend and one of my most favourite people in the world. You’re my number one girl.

Come soon so I can see you make that typical expression of yours that I know you’re making right now :)

P.S. You know what? You’re going to be a bride :O :)

(Didoo and me, 1994)
(Didoo and me, 2011)


  1. Extremely well written chinki ! we are happuy for china but its unfortunate that we will miss the wedding . please convey our wishes to her. DJ is a gem of a person..I am sure they will be very happy together.

  2. i've always longed for a elder brother/sister, who would love me as much as i love my younger brother, care for me as much as i care for him, be there for me all the time, people like you and my brother are so lucky, :P

    i was in an entirely different mood when i started writing this comment, but here am i, remembering my fights with him, and those little things, :)

  3. it was....beautiful :) convey my wishes to your didi. this reminded me so strongly of my sister and the growing up stories ....your writing is really refreshing..and more so because the incidents are so easy to relate to..they always touch a cord....sisters are the most special being in the world..and the bestest gift our parents ever gave us...was tht of each other..i'm sure u'll agree. :)

  4. Thank you Meera mami! :) Sad to hear that you won't be able to make it. I'll pass on your message :)

    Varun, haha, well younger siblings are adorable and fun too :P "those little things" are what make your relationship what it is. tell me about your brother sometime. I don't think you ever mentioned him before :)

    thewitch, thank you!! :) I'll convey your wishes for sure. I'm pretty sure she's going to read your comment herself. And I completely agree with you. What a thought! the best gift our parents give us are brothers and sisters! :)

  5. its written so beautifully :) i remmebered childhood days with my elder sis:)

  6. My brother and I had a rather acrimonious relationship growing up actually - he'd eat my ice-cream, steal my storybooks, snatch the tv remote, hide my toys..but then when we entered teenage he became my biggest confidante and sort of a life-coach. I began to appreciate that underneath the aping around lay a very intelligent, sensitive soul which was a huge epiphany for me. And now, when we're old enough to actually be friends he's gone off to live in New York.

    I completely fell in love with this post of yours, Astha! I can relate to pretty much everything here. Being the younger sibling by turns protected and bullied by the elder one - my brother actually once told this class bully, "This is my kid sister, you can't bully her! Only I have that privilege!" - it really puts me in a happysad mood, you know. :)

    Seriously, lovely post! I wish your sister all the best in life. Do congratulate her for me. :)

  7. First paragraph. Gosh. Nostalgia. :')
    PS. Dexter FTW B)

  8. and btw, the cartoon network people never completed the dbz series! they had like 50 episodes only.

    i am watching the remaining episodes these days! have all 276 of them plus 13 dbz movies! what a rush, those fights! :P

  9. tagged you on this one. kinda check it out

  10. Awww.That was so adorable!! We all have one happy "girl" in our lives who seem to have drawn a colorful childhood for us right!! I had one too :)

    Wish your sista has a lovely married life!Life looongg :)

  11. Shreya, thank you so much! :) I'm glad I made you remember your sis and you childhood as well!

    Karishma, that is so sweet! I also want an elder brother! They're so hateful and so protective at the same time :) Sure, they can be horrid, but they'll always look after you. Awww! He's in New York?! Whoaaa! I'm sure you miss him. And I'm sure you'll be able to spend a lot of time with him in the future!
    And thank you :D I know what you mean! They'll do nasty things to you but if anyone else does it, boy, then they're dead :P
    I'll congratulate her. Thanks! :D

  12. Ruhani, yes, I know right?! :D
    Dexter and Power Puff Girls were my favourite cartoons! :D

    Varun, yeah I know. Later, they started repeating the same episodes over and over again. But I don't know, I grew out of them eventually. I was tired of Goku always dying and then exercising in a spaceship, and the others growling and heaving and panting before they actually fought with each other :P

  13. Albert, oh thank you! I will get to it as soon as I get some free time! :)

    Jen, thank you! :) You had a sister too? Then you know what I mean :D

  14. Do wish your sis on my behalf, This is such a cute post:-)
    I have a bro who is younger by a decade!:)I dont remember ever fighting over anything,but thats only because our age gap was too large to desire Pokemon cards at the same time:-)But yes,he did get his share of hand me downs:-)

    That photograph instantly took me back to early school days,I too used to travel to school in an auto packed with children and baskets and bags hanging all over, sometimes sharing space with the driver in front:-)Kids these days travel by car and live like little emperors:-)

  15. Astha, Arumugam's comment made me want to look closer at that old photograph till I realised what I thought was a bus is actually a rickshaw. Man! I used to walk to school actually, lived that close to it! :D And I do miss him loads! The idea that I can actually go there myself in the future is the only one that makes the missing-him easier to bear. :)

  16. Arumugam, thank you! :D
    A decade is a long time :P Oh I remember the Pokemon and WWF cards phase. Man, kids were crazy about it. Even tazos, remember? :) We used to trade two bad ones for a good one :P

    And yes! Oh god, the autos would be cramped with children overflowing from every little gap :P All our bags used to go up in the carrier and we used to sit on a small wooden plank. Man, I miss all that :) Kids are spoilt these days. Look at us trying to be all grown-uppy :P

    By the way, I checked out your profile. Your books and movies section was amazing. Thoroughly impressed! Would like to see/read all of that :)

  17. Karishma, ahhaha, yeah that's an auto-rickshaw!
    Don't I look stupid? Look at my expression! :P
    You used to walk! Wow! Our school wasn't that close, so, that's how we used to go :P

    P.S. Give me your email ID!

    1. Wow, I didn't realise one could actually reply to individual comments this way! Boy am I a daft one! :D

      Oh, and you look so cute actually! :) Like a lil bunny!

      And it's - do write and add me on gtalk! :)

    2. Even I realized we can reply to individual comments! So cool! Haha! Is it a new feature? :P
      I've added you on gtalk! :)

  18. LOL LOL ... I enjoyed reading this post! thanksss for all the good things u said and darling I love you too! :-)) See you tomorrow <3

    1. Weeeee! I wanted to mention a hundred more things. But it was becoming too long! :)

  19. very beautifully written........this is the sweetest of all the relationship in the world.You grow together fighting and don'teven realise when the two sisters become the best companions.....god bless you both ........we will be there to bless the cute couple .......luv!!!

    1. Thaaank you taiji! :D
      Can't wait for the 2nd and can't wait to see you guys! It's gonna be a blast! :D

  20. this is garima by the way...i didnt know ki mera naam nai aaye ga with the comment :) garima capoor.

  21. Aila! what a cutie post ...... Reminds me of me n my baby sis in so many ways ....( especially the part , when she will be a brat and i , being the elder one would shout on her and she will complain to mommy , and ....we all know the story after that ... :D ) ......lovely post . The length of the post justifies your love for diddo ;-) ( i am sure there is much more ... ) ...TC

  22. heyy i was re-reading this and u know what ... im sharing this on my FB page with a special photo :-))


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