The big news is that my sister is getting married!! If you are from India, you attend marriages all the time.But generally,as a kid, all you care about weddings are meeting with cousins, playing with them and hopefully avoid scoldings for spoiling a new dress.Everything else is for the grown ups.So the first thing that hit me when I got the news was, Well!Thats it,We are grown ups now...and we still haven't really stopped quarrelling.In order to kickstart the wedding , We had this small engagement ceremony and out of the blue,I was given a mike and asked to speak about what I feel. Now what do I say?How do I feel? Happy? Duh.But there is a lot more than that.
Everything has to start at some point...the earliest memories I have with my sister are playing those girly games,which we shall not go into.She did become the tom boy and played cricket later,But the first sport we played was Tennis(or at least we thought it was).We used to buy a balloon which was to be our ball and a couple of combs to be used as bats.We used to tie a towel across the dining table chairs and play on either side of it using it as the net.It was great fun.We also used to assign tennis players to each of us.She was always Steffi Graf and I was Monica Seles.It took me many years to figure out that my first role models in everything were women.Thanks to her,I also danced to rangeela when I was small and used to cycle around on a violet ladybird.
The good thing about having an elder sister is , whenever you are unsure of something,just do what she does.Don't know what to call someone or who someone is?Just call them what your sister does.( I should stop doing that now ,or things are going to get awkward :-)).Someone offered you something?Take it if your sister does.So , you learn what to do.The more important thing that I learnt from my sister was what not to do.Being the fiery little kid she was, she was the one who generally got into trouble.Not that she used to do anything,Its just that she used to express her opinions or desires a lot more and fight for them.Being the wicked genius I was, I used to observe everything and figure out how not to piss my parents off and in addition get a free ticket for being the smaller kid.She fought tooth and nail for a new tv and I enjoyed watching cricket and F1 on that.She fought for a computer,I used it more etc.
Another thing I loved about my sister was the way she used to tell her stories.Everyday she used to have some incident or the other at school, or college or whatever.Everything with her was a first time experience for every one of us.So even my parents paid attention to what my sister had to say while I was generally cut off by her "been there done that" attitude.So whatever she was doing always appeared to be the paradise I was searching for.When I was in first class, 4th class sounded awesome.When I was in 4th, suddenly it was normal and 7th was the class to be in.Sometimes,during exams ,she used to explain her stuff to me so that she could revise, and I always found them to be so cool .So I always had this desire to move forward and be there and never had any fear of the unexpected ,because I already knew what is going to happen and couldn't wait to start.Our school had co curricular activities only for students above 4th and quizzes only above 6th.I used to attend all her debates and quizzes and I wanted to do the same.It wasn't some competition, I just wanted to do it because my sister does it.It was a shock for me and for her when I was put into another house(one of the four groups in the school).we used to fight over it and argue over whose was closer to griffindor and whose was slytherin.(It didn't help that my house colour was green and hers was red).
One thing you definitely have with your sister is the sibling rivalry.I am proud to say that I am a book worm.The reading habit is the one I consider to be one of my best qualities.And I give full credit of that to my sister. Our school lets students borrow books once they are in 6th standard. So ,my sister got this new Enid Blyton novel home and showed it to us.I probably wouldn't have given it a second thought,but she stopped me from reading it and told me I couldn't.Now ,reading that book became the most important thing to me.I stole it from her bag,hid from her and started reading it.I didn't understand much, but I HAD to read it . I thus discovered my love of books.I had to later re read some of my early novels much to the amusement of my mother and sister.I also got permission from my school to start borrowing books one class earlier than normal. Now that I started reading books, we had our share of challenges.Most of the novels we read were Enid Blyton novels.Now my sister used to read the books before me and threatened to give away the suspense if I didn't do the chores she wanted done.So whoever finishes the book first,has the advantage.I never got to use my advantage as my sister always found some other means to blackmail me.I was basically imbibed the Management and Game theory gyan by my sister.The main reason I was a well behaved kid was not to give an initiative for her to blackmail me. I once called one of my cousins an Idiot, at the beginning of summer.She used it as her trump card the whole summer till I went and told our mom myself.Our mom didn't say anything,But Lesson learnt,I never swore again , till I joined the IIT;-)
Sometimes she used to blackmail me even when she had nothing on me...whenever I used to get something I can use against her ,it used to go like this...
Me:"I'm gonna tell this to mom unless you do what I say".
Her:"Yeah Right, Im not gonna do it...and If you tell on me,I'm going to tell her what you did the other day"
M:"What did I do?"
H:"You will get to know when I tell her"
M:"Noooooo,I will do whatever you want ,Don't tell her"
Inspite of all the petty fights we had,she never let anyone else get the better of her little brother.We were from the same school and she was always very protective of me.She used to take over my fights and intimidate those guys.I used to hate it.I wanted to be a grown up and finish my fights.She was also there at the NCC camp I attended and I got special treatment from the seniors there because of her.I also hated the fact that she used to come to every debate of mine and sit in the audience.I used to speak well till I saw her, and then fumble.The problem is no one else will care whatever happens on stage, But she will be there to analyze and criticize every mistake, so I was relaxed if she was not in the audience and even now,have no stage fear. I always tried to prevent her from coming to my speeches.But she was there to cheer me everytime.What I hated the most was riding pillion when she was driving.I learnt to drive 1 day before her,but my mom never let me drive on roads as I looked like a kid.So through my 10 th and inter,I had to sit behind her while she drove when my classmates were driving motor bikes. Most of my conversations in class used to start with "I saw you at so and so place...you were sitting behind your sister" and then laugh.Painful memories. And there are all the other memories,that I remember...The surprize birthday parties for each other,buying gifts,stopping at dolphins on the way home for snacks,the dance classes,performances, cheering each other in school at the same time trying to get our respective groups ahead.Fun times.
And now we are here,and she is getting married.And I have the mike in my hand....All I want to say is:
If this is the end of our childhood,Then we sure had an epic one.You have always been there, sometimes as a guide and sometimes as a friend sometimes as my hero while sometimes, my villain. Your experiences at every step right from school to engineering were my life lessons for every choice I made.
Remember we used to dream about having adventures when we were kids(I still am one)?Well, you might not have the famous five kind of ones, but I wish you have lots of delightful adventures and pleasant surprises Ahead !!
And I cant wait to see kids call you Auntie :-)