It’s January 18, 2014 today and my only sibling, Krithika Ramesh will turn 32 tomorrow. (Krithi, now don’t kick me for revealing your age. Anyway, everybody assumes that you are just out of college). Between editing birthday wishes that Deccan Chronicle’s readers have sent to be published in the paper and struggling to cope with the effects of sleep depravation, it occurred to me that I have not written a note on how much I love (and hate) this sister of mine, who is six years older than me. But she is a teenager at heart when she whole-heartedly enjoys watching actor Vijay’s films and she effortlessly slips into the role of a responsible daughter when it comes to looking after our parents. After a lot of tiffs and catfights that changed our opinions about each other, I realised that many a time in my life, I would have been stuck in my abyss if she weren’t there to give me a hand. As some wise men said, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” and “Distance does a lot of good to people”, her relocation to the States has made me realise the pivotal role that she has been playing in my life. Although she tries her level best to still do all that she usually does for us, despite the distance, I dearly miss this lady, who drives me nuts and who also helps me be sane. For the first time, she is not going to be in India to celebrate her birthday with us. But our thoughts, hearts and warm wishes are certainly with her.
When I was a kid, some of my early impressions of my parents were formed based on my sister’s opinions about them. She kept telling me about how much they meant to her and how hard they worked to keep us happy. Maybe, my bond with my family was cemented because of her unconditional love for our parents. Since our childhood, we have always been as different as chalk and cheese. If I would wear jeans, kurta and a pair of loafers to attend a wedding reception, you may find her decked up more grandly than the bride herself. If I would choose to lounge at home like a sloth, she would want to be out there experiencing the world. And our differences began to sabotage the harmony and we even ended up telling each other, “I would never want to see your face again!” But when a tidal wave hits me, when life looks hopeless, when snobbish folks bully me, when my parents’ well-being becomes a concern, when I choose to purge out owing to stress and when I decide to reveal some of my dark secrets, without giving a second thought, I dial my sister’s number because after all, she is my sister and she is the best non-judgmental listener. Despite wanting to slap and kill each other at times, we are sure of our love for each other and I blindly fall back with the trust that my sister will hold my back. And that precisely is one of the greatest blessings that I count.
Krithi, I know! It is difficult to be away from us. I know! It is difficult to live without paying monthly visits to your favourite shops here. I know! It is difficult to live without watching a couple of Vijay movies at Sathyam. I know! It is difficult to live without fighting with your favourite tailor. It is certainly difficult to endure a boring birthday in the US. But please understand that this separation is transient and you will be back soon to take us to some fancy hotels and shower us with gifts for YOUR birthday. I love you for what you are and I thank you profusely for being a great support system. And don’t forget to stay confident! Because you deserve all the beautiful things that life can offer. Happy birthday and stay blessed, my love!