The last I can think of my sister’s antiques is how she had got me this terrible haircut just before our trip to Nepal. I was 14 then and my hair looked like it had been eaten by rodents all over. The next I remember going in for a Karate class with her and getting a nasty kick on my stomach. Polly and I , had never again been to the class after that. When I look back at my life, I can see her everywhere. My mornings were with this weird, sleepless girl who would make sure I was up by 5 am. Her Panchamrat would be ready for Dad and she had chai ready for me and bhai. Polly- this efficient, little sweetheart was our reliable agent. My bhai would ask her to wake her up each morning, my mum wanted to see her face first as she opened her eyes everyday and my dad knew that his eldest would knock each morning.
It’s weird you know when you grow up with someone- someone who has seen you in your worst. Who has seen you getting red lines in your report card, seen you get that whacking for lying, seen you getting accolades for winning, seen you fall, seen you get up, seen you in your best and comforted you in your worst. Polly is all that and more.
Now, as I write this my sis enters her fifth year of marriage. It’s hard to imagine today that it has been so long. I remember her reaction at the first thought of marriage – the little tears of protest and I remember the beautiful smile she carries today. In the last few years I have learnt so much. In her absence it was like a void had come upon S 13 Saburi. The first few months were difficult. How do you explain winters and not seeing Polls in her socks, cotton stuck in her ears, two layers of sweaters and her slippers? How do you like summers when you cannot go to DP with her in the evenings? How do you explain rainy season and no demands for garam pakodas and chai? How do you explain no one cribbing about patodi,samosas and movies? But Polly had just left us for exploring the world – things quickly changed- face to face talks were replaced for video chats. We learnt how to make international cheap calls. Daddy spent hours at the BSNL office trying to fix his international calling set up,mom learnt how to email and we all got our passports done.
But certain things never changed- Palle is still that anchor we hold on to when we all are getting cranky and irritable. She is still a terrible peacemaker when mom and I fight. She is still that protective daughter and still that one person that makes life beautiful for all of us. Stationed at Illinois, Chicago now, Di you are still as reachable as ever. In Ashwin Jiju, we have got a man that we have grown to love. As I see your pictures with him, I feel satisfied. Jiju, I have never said this to you before, but I really really like you. I am glad Pallavi Jain, is married to you.
Di, happy anniversary – you are always in our heart and our minds.