Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Open letter to my son.
I would be lying if I said I loved you from the moment I saw you. It was my wedding day and you had come to my house with Ziggy and my first memory of you is of your face peering at me from behind the curtain, big eyes, uncertain and hesitant: you were just a little boy in this extensively large family that I was marrying into. But then you wormed your way into my heart, you with the shy smiles and two fingers in your mouth! I had not shaken the rice from my hair when I found you and Zim often peering out at me from behind the door, tiny faces full of curiosity, smiles instantly heartwarming. You had turned three and your sister was almost two and it did not take us long to become friends. I had entered an adult world to play adult games but you made me a child again. You happily adjusted your lives to make space for me and I learnt for the first time, what it was to have children in one’s life!
Real affection, contrary to popular belief, does not come out of thin air or at first sight, it is built with blocks of mutual love and regard and needs nurturing. I proudly say today that many unfortunate people do not get the love, respect and affection I have received from you even from their own children! And I don’t think it was only because you were a well brought up kid!
And of course we have the memories: joyrides in the Maruti van…sticking you two on the baby seats in the dicky….”when Chachi says jump”…. Swimming in Saturday Club (I’m still faster than you!)…gorging on chips and stuff….unlimited coke…..hopscotch on the terrace, those crazy running-catching games we played…you walking into our room unannounced (ask your mom about that one!)… dark-room and ‘chor-police’…..football downstairs with Isha in a sling!….getting wet in the rain….our escapade to the video parlour in pajamas!….and the Mulberry Bush thereafter!…..music blasting in the car…fighting about the front seat…”Chachee, I want a brother” when I was on my way to the nursing home for Amisha and being happy about yet another sister!….gorging on brownies…and candy…..your ‘poite’, the shaved head, those earrings we pried out of your ear…. ‘Buddhi’…. ‘upparwali’…. ‘halooom!’…..The Christmas breakfasts, the family gatherings.....the swimming pool at Puri….. the trip to Pantaloons...changing in the elevator!!!!!!!!......cockroach in the daal.....fresh lime sweet and salt...........4 pm rum n coke!.....the moonlit feast, the sound of your laughter as it echoes its way into my heart….memories too vivid and dear: too many to put down on paper, I thank you for each one of them!
My heart is full. Over the years, I have come to learn that this family is not just extra large in size but also has an extra large heart to match and you are no exception. Love you for it and for all the love and affection you pour into your sisters’ lives and the lives of your elders!
As I write this I can imagine you teasing me, “wot, you senti?” Yup. For you are the first of my children to be leaving home: unimaginable, but last night after we returned home from dinner, I lay awake for a long time, unable to sleep, initially refusing to admit that the softness in my eyes was there because I’ll miss you! But even as I know we all will miss you, I am also very happy for you. So go out there and do us proud, as I know you will!
(And farewells? Don’t be dismayed at farewells; a goodbye is necessary before people can meet again! That’s Richard Bach for you, not Chachi gyaan!)
So…. Spread your wings, fly free and unfettered, live, be happy, laugh a lot and I’m sure we’ll meet again and again in the midst of this celebration that has no end!