Being the younger of the two siblings, I have always had it rough. And then people talk about how the younger kid is spoilt. I just don't get it. I wore hand-me-downs and discarded clothes of my sister for the longest time. Until I realised the only way I'd ever get new clothes is to eat my sister's share of food so that her clothes could never fit me. And don't even get me started about baby pictures. My sister's childhood pictures fill tomes. But there's like a few photos of mine here and there. Sometimes, in a bid to appease me, my mom will try to pawn of some of my sister's baby photos as mine. Apparently the camera stopped working by the time I was born. The only few photos that are there of mine, are of me as a bawling baby. Oh god- there I was, crying my infantile lungs out, and all my parents could think of was "hey, let's click a photo of her!". Perhaps it was a rented camera they had to return the very next day or something. If we lived in the U.S, I am sure social services would do them in just based on that evidence. Growing up, all those sisterly quarrels - and the disparity never escaped me. The whole "woh tumse badi hai na" was constantly thrown in my face. I desperately hoped that would change some day, and finally wisened up the fact that that would never change.. I was doomed. Anyways, enough whining. I braved all the atrocities and guess I turned out okay. Life goes on, and I definitely do not hold any of this against my sister. What's she to do , anyway?
A little over a year ago, my parents became grandparents. Kavita, my niece, is the apple of my eye. I have always been crazy about little kids and when kavita was born there couldn't have been a more proud aunt. What I didn't see coming was my parents transformation into doting grandparents. All that childhood trauma is coming back again. So I talk to my sister here on a daily basis, and she updates me on every new thing in Kavita's life. It is all so exciting. Often I wish I lived closer to them so I could see her more often. Whatever I was missing out on seeing live, my mother decided she would make up by way of repitition. So whatever Kavita does and says, my sis relays to my mom, and when I spend my precious calling card minutes to call India and talk to my parents, my mom repeats all that to me. All that could be said in a cingular-to-cingular free phone conversation is now being expressed over trans-atlantic phone-calls. For the second or third time. Recently my sis and family made a trip to India. Ofcourse, my parents had a blast with their darling grandchild. While they were there, my phone calls to India were rendered completely redundant. I'd call, and the phone would pass from hand to hand. Nobody had the time or inclination to talk to me. Ah well..I knew it was a matter of time before my sis and mom started arguing over the T.V and I decided to wait until then. All good things must come to an end and kavita and her parents are back. Now each time I call home, the phone conversations go something like this:
Mom: we are really missing kavita here..you know what she used to say..
Me: mom, she's just a year old- she doesn't really say much yet.
But my words don't even make an impact on the smitten grandma. So I am about to get into this whole saga about how my experiments didn't work and my mom simply overrides me
Mom: so, did u talk to akka today? What is kavita saying?
Me: Mom, you talked to her 12 hours back. Between then and now, a new hair has sprouted on Kavita's india-return takloo head
Mom of course, doesn't find that funny.
Mom: But you talked to her after I talked to her..
Me: yeah, kavita was having her nap then.
Mom: Poor kid must be jet lagged.
One fine day I acquire some methi (green leafy vegetable) from the indian store so am all excited and decide to cook it before it rots. So after a tiring day in the lab, I call my mom.
Me: Mummy, give me your recipe for alu-methi.
Mom starts giving me the recipe, but gets side tracked into: what is kavita saying these days? did you talk to them today?
Me: Yeah mom, they're doing fine. So what do I do after the alu and methi have cooked?
Mom: Why don't you conference call akka now...
Me: Mummy, it is 12:30 midnight. They are sleeping.
Mom: Oh! then what are you doing up so late? OK now goodnight. Go to sleep. Call on the weekend when akka is also around.
Thankfully, for moments like this, there's google and I somehow find a way to cook the damn methi and go to bed.
Well, I shouldn't be complaining. Atleast my parents have forgotten to bug me about my marriage!