My beloved, not-so-little-anymore nephew — Shravan — turned 10 on December 15th. My sister, who is annoyingly meticulous (sorry Krithi), threw a grand party for his friends. The celebration was themed ‘furry friends’ to honour the memories of our first pet dog Calvin, who passed away a couple of months ago.
On Shravan’s birthday, my body ached to borrow my heart’s wings to fly away to Texas, and have fun at the party. I heard from my sister that Shravan was his happiest self, and she believed that that evening would be etched in his memories forever. I sorely missed being there.
Shravan left to the US two years ago. We were good friends then too. We would watch his favourite TV programmes, play online word games, and stuff our faces with instant noodles. I was not a voracious reader then. If I had been, maybe we would have read some wonderful children’s literature together. We had a great time all the same.
Our interactions began evolving after he left India. When we speak, we talk about all the interesting things that he does. When we mail letters, we write about the books we read. I keep sending him heaps of books, when I manage to snatch an opportunity. His thoughts and actions always, always warm my heart; it certainly will because he reads ardently, writes passionately, and his little heart brims with love and compassion for furry and feathery things.
A month ago, I wrote a letter to him, explaining that I had to walk out of my marriage. Before writing to him, I asked myself if he was ready to discuss that sort of a sensitive topic. I reminded myself that I chose to talk to him about ‘making love’, when he was seven, only because he was curious about why Boo had to be spayed.
In my letter, I informed Shravan, in a clinical fashion, that my marriage wasn’t working out, and I had to quit for everybody’s benefit. I told him that that didn’t mean that he should be mad at my partner because I was sad and depressed. I waited with bated breath for his response, and his reply stunned me. His letter bore sagacity that seemed unnatural for his age. He wrote to me, “Thichi, I am so sorry. But, I am glad that you have moved on. You inspire me. I admire your strength.” I was not strong then. I was definitely not inspiring. But, I needed to hear those words. I was only surprised because those wise words came from a nine year old boy. And, that is my Shravan. ❤
My heart bleeds, when I realise that I am not being a part of his formative years; I am not reading to him, we are not hanging out together, I am not listening to his stories about his crush in school. 🙂 But, life always offers a consolation prize, doesn’t it? Every once in a while, Shravan leaves a long voice note on Whatsapp. Or he posts quirky pictures on Instagram, of his video games or animals whom he befriends. (His Instagram user ID cracks me up. It is DoggyPants.) 😀 And, we Skype sometimes. He includes me in his life through social media, and he also sends me hand-written letters, which are typically book reviews with spoilers. 😉 I love him heffalump much, and I miss sharing my life with him.
When I become wistful, a tiny, bright thought offers me solace. When we grow up, we will lean back on our chairs, reminisce about these days, pore over Peanuts, and spoil more furry-friends. I am nursing that dream. Deeply! ❤
The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart. — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince