On a day, which I try hard to forget, I was pouring out to a friend about how unfair life was. He listened, leaned back on the chair, and quipped, “Your sister should have been in India. She wouldn’t have let you slip into the abyss.” The epiphany dawned on me — Life seemed more unfair only because my sister wasn’t around when I needed her the most.
That night I wrote a letter to her. I used a fountain pen, wrote a letter, and snail-mailed it to her. Besides the fact that I adopted the charming, vintage method to give a piece of my heart to my sister, I was pleased that I could also muster the courage to be sorry about the times when I was my bitchiest self, and hurt her over and over again. I waited for her response with bated breath. (I realised how technology has made us impatient.)
10 days after I mailed the letter, I received a call at 2:30 am. I could hear my sister sobbing, and struggling hard to talk. She kept weeping, and slowly her words emerged. “I miss you!” she said. “Your letter…,” her sentences were fragmented. “I miss you,” she said again. I let her have a moment of catharsis. She gathered herself, “You should sleep. I’ll call you tomorrow.” She hung up.
I switched on the lamp, and sat still on the bed for a while. As tears rolled down my cheeks, it occurred to me that she had said all that I wanted to tell her. And, that’s my dearest elder sister — someone who doesn’t wait for me to articulate my thoughts. Because she hears me even if I don’t choose to speak, and she catches my warm dreams even if I let them escape my memory.
Today, she turns 34. And, I miss celebrating her birthday with her for the third time in a row. Damn the distance between India, and the US! To my sister, her birthday could be just another day in the calendar. But to me, it’s an important day that reminds me to keep trying to be at least half as thoughtful as her.
That friend, who listened to me on that fateful day, didn’t stop with saying that my sister would have shielded me from unpleasant things if she were here. He further observed, “You must visit your sister soon. You might feel better. Because her love for you is… unconditional.” I nodded, and entered a spiral of thoughts.
And he was right. Unconditional is the mot juste. Indeed!
(Happy birthday, Krithika!) ❤