The routine was same every year. My mom would remind me. Dad would remind me. I’d make a note and there were times I’d act on that nudge. There were a few times when I wouldn’t. That just was the way of things. This year, blame it on the warm cup of coffee on a cold rainy Monday morning or blame it on the point in time of my life, I opted to take a moment to smile at the rolling number.
As with most tales, context is the paramount necessity to outline the plot and observe the way the story unfolds. This tale is nearly 3 decades old. Almost the three and that magical oh to it. Its the time to hit that rewind button and keep the tape rolling back to the onset of the 90’s. My second sis was all set to get married. We took a train that took a while to reach a destination. Chennai to Baroda(I cant spell the Vada – dho – dara). To the seven year old me, the 14 hour or so journey was an adventure of its own. I think the train journey was longer than that. My memory does fail me. To the seven year old, it was a new playground of sorts. A big family, mom, Sis, Granny, Gran dad and yours truly. My granddad has always been strict. At 35, I still do fear my granddad a bit. The seven year old version of me, lets say brown pants!
That aside, I still think I tested his nerves a bit. It must have been a nightmare for my mom to manage me and manage my sister. I’m told that my sis wasn’t all too keen to get married , back in the day. Fate had a different story to tell. A story it did go on to tell.
The point of this tale is about the mileage to life. Through my sister and my brother -in- law’s (might as well call him my brother) special date, I reflected on the nature of the way our lives intertwined. My Jiju has seen me grow up from a spoilt little bratty , careless, reckless, hot headed, ill tempered kid to spoilt, not so little, not too bratty, careless, reckless, not too hot headed, not too ill tempered KID.
From being the child in the family, upgrading to be a child among my nephews and princess of a niece, to growing up into the uncle that they inherited and probably deserved, I’ve seen myself and my family evolve through the years. I’d like to believe that the family and I, we’ve taken our sweet time to grow warm to each other. It hasn’t been a single shot tale of immediate family bonding from the moment go. Let’s get reasonable here. I was seven when my sister married. My biggest euphoria was that I had a room of my own. Cant expect the world from a child that young. Cant expect the world from me , even today.
Those summer vacations when my sister would come visiting, the smiles of receiving her and the kids from the railway station, the tears of seeing her off again, the months where the house was filled with fun and excitement and the prolonged silences in the house after they’d leave, the days of sitting down as a gang and playing cards, to taking responsibilities of babysitting the kids, the petty fights over what channel to watch, the years have been loaded with memories. It was great to be in touch. We remained oblivious to the digital age. The anticipation and excitement of waiting for a month from the array of the available 12 made it all worth the while.
From being a child among children, somewhere in time, I had become a stranger among children. The adolescent years were not kind. It was the perfect testing time of sorts. Nativity to blood was lost to bonds of friendships. It was the age of misplaced priorities. It was the age of yearning in silence. I didn’t look back and watch out for the ties that had started to dwindle. I don’t know the silent tears of disappointment from my chosen recluse. The years did come and go. I had survived them to grow a bit wiser. So had my family.
Then came the reprising. There was a point in time when I could associate the calendar dates to project delivery milestone dates. In that process, I also started to notice that I was missing out on the family album. The pursuit of life, a pursuit of career, a desire to still be a part of the family, an awakening to the need to realign priorities later, the road that started taking from that point on began to change. Then came the cycle of being a participant to the way of life to being a consultant. The transition to being a shoulder and tree of dumb , ridiculous advice to the next batch came into being.
Its been a fun ride in retrospect. The magic and warmth of taking a moment from the busy daily schedule and reflecting upon the road that we’ve taken as a family. Life is filled with dates, mileage and milestones that come along the way. Its not the date that hold a meaning. It’s the meaning and association to such dates goes on to define the worth and value of such dates. Of dates , misplaced priorities and realigned priorities. I’d like to fathom a belief that anniversaries are beyond the usual norm of wishing free over an instant message, a status change and update. Keeping ourselves human is an endeavour worth the adventure.