As the youngest at home, life was fun as my folks didn’t experiment their parenting skills on me coz they were all tried and tested on big sister- Chech or Chechu as I call her. I was entitled to the bigger serving of ice-cream and the last piece of chocolate, not subjected to corporal punishment and always talked back to my folks. On the flipside, my middle name was entailed to rhyme with hers (malayalee parents fear being in breach of Section 3(2)(ii) of Kerala (Nonsensical Names) Act, 1951), received all hand-me-downs, wore similar clothes (I am sure that was mum’s way of saving money) and was constantly compared to the ‘well mannered, hardworking, less talkative’ sister.
For some inexplicable reason, I was born with no hair on my head and 4 year old Chechu (who had jus received a ‘live’ doll) used to call me ‘motta vava’ (bald baby). She even composed a funny but irritating jingle on the bald ‘beauty’ (ahem). As a child, I always thought that I was adopted because Chech’s baptism, ‘1st birthday’, holy communion et al were ‘social’ events which relatives attended and mine were just a formality. And the child prodigy that Chech was, reaffirmed this fear. She convincingly told me that a scary looking man, appearing in an old album back home, had plans to finish off Dad, but then spared him subject to me being given to him when I complete 10 years of age [Dad agreed to give me off coz I was the adopted one]. And the stupid kid that I was, would count on my fingers how many years were left. (and I couldn’t beyond 3!!!)
Not that I was an angel in disguise. Whenever I sensed that Dad was unhappy with Chech’s studies, I would run and get the biggest ‘eerkkili’ (broomstick) for her punishment. We fought tooth and nail for frivolous things like remote control (cartoon network versus MTV), stationery, chocolates till Mum intervened saying – “ooh eeh kochungale kondu thotu!” (I have given up on these kids). She had the neat handwriting, systematic approach to study (waking up at 4.30 to prepare for her Chartered Accountancy exams), a voracious reader blah blah & blah and I was constantly told to ‘learn from her’. In a nut shell, she had made my life a living hell and I would tell people how lucky they were coz they didn’t a have sister like Chech. I wanted nothing to do with her.
Times have changed now. We both look nearly alike (bad news for me coz she is 4 yrs elder!!!!). She lives with her ‘charming’ husband- (Chettan) just an hour away by flight and that is what keeps me sane here. The loser that I am, moved out of home just 2 months back. From being the carefree butterfly (though I doubt if my weight will permit me to defy gravity), I am forced to do my cooking, cleaning, washing and studying- apart from worrying about work prospects next year. Theories on mergers and acquisitions, pending laundry, bank account, what to prepare for dinner all in one go!!
Chech has, to an extent, now taken Mum’s place (as mum doesn’t talk much on the fone, and I need to ‘talk’ abt life’s happenings and not-so-happenings, not ‘write’ abt them in emails) especially when she says ‘get up get up its 5.15’. Her cooking has improved by leaps and bounds (if I describe her kitchen skills 5 years back she will sue me for defamation). I have special interest in her professional and financial success as it is directly proportional to the gifts I am showered with. (get the hint Chech, I am coming with more food requests next time). She always keeps a check on me & the gossip at my end- her’s and Chettan’s latest worry being my lack of lady like elegance and premature ageing.
Back from a much awaited weekend trip to Amsterdam. My clumsy nature made the process of getting the visa, hopping on the flight and the events thereafter surprising-embarrassing-and-fun in that order (details of which shall be elaborated later). But what I enjoyed the most was being carefree once again.
Now I tell people how lucky I am to have a sister like her. Further due to her, I now have a big brother(in-law) who provides all the fun element and sensible advice. (How much hv I flattered u today) Years back we were the good Roman Catholic girls who went to church and Sunday class every week. Thanx to Chettan’s sangria, last Sunday night we were two lightly drunk women (our first time ever) standing at a tram stop remembering those crazy childhood days, singing the ‘motta vava’ jingle and giggling. Chech just imagine what if Dad had seen us there??!??!