This time last year, my family and extended family were busy with a big event in the family and that was my eldest brother’s wedding. I was damn excited about the whole thing with no care in the world. Since my brother is the eldest grandchild in my Dad’s family, it was considered a special occasion with the entire family dividing duties for the wedding. It took a big load off our shoulders.
It was a couple of days before the wedding that the import of the occasion struck me. Here was a guy who doubled up as an elder brother and Dad during my growing years and who was now getting married. It was like as if my parents were getting married to different people and going away. I suddenly felt like an orphan. The realisation hit me like a thunderbolt and I went into a minor depression. I remember writing in a mail to a friend that in a few days I would be losing my brother. I do not know why I wrote that and why I thought that. She replied right back telling me that I would never lose my brother no matter what.
Around this time the realisation that her eldest son is getting married must have hit my mom too because she also went very quite. This was the little boy who helped her raise her other two younger brats because my Dad was in the Gulf then. ( the reasons are here) The boy who had to feed his little sister when he was barely 8 years old and keep an eye on her while his she, my mom battled with the onerous task of keeping my hyperactive second brother from killing himself with all sorts of aimless brainless activities. This was the boy whom her daughter called “achcha” for the first time, which according to family legend is what made my Dad pack up his bag and leave the Gulf for good. (Though he hotly denies this, my Dad did spend the first month after getting back teaching me to call him achcha :p ). And this was the guy whom young moms in the family consulted when my mom was out and they needed help.
Young mom: What is that you used to give your sister when she had a tummy ache
Young mom: And what’s the dosage?
Bro: A teaspoon three times a day and be careful, if your son is anything like my sister then make sure you don’t show him the bottle or it will be smashed to pieces.
While most boys his age played and enjoyed themselves, my chetan had to keep an eye on me as I crawled around the house besides attend to his studies and homework, with a lot of “silverine spit the dog out right now!!!” thrown in. This was the guy who never had a proper childhood due to parenting duties dumped on his lap when he was so small. And this was the guy who loved being a parent to his younger siblings and never grumbled about the responsibilities on his young shoulders.
He was the person my teachers complained to because complaining to my Dad was useless. He would swell with pride when informed that I had pulled someone’s hair or not done my homework. He bought a semblance of order in my life, a discipline that normally should have been put in place by my Dad. He is the guy who kept an eye on my Dad, when I was forbidden to eat Ice Creams for a year due to a throat condition. My Dad somehow managed to get me one though my brother’s strict vigilance did pay off and I completed that year hating him for being so rigid.
And a lot more things besides...
On his wedding day last year (Dec 31st) I was a mess, I was sniffling around the house. My Dad was a little emotional too and my mom was not doing too well either. My second brother was too busy running around and the house was chock full of relatives. By mid morning my friends got a little concerned and I started getting calls from them telling me not to cry and spoil my brother’s big day. This made me cry more. Relations were teasing me saying that I could not barge into my brother’s room anymore and that made me feel worse!!
Throughout the day people like Sunitha and Anish kept calling trying to cheer me up. By evening my brother noticed the plight that mom and me were in and took us aside for a meeting and told us that all that he was doing was going to the Church for some time, getting married and after the Reception would be right back home for our annual New Year get together. When he put it so matter of factly like getting married was no big deal, things just fell in place. On his wedding day instead of glowing like a groom to be, he was back to parenting me and supporting his mother :(
Suddenly the past three days emotional outbursts looked childish and silly. I felt really bad for acting like a kid and spoiling that one special day in my big brother’s life. I got through the Wedding Mass and the Reception without a hitch but a lingering guilt remained and still remains. Like most of my misdemeanours in the past I know my brother will brush this one too aside indulgently, but the incident did make me grow up....fast :P
This is my 100th post here and I want to dedicate this to one of the most important person in my life. Thank you, you are the greatest Cheta.
Wishing you all a very happy and joyous Christmas and prosperous New Year!!