Friday, May 09, 2008
In her shoes
Image courtesy: Ashley Bell
I have a cousin sister (the daughter of my paternal aunt), elder to me by nine months. She was called Sejhdibhai, a title typical for the third eldest girl in an extended Bengali family.
When we were growing up, we were inseparable. So much so that my Grandpa called us twins and gave us the names Jaya-Bijaya, other than our own assortments of already earned sobriquets.
I don't know how it happened, maybe it was a secret I told her not to share with anyone. Maybe it was the differences in perceptions we began to develop around puberty. We got busy with our own lives- me primarily with my school grades.
I wasn't her partner in dancing school anymore 'cause I stuck to taking private tuitions for my Hindustani Classical Vocal instead. And so the weekend meetings at Kalatirtho, the dancing school, became infrequent too. Though I made it a point to watch her perform on stage even if I weren't participating during cultural fests and Ponchisey Baisakh (Gurudev's birthday) celebrations. My favorite was dancing to the Tagore song "Aaj dhaaner khete rodro-chhayay luko churir khela" with her.
After my ICSE, we went out together to one of her very close pal's pad, and she declared proudly about me: The lowest she has scored in an subject is 80%. I remember meeting her next during two family tragedies- when her father died and our grandfather passed away. Her strength during both occasions were exemplary.
I met her once in Bangalore during her undergraduate days. I was in North India, while she was in the South. And it was rare that we went home on vacations concurrently. Over the years, we only grew apart and out of touch. Often I missed her active presence in my life. The secrets we shared, the jokes we made, we had even got my favorite doll married to her favorite teddy bear !
Sometimes, I wonder how it would be to meet her after all these years. I heard she is going to get married this November. And, as usual, I won't be able to attend it. I'd be busy wrapping up a semester then.
I guess my greatest strengths and my greatest weaknesses are people. They say life is all about the connections we make. It's also about the ones we lose on our way.