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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.

50 comments:

Saurabh said...

the last line says it all.

so true

dark said...

I guess it the same story for most of us in these modern times. Probably, you were lucky to have a best friend in your cousin sister within family, there are many who are lost with no trace at all....
After these many years and after numerous meeting and drifting away from people I liked I admired and wanted to be close to ...I think the lesson I learnt is that there is absolutely nothing that cannot be done without... the show must go on

Aparna Kar said...

@dark
"I think the lesson I learnt is that there is absolutely nothing that cannot be done without... the show must go on"

I guess I understand it a little too well now. * Sigh *

But you know what is worse than drifting apart? Living together, but like strangers.

Aparna Kar said...

@saurabh
:)

Bubbles of FireWhiskey said...

the show goes on no doubt. but why does it have to be so hard?

Urv said...

The show must go on.. but sometimes I feel it would be so much more wonderful if the actors could be the directors

Zee said...

go for it....take leave....speak to ur profs...just go for the wedding

Aparna Kar said...

@zee
Hee hee. Wish it were as easy. But going to India just for a week doesn't make much sense to me right now. I will be having jet lag for three days and waking up and sleeping at weird hours in IST. Pata chala- I slept through the whole wedding :D
But I'm definitely gonna give her a call soon.

Aparna Kar said...

@urv

Aaha ! Food for thought ! But I'm not sure if we always know what is best for us. :)

Aparna Kar said...

@bubbles
When I had my first wisdom teeth growing, it was painful. My mom said they will make me wise to pacify me. And the pain became bearable. How a third set of molars would contribute to my wisdom was not questioned then. "Mom said.." and that was enough. Dad decided to disenchant me though. He clarified it had nothing to do with becoming wise. I was disappointed. In stead of showing it off to others, I kept it to myself.

I like to believe some things are growing up pains. Whether they will make me wise or not is still questionable.

Life isn't hard. It is just the way it is. :)

JollyRoger said...

"They say life is all about the connections we make. It's also about the ones we lose on our way."- WOW!

Aparna Kar said...

@JollyRoger
You are good at feature extraction :)

passer by said...

doll to a teddy bear.. that is a weird cross :)

at each phase that we pass through..i am sure we make new connections and unintentionally lose the older ones..but strength lies in the notion that it would not take a huge effort to connect back whenever we want..

each new connection might be a product of a disconnection... but then they are not mutually exclusive..

Aparna Kar said...

@passer by
And that's not the only time I saw a doll marry a bear. Perils accompanying an arranged marriage. :P

About losing the older connections unintentionally, I was saying to someone today that even though we try to be in touch with our old friends, with a new phase of life it gets very difficult for them relate to us and our new desires, ambitions & problems. That is why we need to have a social presence in the circle we belong to. Though there'll always a necessity to reach out to those who think alike- irrespective of geographical distance. The Internet is one great medium to do so. But nothing beats conventional friendship- hanging out together, goofing about and letting your hair loose. Someone to share with your leisure with. Someone with whom you can just be yourself.

And about life I have learned only one thing- I know it's going to be different tomorrow :)

passer by said...

and its gonna be better..good night pal :)

Sam said...

has it ever occured to you that somehow you still derive your strength from the relations you had/have? growing up is not easy... at least our age-group knws it well enuf by now!!
but then, its teh wonderful moments that you've shared with peopel is what gives the strength... it is always teh source of the emotional well-being... point is, do you want to dwell on the the parting of ways and be sad or do would you like to recollect the seasons of joy and love life for gifting you with them??

Aparna Kar said...

@passer by
I think tomorrow has arrived.

Aparna Kar said...

@Sam
I indulge in the later.

Munmun said...

Yes, there are so many people we come close at different points of time in life. And then after a while circumstances and life itself just diverge so much so, that the closeness of the past becomes a far-fetched history! But those connections always remain there, as they were, fresh and rejuvenated...

sejuti said...

aparna i totally buy your comment.."whats worse than drifting apart, living together like strangers".. i wud love to read a post about loveless marriages from u.. and nice post as usual..know wat wit some people u know no matter wat they r there for u even if u r not in touch n u may click instantaneously when u meet after ages, like u had never parted

Itchingtowrite said...

true- lovely thoughtful post. but all abt having such close sis/ friend is that u can always pick up from where u left
love;y blog- loved the music part- "warning- techno klutz alert..."
how do u add the music to the blog?

candid diary said...

In real life dolls do get married to bears :D

Aparna Kar said...

@candid
LOL. That's what I said :D

Aparna Kar said...

@Itchingtowrite
The code for the jukebox was given by someone else, even the FTP. I just listed my favorites and added the code in my template.
However, there are many sites which provide codes for embedding videos/ audio . You can try esnips if you want. And there's always good old Youtube :)

Aparna Kar said...

@sejuti
"Being Mrs. Shome", skirted around that issue, but they still had enough love left to start afresh. Will try to script another for you then, but under different circumstances.

"some people u know no matter what they r there for u even if u r not in touch n u may click instantaneously when u meet after ages, like u had never parted" True. I'm lucky to know couple of them like that :)

Aparna Kar said...

@Munmun
They come back to give you company on a quiet evening, or when you see something similar. The law of association of memory :) I know how it feels. The intensity of those moments can't be shared, only felt.

Anonymous said...

shades of grey was nice !! :)

Aparna Kar said...

@Anonymous
Have a memory engram associated with it :) That's one of my personal favorites too.

Apugonnab said...

OH MY GOD!!! I've been thinking the same about me & my cousin... We've just grown apart.. No particular reason, except Life & its strange ways..

There is this book called 'Phantoms in the Brain'.. My cousin is like a missing arm.. Its not there, but it hurts if you touch the area where it should be!

Apugonnab said...

P.S - Phantoms in the Brain will help elucidate what I have said.. :-)

zoxcleb said...

its a journey.... and we keep sharing it with new passengers..

Aparna Kar said...

@Apugonnab
You are right, some things in life don't have prosthetics. And you have put it quite beautifully there.

Just glanced through a book review of Phantoms in the Brain, The implications of Ramachandran's studies appear radical. Not only do they help confirm the idea that the self consists of an illusion from the interactions of many brain functions, but that our spiritual feelings of God and our sense of certainty come from the brain's temporal lobes. According to Ramachandran, pain also comes as an illusion from a construction of the brain just as any other sensory experience. Even people with missing arms or legs can feel intense pain in their phantom limbs. It appears that our body image, our sense of self, pain and sensory experience consist of maps that help us survive in the world. Ramachandran suggests the possibility that "perhaps we are hallucinating all the time and what we call perception is arrived at by simply determining which hallucination best conforms to the current sensory input." Promises to be an interesting read.

Aparna Kar said...

@zoxcleb
and sometimes.. a different journey with the same fellow wayfarer :)

Alok said...

Interesting observation about life; well we all have learned different ways to justify the meaning of our own life and what actually is really matters for us … its so spontaneous as always … People come and goes out of it; and why they crossed our life ? there is a purpose (most of the time) for each of them, but at the same time we don’t have reasons why we have to left apart ? It may be that we have chosen different paths or may be we are following the time or may be we are chasing our own destiny.

Surely it’s those people who play a major part in moving on with the life but I do not believes the statement “It's also about the ones we lose on our way”. Nevertheless the memories – good ones, bad ones, cherished ones, encouraging ones, the promising ones … will always remain with us like a sticky glue. They are there somewhere in the small corners of our heart, where else we need to find them ?

Thanks to the technology if we can try we will never miss any of the connections :)

Harshit said...

I used to think differently about life, till someone told me a truth that made a lot of sense

It's that the things in life that mean so much to you at this moment, and you simply feel that the whole purpose of your life depends on the success or failure of some things, but 5 years down the line, you find that it wouldn't have mattered, and that you actually spent some wonderful years worrying about them

For friends too, I guess it's the same - what's important is that you don't lose touch- across the miles, the message, that 'I am here, and will be there for you, whenever you need me' is good enough!

Aparna Kar said...

@ Harshit

Thanks for sharing those thoughts. They answer some of the FAQs I ask myself. But I guess you are right- we overindulge in our present and forget that it might be different tomorrow- for better or for worse.

Aparna Kar said...

@Alok
But sometimes I feel that even technology is not enough.

Matangi Mawley said...

:).. my college has jst ended.. i can very well get a glimpse of my own future in u'r post. so many friends.. n so many promises of "stay in touch" kind of things.. yet, who knows wht the future has in store for us.. who knows how many of those faces i'd remember n how many of them d remember me..!
Gosh! this post is getting into me!
gr8!

Crimson Shimmer said...

People are like rain drops and you are like a flower.
Some will nourish your petal while you may see them.
Others will fall to the ground never to be seen again...
But in essence they are there, in the nourish of your root (:

brocasarea said...

"I guess my greatest strengths and my greatest weaknesses are people"...liked this part:)...

Aparna Kar said...

@Crimson Shimmer
Strange is the thread that binds me to the unforeseen
And makes me want to know the unknown.
I wonder what it would be like to see tomorrow-
But then I close my eyes and let your love embrace me
And I believe, yet again, life is beautiful :)

Nice space you got there. Kudos.

Aparna Kar said...

@brocasarea
And sighfully true :P

Aparna Kar said...

@Matangi Mawley
Hee hee. Good to see you around. I know exactly how it feels. Some of the seniors I had classes with this semester are soon going to graduate. One of my most favorite professors is retiring this semester. I was really looking forward to taking more of his classes but alas ! My program structure doesn't allow me to make friends- just professional acquaintances. Because I don't know if I'm going to be in the same class next semester or we will be opting different combinations. Strangely, this has taught me to appreciate what I have for the moment. :)

Crimson Shimmer said...

Oh then please do make yourself at home :)

for a spontaneity of this sort is a ramble most welcomed and earns link summoning respect.

do you write?

Aparna Kar said...

@Crimson Shimmer
Oh you are most kind !
I write - but not what I want to nowadays.

sandesh said...

Hi Aparna,
so true dear! Life is actually not only bout meeting new ones but actually ending up losing the ones you love...sometimes for ever! And that makes it scarier for me personally!! Don´t know if you got to know but our junior from Amity (who was my fav incidently)Ravi gandhi is no more. He succumbed to the injuries he incurred in a road accident in Noida sec 18 onee week ago! Its weird that i have been feeling sad lately and pondering how his loved ones lost him forever! And still i heard many of them say "Alas! The show (i think they mean life) must go on"....
later!

Aparna Kar said...

Hey Sandy ! Wassup. Nice to see you around. Wie geht ist es?

It's really tragic about Ravi. He was such a sweet mannered kid. It's strange how we miss out the ones forever even if we know we were probably never going to see them again.

I lost one of my old school mates in a road accident. Worst case for his mother- he was the only child born posthumously. I don't believe in Palmistry but his lifeline was so short that it scared me. Back in high school , he told me in jest that he wouldn't live past 25. It gives me goose pimples to even think about that.

And there's a girl I had met back in India who committed suicide a few days back. It is so upsetting to know of these losses of precious lives. Sometimes, we probably don't know how to hold on to it. I wish she had just talked to someone. :(

Crimson Shimmer said...

poetry i.e?
so on who's behalf do you then...

socialedisturbed. said...

yeah that happens to the best of us.

socialedisturbed. said...

yeah that happens to the best of us.