Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sibling mail order

Dear SRjr,

“How are your studies going on??????” Ok, if I start a mail which begins like this you will surely claim me to be the most God-awful, boring sister you could find on earth. Ok then, so let me start by asking “Found a girlfriend yet????” Well, that makes me predictable and such a prying nosy parker! If I ask about your health you might think I'm nuts because no one apart from me knows how exactly exams can abet deterioration of one's health. The next option for me is to start off the conversation with something shocking by telling you “KEVIN JONAS IS GETTING MARRIED TODAY!” and you'd reply by saying “Urghhhh, psycho teenage sisters and their obsession for cute boy bands” rolling your eyes in mock disgust and exasperation in spite of the fact that you don’t mind them and love their songs too and well you’re as shocked as I am but you will want to be all manly in the gangly, unsure way most teenage boys are and say something cliché like "Do I look like someone who cares????" Then in an attempt to redeem yourself in my eyes and sound more humane you’d mumble a “Good for him”.

If I try for off hand-casual and start with “So how’s school????” You'd grunt and shrug and then with a little more prodding on my part {I was always great at wheedling stuff out of people} you'd start grousing about all those crazy kids in class and give me the details on who did what and update me on school scandals. And I am supposedly the older sister.

If I ask you about sports day in school you'd whine {such a typical Virgo} about how cold it is {which is only expected since your doing march past in the middle of a desert country in the middle of winter} and how unnecessary the whole charade was but you had to put up a face and bear with {instead of bunking it like I had done for as long as I could remember} it since mom and dad were the parents this year who were invited in the guests of honour category to distribute prizes at the event even though you'd be bubbling with inexplicable pride and joy inside of you. {I am too. Though I’d very well like to ask the principal why she chose to bestow this honour after I passed out.} If I ask “How are mom, dad and gran?” you’d start off on how they nag you to study and how you had the upper hand when the marks finally came because it proved you do study and do it well too. Maybe if you are in a good mood you'd pitch in about how you outsmarted all those smart alecks from the IGCSE section twice your size, weight, age and height when playing basketball with a lot of repetition of the words basket, dribbling, travelling and something else that sounded as foreign as Greek and I’d smile inwardly thinking 'my lil’ macho man!'

Then you'd ask me if I had my violin class which 90 out of 100 times I wouldn’t have had because you know how busy with concerts my tutor is and how he has a forgettory for a memory. Then you'd tell me about stuff that you learnt in your music class, about the new tunes you can play on the guitar and the drums. I’d say something like “lucky you” to hide the slow emergence of envy inside me and then lord on you the tunes you should learn to play and the sites you should go to because if Bev can do it on her own and {Bev is such a musical whiz without lessons} then so can you. You'd say something along the lines of ‘Shut up and mind your own business’ in a more respectful way acceptable to me and grunt a reply that’s neither affirmation nor denial since most tunes I want you to learn would be a JB song.

If we are speaking around mealtime then we'd ask each other what exactly we are going to have for lunch or dinner. You’d name something exotic and even before I can reply about the meal at my end you'd pitch in about what I am having and be right 99.9% with the answer of rice, Sāmbhar or chapatti and some veggie dish and smile smugly {How I hate that!}.

Then you would tell me about how you downloaded all those movies I’ve been dying to watch and the songs I’ve been dying to hear although I can watch and listen to all of those only when I come down tothe UAE next March and you know how much it irritates me that you can and I can’t. But it’s like a cat bringing a dead rat to its owner. “Look I had fun doing it but it’s all for you”. Even though it repels the owner they adore the gesture of love. Nothing I typed here implies to you being a cat and me your owner. {I’d like to though, but no thanks. You’d scratch the hell out of me}

You call up on Raksha Bandhan and bemoan the fact of how you are not earning, you’re dependent on mom and dad and so can’t gift me a thing and I’d say that’s totally fine and send you the Rakhi through our cousin who’s here for a visit only to receive a courier package with the book “THE HOST” that I have been dying to read.
It’s only been 2 and a half years since I got myself a phone and its been doing pretty well until last month when it became terminally ill and start dying bit by bit. First the screen blacked out and then I couldn’t hear a thing: blindness and deafness. Sigh…… I was mourning the slow death of my loyal cell and you were jumping for joy. You buggered mom and dad into getting me some hi-fi phone with touch screen, Wi-Fi and god knows what by letting slip things like “She needs a phone quick. How else will she keep in touch with us??? Alone out there…… and it needs to be good to look at. She’s a college going kid, isn’t she???? And her birthday’s in 2 weeks and you can’t make it to be with her this time and she most probably won’t get any gifts from family.” As a result I have a splendid phone now: the envy of all around me. One, I treat with as much care as I would a work of abstract art {I don’t really understand abstract art}.

We fight over juvenile things like the remote control and escalate it into something serious and end up brutally beating up the other {scratching, punching in the stomach, banging the other on the wall etc are included}. Our respectful form of love lasts only through the first week of my visit. No one incites mad rage and violence in me like you do. If you tell my friends in college about how violent I can be they would take you to meet the counselor.

You keep grumbling about how mature I am in all other aspects except when it comes to the JB and how I start acting ridiculous like a giggly schoolgirl but you will still record their show for me since I can’t watch it here. You coerce dad into getting me their latest CD before it releases here in India so I can gloat about it and make Bev go green with envy. You’ll complain about how I totally forget you when I meet up with my friends and hate the fact that mom and dad send you along with us incase we have plans to hang out in the mall till late in the night. Still you’ll talk to them and gang up with them to pull my leg {it’s appallingly the same length still, though dad would have been happy had I grown a few inches taller}.

Still when we are making our way out of the mall you will shepherd me and my friends and shoot dirty looks at any male species daring to look our way. And then when you hold my hand involuntarily like a reflex action and keep falling onto me in the course of walking and keep doing so until you have achieved the desirable proximity that assures you I am not going to gather my skirts up and run away somehow you’re once again the little chubby, curly haired toddler who’d hold my hands and look up at me with eyes full of trust that said “my big sister bestest”.

I still remember the time when you were in kindergarten and I was a first grader and after school while we were waiting for dad to come pick us up I was making most of my left over breakfast when the school bully decided to push me over and drop my food. You went and shook the guy, your little hands hardly catching hold of more than his blazer. Later, I also remember standing at the supervisor’s office, the bully being yelled at and me administering a cold, wet handkerchief to your fair soft cheek red with the imprint of that idiot’s hand, all the while emphatically shrieking out to the supervisor about how " he slapped my little brother!”
I also remember coming home once and fuming away to glory, venting out a 7 year old kid’s frustration at mom {which mostly included tears and crying and gritted teeth} because "that lady” {your class teacher} asked me not to visit you at break time because after I left you’d be sad and want to come with me. My anger was justified, I guess because who are teachers to decide when brothers and sisters meet??????

You always get me gifts. For birthdays, great results, some achievement or the other. But just remember {and revel in the fact since I don’t give you a single thing in return} that you are my most cherished gift. Thank God mom and dad had a baby boy…… Thank God he gave me a little brother who is almost a foot taller than I am.

This is exactly why I don’t call you up because I know what our conversation is going to be like. So why waste time and money?

And before I forget I just came to know about how you messed up your French paper….Such a careless boy…..Call me up, we have to revise the grammar rules again….. God! How many times do I repeat the same things before you understand how to go about it?? Do you know  that your mule headedness drives me over the wall? Well, just call up ok…….. Or do I have to do that too now????

Well, at least sending a mail to you has its perks. I can post it on the blog.

Yours the eternal bossy big sister {who Loves........ to boss You around}


Wednesday, December 9, 2009


“LSD’S are also known as designer drugs and are used mostly….”

“I wonder if the designers are as famous as Gucci and Versace….” quipped my friend Yo and we giggled.

“Oh man! Look at hash! It looks like a slab of chocolate” declared a classmate.

“She knew it was hashish even before the name was projected on the slide!” I whispered to Yo as discreetly as was possible with only a few inches of distance between the said classmate and us.

“You know hash is slang for hashish huh?” questioned Yo, one slim eyebrow raised in amusement. We sniggered once again.

“It’s easy to recognize symptoms of addiction among your peers. Youngsters might suddenly decide to wear long sleeved outfits to hide needle marks…..”

“Hey! Haven’t you taken to wearing long sleeved outfits Falak? C’mon show me the marks…..” ribbed Yo

“I can and I will. The only problem is that the marks are sunburns and not needle punctures so sorry to burst your bubble”

“……other symptoms include wearing sunglasses to hide bloodshot eyes, frequent visits to restrooms, mood swings and extreme emotions……”

“Falak! Ha! You’ve started wearing sun glasses too….” accused Yo”

“I won’t from tomorrow….. Just get me some under eye cream to protect me from damage due to UV rays...”

“Ok!” conceded Yo “But the mood swings symptom is sooooo you!”

“Fine I wont be moody but just don’t ask ‘why aren’t you writing anything’ or ‘why haven’t you posted anything’.” I concluded with a smug smile because I knew she just couldn’t attribute the last symptom left to me.

“Ah, well the restroom visiting is way out of your league…… You only use the college restroom if you have been downing like gallons of water since morning.”

“Yeah, I guess people use pigsties to relieve themselves only when the other options are 1) embarrass oneself and 2) embarrass oneself.”

“Yeah, whatever but you’re our ‘addict’ ok?” proclaimed Yo and I replied with a nonchalant grunt and didn’t bother to retaliate with a witticism since I had been called worse in jest. I was secretly making diabolic plans of how to pay her back when the opportunity came.

The lights in the audio visual center were dimmed so that we could watch the slide show on drug abuse…. Dimmed light also translates to private discussions during lectures .

“Cocaine is considered to be a recreational drug that heightens sensitivity to stimuli and has no side effects. Famous personalities like Freud and Rimbaud were known to use it. Even Sherlock Holmes was portrayed as someone who used cocaine since it was believed to accelerate cognitive performance and enhance creativity….”

“So addict, what do you freak out on?” this question was accompanied by a painful nudge to my ribs and I mumbled “Cocaine my dear, cocaine.”

“Why cocaine?” queried Yo. “Didn’t you see? All smart people use cocaine” I managed to say while trying to soothe my sore ribs and pay attention to the presentation all at once.

“Oh wait! Is it because Rimbaud is a poet and you write too???” Well, if that was the case” I replied “then FYI Rimbaud was also gay so you might want to jump a few seats away from me?”

We burst into giggles at our own ridiculous joke and managed to stay awake through a boring 8 o’clock lecture early in the morning

“Oh man! Why do they want to teach us about drugs? Like we don’t know already!” commented a guy to our right with his perpetual hey-I –really-am-so-smart-to-be-bothered-about -what anyone- else-has-to- say look on his face to which his friend replied “It sounds more like they are informing us about what drug to use and how to use it. I am so sleepy!”

“Let me guess…” I said feigning an expression of profound thought on my face and whispered to Yo “Is it the lecture on drugs that is making her sleepy or taking the same drugs before the lecture?”

Smothering a fresh string of giggles we resumed listening to our foundation course lecture on drug abuse and other social problems since the lights had been turned on.

“I wonder why people would want to do that to themselves!” exclaimed a girl in the row in front of us when a gory picture of an addict inserting a needle into his arm was shown.”

“I know!” said I corroborating the statement. “Can’t they understand that the stupid ‘high’ that they keep looking for is going to kill them and totally destroy them?”

“Maybe this ‘high’ is so great and drugs are the only means to experience it so then they forget all else.” Yo contributed.

“I wonder what feeling or emotion could be so great that you'd want to sell your soul to the devil knowing that it’s the point of no return during the take off towards your own destruction.

“I wonder……” was all my friend replied and that was the feeling we left with when we walked out of our FC lecture that day.

A number of rich, well to do kids in my class are established drug abusers. Their rave parties and well, parties in general are not news to us. They don’t peddle drugs or force it upon others. They just get sucked deeper and deeper into the quagmire of addiction and before they realize it it’s too late. They think it’s fashionable and that it’s acceptable. Most start doing drugs because they feel stressed or ‘strung up’ about their life in general. Well if tension is the reason that people do drugs then like my friend Yo says I should have been an addict years ago. I am one of those people who love worrying about everything and nothing in general and hold myself responsible for everything. {BTW I am responsible for everything that happens to me and oh I am not a junkie he he}.

That evening when I went for my violin class my music teacher finally taught me to hold the violin between my shoulder and chin and pluck it with my fingers. I played a couple of exercises and he praised me saying I had practiced and it shows. I was over the moon since learning to play the violin in it self is an achievement for me so being told that I was doing it well enough was a bonus. I was really happy. I think I went a little loony and was singing quite audibly in the rickshaw on my way back home. Come to think of it I think the rick driver reached me home in record time because he thought I was demented.

I practiced my violin lessons with more gusto than usual and felt like I was floating mid air for the next few hours and then the good feeling died.

I then logged on to this very blog and saw sweet comments from total strangers and again that wonderful feeling that set me free from within got hold of my system and I was deliriously happy for some more time. The buzz crashed in 20 minutes and then I was back to normal.

My baby cousin woke up and I went to play with her. She rewarded me with a wide toothless grin. My heart and head grew wings and flew to some remote paradise at the sight of her merry face. Later when I was listening to my favorite songs after eons, again that weird sensation grabbed me from within.

At night I was speaking to my mother on the phone and her voice laced with concern, irritation {because I didn’t call her for two days} and tiredness after a hectic day at work suddenly sent a warm feeling trickling all over my body: like someone had switched a heater on somewhere in the region of my heart. I smiled to myself.

It was 11:30 in the night and I had to go and sleep. It was quite cold and I was snug and warm in my bed wrapped up in a cozy blanket and suddenly realization hit me hard like a cricket ball hits a window pane and I searched frantically for my cell phone in the darkness. On finding it I clicked away a message to Yo that said:

u dnt need drugs 2 feel high. U need luv a sense of being belongin and achvmnt. D feelin tht u get due 2 dese emotions is a high. music in gnrl helps. For me the strings of d violin trigrd it. I was high bcoz of strings. High-strung hahahahahah. Gn Luv Falak

I only wish I could pass on the same message to those classmates of mine.

Yours addicted to little joys in life