I chose her name. I know I was five minutes late, and some other relative told the same name before me, but I was excited, and ran up four flights of stairs to the room and shouted it aloud. I think she even smiled.
I took her to her very first class. I remember a lot of colored chairs in her playroom class… red, blue, green, yellow, white… she wasn’t very eager. I sat on a green chair, very small for me and she, in a red one, next to me. I held her hand, waited till she settled in. I would have stayed the whole day if I had to.
It was my birthday. I went to each classroom to give chocolates to teachers. When I went to her class, she smiled and waved at me. I remember her teacher smiling too, as I went to her and put a chocolate in her hand. I remember her doing the same on her birthday too, when she came to my class to give the sweets.
I remember the first time she tied that thread on my hand. I didn’t know what it meant. Other kids used to do it. So I thought she wanted to do it too. Every year, on a day in August, she tied a thread on my hand. I still have most of those colorful rakhis. I treasure that day in August each year, though many do feel a thread doesn’t represent being siblings.
It was our obsession when we were little, badminton. I was coached by my neighbors. I coached her. We played till we were tired. I used to make her run about, while she cribbed about it. But she learned well, and I’m proud of that. We never cared for winning; we’d just play for the heck-of-it.
I remember once returning back from school, when I raced another friend with her sitting on my bicycle’s bag stand. She held on tight, and we were happy when we won. We’d even race in the rain when we could.
I remember those moments when we’d catch up while looking at the stars. We’d just go on to our terrace, and just chat. Even after I completed my schooling, she’d talk to me about our teachers. We’d wish our favorite teacher on her birthday. Sometimes we’d talk about Maths, or Geography.
We never celebrated Diwali properly. When we did, we’d burst crackers together, or watch the rockets from our terrace. We set off a rocket for the first time, together. The bottle wasn’t heavy enough and it nearly went into a neighbor’s window. Nearly! I think that was our last time setting off a rocket too.
Twenty years have passed since my sister became
a part of my life. There are many memories with her that are close to me. They are all very little moments, but each one of them is a priceless part of my life.
After all, sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.
(June 28th, 2013)