Thursday, December 22, 2005

O brother

Okay so I'm going to be mostly gone for the next week or so. That does not mean I will not surface from time to time.....but for the most part it will be kind of irregular. So my kind reader, please bear with me.

After a good many years this is one Christmas that will be spent with a lot of family. My sis-in-law will be here with her family which is always nice. And then my cousin P will be here the whole week between Christmas and New Year. And my other cousin B who I mentioned in a previous post will be here for the New year's weekend with his family. People all dear to me. And it promises to be a fun week ahead.

Last time I wrote about my cousins I promised to write a sequel with snippets about the ones I left out in that post. And I never did. However with P coming over this weekend and me being totally excited about seeing him after all this time, just couldn't help but stir up my treasure chest of nostalgia. So do forgive me if I sound all soppy again.

P is my Kaku's son, six years younger to me and as close as it gets to being my own brother. I still remember the day when he was born in our nursing home in South Calcutta. I was really excited about having a kid brother and couldn't wait for him to get out of Kaki's tummy. I remember the first time I laid eyes on him. He was in the nursery with a bunch of other newborns, wrapped up in many, many layers, sleeping peacefully. Minu-di-pishi who was the nurse on duty took him out of the crib, ever so gently, and brought him over to the window so that I could get a better look at the tiny little thing. And I looked at him in total awe, wondering how on earth this tiny little specimen of humanity would ever be able to play with me. And then the next week Kaki brought him home and to me he did not look any bigger or stronger than what I remembered from my first visit. I distinctly remember everyone fussing over him. He was the first boy in the house in our generation and we had a constant stream of relatives and well-wishers pouring in to see the little one. I was allowed to hold him, play with his little fingers and shower my affection on him. To me he was like a living doll that I could play with. And I was so interested in all the new things that sprung up since P gripe water (which I thought was a very nice thing to drink) and jars of baby food ( I so wanted to taste the Cerelac) and all the Johnson's baby products...the powder and soap and shampoo.

And slowly P started growing up. He learnt to roll over and smile....he learnt to sit up on his own....mouth garbled words that sounded like ba-ba-ba....he took his first steps.....he started to walk and run and play. And all of a sudden he appeared to be more interesting than I had given him credit when I had first laid eyes on him. He called me Didia. And he followed me everywhere and wanted to do everything that I ever did. He adored me. And I loved him like crazy. Here was one person who actually looked up to me and I could boss around if I felt like taking advantage of my six years of seniority.

I think one of the biggest scares P gave us was when he was barely two and had to undergo a hernia operation. I remember how tiny and frail he looked on the huge hospital bed. Kaki stayed with him the whole time. Daddy was in the O.T. during the surgery while the rest of us waited outside with bated breath. I still remember the gush of relief that swept over us when Daddy came out along with the surgeon who was smiling and reassured us that everything had gone well. P had a second hernia operation a couple of years later and then another one to remove his adenoids. To me who had never spent a day in the hospital it seemed like P was a very weak and sick kid who I had to protect. And I was ever so protective of him. I would defend him, spoil him silly and love him with all my heart. I gave up eating icecreams because P had a tonsil problem and was not allowed to have anything cold. I would accompany him to school, listen to all his tales about his friends, spend hours playing carrom, chess, badminton and tag, come up with new ideas to build things, do stuff, have fun.

And with the years we just grew closer. I still remember the last year that I spent at home right before I got married, P would spend every waking hour at home with me. I guess he had realized that I would be leaving soon and had started missing me in a way. He was busy at that time with school and tuitions and friends......yet, the moment he came back home, he would run up the stairs and come into my room, sit on my bed and give me a detailed account of his entire day's activities. He would tell me about all his troubles at school, keep me up to date on his numerous girlfriends and listen to any advise that I handed out regarding life. The last Christmas I spent at home, feeling sad and lonely because B was in the US and my parents were out, P bought me a Christmas tree so that I could cheer up and decorate it and not feel so blue.

And although it has been several years since then, to me P will still be my little kid brother and I love him exactly the same way I did back then. I asked him last night if he wanted to eat anything special when he would be here with us and he said in a sheepish voice, "luchi". So if you find me missing this following week, you'll know where I am....making luchi, alur dom and fish-fry for my kid brother. So you'll excuse me, won't you?

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Blogger Dreamcatcher said...

Awwwww. That was like too sweet. Not the cho chweet kind but nostalgic and evocative of memories - sepia toned, steeped in childhood and delightfully etched.
i guess even if he will always be your younger brother for you..

1:23 PM  
Blogger Dreamcatcher said...

Ugh the entire comment didnt get posted..
I guess even if he is old and balding he will be your precious kid brother.

1:30 PM  
Blogger Brown Magic said...

awwwww indeed. that was so adorable.

2:33 PM  
Blogger Sagnik Nandy said...

you make fish fry ad luchi for your cousins?? please adopt me as a cousin - puhleeeeeeeze!!!

great post as usual - reminds me of the time my sis was born - i dint realize that this was a permamnent entrant to our household - i was quite disappointed when they said that the girl will stay with us :D

3:02 PM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ dreamcatcher you're so sweet....and thank you! Yes some things just never change.
@ brown magic thanks
@ sagnik you're adopted :) chole esho...anytime. Kids react to the birth of a sibling in a variety of ways...I don't think I ever had the rivalry thing probably because I was way older than P. But we were a big joint family and we grew up not like cousins but as brother and sister.

4:14 PM  
Blogger satchisgod said...

Sob sob...please send some...please please...oi luchi, aaloor dom and if possible kosha mangsho.
Am so jealous of your bro. Damn, I should have been a younger.

7:00 PM  
Blogger sinusoidally said...

What is a luchi?

7:14 PM  
Blogger Medha.. said...

M-di, aamar o luchi aar aloor dom chaayi!!! :(

I can call u M-di, rite?? :)

That was a very sweet post on our brother! :)

Your post reminded me of Calcutta. And also, i am the ONLY girl in the im badly pampered each time to visit my relatives...aaah, god bless them! =D

9:57 PM  
Blogger DD said...

like all others, some luchi and aloor dom for me too. ekhane ese ekbari khawa gechhe :(.

10:41 PM  
Blogger Priya said...

I was about to suggest Kosha mangsho, which again Biplab's already mentioned. Luchi and kosh amangsho is just awesome.If u need help with the recipe, lemme know;)would lurve to be yr guide!

11:34 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

How do you manage to do it?? Every post you write is something I totally relate to.

My sister is 12 years younger than me so I guess I TOTALLY understand what you mean when you say you are protective of your kid brother. As for tasting baby food...totally agree with you on the gripe water bit..very nice indeed. And dont tell me you didnt try Cerelac...its really quite yummm...oops..maybe Ive said too much already ;)

Great post. Happy holidays to you and your family!

4:03 AM  
Blogger Bonatellis said...

so all that food eventually got u too :-)

5:15 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ biplab don't be sad and don't be jealous....please? Instead come on over. I don't think you live that far off anyways.
@ sines and you have a bangali fiance!!! Luchi= bengali kind of puri made of white flour. Very popular as you can see :)
@ medha the "M-di" just reminded me of rimi's latest post on the dada and didi culture we have :)) And have fun when you get all the pampering at home.
@ dd looks like luchi and alur dom is in heavy demand. May be we should have a blog party and have luchi alur dom!
@ priya I love(d) kosha mangsho....golbarir. But of late I have adopted a little lamb and named him "boku" and therefore have not been able to consume any mangsho since. But agreed kosha mangsho and luchi is a stunning combination.
@ ron looks like we had the same kind of interest in baby food stuff :)) Never tried cerelac but hope to try out the Gerber's stuff that they sell over here. They come in such awesome flavors. May be someday.
@ bonatellis it sure can't expect to bring up good food and not have me drool all over that. But thanks!

9:39 AM  
Blogger DD said...

definitely! people back in india are having umpteen of them!

i vote for a blog party.

10:18 AM  
Blogger satchisgod said...

Aribbas...serius? khawabey? Naaki emni emni? Virgina'r ashe paasher jonogon ki boley? Blog meet korley mondo hoy na. M's bor should be a nice person (as are all pple who's names begin with B)...taachara jamaibabu boley kotha :D

12:41 PM  
Blogger A fool on the hill said...

End-of-the-year nostalgia trip? Decembers do tend to unlock long lost memories! Great read.

1:27 PM  
Blogger the Monk said...

Hmmm, I have a younger sister...I can identify...great post...

11:24 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ dd I can see you are really deprived of home cooked meals :))
@ biplab emni emni noy...really.
@ A fool on the hill thanks and thanks for stopping by too.
@ the monk thanks and keep coming.

4:31 PM  
Blogger Adarsh A. Varghese said...

Thats so sweet! Great post! And hey, Merry X'mas!

11:05 PM  
Blogger Siddharth said...

Its always good to have the dear ones around...I am a veggie cant ask u to make some for me...

Have a good time and a joy filled new year!

12:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its cool that you get along with your cousins. I grew up in a city where I had no cousins and as years passed I never became close to any of them.

Wish you a good holiday ahead and take good care !

cheers !

10:41 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ Adarsh A. Varghese thanks and hope had a great holiday too!
@ siddharth luchi is puri and alur dom is alu dum as in potatoes. May be we will skip the fish for you but you can help yourself to the rest :)
@ True Blue Guy cousins are great fun and I'm close to all my five first cousins as well as a larger second cousin family. I miss them now that I live miles away. Hope you had a good holiday too.

1:21 PM  
Blogger Acroyali said...

lovely, heart warming post. your brother is lucky! :)

best wishes to you and your family for the times ahead!

8:55 AM  
Blogger Casablanca said...

Awwwwwwww.... that was sweeter than ice cream. Yumm yummm!

3:04 AM  
Blogger Ashmi said...

oh!man that was simply tooooooooooooo cute a post...especially where you mentioned you stopped having ice-cream coz he had tonsil...this well reflects how very dear he is to don't worry,enjoy cooking yummy dishes for your brother and spoiling him silly as you said you always loved doing :-)

7:59 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ acroyali thanks and nice to see you here again.
@ casablanca I love icecream too :))
@ ashmi thank you. P left early this morning and the rest of the folks left it will be a really empty house that I will be going home to this evening :( But we had a wonderful time together.

10:25 AM  
Blogger babelfish said...

Dearest darlingest m, you write the loveliest posts ever, which always make me go awwwwww!!!

Happy New Year to you, and I hope your year is as wonderful as you are...umm that sounds incomplete, what I really mean is...I hope your year is as wonderful as you make other people feel you are :)

2:36 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ babelfish thank you for saying something so nice about me. I'm overwhelmed!

Happy new year everyone!

9:25 AM  
Blogger Rohan Kumar said...

Happy new year

12:48 PM  
Blogger the still dancer said...

umm...unrelated, but blog mail me at arka(dot)01(at)gmail(dot)com, will give you the URL. have decided not to make it public for the time being, so don't link please

7:41 PM  
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4:15 AM  
Blogger chris said...

cute cute post!
really well written, nd for the luchi aloor dom part, its inevitable for us..brought lots of memories back..thanks for that..i really appreciate the fact...

7:03 AM  

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