My sisters have always been important to me. Didi was always this Superwoman – the perfect One. My elder cousins were no less and I was a pampered kid as I grew up with the constant care of these elder sisters. But there was someone who was always special, my first girlfriend, my first wing woman, my only younger cousin. And I pampered her. I listened to everything she said. I never got angry with her even as she ensured I was linked to every best friend she made in school. She was my partner in crime; she demanded my time over every other matter which she considered unimportant. She never called me Dada, unless she had to really really show her affection. We discussed everything and I mean everything. We fought over silly things and then made up within a day.
I always bossed over her, giving her gyan on everything under earth till she hit me on the head and made me stop. She went on and on over the phone and since I could not tell anyone anything about what she said, I had to ensure mom was not around. We watched Star Movies together till 4:00 in the morning in the hope of catching a movie which no one would allow us to watch. And then we would tiptoe up to our rooms and pretend we had slept well on time.
She made me Friendship Bands which I brandished about in school. They were my secret weapon to create a sense of envy amongst all my friends. Everyone in school knew how protective I was towards her and made fun of me all the while. And I didn’t mind. She was my kid sis.
Then I left Cal in 2001 and we kept in touch. STD calls were too expensive. Cell phones were unheard of and we wrote emails and more importantly we wrote letters. I would wait for her mails to come telling me how she had passed Class 12, how she was beginning to like her college. And slowly they became few and far between till one day they stopped completely. We both were confident that nothing would ever change between us even though we did not speak regularly. So whenever I came back during vacations we would lock ourselves up in a room and exchange stories. She would continue to find her “boudis” in the pictures I brought home from Pilani and then we would fight as I would call her immature and she would call me the same.
Somewhere down the line even that stopped. I became too busy. She became too busy and we paid a heavy price. Suddenly we were not best friends. We did not know what was happening in the other’s life. Today as I look back I think this was one thing that taught me never to let a friend go away irrespective of the distance. “Out of sight; out of mind” is a sad reality. It happens to the best of us.
Then one day, suddenly I heard that she was getting married. And somehow she knew I had expected it to hear from her. So she called me up. And I was furious at first but then I knew I deserved it. I was the one who had left Calcutta. I was the one who was the elder brother though probably she was the one who had grown up. And I felt really happy for her. And we started again.
Today I met her for the last time as a bachelorette. Within the next few hours she will take a very important step in her life and I know I will be there. And I know that she knows her oldest friend will be there by her side and he is really sorry he missed a couple of years in between. And her Big Brother is still big enough to take on the world for her.
That’s what being the Big Brother means.
And also of course singing extremely sentimental songs. If only I could sing :)