When you love someone, you should do what that person wants you to do for them, not what you would love that person to do for you. Who told me this? I am not a hundred percent sure, but I think it was my sister. She has always been my main source of knowledge on life skills. She is an amazing person. She is an amazing person to whom God has given the ability of learning from her mistakes. She is the first person who taught me that there is little to be gained by being selfish. She has taught me to read, write and appreciate art. I love her. I really do, except she isn’t here right now.
My sister and I – we had a journey through our relationship; I guess it’s that way with a lot of pairs of sisters. When I was little, I didn’t really notice her much. She was there, like the rest of my family was. She had her best friends, her make up, her diary, her side of the bed, her quick tears and smiles, her beautiful voice and I had my poems, my playmates, my daydreams. We had separate worlds of our own. Occasionally, I remember sharing little things about my private life with her – not that I had much of a private life as a kid! Like, once, I wrote about a boy in my diary where I used to write my poems, then ripped it up and foolishly chucked the papers out of the window. Apuni saw them on her way home. And I’m pretty sure she asked me about that later. Then, in year 4, I failed a subject in VNS. I still remember the look of contempt the teacher gave me. For God’s sake! I was ten! Anyway, that night, I was crying really late at night. I was lying on my side and just crying. My sis woke up and comforted me. I can’t really remember the details much now. Oh and, there were times when she used to tease me. Before we slept, we would do talk about silly things, if she was in the mood. She used to pretend to be the younger sister. And she used to ask me awkward questions that my seven or eight year old mind just could not prepare an answer for.
Then, when we came to
, we had a bit of a rocky time. She was a teenager, I was about to be one. She left her comfortable world in Sydney Dhaka and I looked forward to building one here. She slept in the bottom bunk, I slept on top. She still kept writing in her diary and I attempted to do the same. She used to hate the fact that I tried to copy everything that she did. I actually didn’t do it consciously, but I guess, when you’re in the same room with someone year after year, it happens. She wrote letters to her friends and got answers. I did the same – and never received anything. For my 11th birthday, she gave me a packet of glitter (and/or gel pens), a purple notebook and a black Evoke deodorant. Before I went to bed, I discovered a birthday card under my pillow. The next day, I went and bragged to Likhi about it all. When I was 12, I got the chicken pox. I had a horrible nightmare one night. I dreamt that I had a lot of candies from the kitchen, messed up the whole house with the wrappers and felt extremely sick about it all. Yes, it seemed way too horrible to be true, but it also seemed very real. I woke up sweating and crying. Apuni came over to my bed and soothed me; she even took me to the living room, just to show that there are no candy wrappers. Believe it or not, that little incident has been imprinted in my memory better than many other more important details. I told her about both of my primary school crushes. I remember, she used to stay up just to tell me, its okay.
Then, high school started for me. I stepped on the 13th year of my life. Both of us started to be cranky way too often. I started to hate her. I remember filling up lines and lines of swear words with her name. Mainly because it gave me a thrill. I was thirteen and I was stupid. Then I had problems with friends. She took me to the counsellor. She talked to me. Everything got better. Then we kept going through highs and lows of love and hate. She honestly has a way of knowing what I’m thinking when I’m thinking and what I’m doing when I’m doing it. I can’t think about one crush that I had in high school that she didn’t know about. I can’t think about one secret I had without her being a witness to it. I guess it was good. She kept me out of trouble all my life. And when I did get into trouble, she pulled me out of it. Now that I think about it, I think my sister is one of those natural mothers. The kind of women who always know how to guide, naturally. And I’m so very thankful that she’s my sister! By the way, she looks very ugly when she’s angry. But she is one of the most beautiful people when you can see love in her face. And I got to see both of them quite often for the last few years.
Then, she got married. Just like that. One moment, she was mine, the next moment she wasn’t. From my eighteen years of life, I know that I hate changes. I try to handle them, but the first blow remains for quite a while. Yeah, we always talked about marriages and daydreamt about the perfect guy. But it never occurred to me that she would actually tie the knot so soon! Anyway, I had the last one year to reconcile with it. At first, I resisted the change. I thought of my new brother as an enemy. I listened to her talk about him, and I thought, I’m in a much better position. I can dream all I like, without having to have the boundaries of any certain person. But it didn’t take long to realise that that was just my way of hating his luck. And I realised that I would be a very bad mother! I hate letting go. So with that realisation, I started to let go. And I hope, now, she won’t hate the fact that she taught me heaps of things. And I hope I am becoming my own person, instead of living under her shadow. I hope she believes that none of my mistakes are a reflection of her.
I really miss her. I miss hugging her. I miss hearing her voice in real life. I miss seeing her. I miss hating her. I miss seeing love written all over her face.
Dang. This post was supposed to be about my mother. And I’m wasting all my tears on someone else. So yes, lately, I’m beginning to see her more as a friend than a teacher. I used to love snuggling up in her arms when I was little. And I used to be so very afraid of her. My mother can get a very bad temper at times. But she’s also very affectionate. She loves the colour red, and rightly so – her passion can range both ways. I’ve always looked up to her. She’s very organised, an excellent time manager (unlike the rest of us in the family...), adventurous, and very, very pretty. When I was little, I used to think she’s the most beautiful person on earth. I even loved the smell of her sweat!
She completely compliments my father. They were made for each other. She has everything he lacks and he has everything she lacks. She had all her children by 26, and she travelled the world as much as she could. We still turned out to be emotionally and physically very healthy – a testimony to her ability to balance her adventurous nature with practicality. I’m like my dad. We both often live with our heads in the cloud. And my brother and sister have it a little bit too. My mum is the one who keeps everyone on track and moving. She is the one who sees that last bit of important detail that we all miss.
Since she is my mother, and since I am the youngest, she sees me like her baby. We all had strong restrictions when we were little. We had to study when it became dark. We had to stop watching TV after a certain given time. Then, when I got my phone and internet access, they got taken away from time to time as punishments for different wrong actions. And I wasn’t allowed to stay at home by myself for a long, long time. I tried to wriggle out of this for ages. When I had no choice, I just wrote. I wrote pages after pages. And I still daydream – that old habit never went away.
But lately, quite suddenly it seems to me, she’s treating me like an adult. And surprisingly, its making me want to make her happy, instead of thinking of things she tells me to do as simply ‘chores’. It finally feels like she trusts me. But it’s scaring me too. It scares me to think I might break that trust one day. Or maybe I’d do something that I won’t realise that would break her heart. I guess when other people start to trust you, its really easy to lose your own trust on yourself.
But then, ‘whoever fears God, He will find a way out for him and He will provide for him in a way he had never reckoned on. He who puts his trust in God, God will suffice for him. God is sure to bring about whatever He decrees.’