A blue kite soars in the sky. The sound of chatter fills the room. I stare aimlessly at the painting of the nautch girl performing for the drunken nobleman. ‘Didi is home.’

SB and SC have been at loggerheads the past year, especially after their return from Kashmir. SC has been allowing SB to be her bullying self, intimidating the crap out of most men she’s encountered. SC came out to play on the trek but ever since her return has been throwing a fit, like a two year old or in her case akin to the one her sixty three year old mother throws. ‘I want to fall in love, now! I need some entertainment. What fun we’ll have on that roller coaster!’ pleads the adrenaline junkie. ‘I’ll whack your fucking face, I’ve had it with the scared little boys you find. Their obsession with the opinion of the world and it’s mother is too much for me to handle. Don’t you get impressed with their good behaviour, that’s all thanks to my vicious tongue, when they meet you, we’ve both had it!’ warns the protective personality.

But SC has been really difficult to pacify. This year she’s seen a number of resilient souls pass away- a relative, a teacher, people she’s admired, some she’s loved. An aunt lies in the ICU, as I type this. All of it has been making her melancholic. The short visit to Mumbai and meeting her favourite jija makes it worse. Her cousin is married to a man who not only dotes on her but is the perfect son in law and brother in law, anyone could have asked for. What he lacks for in wealth, he makes up for in consideration. While marriage has been quite unforgiving on her other sisters, it’s been most liberating for this one. Looking at them, makes SC believe that maybe she can do this. SB ofcourse disagrees!

To pacify her need to be spooned, SB has driven SC, to a place, which she frequented in her twenties. A place where she hides, reads, sleeps and cries till she’s strong enough to take on the world again. Though on the morning of their departure, I saw a terrible dream, in which a truck was smashing into them from the driver’s side, killing both the personalities on the spot, Sb knew a relationship right now would be worse than that accident, so she packed SC up and ran for her life!

So, here I am lying on my four poster bed, refusing to get out of my room, wanting to end the year snuggling, under the covers by myself. Once an escapist always an escapist my dear and once a cynic always a cynic, too. Or maybe not! An after thought, one is ending the year eating humble pie, having been proven wrong. The past few years One has been more cynical than ever, retreating back into, what many have called my fortress, away from family and friends. Not only my own experiences with depression and abandonment at vulnerable moments but more than that having witnessed my parent’s lives and especially my mother’s has made me disregard all relationships. The father and I are viscous, the Mother on the other hand, like a child, with the most generous heart. Yet, as she ages, despite being so nice and loving, the exact opposite of me, she withers away silently, having being forgotten by most. So one has consciously kept a distance, from the World and it’s mummy, better now than later, better out of choice than compulsion, is the argument SB gives SC!

But one was recently coaxed, by the father, into spending time with an aunt and her husband in Mumbai. Not only were they the perfect hosts but so good to the Mother, patiently repeating there were no snakes in their Chembur apartment that one had to come back and humbly tell the Father, he was right! There’s nothing better than being proven wrong, especially at the end of year. One starts the New Year, hopefully!

Kindred Souls

‘Good morning’, I say to the person whose hand clings to mine, like a child’s. She smiles, gives me a casual salute and falls asleep again. I stare at her wondering how I’m going to carry on with the bluff, that we are on vacation, as the Mumbai sun seeps into the room.

The World and reality are rather harsh; for the overly sensitive to navigate through existence, even harder. In any case, old age takes away everything we have gotten accustomed to- health, family, friends- all of our worldly possessions. When you’re not ‘normal’ earlier than you can imagine. As people go on with their existence, these people get left behind- just confined to their homes, with no one in particular to converse with. Of course conversations with them are haphazard and nonsensical but whose to say how much sense most conversations make.

From a bunch of eight, two turned out to be a bit off the regular chart. Apparently, their father’s sister was a little different. Needless to say, they are kindred spirits. Other than her sister and her darling dog, my Mum has never felt protective about anyone. I wonder how she’s going to react when she sees her sister in the ICU.