Summers as a child was always fun. Most summers, I would have grandparents over and discover a world where little lessons of life were learnt with loads of fun. I've realized how educational my summers were only as an adult. As a child,they were pure fun and I loved them!
Every once in a while, when Mom decided to pause her life for a bit and actually take a breather and enjoy it, we would go to this Aunt, who to me is like a second mother. Aunt is Mom's twin. They are identical in many ways such as the warmth in the way they hold me; and different in many ways - Aunt pampers me till I feel spoilt and Mom doesn't! Those vacations I always looked forward to for obvious pampering and more so to fight with my cousin brother who during the early years was just my favourite Aunt's son who got more attention out of my Mom. Until, one fine day, things turned around when Mom explained the magic of relations and what a brother actually means. Being a lone child, my knowledge of relations were limited to Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa and friends.We chided and started referring to ourselves as each other's twin as our b'days were just three weeks apart.
From that day forward, this brother has been a brother, friend, comrade in battles of life, confidante, advisor ,critic - talk about multi tasking! Years have gone by, we went through childhood, awkward teenage, ambitious youth, responsible professional lives and are looking at mature adulthood. We have grown in our own ways, have faced our own and each other's trials and tribulations, formed individual opinions, battled situations in different ways, loved, lost, failed, succeeded, hurt, healed - all of it- let's just say - We've lived!
We always knew the goings-on in each other's lives and as more colours were added on to the canvas, the colour of our bonding got layered. Words became few and far, but the thoughts were constant. I missed my brother. I missed being able to open my heart and pour out, missed listening to his ideas and learning how he was growing, take a few lessons from his courage and strength. I missed the meaningless laughter, the confessions, the all night banter - I missed the fun and most of all - I missed 'Us'.
Recently, on a regular day to work, as I nonchalantly sat in the train watching the city pass by me, a vivid picture formed in front of my eyes. It was a picture of a very sick and dying twelve year old me, lying on a hospital bed. Aunt and Mom on the sofa near by, tired yet praying and hoping , eyes that had dried up and eventually closed to ease the burning sensation. What struck me in that picture, was the little pair of hands that held onto my arm, the hair of the head that lay tired by my face, lightly touching my cheeks.
As I have replayed that whole episode of my life time and again, I've felt the pain of my parents as they watched their daughter slowly being taken away from them, felt the pain of my Aunt as she helplessly watched me suffer and more so felt every ounce of pain Mom felt and at a greater degree, of my Uncle who ran helter-skelter trying to ease out practical obstacles and doing the best to make sure no stone was unturned. But, I never once spared a thought to the one to whom that little pair of hands belonged. It never occurred that he was all of twelve too and yet he sat there all night by my side, holding onto me, silently praying and praying really hard, hoping that the other side of the night would bring me back to the world.
That day on the train, it was as if a spotlight shone brightly on those pair of hands. Yes, I missed my brother, I missed the times we shared and the fun we had. I realised that words and the expression of thoughts and emotions had run so dry, I was slowly believing I was losing my brother and that belief hurt greatly. But, how can you really lose someone unless you let go of them? And how could I let go of those pair of hands that held on to me tightly when I needed them to, the most ? How can I disregard the silent yet constant support as I fought my biggest battle of life ? I also realised that, it's how he does it. That's his style. Silent yet constant support, a cheer here, a cheer there but never losing faith in my ability to fight my own battles, get through whatever life throws at me. And if I ever wake up and look beside me, I will always find him holding onto me.
To my 'Twin' - a silent prayer, loads of love and a I'm-here-for-you!