The other day, I started a series on my siblings. If you are back, thanks for sticking around. If you want to get some back-story, you might want to read this one first.
My palms were sweaty.
My heart was beating so fast I thought it would burst from my chest.
What if I don’t recognize him? I thought.
Or even worse, what if he doesn’t recognize me? The second thought hit me just as suddenly in the gut.
I panicked, brushing my palms against my lavendar corduroy pants that looked so foreign as I stood at the Arrivals gate at the New Delhi airport.
I gave myself a little pep talk. A pep talk delivered both by the confident part of me, that despite years of extensive training (pep talks within pep talks) was generally beat up on regularly by its insecure counterpart, probably well into my twenties.
What I tend not to share, as much, is my relationship with my siblings.
I am the youngest of five children in my family. In order, my siblings are named Kanchan (Sister), Himanshu (brother), Kusum (sister), Sudhanshu (brother – and yes my brothers names rhyme).
And then there is me.
I sometimes think I avoid writing about my siblings because on so many levels, the sibling relationship is often complex and full of ever changing dynamics. If you have a sibling, you know the powerful connections that bind you through a shared history.
A history that encompasses so, so much.
Each others dreams.
Seeing each other at our worst.
Seeing each other at our best.
Reconnecting when its really just because your droid is malfunctioning and you are too lazy to resolve the issue
Today, I was sitting in the lobby of my hotel, waiting for a cab to get me to take me back home. I get restless and I feel very awkward when I am not doing something with my hands. I imagine that knitting might be a good outlet for me, but really, I didn’t have time to find an A.C. Moore.
So I did what I normally do at times like these and harass my friends and co-workers with whatever is on my mind.
So I am sitting there on my freaking Droid 2 which I have deducted is the following:
1) an utter piece of crap
2) has a serious dysfunctional hardware issue going on – but I am too lazy to lose all the things I have put on it
3) I had sabotaged myself and downloaded some horrible apps that were slowly choking the minimal power of this existing phone
Most of the time.
My father, especially, is a man who has spent much of his life driven more by need than passion, duty over selflessness.
Which is why I guess I am always so amazed by this one particular story about my father.
A story that has a huge impact on my identity, on who I was raised to be and an even greater impression of the man I call my father.
Growing up in an impoverished village to a very poor family, in a town where to this very day, there is no school house or fresh water supply, my father was born into a surname.
A surname that is as common as Smith in America. Russo in Italy. Fernandez in Mexico.
My father’s last name was “Das.”
I often ask my father about the things he reflects on in his life now, as he is in his 70′s. I think of the life that he came from and the one that he gave me in this country – and the contrasts are often such sharp juxtapositions of each other.
When I was 1, I was crawling up and hitting the television in our house or banging on the toys in my family room.
When he was 1, he was crawling on the dirt floors of his village in India, already malnourished and struggling to meet many of the milestones I was meeting.
When I was 4, I was jealous that my next door neighbor could already read.
When my father was 4, he was just gaining the ability to walk. Years of malnourishment had lead to delays in core milestones for him.