A real life wonder woman and one whom I’m privileged to call my sister.
Now, now, as siblings we’ve almost never given in to gushing displays of affection. When I sometimes look at facebook profiles of my female friends with sisters who post sugary sweet posts of them bonding with their sisters I look on those photographs with a slight level of incredulity.
After all, at a ripe old age of 2 or 3 (even though I was a die hard fan of my sister and would crawl behind her everywhere) I broke the mould of traditional siblinghood and started addressing her as ‘Lavanya’ or ‘dee’ (an impolite suffix/ prefix/ix). I’m surprised that my parents who were quite strict, allowed this. Of course as soon as I was old enough I justified it saying “respect needs to be felt in the heart” (what a smart alec). Anyway my sister has had every right to be indignant at me. When every other younger sibling of her classmates were respectfully addressing them as “akka” or “anna”, here I was strolling in with my overfamiliar first names and ‘dees’. Being the awesome person that she is, she didn’t let that stop her loving me.
I guess we can describe our love as a kind of feline tough love (though we do give in to the gushing once in a while). Mostly we silently acknowledge each other’s presence and check on each other out of the corner of our eyes and do nothing. But the moment something goes wrong my sister is always springing into action to rescue me from some sticky situation (it hardly ever works the other way round and my sister still puts up with me). Sticky situations have in the past included my having been stranded at odd times of the day and night at various airports, at having once to do an SOS whatsapp to her asking to book an accommodation as my friend’s (with whom I was supposed to spend the night) daughter had contracted chicken pox and I have so far not had chicken pox. And my sister being the generous person she is would check me into a four or five property that I would have never considered myself.
In return, much like a cat dropping dead birds and small animals on the door step, I have managed to drag random gifts from across the world to express my gratitude. These include random car bumper stickers, pasta, peppers (no I kid you not!), discounted company merchandise (hey I at least bought them). And these my sister would treasure like they were actually worth something.
But seriously I think with our siblings, we are sometime so used to seeing them as only our siblings that we fail to often see them as people in themselves. It took me a long time to consider my sister as a successful and accomplished individual and not just ‘Lavanya my sister’.
She was the first person in our family who took the giant leap 18 long years ago to emigrate from Chennai and arriving in the US, she not only survived but thrived and has established her success professionally. I’ve now seen my sister’s quiet confidence when she works- she knows what she is doing and people respect her for that. She tolerates no nonsense but is always willing to help (she tolerates nonsense only from yours truly).
On the other hand, she runs a beautiful home. She has an amazing talent at interior decoration, is a great cook who can make anything from muffins to mor kozhambu (a South Indian dish), can make jewellery at home, can crochet, sew and sketch. She is also passionate about her garden though never says a harsh word about the deer who regularly come and feast on her rose buds or veggies.
Lavanya is truly a wondrous and generous person at heart. I’ve never seen anyone so willing to work hard to make her friends and the people who matter to her happy. She never judges people hastily or harsly and always gives people the benefit of the doubt. You can never catch her undertipping anybody.
Lav was also the first person in the family to turn to animal rights. She has truly been an inspiration for me in that. I always pass anything past the Lavanya test before I buy or eat something.
She has also been the most amazing sister. At various low points in my life she has always been there for me writing the most amazing letters and eloquent emails that always make me feel better. I guess it is that strong assurance that I have an awesome sister that makes me act like a cool cat, like someone who pretends that all that gushing is beyond her but wants to gush anyway secretly.
I have an awesome sister. And today is her birthday!
Dearest Lavanya, I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful sibling and friend than you. I wish that the universe will fill your year and days ahead with much joy, happiness and prosperity. Thanks for always being there to bail me out 🙂
Love you to bits, me ( I’m looking the other way!)