I met a cousin sister last week. She is working as Spice Jet cabin crew and is currently living in Delhi. But that is not what is remarkable about meeting her. What is of note is that I met her after a gap of 11 years. And what took us so long, you might wonder. Nothing unusual, except that for some reason, her parents thought of disconnecting her (an only child) from the rest of the family. They broke off relations and disappeared into oblivion, happy to be by themselves in their own world, not bothered by pesky relatives and extended family. Dad, not being the kinds who would let things continue like this, made sure he kept a track of his brother’s whereabouts and the progress of his niece. He managed to break the ice finally when he invited the uncle for my wedding. The uncle came alone, not that we minded it much. Frankly, after so many years, I didn’t really think that anyone would be fawning over him and his family (except Dad maybe, because of all that blood is thicker than water thingy).
Anyhow, back to the sister. The last I saw her, she was a wee little thing, in standard 6 (I was in my second year of graduation), her hair tied in pigtails and a permanent frown on her face. She didn’t smile much and had a tendency to glare at people. I had a pleasant shock when she called me up last Wednesday and said she will be in town on Thursday and if we could meet up please. Though I was excited at meeting her, I didn’t really know what we could talk about!! She was as good as an unknown to me , not to mention, we also had a huge generation gap between us. Anyhow, I made some time from work and went to meet her for lunch. After hunting left-right-centre, I finally located her hotel and called her out. And out she came.
Thats all I could think when I saw her. This itsy-bitsy little thing had grown into a wowza woman! When did that happen?? Here was a slip of a girl, bangs in place, her once thick curly hair now straightened into a sleek pony, a petite frame hugged by a pair of jeans and a halter-neck top showing off her slim shoulders! The best part? A big warm smile in place which totally lit up her face Whew!! She’d grown up for sure, and HOW!!!
I couldn’t help but hug her (realizing that in spite of the years and the distances, blood is indeed thicker than water!!). I had already called up Aapa and asked her to meet us at a restaurant close to the hotel. And oh, before I proceed further, one more example of my goofiness for you all to laugh at -
I turned many a corner of this locality called Viman Nagar and asked a lot of people about a society called Clover Park (which was supposed to be Opposite to the hotel, as per Google Maps!). Apart from the route , I also kept an eye for near-by restaurants where I could take her for lunch. She is a vegetarian and I didn’t want her to feel uncomfortable in a restaurant which served non-veg food. I saw a restaurant called Shree Krishna on the way and reminded myself that I must take her there. All the while, I was still figuring out how to locate her hotel, as none of the people I’d spoken to till then had heard of the hotel name. A bunch of oldies sitting outside a small mandir came to the rescue and pointed out the hotel which was right behind me. Thanking them profusely, I made my way to the opposite side, noticed that there was no CLOVER PARK anywhere nearby, parked my bike and called the Sis. Once the meeting and hugging was over, I told her that I saw a restaurant a small distance away and we could sit there and wait for Aapa to come. She agreed and we started on foot. A little further, we made a turn and seriously, I saw no sign of the restaurant. Drat it!! So I suggested that we go back, collect my bike and then hunt for the place. Sis agreed and we went back to get my bike. She hopped on and off we went. It took a few more twists and turns and enquiring before we finally saw the restaurant at a corner. Thanking God that it didn’t take me that long to search for it, I hunted for a parking spot, found one between two cars and wedged my bike in between. Sis hopped off, I put the bike on its stand and turned around. To find myself staring at the cousins’ hotel entrance!!!
Yep, that’s right!!
I went an entire circular route to hunt for a restaurant that was right opposite the hotel all this while
The cousin was in splits throughout the day , not to mention, everyone else who heard of my fiasco (I tell you, I attract these situations like a parwana to a shama!!)
Anyhow, we spent a good time at lunch, chatted up on each other’s job, enquired about the love-lives (mine, since she hasn’t found anyone yet!) and also munched on some lovely paneer starters. Aapa joined us shortly and we had lunch (the food wasn’t as good as the starters ) .But we had a wonderful time reminiscing over the past. We didn’t bring up the topic of why her parents kept her away all these years. She didn’t bring it up either. Frankly, it doesn’t matter anymore now ,
Aapa wanted to take Sis to her home and since I had to return to office, I hugged them both goodbye and went my way. Aapa took Sis home, introduced her to everyone then brother-in-law took her shopping where she spent a good 2-3 hours .Towards 9 pm, Aapa and brother-in-law dropped her back to her hotel and came back to their home.
Late at night, as I was trying to make the twins sleep,I got a call from Bro, from B’lore. He said that Sis had taken a fall on the hotel stairs and hurt her back real bad. He wasn’t sure how bad it was, but she was in no condition to talk or move. I assured him that I will look into it and bade him good night. The Sis’s roomies had called her father, who in turn had called Bro , who in turn called me.
Surprising, isn’t it?! Sometimes, you have a wonderful day, just for it to end on a nasty note like this!! I hastily called Aapa and updated her on Sis’ status. Aapa was equally shocked! But she agreed to go and check up on Sis. I couldn’t make it, because firstly, everyone at home was already asleep and I didn’t want to wake up anyone to mind the twins. Secondly, the BF was yet to return from office. Aapa was my best bet and being the responsible elder sister she is, she immediately went back to check on Sis.
What happened was, after Aapa dropped Sis to her hotel, she got ready to join her friends for dinner in the restaurant below. Since it was dinner time, she skipped her shoes for flip-flops and took the stairs (since her room was on the first floor). The marble staircase did not have friction strips because of which she slipped and bumped her way till the ground floor. By the time her fall came to an end, she had bumped her back real bad resulting in a hairline fracture on the spine. Her fellow crew mates rushed her to a nearby clinic (which was thankfully an orthopaedic one) and got an X-ray done. The doctor suggested an MRI and also explicitly stated that Sis is in no condition to travel back the next day. The doc needn’t have bothered. It was quite apparent that the girl was in no condition to move!
I have a VERY important production release this week for which I had to put in extra hours last week. On Thursday, I missed on 3 working hours for lunch. I had to leave early in the evening too as the MIL had a tiring day at work and the nanny had left early. I was planning on covering up the extra work on Friday, but as luck would have it, it wasn’t meant to be. There were two important things coming up that day. Firstly, I had to wrap up a LOT of work. Secondly, after a loooong time, I had a chance to attend an office party. I hadn’t attended one since I got married (loads of minor issues there) and this one time, the MIL agreed to mind the twins till I returned. Even the BF was kind enough to suggest that he would pick me up after the party. Suffice to say, for once, I didn’t want to back out on this plan.
But the Sis is important too. I had a major tussle as to whether I should let Aapa handle taking Sis to the hospital or whether to apply for leave and tend to her. Frankly, with so much on my head, I couldn’t think clearly. There were responsibilities at work, stuff that I had committed to completing, the MUCH-needed party break I was craving since the time MIL gave me the green signal and also the call of duty. Finally, I decided to let time decide it for me. Like the BF said, what if one of my kids were in the same position as Sis, wouldn’t I be glad that there were her cousins around to look after her??!! That thought was the clincher. I headed to Aapa’s place and from there, we went to Viman Nagar together.
Thankfully, the Sis was up and about and not bed-ridden as we were fearing . Though she could move about, she was in a lot of pain and it took some time for her to settle down, have breakfast and then take a bath and get ready to go. We took one of the pillows from her room to support her back in the car. I suggested one big hospital which was nearest to her hotel and we headed there. Each bump brought out a yelp of pain from the poor girl, but she braved it and tried to divert her mind with idle chit-chat!
At the hospital, I had another Shree Krishna moment
Apparently, the hospital did not have an MRI machine and the receptionist asked us to move to another hospital. Aapa had to frantically call the driver back (who had to leave for some other work) and ask him to take us to the other hospital. Once more, we laughed at my faux pas and Aapa asked me who told me that the first hospital conducted MRI’s. I mumbled about being directed by a friend, where as the truth was that I had assumed that since it was big hospital, it would obviously also cater to orthopaedic needs !! Oh woe me
At the second hospital, we got an appointment but had to wait for nearly an hour. By this time, I had already received many calls from work. Sis took a look at the wall-clock and told me that I should go back to work . I insisted on staying back, but Aapa suggested that since Sis was able to walk around, she would make sure that after the MRI they both went back to the hotel and stayed there. The Sis would leave for Delhi the next morning. I wasn’t so sure, but Sis reassured me and confessed that she felt guilty of ruining my day. It was my turn to reassure her to the contrary and then to confirm with Aapa if she could handle everything. Then Aapa reassured me that she was quite capable and told me that she would give me the boot if I didn’t trust her. Alas, I had no choice but to bid goodbye and make my way back to office…….
….where I was just in time to join my colleagues to the buses waiting to take us to the venue. I protested weakly, knowing that I had a lot to work on, but luckily, my manager ‘ordered’ me to march out with the rest . He was kind enough to suggest that I could put in extra time this week, but I shouldn’t miss the party.
And you know what?
I did just that. I attended the party, had a blast. The BF came to pick me up at 10:30 in the night. Had a nice romantic drive back home. The twins were still up , so I played with them till they finally fell asleep.
Somehow, I felt satisfied. I did all I could and yet had a good time. Sis is back in Jaipur with her mother and resting at home. We’ve spoken/messaged each other everyday since we met. It feels good to reconnect after all this time.
And if you are wondering what the purpose of this entire post was, then I can just say that I took a “Shree Krishna” route in telling you that I’m happy I met my cousin after such a long time.
That’s all I wanted to say. Seriously
*ouch!! Stop throwing those shoes, will you!!! *