My grandpa's last wish was that Sundar, my elder brother
had to live with my grandma in Chennai. So, Sundar was away
from us since he was eleven months old. After Sundar, mom
gave birth to Seetha, my late sister. Mom has told us, Suresh
and I, so much about Seetha that I have a picture of her
sculpted on my mind. Mom used to tell us about her every
day - about how beautiful she was. She would tell us how
Seetha could brighten up a room, a home, or a whole town.
Seetha was also very intelligent and she obtained very good
grades in her school. Mom keeps saying that sometimes God
is so fond of certain wonderful people he creates that he
takes them back within a short time after giving them to
us. Seetha died from drug poisoning. Mom says a whole bunch
of kids died because the medicine manufactured by this particular
company had an ingredient that was slightly higher in content
than the required proportions. We never got bored of listening
to mom talk about Seetha. In spite of being a strong and
a stubborn woman, she would have tears welling up in her
eyes every time she walked through that memory lane. I used
to fantasise about how I would get along with Seetha if
she were alive. From what I heard from mom, I thought sisters
were good fun. I longed to have a sister, but that was not
to be. My mom had a serious health problem when I was in
my third standard. She was hospitalised and we were told
that they were going to operate on her. We were too young
to realise the gravity of the situation, but we knew something
was going on. The evening before mom's operation, dad called
both of us, Suresh and I. He kneeled down in front of us.
He stared at us for a while.
"Let's pray for mummy," he said.
That shocked me because I had never seen this man pray
for anything in his life. He never participated in any pooja.
The three of us went into the prayer room. We sat in front
of framed pictures of gods. I always wondered why we had
so many gods- they say god is one. Dad lit a prayer lamp.
"Ask God not to take your Mom away," he said.
His voice was shaky. We closed our eyes. I argued with
God. "Boss! We need mom to get us a sister, to give
us food, tell us stories and to polish my boots."
We were also told that Sundar would come down from Chennai
the next day. The operation was a success, but I was shocked
to learn from grandma that Mom wouldn't be able to have
any more babies. So, I could not have a sister now or ever.
Dad looked at me.
"As God is busy doing a lot of things, he wanted mom
to take care of you, so he forgot about your baby sister.
But thank him for allowing mom to be with us."
I could not sleep that night, but dad was damn right. If
not for mom, life would have been tough for me. I keep thanking
God for leaving her alone, but I longed for a sister, an
elder sister who would chide me when I made mistakes- someone
who would walk me to school, someone who would not compete
with me for everything like Suresh does; someone who would
stay with me and be around, unlike my elder brother, Sundar.
I wanted a sister for all these reasons and more, but then,
it was not to be.