Friday, December 08, 2006

Amritavarshini

Amritavarshini. You would hardly hear anybody calling me by my full name. The last time I think I heard that myself was when my class teachers took our daily attendance back in school. I am Varshini to my dad, Amrita to my neighbours, Varshee to some of my friends, Amy to few others, Varshu to my cousins, and Ammu to my mom. Ammu – would Siddarth have called me that way?

Siddarth – all I know of him is what I have heard from my parents and my aunts and uncles. Are you surprised when I tell you that I didn’t know of him till I was ten years old? He was like a little box of chocolates hidden away from me; a treasure that remained oblivious till I was deemed fit to be told about it.

It was on December 19 1996, when mom pulled me into the dining room, as I returned from school and threw my bags carelessly on the sofa. I still remember that day so vividly, in all its detail, as if it had happened yesterday. There was a cake with a single, lonely candle, glowing serenely. And my, what did I catch in the light of that candle? It was the photograph of a sweet, chubby face, with such innocent eyes, the photograph of a boy with lovely curls.

I saw Siddarth for the first time in my life, heard of him for the first time during his 20th birthday, 20th if he had been around, with mom, dad, with me. My mom spoke of a brother that I had, a child they had till five years before I was born, a precious child they lost in an accident when they sent him with his grandparents for a vacation.

Somehow, I didn’t pester my mom for details. But I burned with curiosity to know more about my brother, who had drifted away like a beautiful feather, back to God, who wanted him back so badly. How would he have looked? How would he have handled his little sister when she got all the attention that he had received by all means, earlier, exclusively for himself? Would he have flung her new doll to the corner, scribbled with a sketch pen all over its face? Or would he have kissed her gently, stealthily, when mom put her to sleep and disappeared into the kitchen? Would he have run away to grab his share of mom’s lap when the princess slept in her cradle?

What are these questions that remain answered even today? Tormenting figments of imagination, that’s what they are – when one remains clueless about what would have happened, if what happened hadn’t happened.

Siddarth was all but five when he left my parents. I think of my mom now. How many times I would have nagged her as to why I didn’t have a sibling! Why should I be the only one? Oh, how many times I have bothered her! Where would she have buried her face and cried then? My heart feels heavy, like a rock tied to the end of a thread; so heavy with guilt. Don’t give me reasons – you were afterall a kid and anyway, you didn’t know what happened. I tell you, this feeling is beyond any human reasoning.

My brother I hear, was so naughty, that his eyes forever sparkled with innocent mischief – like those of khannaiyah. My aunts tell me that he was one among them, more than belonging to his generation. He used to claim to be Lord Krishna himself and talked all sorts of things, like what big men do, for he declared that he was a big boy when he was four! Another of my aunts fondly recollects that he said he would marry her, when he finished college. The many beautiful facets of a small child that never saw light.

These are like pieces of a puzzle for me. I gather them all together to get the bigger picture, of a brother whom I have grown to love more with every passing day, a brother with whom I wish I could spend at least one day. Sometimes, I sit by the sea, smiling to myself as I let my imagination run loose. How we would have built a castle out of sand, together; how we would have taken sides with mom and dad, and laughed a great deal in the end, together; how we would have shared secrets and sealed our mouths and fooled her, together; together, together, together. I am a lonely dreamer who dreams of us being together. I am Ammu, who became Amritavarshini because Siddarth once said his baby sister would be called Amritavarshini, years before I was born. He lives no more to see it, and I live as an impression of what my brother once uttered – as a fragment of memory called Siddarth.

17 comments:

simi said...

Just went through ur blog...I think I would be a regular visitor here now..So I hope u can expect me here.....
U always have something new...I like that...

Anonymous said...

every single 1st-person narrative of yours always brims with this i-dont-know-wat that makes it seem straight from the protagonist's pen. wonderful!!

Anonymous said...

After a Long time Any reason for the delay....

Anonymous said...

somewhere in different part of world - iam a siddarth who lost my amritavarshini. sometime I wonder too what if my bady sister was here..!!.. we could talk the talk and walk the walk... guess, every can have everything.. or atleast some cannot have somethings.. may be its God's way of telling that he exists and we need him..

I believe, my little angle kept the dark-eyes away, for me to have wonderful life.. and iam sure your siddarth is doing the same for you.

have encourage to talk He will listen..

Anupama Viswanathan said...

Simi, thanks! Please keep visiting..:)

Biju, there you are! A visitor from the old times..! Thanks..:)

Anon, may I know who you are, before I answer your question?

Yuva, ????? I hope you realise this is fiction..

Sriram C S said...

Anu, One more blog open. This is going to be a very active serious blog (over compensating for the hiatus) :P See http://bharathiyaar.blogspot.com/ Pass this link to all your friends! :)

Anonymous said...

Someday...I would like to make features of all your short stories.
But yes..this one is more difficult to be made.As usual completely bowled away :-)

MrGonSings said...

Every time I drop by your page,I wonder when will be the day that you start getting published, so that your talent find new ways to spread throughout the world.

Forgive my absence these last few months, but life has kept me pretty busy until this past week...Now I'm on vacation... For three months!!!...I might be dropping by your country, BTW, by the end of January.

Hugs & best wishes!!:)

Anupama Viswanathan said...

Sriram CS, had a glimpse of the blog and seems a really fasincating idea! I really wish I had some more time to spend on it! :)

Harish, smiling as usual, reading your comment! :)

MrG!!!! Welcome back..after soooo long! I almost decided you had stopped blogging! :O. Great to know you are finally taking a break..and welcome to India! I hope you have a great time! :)

Anonymous said...

very well written, steered many emotions in me...I'd thought this is for real till I read your comment saying this is fiction. Very well written!!!

Anonymous said...

Awesome post! But did u say its fiction? Wel, that surprising.. but happy it didnt happen for real.. but its simlply amazing to see how u cud pen down those emotions as if they were ur own..

Narrative is simply superb!

Anupama Viswanathan said...

Risha, welcome here! :)..thanks!

Prithz, I think I have seen you on Ramya's blog..welcome home! :)..This post for most part, (say 99%) is fiction..but the idea for it was fed by a true incident..

Anonymous said...

U R BRILLIANT.PERIOD.

Traveling Soldier said...

It didnt appear to be like a fiction. Emotions were etched into the writer's words...good one....Great blog...

Have a good year!

TS

RamNarayan S said...

Wandered into your blog. This story (did not feel like one unless you looked at the classification) resulted in welled up tears and a lump in my throat. It is probably the last two sentences.

And a beautiful picture to go with it.

Anonymous said...

My name is Amritavarshini.. On a completely jobless day, I just googled my name to see what the world of internet has to say about me.. And bumped into your blog :)
I've passed the url of your blog to almost all my friends.. The best I've come across in years! Gitanjali was out of the world :) And it's my personal favourite too, coz my life is more or less similar :D except that I made my teacher mine ;-)

Anupama Viswanathan said...

Thank you, Amritavarshini! :). What a way to land on my blog!!
And I really was surprised to see a comment on this post after so many years since I posted it.
Thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing my blog with your friends.
Keep reading!